Coffee grinder - How to choose the right one in 2022

Manual coffee grinder

The coffee grinder is an essential accessory for all coffee lovers. Once ground, coffee gradually loses its aroma and flavour. The powder dries quickly, losing some of the valuable elements at the same time. Purists even suggest 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 process of aroma loss.

Don't have a coffee grinder? 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 one.

It should be noted that roasted coffee does not keep well, especially in its ground form! Coffee beans keep their flavours longer and oxidation is also delayed. In fact, coffee (even beans) should be consumed within two days of roasting. This is how people in 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 why.

Grinding coffee without a grinder is complicated, here is a complete article listing all the tips for grinding coffee without a grinder. It is possible to use a hammer or a mortar and pestle, but these methods are costly in terms of time and energy. If we consider that you have to grind your coffee every 48 hours to have the freshest possible raw materials, 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 a suitable grind. For example, the grind for an espresso machine will be much finer than the grind for a piston coffee maker!

The price of mills has decreased in recent years, as the use of mills has increased, and manufacturers have been able to lower their prices by selling more volume. A low-cost offer has also emerged, you can now find electric mills for less than 20€. However, you will need a budget of around 100€ to have a durable, good quality mill that will bring out the best in your grain.

Automatic or manual coffee grinder?

The manual coffee grinder

The manual coffee grinder is obviously the most basic of coffee grinders. Usually made of metal with a wooden compartment, the manual grinder is used by turning a crank on the top of the object. Our grandmothers all had one of these grinders.

manual coffee grinder

I regularly grind my own coffee beans with a manual grinder. The advantages are :

  • no electricity required
  • low maintenance - long life
  • rather quiet
  • inexpensive

There are two types of manual mills, those with a ceramic rack and those with a metal rack.

Some coffee grinders allow you to choose the grind that suits you. Depending on your taste 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? This is what you need, a coffee grinder electric coffee which will make your life easier in the morning.

These machines are very easy to use, you just insert the grain inside, press a button and off you go.

Some coffee grinders are equipped with conical grinding wheels which allow them to grind coffee faster than flat wheels on small machines.

Generally, the larger the machine, the faster it grinds coffee, so choose a machine that suits your needs.

Blade mill or grinding wheel 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.

coffee grinder with blades

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. It is therefore not possible to get the perfect grind for your machine. This is an important point to note, however, ground coffee is also not suitable for all coffee machines.

The second negative aspect of the blade coffee grinder is that it tends to heat the beans and therefore degrade the coffee. To obtain a good coffee, the bean should not rise in temperature between roasting and final preparation.

Advantages:

  • 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 is often smaller in size and can therefore be stored more easily.

Disadvantages:

  • The blade grinder produces an uneven grind, so it will not be suitable for all coffee machines.
  • The coffee tends to heat up during the crushing process. This results in a deterioration of the taste of the coffee.
  • 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 grinding wheels

Some coffee grinders have a grinding system, rather than breaking the beans with a rapidly rotating blade, grinding wheels crush the beans.

coffee grinder with wheels

The advantage of coffee grinders is that they do not need to rotate very fast, which limits heating and preserves the coffee's aroma to the maximum.

Coffee grinders with grinding wheels often offer a grind adjustment, and this feature is highly sought after by coffee lovers as 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 grinders further reduce the temperature generated by the grinding process. This type of machine will best respect your raw material: the coffee beans.

It is therefore an investment that can be beneficial if you drink coffee regularly and especially if you are demanding with its quality. It's a shame to waste the best beans when grinding.

Advantages and disadvantages of the coffee grinder

Benefits

  • Coffee grinders with grinding wheels are often adjustable, which is a good thing if you have several coffee machines.
  • The grain tends to heat up less during the process, thus preserving a maximum of flavour.
  • Grindstones are generally more durable, and it is possible to improve your mill by purchasing better grindstones.

Disadvantages

  • The price is generally higher.
  • Cleaning is less simple than with a blade mill.

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