There are few things as bad as making coffee using stale coffee grinds. That is just one of the reasons why having a good coffee grinder is so essential. Being able to grind fresh coffee on demand is an absolute must for baristas and home-brewers alike. So when deciding to purchase a new grinder, which one should you buy and which are the best burr grinders.
The top burr grinders on the market include the Baratza Encore, KRUPS Precision, Breville Smart Grinder Pro, OXO BREW with an integrated scale, and the Niche Zero coffee grinders. These grinders deliver quality and consistent grinds good enough for both shops or at-home use.
With a range as versatile as the grinders mentioned above, there is quite a choice to be made when it comes to deciding which one is perfect for your needs. Burr grinders are known to be some of the best and most consistent grinders on the market.
The 5 Best Burr Grinders – Which One Do I Buy
Buying a new grinder can be a costly activity for any coffee enthusiast, and knowing which grinder best suits your needs and wallet is essential. So having a look at the different grinders and seeing the different grind sizes is very important to ensure your preferred brewing method is supported.
The Baratza brand is known for its high-quality grinders and is one of the top grinder manufacturers in the world.
Many baristas have placed their trust in Baratza to ensure even and reliable coffee grounds in their shops. With this brand proving itself to be one of the best manufacturers in the world, even the lower-end Baratza Encore is known for good quality and evenly ground coffee.
For this reason, this conical burr grinder is one of the top entry-level grinders on the market. With a lower price than the more high-end Baratza grinders and the same quality, this grinder is perfect for home use of any kind.
This coffee grinder has both a pulse button and an on/off switch making it easy to use for anyone. Along with its high quality and easy-to-use mechanics, this grinder also has 40 different grind settings making sure you’ll be able to grind your beans perfectly no matter your brewing method.
This little grinder is the perfect addition to your home coffee station or your kitchen.
With a fineness setting from 1 to 12, you will be able to get the right grind size no matter your brewing method. The capacity of this grinder is bigger than usual, and with a built-in quantity setting, you can grind the perfect amount of coffee you need.
By putting beans in the top hopper and setting the quantity, you will grind the perfect amount of beans for your specific brew while the remaining beans stay in the top hopper, ready to be used next time.
This flat burr grinder is more than sufficient for your daily grinding needs with a low noise output and easy controls to help you get the perfect grind the first time.
Breville Smart Grinder Pro
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro comes with the ability to grind right into your portafilter with no need for a scoop. Simply attach the portafilter cradle, pop in your portafilter, and grind the precise amount you need for the perfect espresso.
With 60 different coarseness settings, you can finetune your grinds to make the absolutely perfect cup of coffee, making this grinder good for home use or even for use in smaller coffee shops or market stalls.
The brushed stainless steel conical burrs are designed to keep the burrs cool and prevent the oils in your coffee grinds from burning. Coffee shops regularly use timing to select the amount of grinds produced by a grinder. The adjustable timer of this machine helps make that an easy task by using 0.2-second timing intervals.
OXO BREW with integrated scale
Another grinder with a higher grinding capacity is the OXO BREW Grinder. With stainless steel conical burrs, this machine is perfect for consistency when it comes to grinds.
With a built-in scale, this grinder will help you on the road to perfect coffee by weighing the grams of ground coffee as you go and stopping once you have reached your desired amount. This weight-based stopping mechanism helps you get the perfect amount of coffee grinds for whatever brew method you desire.
With 38 different grind settings, the OXO BREW grinder gives you the option to choose your brew method and adjust the grinds accordingly.
Two other exciting features of this grinder are the dial that lets you choose between grinding grams, cups, or a manual amount and the no beans detector that stops you from grinding when there are no beans inside the hopper.
If you are looking for a new grinder for your coffee shop or want to buy a barista-grade grinder for your home setup, this is the grinder for you. This grinder is fantastic with a new design made to look beautiful and be practical and keep grinds flowing instead of getting stuck in your burrs.
Though this grinder is a bit more costly, it has received great reviews from home brewers and baristas alike. With the conical burrs focused on espresso grinds and a high amount of grind customizability, you will be able to make the perfect coffee from espresso to french press.
With an easy-to-use system and a single-dose grind basket, you will feel like a king if you use this grinder. It is quiet, durable, and beautiful and helps simplify your coffee experience while focusing on quality and freshness.
Is Flat Burr Better Than Conical Burr
When buying a grinder, either for home or coffee shop use, it is integral to make the right decision and buy the grinder that will suit your needs best.
Before discussing the difference between burr grinders, we need to discuss if burr grinders are better than blade grinders. Though there are still a lot of blade grinders being used for house machines, there is absolutely no doubt that burr grinders are the better option. The uniformity of grinds from a burr grinder is unparalleled compared to a blade grinder.
Now on to the difference between flat and conical burr grinders. Though most coffee enthusiasts and especially baristas have their set opinions when it comes to which is best, there isn’t necessarily a lot of scientific basis or proof for their opinions. Most people who prefer one burr grinder over another have an opinion based on their own experience.
That being said, the most significant and most widely believed distinction between the flat and conical burr grinders is the amount of grind that stays behind in the grinder itself. Conical burrs are designed to reduce the amount of coffee left behind by allowing the beans and grinds to flow in and out of the grinding area at an angle that leaves less space for grinds to build up.
Flat burr grinders are designed to have beans flow both in and out of the grinder at a 90˚ angle. This design creates more space for the grinds to get stuck in and means that you might use more beans for the same amount of coffee in long-term use. Though essential to anyone making regular espressos, this specific factor does differ from one grinder to another.
Lastly, some baristas and coffee enthusiasts have reported that conical burr grinders are easier to dial into the right grind size. It is also said that conical burrs tend to stay dialed in for longer, especially when you make coffee frequently.
There might also be a difference in the notes extracted from conical burr grinders compared to flat burr grinders. It is said that flat burr grinders give way to more chocolaty and nutty flavors than conical burr grinders, which enhance the brighter flavors like fruitiness. Though it must be said that there is no scientific basis for these claims.
How Long Does A Burr Grinder Last
Though certain burrs in coffee grinders can last quite a long time, they will still need to be replaced every so often. With two types of burrs for coffee grinders, namely steel and ceramic burrs, each kind will have different amounts of beans that can be ground before the burrs are too dull. That being said, there is still a basic guideline for when it’s good to check your burrs, at least.
For home use, the time between replacing the burrs in your grinder can vary quite drastically depending on your average coffee consumption and how much coffee you grind daily. For coffee enthusiasts that drink between one and three cups of coffee a day, the time to check for dull burrs would be a lot less often than a coffee enthusiast that drinks between 8 or 10.
With steel burrs, there is a general rule to at least check if your burrs need replacing after grinding between 500 and 600 pounds of coffee. If you use ceramic burrs, the time extends a bit as you only have to consider replacing your burrs after 750 or 800 pounds of coffee. It is good to remember that these are just rough estimates, and you need to check regularly.
How To Know If My Grinder’s Burrs Need Replacing
There are some basic things to look out for when trying to find out if your burrs are dull and need replacing. These tips on how to check your coffee grinder burrs will help you keep the quality of your coffee at its best and prevent you from damaging your grinder in the long run.
- Struggling to grind beans – It should be evident that when your grinder is struggling to grind beans, in other words fulfilling its primary purpose, it is probably a good idea to see if your burrs are too dull and need to be replaced.
- Inconsistent grind size – When your burr grinder, which is known to produce consistent grind sizes, is unable to do so, it is a sure sign to have a look at your burrs. It is relatively easy to see when your grind size is uneven by simply rubbing some grinds on your fingertips. If you can see multiple different grind sizes, you know it’s time to replace your burrs. Though this might also be due to old grinds getting stuck, cleaning out your grinder regularly is always advised.
- Dull feeling burrs – By unplugging your grinder and taking out the burrs, you will be able to assess if your grinder burrs are too dull to continue. By running your fingers over the edges of the burrs, you will easily be able to tell the difference between sharp and dull. If your burrs still feel sharp to the touch, you’re good to go.
- Loss of flavor in coffee – As the burrs of your grinder dull over time, the flavor of your coffee will begin to change as well. Change in flavor is usually due to uneven grind sizes, resulting in uneven extraction of your coffee from the coffee grinds.
- Clumpy grounds – There are two reasons why your coffee grinds might be sticking to each other and creating clumps. Both of these reasons mean that you will have to check your grinder. The first reason for clumpy grinds is that the grinder is set to grind the beans too fine. The second reason is that your grinder’s burrs might be dulling.
Though the above-mentioned clumpy grounds are usually only present when grinding for espresso and have no adverse effects on the taste of your coffee, it is generally good to at least check your grinder’s burrs when your coffee starts clumping together.
If you are a coffee connoisseur, a burr grinder will be an essential part of your coffee station. Buying the right grinder for your desired brew method and other needs is incredibly important, as is keeping an eye on your burrs to keep them in good shape. Though some grinders might be made for different people or environments, you will never regret your burr grinder.