The purpose of this section is to let you in on all the little things that you don’t normally hear about coffee grinders. I may be a little long winded in some of my explanations but I am trying, in the only way I know how, to cover a lot of content in a way that it is thorough and accurate.
How Grinders Affect the Coffee:
Grinding coffee is a violent thing. The coffee is taken from its nice friendly home in its bag or can and put into a bean hopper, which by itself is not a bad place. But then the grinder is turned on and you immediately hear the sound of the motor and the burrs spinning wildly as the coffee starts to be ground into small particles. This is where the action takes place and is the start of your coffee experience.
The final result of your espresso/coffee will depend upon how evenly your coffee is ground and it’s final temperature after grinding. Yes that’s right, as the coffee is ground it will pick up heat and the more heat your coffee picks up the more adversely it will affect your final product. If you are only grinding enough for a double shot the coffee will not pick up much heat from any grinder. The more coffee you grind the hotter the coffee gets due to the grinding burrs and surrounding parts getting hotter.
Another possible byproduct of grinding coffee may be the dreaded static charge that can cause the ground coffee to literally jump out of the ground coffee container. You would have to see it to believe it. Have you ever noticed your hair standing on end after donning your wool sweater? No it’s not a ghost, it’s a static charge.
The static charge forms when the coffee is ground and then forced through a chute and into a receptacle. Factors that affect this ghostly phenomenon are the speed of the grinding burrs, the way in which the coffee exits through the chute, humidity, temperature and the coffee itself. It is pretty hard to control most of these factors but it is easy to control which grinder you purchase. As a rule, the grinders that produce the most static charge and add the most heat to your fresh ground coffee are the high-speed grinders. Read our blog to learn more about the difference of high-speed vs low-speed grinders.
The Size of the Grind
What we are talking about now is how fine or how coarse your coffee is ground. The size of the grind you will need is directly related to the type of equipment used in brewing your coffee, how fresh the coffee is, and how it is roasted. Different types of espresso/coffee machines are designed to extract flavor and aroma from the coffee in a different way. Therefore they require a different size grind. The following will provide guidelines to help you understand what you will need to get the best out of your espresso/coffee machine.
French Press: Very Coarse. Check out our french press brewing guide blog to learn more.
Pour Over: Coarse. Click here to learn how to make pour over.
Drip coffee: Coarse to Medium.
Siphon: Fine. Learn how to use a Siphon brewer here.
Espresso Machines: Very Fine, almost like powder. Old dry coffee must be ground finer than fresh roasted coffee.
Turkish Coffee: Extremely Fine. It must be ground to a powder. Learn more about turkish coffee here.
Burr Vs. Blade Grinders
What is a Blade Grinder?
Blade grinders don’t grind consistently for making quality coffee drinks. They have a blade similar to that of a propeller that chops the coffee beans. The fineness of the grind is determined by how long you let the grinder operate via a built in timer. The longer it grinds the finer the coffee becomes.
The negatives of a blade grinder are that the grind can vary from powder to chunks and the coffee picks up a static charge, which will make it stick to just about everything and is therefore is very messy. For these reasons, we do not recommend blade grinders.
What is a Burr Grinder?
The burrs are the part of the grinder that crushes the coffee beans into a uniform size which is essential for creating an awesome espresso/coffee. There are two different burr grinders, conical or flat plate.
Conical Burr Grinders have two cone shaped burrs with ridges that grind/crush the coffee. Flat Plate Burr Grinders have two identical and parallel rings that are serrated on the side that faces the other. Both burr grinders have one stationary burr while the motor turns the other. The beans are drawn in between the two burrs and crushed into a uniform size. Both types of grinders are known for their flexibility and quality. You really can’t go wrong with either one.
Both style of burrs are used in home and commercial grinders. They produce a consistent grind worthy of any high end or home espresso machine. The conical burrs are usually used on the very low-speed gear reduction grinders. The flat plate burrs are used on all qualities of grinders, from the low priced high-speed grinders all the way up to the low-speed direct drive commercial grade grinders.