I need a Grinder!
I Need a Grinder!
If you buy quality coffee and don’t have a grinder, you are missing out. 98% of a coffee bean is just wood (termite food). It is the remaining 2% which contains the organic acids and oils that provide the coffee, the flavors, and the aroma. These acids and oils change dramatically when they oxidize in ambient air. Grinding coffee opens the bean and exposes more surface area to oxygen. The result. in a relatively short amount of time, is a flat tasting coffee, just like on an airplane or in a restaurant.
Quality coffee grinders are not that expensive when compared to other kitchen appliances. Unlike other appliances, the working parts can be replaced and repaired relatively inexpensively. You can expect a good grinder to last for years.
You should only buy a grinder that can give you uniform grounds. Blade grinders like spice grinders and cheap coffee grinders crush the beans into different size particles, which means they will over extract and under extract when you brew them. Over extraction and under extraction do not cancel each other out. You should be able to look at the grounds and see that they are all relatively uniform. Buy either a conical burr grinder or a flat burr grinder.
Pick a grinder that matches your brewing. Espresso coffee requires extremely fine ground coffee. French press brewed coffee needs a coarse ground coffee. Despite manufacturers’ hype most grinders don’t grind well for both espresso and French press brews. If you brew espresso, you need to buy a grinder designed for extremely fine grounds. If you only brew drip or French press coffee buying a grinder designed for espresso is a waste of money.
If you store your coffee beans in the grinder hopper, you should quit doing it, since storing them in air promotes staling. However, if you insist, you should get a grinder that has a timer or a weigh scale. If you only put the beans in the grinder that you plan to use, a grinder with a manual on\off switch will work fine.
Here are four grinders we recommend, lowest cost, moderate price, expensive and espresso.
A simple conical burr grinder with 15 settings. A manual dial to set the grind time and a push button start. It has stainless steel conical burrs that produce consistent size grounds. A large-capacity hopper holds up to 12 oz of coffee beans, just enough for one 10 cup brew.
Baratza Encore $149
This is a great grinder for people who weigh or measure just the coffee they are going to use. It has 40 grind stops. The grind can be adjusted from fine to coarse. It has an on/off control switch. The hopper will hold enough coffee for a 10 cup brewer.
Baratza is famous for repairing their grinders and replacing the burrs when they wear down. This is an everyday use machine that will last a long time
Ode Brew Grinder Gen 2 $345 (Fellows sale price $276)
The Ode 2 grinder has a 12-ounce hopper which is just enough for a 10-cup brewer. This makes it a grind to order appliance. It has an automatic shutoff at the end of the grind so you can turn it on and walk away. It has 11 grind settings with 31 stops. This is a professional level home grinder. It produces amazingly uniform grounds. The grounds cup has a magnet that aligns with the grinder to minimize mess.
This is a grinder for the coffee perfectionist. Most coffee aficionados won’t see the difference however, for the gourmand who cups and adjusts his/her grind to each roast, it is the perfect tool.
Baratza Sette 270 Conical Burr Grinder $400.
If you are serious about espresso you need a grinder that can consistently deliver extremely fine grounds.. Home grinders designed for drip or French press brewing can’t deliver the fine grind needed for espresso.
The Settee is a commercial level grinder designed for home use. It has a 10-ounce hopper and a setting which allows for precise timed grinding. This is a grinder designed for the serious espresso brewer. Cheaper grinders claim they can produce espresso grinds, but they are only faking it.