The best way to learn about grinders!
This is the basic training of coffee grinders. From here you can pick up a home grinder best suited for your tastes and be happy that you made a wise decision.
First let us say that for home use you can go to any department store and pick up a decent burr grinder for under $50 that will last you quite a long time. Keep reading as to why we suggest a burr grinder and you will surely agree. Once you make your grinder selection you will need to read up on storing coffee.
There are two basic types of coffee grinders: blade grinders and burr grinders. This difference is from the mechanism by which it is performing the grinding.
Blade grinders have one or two metal blades that spin very quickly, hacking away at the beans until the pieces are small enough. There is no real consistency to the size of the pieces as the blade’s contact with the bean will be at random spots on each bean. The longer you keep the beans in a blade grinder is the only way to get your grounds smaller until they are the size you desire for your coffee maker.
Burr grinders use specially designed burrs to crush the beans to a consistent particle size. They usually allow for multiple settings and are usually accurate to the size of the grounds giving you much better control in achieving consistency. Once the size is reached, the grounds are filtered out into a container of some sort.
They are also two types of burr grinders: wheel burr and conical burr grinders. The difference here is the type of burr used, of course, and usually the speed at which they can rotate. Again, for home use the lesson basically stops here. The issues that differentiate these two types are minimal when the quantity you are grinding at each time is smaller.
That is because the issue is usually heat. Wheel burr grinders allow for a much faster grind, many around 10,000 RPMs. This provides a fast, noisy way to grind beans and get the job done. However, when grinding pounds of coffee at a time, the burrs can heat up possibly burning the new grounds. Burning can obviously change the flavor and aroma of the coffee once brewing. Some flat plate, or wheel burr, grinders do have lower speed settings in the commercial grade grinders.
Conical burr grinders are almost always very low speed gear reduction mechanisms. Speeds are usually under 500 RPMs, a big difference from the 10,000 RPMs put out by the wheel burr types. This is where you will get your finest grind without fear of burning the grounds. In addition, the way the burrs are laid out, flavored coffees will not clog the grinder as with other lower grade types.
One other key difference is the price – if you are getting a conical burr grinder for the best of the best, you can get a professional grade grinder for home use for about $140. We have read several good reviews for the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder. (Actually the non-chrome version is only about $90!)
For additional grinder selections, check out our products section.