- How to Choose the Best Coffee Grinder: The Complete Buying Guide
- Best Burr Coffee Grinders of 2020: Top 8 Reviews
- 1. Baratza Encore - Best of the Best
- 2. Baratza Virtuoso+ - Best upgrade pick
- 3. OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder - Runner Up
- 4. Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder - Best budget pick
- 5. Capresso Infinity - Most precise entry-level grinder
- 6. Breville Smart Grinder Pro - Most customizable
- 7. KRUPS GX550850 - Best Grinder Under $50
- JavaPresse Hand Grinder - Best manual coffee grinder
- Coffee Grinders: Frequently Asked Questions
Nothing’s better than enjoying a freshly-ground coffee before facing the daily grind (pun intended). You might have the fanciest coffee maker, but, if you rely on stale or uneven grounds, your joe is always gonna lack that special flavor.
Ready to revolutionize your coffee experience? We’re going to walk you through a round-up of the best coffee grinders to help you compare their features and discover what makes them unique.
You’ll also find a handy buying guide to make sure your purchase ticks all the boxes. Let’s get you one step closer to your coffee upgrade!
How to Choose the Best Coffee Grinder: The Complete Buying Guide
If you’ve just discovered the magical world of home-brewing, you might want to consider getting two birds with one stone by choosing a coffee maker with an integrated grinder.
Already own a brewer? Wanna grind for different methods? Read on. Your grinder will be the most important piece of your coffee equipment, so take the time to consider these features in order to make the best informed choice!
Manual or electric?
This should be an easy one: do you want to get freshly-ground coffee at the touch of a button or would you enjoy putting in some elbow grease to be more involved with the process?
Electric models are quicker and more practical, whereas manual grinders have a certain vintage charm and are usually portable, meaning that you can grind on your travels. However, you must have the patience to grind for 2-5 minutes, so be realistic!
Blades or burrs?
If you ever hear a coffee expert say that blades are better, call the police: they probably have a gun to their head!
Yes, blades are cheaper, but that’s because they hit the beans multiple times from different angles and their friction creates heat, resulting in a burnt taste and an uneven mess (5). Burr grinders are far more precise, consistent and much better at retaining aromas.
The real debate is around the burrs’ shape: flat burrs are usually uniform and cheaper, but they last less and can generate more heat; conical burrs are more precise and are considered the industry standard. Their bimodal grind (an even mixture of smaller and larger particles) is particularly helpful for espresso extraction. However, we advise against judging a grinder simply by its type of burrs, as factors like material and speed can reduce problems like heat and inconsistency.
Be honest: are you actually going to use over 20 grind sizes? If you are, we can’t wait for you to geek out over your next highly-customizable grinder. But, if you’re only grinding for a couple of brewing methods, why spend more money?!
While most burr models can grind well for manual pour overs or automatic drippers, things can get tricky and inconsistent at the far ends of the size spectrum, such as the finer grinds needed for turkish coffee and espresso machines, or coarser for French press.
Make sure you pick a grinder that is proven to work for your favorite brewing method!
Measured by revolutions per minute (RPMs), higher-speed grinders are usually cheaper, but also louder and can create more static and heat, compromising the taste of your grounds.
If price is one of your concerns, however, remember that high-speed burr grinders are still better than blades. It’s worth nothing that some high-quality (and more expensive) motors are so fast and well-designed that, by reducing the contact time between coffee and burrs, they actually solve the heat problem.
Still, your safest choice is a gear-reduction or direct-drive low speed grinder, impeccable at preserving the beans’ essential oils, flavor and aromas. (6)
Some grinders have much bigger hoppers than others, but that’s not necessarily a good thing! A big hopper can be handy for large households who enjoy many cups of coffee every day, but, if you only brew for yourself, we don’t recommend filling it with beans that will end up staying there for weeks (a.k.a. stale).
PRO Tip: Preserve the freshness of your beans by keeping them in airtight containers.
Do you want your grinder to repeat your preferred settings? Or to brew directly into your portafilter? Remember: ‘extra features’ means ‘higher price’. Envision what you actually expect from your new grinder before purchasing one to avoid spending more money for something that you’re not going to use, or realizing that your bargain doesn’t actually include what you need.
Some grinders have a surprisingly small countertop footprint, but, given their large hoppers, some others might not fit below your kitchen cupboards! Avoid disappointment by checking their measurements before picking one.
Now that you know what to avoid (*cough cough* blades) and what to look for in a grinder, we’re sure it’ll be much easier to find the perfect model that meets your specific caffeinated needs, habits and budget. We’ll warn you, though: once you start providing barista-worthy fresh coffee, your friends will find lots of excuses to always hang out at your place!
Best Burr Coffee Grinders of 2020: Top 8 Reviews
Here’s an overview of our favorite electric coffee grinders, including a special mention.
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OXO BREW Conical Burr Grinder
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Breville Smart Grinder Pro
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Got a general idea? Good. Now let’s dive into the nitty-gritty.
1. Baratza Encore - Best of the Best
An entry-level grinder that offers superior results.
Having won several awards including from the prestigious Specialty Coffee Association (1), Baratza is a respected household name when it comes to high-quality home grinders.
“Nobody buys a grinder because they want a grinder. What they want is a better tasting cup.” - Kyra Kennedy, Baratza co-founder (2)
Basically, they understand exactly what you’re after, and their Baratza Encore can make it happen. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with its 40 settings, you’ll be able to grind for espresso, French press and everything in between.
Thanks to its 40 mm conical burrs and the thermal overload cutout that prevents the motor from overheating, the Encore offers a grind consistency that is truly impressive for an entry-level product.
Durable and sturdy, it’s designed to have a small footprint on your countertop. Need more? You can purchase a 9 oz hopper extension or a portafilter holder, too!
Affordable and customizable, the Baratza Encore is a fantastic entry-level grinder that won’t disappoint.
2. Baratza Virtuoso+ - Best upgrade pick
Love the sound of the Encore but want more perks? Nothing that the Baratza Virtuoso+ can’t fix!
An updated version of the popular Virtuoso, the Plus has the same burrs and settings as the Encore, but with a few extra features. Our favorite is the 40-second timer that allows you to repeat your best dosing and adjust it to the tenth of a second on the intuitive digital screen. How pro is that?!
As for consistency and precision, you don’t have to worry:
“The Baratza Virtuoso delivered nearly identical results as the $2,700 grinder.” - The New York Times (3)
Not only does the Virtuoso+ feature a fancy backlit grounds bin: it’s also stylish and modern thanks to its metal accents.
The Virtuoso+ is a consistent, reliable grinder that will provide you with café-style results.
3. OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder - Runner Up
If they’re not clearly indicated, too many settings can be terribly confusing. Luckily, this user-friendly OXO model will turn you into a confident barista more quickly than a magic wand!
Yep: the OXO BREW divides its 15 settings and smaller micro-settings into intuitive fine, medium and coarse sections to allow even beginners to grind correctly from the start.
The 40 mm conical burrs are designed to ensure the perfect flavor extraction and aroma retention. Once you find the perfect dose for your chosen brewing method, you’ll be able to repeat it every morning with the one-touch timer.
Thanks to its stylish stainless steel design and precise burrs, this affordable grinder matches the results of some more expensive models.
4. Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder - Best budget pick
Do some burr grinders’ price tags make you feel doomed to stick with pre-ground coffee? Relax: you can still upgrade your morning brew with good budget-friendly grinders like the Bodum Bistro.
It offers 12 grind settings, which might sound like a lot less compared to other models, but, considering the price, it’s actually pretty good: it basically covers the most popular brewing methods.
While we don’t recommend the Bodum Bistro for espresso unless you own a pressurized machine, its stainless steel conical burrs are great for drippers, manual pour overs and French presses.
The Bodum Bistro is an incredibly-affordable grinder that is bound to catch everyone’s attention with its quirky design.
5. Capresso Infinity - Most precise entry-level grinder
Many brands boast about their models being able to grind from Turkish coffee to the coarsest French press, but can’t even grind finely and consistently enough for a good espresso. Capresso doesn’t lie!
This grinder’s precision is guaranteed by the advanced cutting design of its commercial-grade conical burrs, meticulously hand-assembled in Switzerland. Thanks to the gear-reduction motor, it preserves the aroma of your beans while also resulting in little to none static buildup.
The 16 grind settings are clearly divided into sections, so you won’t have to twist its large 8.8 oz hopper and hope for the best!
This precise entry-level grinder provides satisfactory results, especially when it comes to the trickiest finer grinds.
6. Breville Smart Grinder Pro - Most customizable
A look at this Breville model is enough to know that this is a superior grinder.
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is our top recommendation for those who are looking for professional levels of customizability and are happy to pay what they’re worth. It comes with 60 settings (yep, you’ve read that correctly) which can be selected on the intuitive LCD screen.
Relying on high-quality stainless steel conical burrs that are designed to protect your beans’ essential oils by minimizing the heat, this precise grinder will ensure consistency across all of its settings.
It’s not called smart for no reason! You can adjust the grinding time with precise 0.2 second increments and replicate a consistent dose with its timer, as well as choose the number of shots or cups.
Its most practical feature? While it comes with an airtight container, it also lets you grind directly into a basket, a paper filter, or a portafilter, like professional baristas!
If you want to be fully in control of the grinding process and bring café-vibes into your kitchen, look no further.
7. KRUPS GX550850 - Best Grinder Under $50
If you want to spend less than $50, you might be tempted to go for a blade grinder. Don’t! Pick this budget-friendly Krups model instead (and thank us later).
This German company has been specializing in kitchen appliances since 1846, so they definitely know what they’re doing! (4)
The metallic flat burrs of this Krups model can grind in 12 main sizes with even more micro-adjustments, and you can easily choose your desired amount of coffee thanks to its 2-12 cup selection.
Basic but practical!
Want to upgrade your coffee experience without committing to an investment or revolutionizing your countertop? This Krups model will be your new best pal.
JavaPresse Hand Grinder - Best manual coffee grinder
Does the idea of owning a manual coffee grinder awaken your hipster senses? Wanna be able to grind and brew... literally anywhere? JavaPresse is the answer.
Its 18 clicks allow you to adjust the grind size to cater for most brewing methods, and the patented ceramic burrs will give you better results and last 5 times longer than stainless steel blade grinders!
Light and portable, the JavaPresse can also turn that cup of coffee during a camping trip or a long hike into a premium experience.
If you like hand grinders, check out our detailed guide to the best manual coffee grinders.
Perfect for old-school coffee enthusiasts who refuse to rush their coffee break, the JavaPresse allows you to turn it into a full sensorial experience.
Make the most out of your new coffee grinder with the world's best specialty coffee beans. Each month discover coffee from around the globe...Papua New Guinea to Peru, Zambia to Malawi and beyond. We recommend Atlas Coffee Club for optimal discovery, quality, and freshness.
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Coffee Grinders: Frequently Asked Questions
Since a grinder has such a big impact on your coffee routine, we want to help you find the best model for you and make the most of it. Here’s a little Q&A to make things easier for you.
Is grinding coffee worth it?
Yes, grinding coffee is definitely worth it because it allows you to make the most of the flavor and aroma nuances, enjoying fresh coffee rather than stale grounds that have been sitting on the store shelf for months. It also means that you can obtain the most adequate grind size for each brewing method, achieving perfect extraction.
How long does coffee last after grinding?
After grinding, coffee usually lasts 1-2 weeks, if properly stored in airtight containers. However, we recommend brewing it right after grinding to obtain the freshest flavors.
What size should I grind my coffee?
You should grind your coffee in different sizes depending on your brewing method: extra-fine for Turkish coffee, fine for espresso and moka pots, medium for most manual pour-overs and automatic drippers, coarse for French presses, and extra-coarse for cold brews.
What is the best coffee grinder for espresso?
The best coffee grinder for espresso is the Breville Smart Grinder Pro: it can grind finely and consistently enough for all espresso machines (including those with non-pressurized portafilters), and it comes with a handy portafilter holder.
How often should you clean a burr grinder?
You should clean your burr grinder once a month to ensure its longevity and correct performance. We recommend checking the instructions of your specific model, but, in general, you must simply remove the burrs, rinse them, and wipe the grind chamber to remove oils and coffee dust.
(n.d.). (2013, April 15). 2013 SCAA Event Best New Product Winners Announced. Retrieved from https://scanews.coffee/2013/04/15/2013-scaa-event-best-new-product-winners-announced/
Butterworth, M. (2016, March 7). Grinding for a Purpose. Retrieved from https://www.freshcup.com/grinding-for-a-purpose/
Darlin, D. (2017, July 26). The Technology Behind Good Coffee. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/technology/personaltech/best-coffee-grinders-equipment.html
(n.d.). Our history. Retrieved from https://www.krups.co.uk/history-krups
(n.d.). (2015, January 20). Why Grind Coffee Fresh Every Time? Burr or Blade?. Retrieved from https://www.perfectdailygrind.com/2015/01/why-grind-coffee-fresh-every-time-burr-or-blade/
Oden, G. (n.d.). Conical VS Flat Burrs: What You Need To Know. Retrieved from https://www.javapresse.com/blogs/grinding-coffee/conical-vs-flat-burrs