Getting yourself a coffee grinder is a wise choice indeed if you’re looking to elevate your coffee game to the next level. Every coffee connoisseur will agree, a freshly-ground bean will release flavours and aromas like no other, and the act
There’s no single answer when it comes to choosing a grinder. It all depends on what you want to get out of it (other than coffee, of course). Convenience, cost, and experience are all factors to decide on. You can get as nerdy as you like when choosing grinders, as there are so many available, but we’ll keep it simple and show you the basic necessities you need to know.
There are two types of grinder to choose between – blade grinders and burr grinders.
Blade grinders use rotating blades to slice the coffee beans into multiple parts, and the longer you grind, the finer the grind. The downside is the grind won’t be too consistent, and you might get clumps of coffee that will affect the brew.
Burr grinders are the better choice for coffee enthusiasts. They have two rotating burrs (think conical gears with serrated bits). They crush the beans rather than slice them and the resulting grinds will be precise and consistent. The main advantage of burr grinders is that they can usually be adjusted, so you have control over what grind type you want (eg. coarse grind for cafetière / French press, or fine ground for espresso).
You’ll also want to choose between manual and electric grinders. Manual grinders are usually the cheaper option. After grinding a fresh batch you’ll be more grateful for the cup having put in the effort (just like cooking your own food!), and the smell of coffee aromas slowly being released into the air is an experience not to be missed.
Our favourite has to be the Hario Skerton. This hand-cranked beauty comes from the Japanese glassware masters Hario (who also produce some very nice cold brew pots). It’s highly durable, easy to use (and clean) and has a compact design that looks great in any kitchen collection. There’s a rubber anti-slip base which makes it easier to control, and a pair or ceramic, conical burrs producing different grind types for different brews.
Electric grinders are also plentiful, and can range from the small kitchen versions to the big industrial machines used by professional roasters. For a decent quality electric grinder, consult the homeware section of any reputable department store and find one for your budget (the more expensive, the better the durability and features, usually). The advantage to electric is that you can throw in the beans, press a button and let it work its magic. It’ll be noisier than a manual grind, though.
Remember, coffee grinders need cleaning too. Over time, coffee grounds do get lodged between the crevices in the grinding mechanisms. This won’t be a major issue at first, but eventually the stale beans will adversely affect the flavour of your fresh grinds. Many grinders disassemble for cleaning (including the Skerton) so it’s easier to reach the intricate bits. You can also use a toothbrush or other specialist cleaning equipment, or even white rice to clean your grinder. Check out our guide to grinders if you’d like to read more.