The 10 Best Coffee Grinders
Gotta love coffee with these coffee grinders that you can have in your own home.
You like the line at your favorite coffee shop? Ok, besides the cute barista, you can do better: start by grinding your own beans, then check back with Gear Patrol for other suggestions for stepping up to the big leagues. The journey from coffee hack to ambrosia connoisseur begins with freshly ground java in your French press, drip, or espresso machine. A quick primer, and then on to our picks:
Grinders are distinguished by consistency, range of granularity, and low-temperature, low-noise operation. Your baseline grinder generates higher temperatures and coarser, irregular grinds — and sounds like a small war. Fineness of grind is essential to pulling an espresso shot that has the characteristic “crema” and extracts the full, distinguishing essential oils that set apart good java from dreck (read the sidebar below for more on this). Consistency is also critical for replicating quality coffee, shot to shot.
Avoid spinning blades that chop your beans — you want a conical burr grinder that crushes and pulverizes the coffee to the required fineness (coarser for French press, the finest moondust for Turkish coffee, with espresso a few settings less fine). Low speed trumps high speed, as high temperatures generated in the latter change the flavor and character of the resulting grind. If the machine has a strong enough motor to power through the beans, reduction gears are unnecessary — for a less powerful motor, gearing turns high RPM into low speed torque. $150 is a price point where the requisite specs come together to produce the fineness necessary, without tasting-spoiling temps. The exact cost and specs are up to you — but here are ten great places to start (and very possibly end) your search.
Hario Coffee Hand Grinder
Most Economical: The Hario gets the job done — it turns beans into grinds, it’s cheap and it’s portable. However, it’s not going to meet the demands of espresso lovers or high volume consumers. While it has adjustable conical ceramic burrs and is dishwasher safe, the settings are not marked. It’s as slow or fast as your ability to turn the crank. Sure, you’ll get ground coffee suitable for a French Press or drip, anywhere, anytime. You’ll also get forearms like Popeye’s.
Breville Smart Grinder
Best Technology for the Money:Stepping up to the Breville not only saves you from askance looks at your forearms, it gives you ease of use (and cleaning). While you won’t have the full grinding range of other models here, you get 25 settings, automatic dosage, and airtight storage of your ground coffee — important for freshness. The feed shoot is likely to clog with finer grinds, but simple cleaning makes that a minor inconvenience. Along with an affordable price tag, that makes the Breville our “smart” pick for the neophyte brewer