The espresso grinder at your favourite café will be a commercial espresso grinder. It can handle significant volumes, has big burrs, a big motor, a big bean hopper, well, it's just big!
What you need is a scaled-down version of this with some other features that take into consideration the fact you're not churning through espresso every 20 seconds.
When choosing a coffee grinder for espresso, there are two factors to consider.
Sometimes these two expectations don't align to give what you need. So you need to maybe compromise on one of the above.
The first point to decide is, what are your expectations? Do you want to really dive deep into espresso extraction, trying to get the very last tasty drop from your chosen coffee? Do you want to experiment with minor changes in grind sizes and get the very best espresso you can make? Of course, then the budget will have to be higher. More precise espresso grinders cost more; there is no avoiding this.
A great lower-priced electric grinder is the Baratza Encore. Lauded by coffee experts as THE go-to entry level grinder for home brewing, the Encore has 40 individual grind settings, from fine to coarse (250 to 1200 microns). The Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder's specially-designed conical burrs give a precise grind that enables balanced extraction of flavours when making espresso.
The Encore is built with quality Baratza parts and has an efficient DC motor that keeps your beans cool, even during extended grind times. Plus it comes with a 2-year warranty as standard.
If you're looking for a great all-round home grinder to take your coffee-making experience to the next level, look no further – The Baratza Encore has everything you need.
The Best Premium Coffee Grinder
If you have the budget to spend and want a coffee grinder that is the best in every way, then the Baratza 270Wi is your coffee grinder.
This grinder is packed with features that simply aren't available in other home coffee grinders.
Its most significant feature is the ability to grind by weight. With your whole beans in the hopper, you have 3 preset weights. The Baratza Sette 270Wi will grind your coffee to that set weight at the touch of a button.
For example, you like 17.5g of ground coffee for your double espresso; the grinder will deliver this straight into your espresso machine handle (the portafilter).
Zero Retention Coffee Grinder
One key feature we would look for in an espresso grinder is zero or near-zero retention. But what does zero retention mean?
When coffee is ground in your favourite café's big commercial grinder, the whole bean coffee passes through the burrs and exits through a chute. This chute can be horizontal or sometimes at a 45-degree angle. This means your coffee grinder retains, sometimes up to 25g of, ground coffee. So, essentially, the coffee that's landing in your portafilter is the coffee you ground two shots ago. Now, this is fine in your local café where they make espresso every 20 seconds, but at home where you might make one or two coffees a day, this is a big problem as you could quickly end up with stale grinds contaminating your brew.
This is why you need to choose an espresso grinder that has zero or near-zero retention. Most Baratza grinders will have this feature. You can read our article on the Best Coffee Grinders, to discover which grinder is best for your budget and expectations.