A coffee grinder is a device that has one function. This function is to grind roasted coffee beans.
At the same time, the difference in prices for different models of coffee grinders can be five-fold, tenfold or even fifty-fold. There are coffee grinders that cost $19.99 and there are coffee grinders that cost $5,000 or more.
To understand the reason for this seemingly outrageous difference, you need to understand how the different ways of grinding beans work, the difference between them, why it is so important and why it leads to such a difference in prices of coffee grinders.
Why is coffee bean grinding so important?
A bag of coffee beans or ground coffee is the end result of a long and complex process. This process begins on a coffee farm and includes harvesting coffee cherries, storing them, shipping the cherries to a processing facility, roasting, blending and bagging them.
When you buy a bag of coffee beans, you need to grind them before you can use them to make coffee. Grinding is the stage where most home brewers make a lot of mistakes.
One of the mistakes has to do with grinding too many beans. When you grind coffee beans and turn them into ground coffee, the surface area of the coffee increases significantly. This leads to a surge of exposure to oxygen, moisture, heat and light, all of which lead to coffee losing its flavor.
This is why you buy coffee beans and not ground coffee in the first place.
The second mistake has to do with not grinding the coffee properly. Grinding is all about the consistency of the coffee particles. The best grinders and grinding methods are the ones that provide the best consistency. Cheap grinders have inexpensive blades and grind coffee by throwing the beans around inside of the grinding container at a fast speed, chopping them randomly and creating a mix of big chunks and fine powder. Expensive grinders crush the beans slowly and may have several gears. These features allow the grinders to provide much better consistency of the ground coffee particles.
Types of coffee grinders
Electric blade coffee grinders
This is the most common type of a coffee grinder. A blade grinder has a spinning blade powered by a motor. Blade coffee grinders and relatively cheap and you can buy one for less than $20. They usually have an on/off button, are made of cheap plastic and are very simple overall. You can use these grinders to grind not just coffee beans, but also nuts, spices, and seeds.
Burr coffee grinders
A burr grinder works like a mill. It has two revolving abrasive surfaces, also known as burrs. It turns coffee beans into ground coffee by passing the beans through the burrs, most of which today are made of ceramic. This ensures a much better consistency and quality of coffee particles.
Some of the cheapest burr coffee grinders are manual. With a manual burr grinder, you will be cranking the grinder by hand. Using a manual burr grinder is slower than using an electric grinder. It may also require some muscle, but some people absolutely love the process of turning the beans into the grind by hand.
You can get a manual coffee grinder for as little as $20. More expensive models can cost $40 or more.
Powered burr coffee grinders can be flat or conical. Both kinds do the same thing: they turn beans into ground coffee and they do it well. You can typically change the distance between the burrs to change the size of the particles.
Espresso coffee grinders
Espresso requires particles of a very small and uniform size. Not all grinders can accomplish this task, which is why espresso coffee grinders are some of the most expensive. An espresso grinder is usually a burr grinder with a high-end set of burrs that allows it to achieve a very fine grind.
Coffee Grinder Reviews
Manual Coffee Grinders (price: around $20)
Zingy Portable Manual Coffee Grinder
This manual coffee grinder has a silicon grip and comes with a cleaning brush, measuring spoon and a storage bag.
It allows you to enjoy aromatic and savory coffee without having to pay a few hundred dollars for an expensive burr grinder. All you have to do to use it is to adjust the mill knob, add some coffee beans, seal the top of the grinder and turn your beans into a grind by using the hand crank.
Zingy grinder is very lightweight and reliable. It weighs only 9 ounces and its dimensions are 7.1 inches by 2 inches by 2 inches.
Zingy offers a refund guarantee for this model. If you are not absolutely in love with the quality of the grind provided by this grinder, you can return it for a no questions asked full refund.
Java Presse Manual Grinder
Java Presse Manual Grinder has a conical burr mill for better precision. It comes with 18 click settings that ensure 100% precision over the grind. You can choose between pour over, chemex, drip, French Press, and other settings.
The hand crank is removable and eliminates over 90% of the noise compared to electric burr grinders.
The burrs are made of ceramic and tested by three inspections. They last more time five times longer than stainless steel blades.
This grinder has an unconditional 365-day money back guarantee. It weighs 9.4 ounces and its dimensions are 1.8 inches by 1.8 inches by 7.5 inches. It comes with a comprehensive guide that teaches you how to use the grinder to produce any time of grind that you’d like.
Electric Blade Coffee Grinders (price: around $20)
Krups F203 is an electric grinder that you can use to grind coffee and spices. This grinder is elegant, compact and has a very sleek look.
It has a 200-watt motor and grinding capacity of up to 3 ounces of coffee beans. There are no modes or switches for different kinds of grinding. You can customize your grind by choosing the duration of the grind, be it a few seconds for a Turkish grind or a longer grind for smaller particles.
Krups F203 has stainless steel blades and a lid-activated safety switch.
It comes with a 2-year warranty, weighs 1 pound and is 3.5 inches by 3 inches by 6.8 inches.
Mr. Coffee IDS77
Mr. Coffee IDS77 is an electric grinder that can grind from 4 to 12 cups of coffee.
It has three programmable settings: coarse, medium and fine.
Mr. Coffee IDS77 has a Press-N-Pour lid with a wide opening for easy and mess-free filling and dispensing.
This grinder also has a Chamber Maid Cleaning System that sweeps the wall of the grinding chamber.
The electrical cord is about 6 inches long and it unwinds from the bottom of the grinder.
This unit weighs 1.8 pounds. Its dimensions are 5 inches by 5 inches by 9 inches and it has a 1-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.
Burr Coffee Grinders (price: approximately $50)
Cuisinart DBM-8 is an automatic disk burr mill. Just like many other Cuisinart devices, it has a very elegant style. This grinder is a heavy-duty supreme grind machine. It has an 18-position grind selector with 6 settings per ground type. The positions range from coarse to ultra-fine.
There is a side dial that regulates the number of cups. The number of cups ranges from 4 to 18.
Cuisinart DBM-8 comes with a removable 7-ounce bean hopper. There is also a separate one-touch power bar.
The machine has an electric timer that shuts the grinder off when the cycle is complete.
Cuisinart DBM-8 grinds enough beans for 12 cups on the medium setting in 40 seconds. It takes the machine approximately 55 seconds to grind enough beans for 18 cups using the same settings.
When choosing the settings, you may need to increase the number of cups for fine grounds and decrease it for coarse grounds because fine grounds are very compact and coarse grounds are the opposite.
To determine the cup amounts and grind consistencies you will need to experiment with different settings and then taste the coffee that you get from particles of different sizes.
The grinder has a number of removable parts. All of them are dishwasher safe. They need to go on the top rack of the dishwasher.
The body of Cuisinart DBM-8 is not waterproof. You should never immerse it in water or any other liquid.
Automatic burr mills are much heavier than electric blade grinders or portable manual grinders. Cuisinart DBM-8 weighs 4.7 pounds and its dimensions are 10.8 by 7.1 by 6 inches.
Krups GX5000 is a professional flat burr grinder with 9 grind levels, from espresso to coarse. It has a burr mill system that doesn’t overheat and an 8-ounce clean bean container.
Krups GX5000 has a quantity selector that allows you to grind from 2 to 12 cups. The device comes equipped with auto stop safety mechanism. Krups GX5000 will not grind if there are not beans in the bean container.
The motor in this grinder has 200 Watts of power. It can grind coffee into a powder. You can also use this grinder to grind flax seed and other seeds and nuts.
The bottom of the burr container is made of metal. The part above it is made of white plastic.
The machine weighs 3.2 pounds.
Espresso Coffee Grinders (price: $200 and above)
Breville BCG820BSSXL is a professional-level coffee bean grinder. Its exterior is made of brushed stainless steel. It also has stainless steel conical burrs that minimize heat levels and preserve the oils in the coffee beans.
Breville BCG820BSSXL has sixty precise grind settings ranging from fine espresso to French Press. This grinder also has a precise electronic timer that allows setting grinding time in 0.2-second increments for extremely precise consistency.
The unit has a coffee bean capacity of 16 ounces. There is also a locking system to easy storage and removal of coffee.
Breville BCG820BSSXL measures the amount of ground coffee by the cup. Each cup is equal to 5 ounces of water. This is the standard coffee cup size that American restaurants use. This size allows for the addition of cream, milk or sugar.
To clean the machine you will need to remove the bean hopper and the upper grinding burr located right below it. After that, you will be able to clean the grinding chamber of any residual oils, beans, and grounds. Breville BCG820BSSXL comes with a cleaning brush for easy cleanup. Breville says that you should never clean the parts of this machine in the dishwasher.
The unit weighs 6.4 pounds and is 8.5 inches by 6.2 inches by 15.2 inches in size.
Baratza Virtuoso is a high-end conical burr grinder. It has a sculptured metal top and base that make the machine look stylish, sleek, elegant and expensive.
Baratza Virtuoso has 40-millimeter conical burrs that deliver consistent results on a regular basis. They grind coffee at the speeds that range from 1.5 grams per second to 2.4 grams per second depending on the setting of your choice. There are 40 settings that you can use. The range of the grind starts with 250 microns and goes up to 1200 microns. (A micron is one millionth of a meter).
The machine has an efficient motor that keeps the beans cool even during the time of extended grind. It has a combination of gear and electric speeds that provide a smooth bean feed and don’t produce a lot of noise at the same time.
Baratza Virtuoso has a pulse button on the front panel of the machine. With a push of the button, you can grind your coffee directly into an espresso filter basket.
The grinder has a 60-second timer for easy replication of your ideal grinding time.
Baratza Virtuoso weighs 8.8 pounds. The dimensions of the unit are 14.7 inches by 7.8 inches by 7.1 inches.
For some people, coffee is simply a drink that provides them with caffeine and energy. For others, coffee is passion and an important part of their life. The taste of coffee depends largely on the grinding of the beans, which is why there are all kinds of coffee grinders, ranging in price from about $20 to $15,000 and more. In this review, we’ve covered a few grinders of each type. Depending on how passionate you are about coffee, you can choose an inexpensive $20 electric blade grinder or you can decide to buy an expensive $200 machine.