Are burr coffee grinders worth the investment? Yes.
It’s time to give your blade grinder the heave-ho.
By Josh Thomas, Buddy Brew Coffee Barista and Training Manager
Choosing a coffee grinder is arguably one of the most important decisions you will make when equipping your café or at-home coffee set-up. If you have already invested in a high quality espresso machine, batch brewer and specialty coffee beans, cheaping out on your coffee grinder is a big mistake. Blade grinders are inexpensive in price, but the cost is high in terms of what you’ll lose in coffee flavor.
At Buddy Brew Coffee, we’ve done the research on grinders so you don’t have to. Enjoy these pro tips, and see our recommendations at the end.
Ban the Blade!
The most common type of coffee grinder is the blade grinder, but don’t be lured in by the low price. If you want to make great-tasting coffee, avoid blade grinders at all costs. Here’s why: One of the biggest contributing factors to brewing a delicious cup of coffee is the evenness of the grind. Blade coffee grinders spin uncontrollably at high speeds, violently smashing your high quality coffee beans into an assortment of chunks, slivers and fine dust. This uneven grind is why your coffee’s taste is disappointing.
An Even Extraction is Everything.
Larger sized coffee particles are more difficult to extract than finely ground particles. So when brewed together, it creates an imbalance that results in a cup that is sour and bitter. The more uniform your coffee particles are, the more consistent (and delicious) your extraction will be. When evenly ground coffee is brewed and extracted properly, the compounds in the beans release in sequence, resulting in a beautifully balanced cup that showcases the naturally occurring tasting notes in the bean. The blade grinder simply can’t do the job. But burr grinders can.
Burr is Better. Way Better.
So here it is. You need a burr grinder. They are more expensive than the blade grinder, but not outrageously so. And we guarantee once you try a burr grinder, you will never go back. Burr grinders have two plates made of either steel or ceramic (more commonly steel in a commercial setting). Each burr has a set of “teeth” to evenly grind the coffee beans. One plate is usually stationary while the other one rotates, pulling the beans gently between the two plates to break the beans into even particles.
The burrs can be either cone shaped (conical) or flat. There is a debate as to which shape of burr is better, but there is no debate about whether a burr grinder is better than a blade grinder. It is unanimous among the coffee community that burr grinders are far superior at grinding coffee uniformly and producing a better cup.
Another reason burr grinders are so effective is the amount of control you have over the grind. Most burr grinders have adjustable turn knobs, giving you the ultimate control over your coffee particle size. As you learn the machine and try different settings, you’ll be able to “dial in” a cup of coffee that tastes just the way you like it, with a flavor that rivals your favorite coffee shop (maybe even better!).
The key to making café quality coffee at home.
If you visit one of Buddy Brew’s Tampa cafés, you’ll find that our coffee is consistently delicious. We brew every cup of coffee from the highest specialty grade coffees in the world, roasted fresh in small batches, and ground evenly for the perfect extraction every time. We use the best coffee equipment and our baristas are highly trained. If you’ve read this far, you love coffee as much as we do. We believe with the right equipment and knowledge, you can have café quality coffee at home.
Recommendations for home:
Baratza Sette 270 ($430) is a compact size for the home counter top. It has macro and micro grind size adjustments and three programable dose settings. Expect great customer support from Baratza.
Baratza Encore ($170) has 40 different grind settings and is the go-to entry level grinder for home brewing enthusiasts. Expect great customer support from Baratza.
Recommendations for your Café:
Nuova Simonelli Mythos Clima Pro ($2,925) has on demand dosing or gravimetric dosing. It is more resistant to environmental conditions to keep your espresso dialed in, and a larger burr set (75 mm) for a more consistent grind size.
Mahlkonig GH2 ($1,100) has larger 85 mm burrs for a more consistent grind. Stepless grind settings provide the most control in grind size.
Let us help!
The Buddy Brew team would be happy to help you pick out and purchase the best grinder for you. Email now to get started: JoshT@buddybrew.com