What are the different types of coffee grinders?How do you know which grinder is right for you?

Coffee Grinders

Making your own ground coffee at home means that you can have the freshest cup money can buy right in your own kitchen. Whether you choose burr, electric, or hand grinder coffee makers for your coffee will depend on what sort of brewing methods you prefer to use. Many are versatile enough to cover all the bases, but it’s important to know where the differences are between the different styles of grinders and how coarse or fine your ground coffee should be.

  • Burr grinder: Often made of ceramic, a burr grinder depends on two revolving and abrasive gears that work together to “chew” the coffee beans into the size that’s been set. Often adjustable along several different levels of coarse-to-fine grounds, they are preferred for the consistency and lack of heat produced while grinding. This preserves important aromatic oils and brewing outcomes.
  • Blade grinder: This type of grinder depends on flat, spinning blades to “chop” the beans down to the right size. The inner mechanism most resembles a food processor or blender and the coffee grounds inside the compartment as they’re processed. This means that grinding should be done in small amounts and with a pulsing method that allows you to check the coarseness as you go.
  • Hand grinder: Most non-electric grinders use the burr method for whole beans as it creates the most consistent results when used this way. They can range from large, countertop-size grinders to smaller or handheld ones that can be used while traveling.

Most coffee grinders should be suitable for any type of bean you’re brewing, be it a dark or light roast. What does matter is what kind of coffee brewing method you prefer. Different brewing methods require different kinds of grinds, ranging from extra-coarse to extra-fine, so determining what your preferred method of making coffee is will help narrow down your search for the most suitable grinder.

  • Extra-coarse: This should resemble a very rough chop for whole beans, like cracked peppercorns. The level of coarseness is preferred for cold-brew methods and other long soak times.
  • Coarse: Often compared to sea salt in terms of the size of ground pieces, it is the best grind for a French Press and percolators.
  • Medium-coarse: In looks, it could be compared to roughened sand. Certain specialty-drip or pour-over brands suggest this grinding size for their coffee makers.
  • Medium: It is more like regular sand and the most popular for drip-style coffee makers and traditional pour-over brewers with a cone shape.
  • Medium-fine: This is another grind favored for pour-over brewers that use a funnel shape and filters, but it's not fine enough for espressos and other pressurized brewing methods.
  • Fine: To the touch, it might feel like table salt, but the grounds pack together easily. Espresso machines and certain specialty coffee machines that use pressure as part of the brewing method need a finely ground bean so that steam can pass through properly.
  • Extra-fine: This will have a powdery look and feel. It is almost exclusively used for a Turkish style of brewing coffee where the fine grounds are prepared directly within the brewing pot, carafe, or cup.


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