Choosing a Burr Coffee Grinder

Professional baristas will argue about many things but not about the importance of a high first-rate burr coffee grinder to getting a consistent and quality brew. Learn what you should be looking for in your grinder.

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When brewing a consistent coffee, you want to keep as many of the variables the same as possible so you can fine tune and adjust one at a time. This fine tuning is often impossible if you are using a grinding method that doesn't produce a consistent base for your coffee. A high quality grinder will be worth every penny in the long run.

 

Avoid this costly mistake of buying multiple grinders and find the perfect grinder first time. In short, you should be looking for a burr grinder! Here's why;

 

 

Why you should Choose a Burr Grinder over Blade Every Time

 
A burr grinder is the first step to coffee success, you have probably read on the forums and guides on YouTube that a burr grinder is one of the most important pieces of equipment for the keen espresso maker and hobbyist barista. The importance of getting a consistent grind is important as it changes depending on the beans, the freshness of the beans and requires fine adjustment at regular intervals. Either daily or multiple times a day if you are working in a shop, this process is called dialling in.
 
A blade grinder just can't achieve the same consistency of a burr grinder as it whips around the coffee beans and breaks them apart there is too much space around the blades for coffee pieces both large and small to find there way through to the coffee powder container, this inconsistency absolutely ruins the coffee. 

 

burr-grinder-vs-blade

The highly technical drawing above shows just why a burr grinder produces the consistency of grind that we need as budding baristas and espresso connoisseurs, but there are some other must haves that we consider to be very important for not just getting great coffee grinds, but also ensuring value for money when it comes to wasted product, and machines repairability and how easy it is to maintain. 

 

What we look for when buying a coffee grinder;

  • Must have either conical burrs, or if you can find a good deal, flat burrs.

  • A step-less grind setting (or as many steps as possible for fine tuning).

  • Easy to clean, dissassemble and repair.

  • Good availability of spare parts.

A Shortlist: Our Favourite Burr Grinders

The world of specialty coffee is a rabbit hole, and exploration and experimentation is encouraged. The following grinders all have the ability to grind to an espresso fine grind size. We believe if you are going to buy a coffee grinder, then you need to futureproof your purchase and a good quality grinder will last many years with the proper maintenance. We have factored in to our list the above requirements and have whittled it down to the following super list of burr grinders for coffee.

 

Best Budget Electrical Grinder  - Wilfa Svart - For around £100 you can expect a very consistent grind.

Best From Amazon - Baratza Virtuoso Burr Grinder - Amazon doesn't have the best selection, but the Virtuoso is the pick of the bunch for its consistent grind size and ease of use all the way down to espresso fine grinds.

Best Prosumer model - ECM S-Automatik - Not too overbearing for a kitchen but wouldn't be out of place in a coffee shop.

Smallest Form -  Sage Smart Grinder - Another very capable grinder all the way to espresso grind size with precision grind size and times allowing for that next step of dialling in.

 

The selection above is a good starting point to the world of grinders but there a many more to choose from in all shapes and sizes, manual and automatic, single dose and dosers that will each be suitable depending on how you want to use them.