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How Does a Coffee Grinder Work?

If you’re a regular coffee drinker, you probably know that grinding your coffee is better than buying pre-ground coffee. This is perhaps the easiest way to achieve a superior beverage. However, to grind your coffee beans you’ll need high quality and efficient grinder as well as the knowledge on how to use it. The different types of grinders on the market may be confusing to anyone who has little or no experience. Therefore, this article will discuss the different types of grinders and how they work. Let’s begin.


coffee grinder filled with coffee beans


The Main Types of Coffee Grinders

There are three main types of coffee grinders on the market. These include:

  • Burr grinders
  • Blade grinders
  • Manual grinders

Let’s discuss these grinders in detail.


Burr Grinders

A burr grinder is a tool used to grind coffee beans into a uniform consistency. There are two burr grinder types. These are the flat burr grinders and the conical burr grinders. Despite these two grinders achieving a consistent grind, they have their differences that you should be aware of for you to choose the burr grinder that suits you. But first, let’s have a look at how burr grinders work.


How Does a Burr Grinder Work?

A burr grinder works by merging two burrs that grind your coffee beans. To use a burr grinder, you need to pour the coffee beans into the open spout, cover the grinder using its lid, then twist the grinder’s knob. The coffee beans will be ground between the burrs and the grounds will be extracted into the bottom cup.

Additionally, burr grinders come with two grind adjustments – steepless adjustment and stepped adjustment. Steepless adjustment provides virtually unlimited adjustments depending on your preferences, while stepped adjustment provides pre-determined settings that you can choose from.

A burr grinder is considered the best grinder since it achieves very consistent coffee grounds plus there are several grind settings that you can choose from depending on the brewing method you’re using and your tastes. Additionally, you can enjoy other benefits depending on the burr that you buy.


Conical Burr Grinders

Conical burr grinders are named after their cone-shaped burrs. The burr grinders have two cone-shaped burrs that are outfitted with ridges that grind your coffee. Conical burr grinders are considered the best types of grinders but also the most expensive. However, these burr grinders don’t achieve evenly ground coffee like the one achieved by a flat burr grinder.

The best part of the conical burr grinder is that it works at a low speed so you don’t experience heat problems, thus reducing bitter flavor notes. Additionally, the grinder distributes noise evenly thus giving you quiet results. When it comes to cleaning, conical burr grinders are easy to clean since they make less mess. The grinder doesn’t need to work fast, thus less messy. Last but not least, you can grind oily beans using the conical burr grinder without worrying about clogging up your grinder.


Flat Burr Grinders

Flat burr grinders consist of donut-shaped burrs facing each other and with sharp edges. The flat burr grinder design allows it to produce even coffee grounds unlike those produced in a conical burr grinder. The evenness of the coffee grounds contributes to a flavorful cup of coffee.

Additionally, flat burr grinders are designed with a large surface area that allows you to grind more coffee grounds at once compared to conical burr grinders. This feature is great for large households who need several cups of coffee. However, flat burr grinders are noisier than conical burr grinders plus they produce more heat when grinding. The extra heat produced may contribute to bitter flavor notes.


Blade Grinders

Blade grinders are the most affordable grinders on the market. They are suitable for those new in the fresh coffee world. Furthermore, these grinders are easy to use. However, it’s difficult to achieve a consistent grind size using blade grinders.


How Do Blade Grinders Work?

Blade coffee grinders use a blade that looks like a propeller to slice the coffee beans into smaller pieces. The blade is similar to that of a food processor or a blender. A blade grinder doesn’t achieve even coffee grounds, which may contribute to a bad-tasting cup of coffee. This is because, with uneven coffee grounds, you’ll taste different coffee flavors such as bold flavors from the bigger coffee ground pieces and bitter notes from the finely ground coffee. However, you can control the fineness of the coffee grounds by increasing the length of time you use to grind.

Additionally, the blade coffee grinder produces extra heat during the grinding process that may contribute to a bitter cup of coffee. The grinder is also noisy compared to a burr grinder. A blade grinder is suitable for anyone looking for a low-cost coffee grinder that does its job and that doesn’t take much space.


Manual Grinders

Despite most coffee grinders being electrically powered, there are some manual coffee grinders available on the market. These grinders need an operator to turn a crank for them to work. The grind size of the coffee grounds depends on the length of time that you grind them. Some of the advantages of a manual grinder include:

  • You can use them while traveling since you don’t need a power source
  • They are affordable and quiet to operate
  • Some manual grinder models are more attractive compared to some electrical coffee grinders


Which is the Best Coffee Grinder?

The best coffee grinder depends on your personal preferences. However, when it comes to consistency, taste, durability, and control, a burr grinder is the way to go. On the other hand, when it comes to affordability and convenience, you can either settle for a manual or blade coffee grinder.


Tips and Tricks to Use a Coffee Grinder

  1. Avoid overloading your coffee grinder
  2. Always ensure your coffee grinder is clean before the grinding process
  3. Select the correct grind size for your brewing method – use finer grounds for espresso and coarse coffee grounds for drip coffee. Furthermore, you can always experiment to find out what suits you.
  4. Always use freshly ground coffee beans for your coffee since coffee beans begin to lose flavor immediately after grinding them.


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