The Beginner’s Guide to Buying a Burr Grinder
You may be wondering, just what is a burr coffee grinder? Simply put, a burr coffee grinder is a coffee grinder that relies on the grinding method to produce ground coffee from coffee beans. It is the most common type of coffee grinder available today.
When it comes to coffee brewing, switching from pre-ground to fresh ground is one of the most striking changes you can make at home. Coffee stales rapidly once ground, and there are few good ways to preserve the freshest flavors for an extended period of time. Whenever possible, it’s best to grind each time you brew so your ground coffee is as fresh as it can be.
If you’ll pardon a little coffee science for a moment (lab coats and goggles on, please!), let’s take a look at why pre-ground coffee can be underwhelming. Roasted coffee is susceptible to a number of staling factors, and will expire as its flavor degrades irreparably over time. One of the chief elements of staling is oxidation, where oxygen molecules in the air react with the various flavor compounds in coffee and cause them to change or break down. Fresh coffee is vibrant and lively, bursting with flavorful oils and sparkling aromatic compounds. When exposed to oxygen and time, however, your coffee’s oils will go rancid, and the aromas — naturally volatile, fleeting, and rather delicate — will dim and dissipate. The result: what was once an expressive and unique coffee experience has now faded into a more generic roasty “coffee” flavor.
Coffee staling will happen gradually over time, even with whole bean coffee. But when you grind coffee, you increase the overall surface area dramatically. All that extra surface means even more exposure to oxygen, light, and heat, and the resulting flavor loss is noticeable in a matter of minutes. Buying a bag of pre-ground coffee is awfully convenient, but more often than not that bag is stale before it hits the shelf.
But wait, there’s good news! Having your own grinder (sometimes called a coffee mill) at home means you can fend off staling and capture your coffee’s very best qualities each time you brew. Still, grinders can be an expensive investment, and with so …