Among the many equipment that’s touted as a coffee essential, the coffee grinder might just take the top place. This stems from the fact the size of your coffee grounds can affect the overall taste of your coffee. Just visit any cafe–you’re bound to find at least one grinder in the establishment!
Coffee grinders have become an essential in the arsenal of many coffee connoisseurs. Whether you prefer a smooth cold brew or a creamy latte, finding the perfect grounds is a necessity. That’s why many coffee lovers have started using their own grinders.
If you’ve been wondering if you should get your own, here’s a beginner’s guide to coffee grinders and what you need to consider before buying your first one:
What Are Coffee Grinders?
Coffee grinders do exactly what they say–they grind coffee beans. Specially designed to grind coffee beans to perfection, coffee grinders differ from other grinders. Coffee grinders do not simply cut the beans–they crush them to allow the release of oils, flavors, and even nutrients!
Most coffee experts agree that grinding your coffee beans is a necessary step if you want delicious coffee. The grinding process releases the oils and flavors of the bean, which results in a bolder and richer taste. Of course, the size and freshness of the grounds also affect your coffee’s taste–which is why many connoisseurs prefer having their own grinders.
Why Do I Need A Coffee Grinder?
Coffee grinders make the process of grinding beans easier and more convenient. Traditionally, grinding coffee beans means using more manual instruments, like a mortar and pestle. However, manual grinding can be too time consuming with less than stellar results.
Coffee lovers who don’t want to grind their own coffee beans with a mortar and pestle also use a blender as an alternative. While perfectly tolerable, coffee grinding with a blender doesn’t always provide uniform coarseness either. Grinding your coffee with a blender does work in a pinch, but it isn’t a long term solution.
Of course, you can still enjoy delicious coffee without a coffee grinder at home. After all, there are many ground coffee packs available on the market. Still, if you want the full experience at home, having a coffee grinder can truly elevate your coffee moments.
How Do Coffee Grinders Affect My Coffee?
Grinding your coffee releases flavors and oils. The process of grinding is technically straightforward. You basically just crush the coffee beans to a consistency after all. However, unsurprisingly, grinding coffee has other factors that can affect how your brew tastes.
Here are some of the things affected by the grinding process:
Every coffee lover knows about heat. After all, it’s highly probable that your introduction to the world of coffee started with a hot mug of your favorite drink. Heat plays a huge part in coffee preparation–and it also affects your coffee grounds during the grinding process!
Coffee grounds pick up heat during the grinding process. In this case, however, heat isn’t optimal as it can adversely affect your final brew. Remember that the more coffee you grind, the hotter the parts get. That means your coffee grounds get hotter too. This isn’t something that you would worry about if you’re grinding in small doses, but if you’re planning on processing larger amounts of coffee, then you might want to invest in an industrial grade coffee grinder.
If you brew your coffee a certain way, then you probably know that each brewing method has an optimal size for coffee grounds. Size, or coarseness, basically tells you how fine your grounds are. The optimal ground size depends on your brewing method and coffee beans, particularly the equipment and roast you’ll be using.
While each brewing method (or even roast) has a specific requirement, it can get confusing at times to remember all of it. If you need a refresher on which size goes with which method, here’s a quick guide:
Very coarse coffee grounds
Coarse coffee grounds
Course to medium coffee grounds
Fine coffee grounds
Very fine, almost powder-like coffee grounds
Static seems like an unlikely concern when we talk about something like coffee. But think about it: your coffee beans are being ground at a high speed–there’s bound to be some other result out of it. That’s where static comes in.
As a rule, it’s best to choose low speed grinders over high-speed ones. This allows you to minimize the static build up each time you undergo their process. Static is an important factor in minimizing the heat too, so if you want to avoid heat then go for grinders that lessen the chances of static build up.
What Makes A Good Coffee Grinder?
Today, we have a ton of options when it comes to finding the perfect coffee grinder. From electric blade grinders to a manual ceramic coffee grinder, there’s something for every coffee lover on the market. It really is just a matter of finding the perfect match.
So how do you find a good coffee grinder?
The biggest appeal of coffee grinders is its ability to consistently grind the coffee beans to a uniform size. If you choose to invest in a coffee grinder, this should be an important factor. You don’t want to buy a cheap coffee grinder that gives you an uneven grind.
Looking at the consistency of the grounds is even more important if you are buying an electric blade coffee grinder. Since blade grinders tend to provide uneven consistencies, it is better to buy one that is a bit pricier but more professional. Remember, a uniform size is vital for a delicious taste.
Another important factor to consider is how much coffee beans you intend to grind each time. If you drink coffee like it’s water, then buying a heavy duty electric conical burr grinder would be a good choice. Keep in mind that when you process more coffee, you can also have a higher static build up–so find one that is designed for a bigger capacity.
If you prefer grinding smaller doses, then a hand grinder steel burr might be a better option. With a manual grinder, you can make your process a bit more therapeutic. Since you’re grinding smaller doses of coffee, it should provide you more control.
Certain materials will affect how your coffee tastes. On average, it’s best to choose coffee grinders that are made from high quality materials, such as non-corrosive stainless steel or BPA-free plastics. Avoiding low-quality materials is vital to eliminating static build up and heat.
Reputable brands such as Hario and Cafflano ensure that their coffee grinders are made of the highest quality ingredients. Aside from the taste, quality materials also ensure that you get a sturdy coffee grinder. When you invest in a quality coffee grinder, it might be pricier–but the high quality materials and incomparable coffee taste make it worth it.
Ease of Cleaning
Nobody wants to have coffee equipment that is hard to clean. After all, you drink coffee to relax and de-stress. If you drink coffee daily, then coffee grounds will be a necessary part of your day. That means frequent use of your coffee grinder.
When you buy a coffee grinder, make sure to consider how you can clean your grinder. Note which ones are dishwasher friendly and which ones you need to hand wash. From there, you can finally choose which coffee grinder fits your daily routine.
Like every other purchase, your budget should be a huge consideration when choosing your grinder. In general, steel grinders are less expensive than ceramic burr grinders up front. However, steel grinders tend to get their blades more blunt faster. On the other hand, while burr grinders can be more expensive, they can also be less costly when it comes to maintenance.
When you buy your coffee grinder, it’s important to consider your budget upfront. Aside from that, you also have to remember how much your upkeep costs. Keep in mind your budget for both your initial purchase and maintenance costs when you finally buy yours.
The Perfect Coffee Grinder For You
Coffee grinders are an unsung hero in the coffee making industry. From espresso to cold brews, coffee grounds are a necessary component of almost every coffee drink. And how do you get these coffee grounds? Through quality coffee grinders.
Today, there’s a variety of coffee grounds available on the market. There are steel coffee grinders and burr coffee grinders that are top contenders among coffee connoisseurs. Whichever you choose, make sure that they fit well into your coffee preferences and lifestyle and they’ll be the perfect match for you.