The coffee grinder is the essential accessory for all coffee lovers. Once ground, coffee gradually loses its aroma and flavor. The powder dries quickly, losing some of its precious elements. Purists even say that coffee should be consumed between two days and two weeks after roasting. If you must store your ground coffee, choose a cool, dry place, as this will delay the loss of aroma.
Don't have a coffee grinder? Go see our article on how to grind your coffee without a grinder
Why grind coffee?
Let's face it, freshly ground coffee can make the difference between a bland coffee and a quality coffee.
It is important to know that roasted coffee does not keep well, especially in its ground form! Coffee beans keep their aromas longer and oxidation is also delayed. In fact, coffee (even beans) should be consumed within two days of roasting. This is how the inhabitants of South America consume it.
Salon roasters exist and will soon be the subject of a blog post. Until then, you won't regret grinding your precious beans yourself. Some baristas say that the coffee grinder is the most important accessory for preparation and often makes the difference between a good and bad tasting experience.
Why use a coffee grinder?
The coffee grinder is almost indispensable, here are the main reasons.
Grinding coffee without a grinder is complicated, here is a complete article listing all the tips to grind coffee without a grinder. It is possible to use a hammer or a mortar and pestle, but these methods are costly in time and energy. If we consider that you have to grind your coffee every 48 hours to have the freshest raw materials possible, it is quickly indicated to buy a coffee grinder.
Note: It is impossible to grind coffee by hand without even a manual coffee grinder and hope to obtain a grind that matches the corresponding coffee machine. Each type of machine requires an adapted grind. The grind of an espresso machine, for example, will be much finer than a grind for a piston coffee maker!
The price of mills has decreased in recent years, the use of it has increased, manufacturers have been able to lower their prices by selling more volume. A low-cost offer was also born, we can find today electric mills for less than 20€. However, you will need a budget of about 100€ to have a durable mill, of good quality and highlighting your best grain
Automatic or manual coffee grinder?
The manual coffee grinder
The manual coffee grinder is obviously the most basic of coffee grinders. Generally made of metal with a wooden compartment, the manual grinder is used by turning a crank on the top of the object. Our grandmothers have all had one of these grinders.
I regularly grind my own coffee beans with a manual grinder. The advantages are:
- no electricity needed
- low maintenance - long life
- rather quiet
There are two types of manual mills, the mills with a ceramic rack and with a metal rack.
Some coffee grinders allow you to choose the grind that suits you. Depending on your tastes and your type of coffee machine, it is a good idea to use the right grind of beans.
Electric coffee grinders
Want to grind your coffee effortlessly? Here is what you need, a electric coffee grinder that will make your life easier in the morning.
These machines are very easy to use, you insert the grain inside, press a button and off you go.
Some coffee grinders are equipped with conical grinding wheels which allow to grind coffee faster than flat wheels on small machines.
Generally, the bigger the machine, the faster it grinds coffee, so choose a machine that fits your needs.
Blade mill or grinding mill?
The coffee grinder with blades
Among the types of coffee grinders, the most basic electric grinder is the blade grinder. This grinder works like a blender. It contains two steel blades that grind the coffee to a satisfactory grind.
It is also the most affordable electric coffee grinder with entry level grinders around 20€.
The problem with these coffee grinders is that it is rarely adjustable. Therefore, it is not possible to get the perfect grind for your machine. This is an important point to note, however the ground coffee is also not suitable for all coffee makers.
The second negative aspect of the blade coffee grinder is that it tends to heat the bean and therefore degrade the coffee. To obtain a good coffee, the bean must not rise in temperature between its roasting and its final preparation.
- It is generally less expensive than the grinder, so it is a good compromise for a small budget and to enjoy a fresh coffee in the morning
- The blade mill often has a smaller size and can therefore be stored more easily.
- The blade grinder produces an uneven grind, so it will not fit all coffee machines.
- The coffee tends to heat up during the crushing process. Therefore, the taste of the coffee is degraded.
- It is impossible to adjust the grind size, which is not recommended for the most demanding amateurs.
The coffee grinder with wheels
The coffee grinder with classic wheels
Some coffee grinders have a grinding wheel system, rather than breaking the beans with a rapidly rotating blade, grinding wheels crush the beans.
The advantage of coffee grinders is that they do not need to rotate very fast, which limits heating and preserves the coffee's aromas to the maximum.
Coffee grinders often offer a grind adjustment, and this feature is highly sought after by coffee lovers because the grinder adapts the grind to the coffee machine used.
The ceramic grinding wheel mill
High-end coffee grinders usually have ceramic grinding wheels. These grindstones further reduce the temperature generated by the coffee grinder process. It is this type of machine that will best respect your raw material: the coffee beans.
It is therefore an investment that can be beneficial if your coffee consumption is regular and especially if you are demanding with its quality. It's a shame to waste the best beans during the grinding process.
Advantages and disadvantages of the coffee grinder
- Coffee grinders with grinding wheels are often adjustable, which is a very good point if you have several coffee machines.
- The grain tends to heat up less during the process, thus preserving a maximum of aroma.
- Grindstones are generally more durable, and it is possible to improve your mill by purchasing more efficient grindstones.
- The price is generally higher.
- Cleaning is less simple than with a blade mill.