We’ve stressed time and time again that one of the keys to brewing truly great coffee is achieving a consistent grind. In fact, quality of grind has so much to do with brewing great tasting coffee that you may as well buy pre-ground beans rather than grinding your own using an inferior blade-type grinder. Fortunately, achieving a consistent grind is made easy using a burr style grinder. Unlike a blade or “whirly-bird” grinder that smashes the coffee beans into tiny dust fragments, a burr grinder uses a movable grinding wheel to produce a uniform grind that is nearly void of dust particles. Of course, just as all small coffee maker models aren’t the same in terms of their performance, there are differences in grinders as well.
In order to achieve the type of grind that will allow you to brew truly great coffee, it’s critical that you purchase a quality grinder. You want a grinder that is easily adjustable and one that can produce a clean, consistent grind that will aid optimum extraction of flavors. That last thing you want are extremely small particles and dust, as both of these can lead to bitterness in the final cup – yuck! The good news is that there are a host of grinders capable enough to achieve the right grind. You can choose between many different varieties of electric models or you could just elect to go with a manual coffee grinder.
Although you may be tempted to dismiss manual coffee grinders as relics of the past, these small devices are a force to be reckoned with when it comes to raw performance. After all, the only difference between a manual burr coffee grinder and an electric version is the electric motor itself. When using a manual coffee grinder, the motor is replaced by the human arm, which provides the turning motion to spin the internal grinding wheel. Typically, a manual grinder can grind enough beans in a session to produce 6 cups of coffee, though it can also grind less if desired. A session should last no longer than a minute or two. Apart from their performance capabilities, many of these grinders are a thing of beauty and look great displayed out in the open on a kitchen counter. This brings us to our next point.
When choosing a manual coffee bean grinder, it’s important to make your selection based on the performance of the grinder rather than how it looks. Historically, coffee grinders were often produced for their aesthetic qualities, and while this is great to some extent, what you’re really after is a grinder that can produce a quality grind. You can normally avoid these types of manual coffee mills by increasing your budget a bit to the $60 to $80 range, which is where the majority of quality grinders can be found. You’ll want a grinder that can be adjusted to provide you with the proper grind for the type of coffee you with to enjoy – course for French Press, fine for Espresso and somewhere in the middle for drip coffee.
Ultimately, if you’re looking for a coffee grinder that can produce a quality grind then it’s hard to beat a manual coffee grinder. They can be easily found new on sites like Amazon or they can be purchased used through online auction sites and classifieds.