You'd be forgiven for thinking that by making sure you always have high-quality coffee and a state-of-the-art coffee maker, your road to brewing nirvana will be an easy one.
But, what you might not know is why a good coffee grinder is so important. Some argue it's even more vital you choose the right coffee grinder over the type of brewer you buy.
We've all been there; you love a cup of coffee and want to take your coffee experience to the next level, so you decide it's time to invest and get yourself some home coffee brewing equipment.
While home espresso machines, the French press and other brewers may steal the headlines, it's the coffee grinders that are the real stars of the show and can be the most essential piece of coffee gear you're likely to purchase.
We'll explain why in full below, but first, let's take a look at your options when it comes to coffee grinders.
As the name suggests, these are electric-powered grinders that you can plug in, push a button or pull a lever, and the grinder does all the hard work for you. Within this category, there are sub-categories that you need to be aware of, however, if you want to get the most out of the coffee you grind.
Blade coffee grinders
Blade grinders are usually one of the most inexpensive forms of electric grinders, and they are suitable for basic use. Blade grinders work by spinning a blade at high speed to chop up your coffee beans into small pieces. Blade grinders do have a tendency to produce inconsistent grinds, which can lead to inconsistent brew quality.
So, if you're looking for a more sophisticated brew, you may want to upgrade your coffee grinding experience and go for a burr or hand grinder.
Burr coffee grinders offer a more consistent coffee grind and improve overall brewing quality by reducing inconsistencies. Coffee geeks could debate why one is better than the other for all time. But, before you consider which shape of coffee grinder burrs you should buy, you should review the budget and build quality of the grinder, which will have a much larger impact on your coffee's quality and taste.
There are two types, both of which use serrated discs to grind the coffee.
The conical burr grinder
Conical burr grinders likethe Baratza Virtuoso Plus crush the coffee beans between a moving grinding wheel and a stationary surface. The burrs are shaped liked cones, and they spin more slowly than the flat burr counterparts. This makes them ideal for oily or full-flavoured coffees. However, they offer less consistency than a flat burr but get less hot and tend to be quieter.
The flat burr grinder
Flat Burr grinders still crush the coffee between a rotating wheel or burr and a non-moving surface, but the grinding components have flat edges that spin close together to grind the beans down to the size you need.
The Fellow Ode Brew Grinderis a flat burr grinder that produces an accurate and precise grind and can offer greater espresso variability and creativity.
Whether you opt for a conical burr or a flat burr is a decision that will often be made based on personal preference, but needless to say, they are superior to blade grinders, even if they are at the same price point.
The final type of coffee grinder available is the hand coffee grinder. As the name suggests, there is no electricity involved here. Most hand grinders, like the Rhino Hand Grinder, work in a similar way to a burr grinder. The burrs inside the body of the grinder spin when you rotate the handle and can be adjusted to suit your needs. Hand grinders are a good place for home brewing beginners to start as they can offer great results without a large price tag. They're also highly portable and are great for brewing almost anywhere, whether at home, in the office or outdoors on a camping trip or hike.
So, why is a good coffee grinder essential?
So now we've established the different types of coffee grinder that you can choose from, let's look at why it's so crucial that you choose a good quality one and what 'good quality' means.
Fresh coffee is the best coffee
If you want the best tasting home-brewed coffee, you need to be grinding your own coffee beans. As soon as you grind coffee starts to lose its freshness, which is why it is difficult to tell most pre-ground coffee apart.
By grinding coffee beans, you will have fresher tasting coffee, and you can appreciate the subtle flavours and aromas, as the oils will have only just been released.
A good coffee grinder is consistent
The key to good coffee is making sure you get the extraction just right. In laymen's terms, this means when you add water, it pulls out all the best flavours and textures from the ground coffee beans.
To get a good extraction, you need coffee grounds that are as similar or consistent in size as possible so that when the water hits, the flavours are pulled out evenly – and you get a tastier cup of coffee, more rounded in flavour, from which you'll be able to pick out individual flavour notes.
A good grinder is one that's suitable for the way you brew
Different coffees need different grinders.
A good grinder delivers consistent grinds for the type of brew you want to make. So you may need to adjust your grinder settings if you're a fan of using different brewers, for example, an espresso machine, a Hario V60 or an Aeropress.
Make sure you pick the type of grinder that will be right for the brewer you want to use.
A good coffee grinder doesn't always hold all your beans
Many coffee grinders have the added convenience of a bean hopper, a case where beans are stored and are ground on demand, whether that is for a set amount of time or weight.
However, single-dose coffee grinders are becoming more popular than ever.
A single dose grinder essentially means that unlike a bean hopper that can hold large amounts of coffee beans, the single dose grinder is for those who measure enough for the amount of coffee they are making at that moment before putting it into the grinder. When not in use, the grinder will be empty.
These can often have a smaller footprint on the kitchen countertop or coffee bar. The Fellow ODE Brew Grinder is one of these types of grinders, with it only being able to hold a maximum of 80g of beans in the top of the machine.
Where can I buy a good coffee grinder?
Whether you're just getting started on your coffee journey or you're in deep and want to experience everything that great coffee grinders have to offer, we've got you.
We have a wide range of coffee grinders available to buy, ranging from budget-friendly hand coffee grinders to electric coffee grinders that can grind for coffee lover favourites such as the V60. Clever Dripper, French Press or espresso and more!