Your Definitive Guide To Coffee Grinders in 2022

For the best cup of coffee, no matter how you make it, you’ll want to use your coffee grinder right before brewing. But how do you find the right grinder for you? You even might wonder how important it is to have a coffee grinder. Are coffee grinders or coffee mills even worth it? Do they help make a better cup of coffee?
 
Simply put, being able to grind your own coffee beans is one of the biggest positives when brewing coffee at home. But honestly, you don’t necessarily need one. Most specialty coffee stores (Cupper’s included) are happy to grind your beans for you. If you don’t mind sacrificing a bit of quality, you really don’t need a grinder. But if you’re looking and trying to decide… read on.
 
Cup of coffee cherries, cup of coffee beans and a cup of coffee grounds
 
Coffee grinders come in a wide range of prices and styles. The size and consistency in your ground coffee is also very important as affects the final flavour. The method you choose to brew your coffee determines the final grind size you need.
 
It can be intimidating entering into the world of coffee with so many gizmos and gadgets available. To help, we have compiled this guide to navigate all you need to know about coffee grinders.

Blade Grinders vs. Burr Grinders

Burr grinders are the clear winner here, hands down!

Blade Grinders

We don’t recommend blade grinders *ever*. Blade grinders work by spinning a sharp knife edge through the beans, chopping them up. There’s several things we don’t like about blade grinders:

coffee grinder with blades with cancelled on it
1. Blade grinders slice your beans rather than truly grind them. This gives less flavour per chuck than ground coffee. 
2. The fast spinning blade, besides chopping the beans, causes friction or heat. If you are grinding a large amount of coffee this can negatively affect the flavour of your beans.
3. It’s difficult to adjust the final grind size on a blade machine. There are large chunks and small dust particles. There is no consistency in grind size, so it’s difficult to use with different brewing methods. 
 

Burr Grinders

Burr grinders are much better at making a good ground coffee. They work by crushing the beans between the two burrs in the grinder. These are the only style of grinder we carry at Cupper’s.

Top down view of coffee grinder conical burr
1. Burrs make a much more consistent grind, meaning all the grounds are almost the same size.
2. Burr grinders produce less heat and friction so the grounds minimally warmed before brewing.
3. Finally, all our favourite burr grinders listed here have easy to adjust grind sizing. This means you can dial your grind size perfectly for the coffee you’re brewing based on the brewer you’re using.

Conical Burrs vs. Flat Burrs

There are pros and cons to both styles of burrs.
Diagram of a conical vs. a flat burr for a coffee grinder

Conical Burrs

Conical burrs are cone-shaped. They take the beans in through the top and grind them down as they move through the cone. There are several benefits to this style of burr:

1. They result in a consistent ground coffee. This means you can use whatever kind of brewing method you’d like.
2. Conical burrs are quieter than flat burrs. They’re good for those early mornings when you’re not quite ready for loud sounds.
3. They also tend to use less energy and produce less heat, so don’t affect your coffee as much.
 
If you are grinding a large amount of coffee we recommend conical burr grinders.
 

Flat Burrs

Flat burrs are two disks that sit on top of each other. When turned on the burrs spin together which grinds the beans evenly. The benefits of a flat burr are like conical, with one exception.

1. Flat burrs use unimodal distribution. This means that all the grinds will be the same size, even under a microscope. Flat burrs are best for ultimate precision in your grind.
2. There may be more friction and heat because of how the burrs align.
 
If you are doing a lot of coffee at once (more than a pot of coffee) we advise against a flat burr grinder.

Manual vs. Electric Grinders

This is up to your preference and convenience!

Manual Coffee Grinders

Porlex Mini Hand Coffee Grinder

The common question we get is “Are hand coffee grinders any good?” A good quality manual grinder can grind your coffee as well as an electric grinder. The only difference is the amount of time and effort you want to spend grinding your coffee. Manual coffee grinders are more portable if you need travel friendly coffee solutions. They are also usually priced lower than electric grinders. If you are looking for a budget friendly option and refuse to compromise your coffee quality, a manual coffee grinder is perfect for you.

Electric Coffee Grinders

Breville smart grinder pro in black with coffee cup

An electric coffee grinder is convenient if you are grinding a lot of coffee or want to grind coffee quickly. Electric burr grinders tend to have a higher price tag than manual grinders. The difference in price also tends to match the degree of finer grinds available. Make sure to compare the different priced and degree of fineness needed. These factors will help determine which grinder is best for you.

How Should I Grind My Coffee?

There’s a huge difference in how fine you should grind your coffee. The answer comes from whatever you’re using to brew your coffee. At a glance, French press should be very coarse. At the other end, Espresso ground coffee should be very fine, and Turkish Coffee is almost a powder. Ground coffee coarseness varies depending on your brewer and your own personal preference. The degree of grind also depends on the quality of your coffee grinder. Having properly ground coffee makes a world of difference in your cup.

What is the best grind for my...?

What is the best grind for my French Press?

Bodum Brazil 8 Cup French Press Black

A French Press is an immersion style brewer with a larger plunger. You put ground coffee in the glass chamber, then pour the hot water over the grounds. Once the coffee has steeped, press the plunger down. This separates the grounds from the brewed coffee, and you’re ready to pour. French press grind is very coarse, usually the coarsest your coffee grinder will do. The ground coffee should resemble sea salt or coarse ground peppercorns.

What is the best grind for my Cold Brew?

Toddy Cold Brew System

Cold brewing coffee only uses cold water and the grounds steep for a much longer time, often many hours. No hot water ever touches the grounds. Because of this your coffee stays really smooth and sweet. It also tends to be higher in caffeine and lower in acidity. For the best flavour, you’ll want to coarse grind your beans for brewing Cold Brew coffee. It should resemble ground peppercorns.

What is the best grind for Cowboy Coffee?

Enamel Green Coffee Boiler Kettle 36 Cup

Cowboy Coffee is the absolute most basic way to brew coffee. Seriously, it’s as simple as it gets. You brew your coffee unfiltered in a pot or kettle over a fire and drink it once the grounds have settled. You’ll want to grind your coffee as coarse possible for this classic brew method. It should look like ground peppercorns. This minimizes sediment in the bottom of your cup once it’s poured.

What is the best grind for my Percolator?

Enamel Percolator Deluxe Cream 8 Cup

Percolators are also known as percs. They have an internal assembly with a filter basket set on a hollow stem that rests on the bottom. As your water heats up and then boils, it rises up inside the stem and over the coffee basket. The coffee inside brews for as long as the water boils. Grind your coffee fairly coarse for a percolator, near the far end of your coffee grinder settings. It should resemble ground peppercorns, or coarse sea salt.

What is the best grind for my Pour-Over?

There are many different styles of pour-over. In general they consist of a cone in which you place a filter. Put the coffee grounds in the filter and pour water onto the grounds. Allow the coffee to drip through into the vessel or your mug below it. Typically pour-over coffee brewers use a medium to medium-fine grind. Your pour-over grinds should be the size of sand or regular table salt. Depending on your pour-over and how you like your coffee, you may adjust your grind coarser or finer.

What is the best grind for my Drip Machine?

Breville Precision Coffee Brewer Thermal Carafe

The drip machine is a classic brewer found in most households. They work by heating water in a tank and distributing it over a filter filled with ground coffee. The brewed coffee then drips into a serving carafe. Your drip machine will work well and coffee tastes best with a medium grind coffee. Most coffee grinders have a setting for drip machines. We suggest grinding your coffee so that it resembles table salt or sand.

What is the best grind for my Aeropress?

Aeropress Coffee Espresso Maker

An Aeropress is a small personal brewer that resembles a large syringe. Place your water and grinds in the prepared brewing chamber. Then press the small plastic plunger to force the brewed coffee into your cup. Aeropresses have espresso-style coffee in mind, but aren’t at that pressure level. Don’t grind your coffee as fine as you would for an espresso machine. We recommend a grind that is a little finer than regular table salt.

What is the best grind for my Bialetti or Moka Pot?

Bialetti Moka Express Stovetop Espresso Maker, 6 Cup

A moka pot is a small stove-top espresso maker. It brews espresso-style coffee by forcing hot water pressurised with steam through ground coffee. Bialetti is the original brand of moka pot, and is still the most popular moka pot on the market today. Use a grind that is a bit coarser than a home espresso machine, but finer than a drip. For your moka pot, have a grind as fine as garlic powder.

What is the best grind for my Cafflano Kompact?

Cafflano Kompact Coffee Maker box

A Cafflano Kompact is an immersion style brewer inspired by the Aeropress. It has an accordion-like brewing chamber that you squeeze to release your brewed coffee. This quick brew coffee maker is perfect for travelling. For your Cafflano Kompact, we recommend a coarse grind, like a French press, so take your coffee grinder to one of it’s coarsest settings. You’re looking for grinds around the size of a coarse sea salt.

What is the best grind for my Clever Dripper?

Clever Dripper Coffee Brewer Pour-Over

Clever Drippers are an interesting brewer that are fun to experiment with. It is an immersion brewer similar to a French Press or Kompact so you can use a very coarse grind and get good results. However, it’s also very like a Hario V60 pour over, where you use a finer grind coffee. So don’t be afraid to experiment. We recommend a medium grind. This is a brewer where your taste buds are going to guide you more than anything. Brew according to taste!

What is the best grind for my Espresso Machine?

Breville Barista Express Espresso Machine
Different espresso machines have different boiler pressures. This determines the grind size. The more powerful the boiler, the smaller the grinds need to be. If you are using a commercial machine with a powerful boiler, use a finer grind resembling a coarse whole wheat flour. If you have a home espresso machine like a Breville, the boiler is smaller so can’t force the steam through as much. The  grinds for a home espresso machine should be coarser like a very fine salt.

What is the best grind for my Keurig?

The only way to grind coffee for a Keurig or similar pod machine is if you are using the refillable pods. Use a slightly finer grind than you would for a drip machine, approximately mid-way on your coffee grinder. You’re going to be looking for a grind size like unpacked brown sugar or a fine cornmeal. It’s important not to overfill the pod or it will overflow back into your machine or the counter.

What is the best grind for my Siphon Brewer?

A siphon brewer works by heating water in the bottom chamber. This forces steam and hot water into the top chamber which has the ground coffee. As the hot water cools, it then siphons back into the bottom chamber. This leaves the coffee grounds in the filter in the chamber above. For best results we recommend a grind between a French press and a moka pot. This is anywhere from a coarse sand to a fine table salt. As there are many styles of siphon brewers, it’s hard to state which is best for your brewer. Adjust and experiment with your brewer and coffee grinds to find your preference.

What is the best grind for Turkish Coffee?

When using a Turkish Ibrik the coffee needs to be as fine as you can get it. The best grounds for Turkish coffee look like baby powder or icing sugar and have almost no texture. This is important as you don’t filter out the grinds before enjoying your Turkish coffee. Note: Many home grinders cannot grind coffee as fine as needed for good Turkish coffee. If you want a grinder specifically for Turkish coffee, make sure the grinds are truly fine enough.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I buy coffee grinders?
You can buy coffee grinders online or in-store at Cupper’s Coffee & Tea.
 
Which coffee grinders are best?
We’ve built our reputation on customer service and making sure you’re happy. That means we’re not going to sell you the highest priced grinder… we’ll sell you what we agree will work best for your coffee preferences! 
 
Are coffee grinders loud?
Coffee grinders can be a bit noisy as their function is to crush coffee beans quickly. If noise is a factor for you, we recommend selecting a conical burr grinder over a flat burr grinder.
 
Are coffee grinders and spice grinders the same?
No, they’re not. Please do not grind spices in your coffee grinder, or coffee in your spice grinder. Coffee will affect the flavour of your spices, and the spices will affect the flavour of your coffee. Also spice grinders are usually blade grinders which don’t give the best results.
 
Why are coffee grinders so expensive?
While there are many expensive coffee grinders, you can also find great budget friendly choices at Cupper’s. Much of the cost is in the workmanship, the burr quality, and motor power.
 
Can you clean coffee grinders with water?
No. Do not ever clean your grinder with any liquid, that will ruin it. We have a full article on Easy Guide To Clean Your Burr Coffee Grinder Like A Pro.
 
Can you buy coffee grinders online?
Yes you can! Cupper’s Coffee & Tea makes it easy for you to buy your coffee grinder online.
 
How long do coffee grinders last?
A well maintained coffee grinder can last 5-10 years. Much depends on the quality of the original grinder, it’s motor and the parts. The better built, the longer it will last.
 
Is a fine ground coffee stronger?
A finer grind does not automatically make your coffee stronger. If you want a stronger coffee start by either adding more grounds or steeping the coffee longer.
 
Can I grind my coffee in a blender?
Technically, yes. You would be able to crush up beans in a blender. It is not recommended that you blenderize your coffee. Blenders use blades rather than burrs and will not produce a good, consistent grind.