The best burr coffee grinders and why you should own one
Making great coffee at home has become much easier over the last few years due to the rise in direct trade speciality coffee and access to freshly roasted beans. Our coffees are generally all available pre-ground, but we always recommend you grind your coffee fresh using a burr coffee grinder. There are some very simple reasons for this:
Coffee goes stale fairly quickly. Perhaps not quite as quickly in whole bean form as a slice of fresh bread, but it doesn't have the shelf life that many people have been lead to believe. Ideally, coffee beans should be used within 4 to 6 weeks of roasting and should always be stored in a sealed container in a cool, dark place. Avoid storing coffee in the fridge, though, as this can very rapidly degrade the flavours. Coffee stored in the fridge tends to pick up flavours of other foods very quickly!
On the other hand, Ground coffee goes stale within a much shorter time frame due to exposure to oxygen. Pre-ground coffee properly stored can still taste good, but it becomes challenging to extract the subtle flavours present in high quality, speciality grade coffee. Once the bag is open and exposed to the air, pre-ground coffee will stale much faster than a bag of beans due to oxidisation of the increased surface area. When beans are exposed to the atmosphere, the oxidisation process is greatly slowed down as there is less surface area in contact with oxygen. Grinding fresh using the best burr coffee grinder within your budget will help to make sure your coffee is fresh.
We completely understand that grinding fresh isn't the right choice for everyone so, please don't let this put you off buying speciality pre-ground coffee! It is still much better to buy good pre-ground coffee than the cheap supermarket offerings!
Why is a burr coffee grinder better?
You should always grind your coffee for the intended brew method. It is best to brew a cafetiere with a medium to course grind, and espresso brewing will require a fine grind. This is because the contact time between the water and coffee is different with every brew method. A coarse grind used in an espresso machine will mean the water will flow through quickly, resulting in a very weak cup of coffee! If you use a very fine grind in a cafetiere of V60 filter brewer, the coffee will probably end up tasting very strong as the water will have too much contact time. A fine grind used with a cafetiere could even mean that coffee ends up getting through the mesh filter and into your cup!
Coffee ground using a burr coffee grinder for filter brewing:
If the coffee you buy is pre-ground for a specific brew method, it becomes difficult (sometimes impossible) to interchange those. Once the coffee has been ground by us for a specific method it can no longer be changed! Owning the best burr coffee grinder you can afford will help you find the best grind settings for their intended brew methods. This means you'd be able to buy coffee to use for both espresso and cafetiere. Many of our single-origin coffees are great brewed using a variety of different methods.
What is a burr coffee grinder?
If you aren't sure what a burr coffee grinder is, then the next section will help you out! Many people grind their coffee using a spinning blade type grinder. To be honest, I had one of these when I was younger but never really understood why my coffee tasted so bad! These blade grinders are very cheap and are more suited to grinding spices.
These blade grinders smash the coffee into small pieces but they don't do this evenly. The coffee will end up as a mixture of various particle sizes. This is totally fine for spices that will end up in the frying pan but it's not great for coffee. When brewing coffee the best results are obtained with coffee that has a very even particle size. This is because the coffee will be evenly extracted if the particles are very similar in size. With the coffee ground in a blade grinder, the water will over-extract the smallest particles and under extract the largest. This will reduce flavour clarity and increase bitterness in the coffee.
The best burr coffee grinders will feature a robust motor attached to either two flat burrs or a conical burr design that will allow for a very uniform particle size. These work by spinning one of the two burrs. Coffee falls through the burrs and is ground evenly to a grind size determined on the grinder settings. A good burr grinder will allow you to choose your grind size which means you can brew coffee using a variety of different methods. Commercial grinders like the Mahlkonig EK43 are capable of grinding coffee for any brew method, including espresso.
Which burr coffee grinder should I choose?
We sell a range of burr coffee grinders on our website. These include affordable and premium hand grinders as well as several electric models including the Baratza Encore and the Wilfa Svart. These are made by Baratza and are excellent burr grinders for home use. If you'd like to read about a more diverse range of grinders then you can also check out interesting coffee articles on Daily Espresso. They have a range of reviews that include a long list of coffee grinders.
Here are some of our favourite burr coffee grinders:
Comandante C40: These are stunning hand burr grinders that produce incredible results and amazingly even results. These are pricey hand grinders that tend to be very difficult to find. We stock these as often as we can but the factory produces limited amounts they tend to sell out very quickly
Wilfa Svart coffee grinder: This is our best selling burr coffee grinder. It's affordable and produces excellent results for all filter and immersion brewing. It can't grind fine enough for espresso, but if you brew cafetiere, aeropress or Hario V60, this grind is a great choice.
Fellow Ode coffee grinder: This grinder is similar to a mini Mahlkonig EK43 and features flat burrs in a verticle design. Not only does it look fantastic it also produces very consistent results and has an easy dial for adjusting grind size.
Hario Mini Mill +: This is an affordable, entry-level hand grinder at under £30. Perfect for travel or if you have a limited budget but would still like to brew great freshly ground coffee.
All models allow the user to experiment with different grind settings to suit their brew methods. If you haven't yet invested in the best burr coffee grinder you can afford, we can promise you that it will significantly improve the quality of the coffee you can make at home!