In the world of gourmet coffee, you'll hear a lot about the various types of coffee machines and the virtues of each. But what about coffee bean grinders?
Suppose you've decided to upgrade your coffee setup; should you invest a little more in a higher-end coffee maker or put that extra money towards a better-quality coffee bean grinder? Most people probably immediately answered coffee maker – and most people would be wrong.
You cannot elevate your coffee game without a killer coffee bean grinder.
In a perfect world where both money and coffee beans grow on plants, deciding between investing in a coffee machine and a coffee bean grinder would be no problem; you'd simply get both. But if you are in an either-or situation, most coffee die-hards would suggest splurging on the coffee bean grinder. And here's why.
Ground Coffee Has a Very Limited Shelf Life
From shrub to cup, coffee beans are freshest if consumed within a few months of harvest. Freshness will depend a lot on the roast and how the beans were packaged, but one thing that is always certain is whole coffee beans will stay fresh much longer than ground coffee.
When an organic compound comes into contact with oxygen, it will slowly begin to break down in a process known as oxidization. When it comes to your coffee, this oxidization will affect the flavour profile and texture of what you are drinking. Have you ever choked down a bitter, thin cup of joe? Then you've had stale coffee.
Aside from living in an area where you can grow and roast your own beans, the next best way to enjoy a truly fresh cup of aromatic coffee is to grind your coffee beans.
Oxidization occurs much more quickly on tiny particles than on larger ones; if you're buying pre-ground coffee off a grocery store shelf, odds are it's stale before you've even opened the bag. On the other hand, whole beans can stay fresh for weeks or even months after they've been roasted. It's a difference you'll have to taste to believe; from dark chocolate notes to floral hints, you haven't experienced coffee until you've had it made from freshly ground beans.
A Coffee bean Grinder Gives You the Flexibility to Use Any Coffee Brewer
The pre-ground coffee you pick up from the local grocery store comes in one size: fine. Even if the directions say it can be used with various coffee machines, you're still not getting the optimal grind for every type of brewer. It's just not possible.
Store-bought coffee is designed to work with auto-drip machines, which need a fine grind. However, what happens if you own a French Press, a pour-over, and an espresso machine? These machines require different grind sizes to deliver coffee the way they were meant to. For example, a French Press brews its best coffee when paired with a coarse grind, and an espresso machine needs a super fine grind to deliver.
Rather than stocking up on several varieties of stale, pre-ground coffee, you can invest in a coffee bean grinder and enjoy freshly ground beans on demand for any type of coffee brewer. If your grind isn't perfect, you have the power to adjust and try again.
A Burr Grinder is Hands Down the Way to Go
Now that you have been familiarized with the benefits of a coffee bean grinder, you're probably really excited to head out and pick one up to try at home. But wait! There's more.
A quick interest search for coffee bean grinders will yield two types: blade and burr. These two options might appear to have a lot in common – they both grind coffee – but only one will improve your coffee, and that's a burr grinder.
Blade grinders are readily available online and at grocery stores and comparatively inexpensive, making them a tempting coffee for novice coffee brewers. But don't be fooled. Blade coffee grinders don't so much grind as they violently chop coffee beans; the result is uneven bits of ground coffee that are impossible to extract a well-balanced cup of coffee from.
Burr grinders are the unanimous choice of any experienced coffee enthusiast. An electric burr grinder will produce a completely uniform, consistent grind every time, regardless of whether you need super fine or very coarse.
Real talk, regardless of what you read, price is often the deciding factor when choosing a coffee bean grinder, and electric burr grinders can be pricey. If you are going to be using your grinder daily, it's probably worth the investment, but you don't have to spend a small fortune to get a great burr grinder.
While most burr grinders start at around the $200 mark, Grosche makes an entry-level grinder for less than $100. And if that's still a little too rich, you can score a manual burr grinder for under $50 and get a workout in while you prep your coffee fix.