You would be forgiven for thinking that buying your first high quality coffee grinder would be a pretty straightforward job. After all, you’re simply looking for a device capable of transforming coffee beans into the perfect coffee grounds.
Unfortunately, it never turns out to be quite as simple as expected. The reason being that there are quite literally thousands of different devices to choose from – each boasting its own unique claims to fame.
All of which prompts the obvious question – where to start when choosing a perfect machine to grind your coffee?
Well, the first thing to bear in mind is that there are essentially two types of coffee grinders to choose from – play grinders and burr grinders. The first uses fast-rotating blades to chop the coffee beans into pieces, while burr grinders crush the beans between slower rotating burrs. As the latter of the two is capable of creating particles that are considerably more uniform and even, burr grinders always come out on top.
But even when you have narrowed down the market by 50%, there are still various features and functionalities to take into account. Much of it comes down to personal preference, but it is nonetheless still advisable to think carefully about the following features:
Most coffee grinders are advertised with a power rating listed in watts. Generally speaking, premium coffee grinders usually come in at around 300 watts. By contrast, more affordable grinders are typically closer to 150 watts. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that power isn’t the be all and end all. Just as power alone doesn’t make for a great grinder, some of the very best grinders on the market are relatively low-powered.
Capacity is really all about convenience. If you prefer to grind vast amounts of coffee at the same time to keep you going for several days, it makes sense to invest in a large capacity grinder. By contrast, if you prefer to grind beans freshly each time you brew a cup of coffee, capacity isn’t really an issue.
If you do decide to go for a blade grinder, it is worth considering the quality of the blades themselves. Both the materials used to create the blades and the quality of the manufacturing in general will determine both the performance and the lifespan of the grinder you purchase. More often than not, those priced at the very lowest end of the market do not have a particularly long usable life.
This feature will determine whether and to what extent you are able to control the coarseness of the coffee grounds you produce. If you want to use various different types of coffee makers to make different types of coffee, you are going to need to produce grounds in different sizes accordingly. While some grinders give you total control over coarseness, others will only grind beans in one specific way.
While some coffee grinders can be cleaned in seconds, others are nothing short of a nightmare to deal with. Nevertheless, it is important to keep at all time your grinder as clean as possible, both to allow for consistent performance and for basic hygiene purposes. So before purchasing, it is worth thinking carefully about how easy or otherwise it is likely to be to keep your grinder clean.
For obvious reasons, anyone looking to buy a coffee grinder to be used for commercial purposes is going to need a device that works considerably faster than a standard domestic grinder. The size, capacity and general performance of any given grinder will determine the speed at which it processes the coffee beans you introduce.
Last but not least, all coffee grinders also have their own unique ratings when it comes to noise. The level of noise any coffee grinder makes should not necessarily be interpreted as a sign of quality or lack thereof. Nevertheless, if you are looking for a coffee grinder that makes minimal noise, this is something you will need to look into carefully before making your final decision. Just as some coffee grinders get the job done as discreetly as possible, others make the kind of noise that is enough to wake up half the neighborhood!