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The Best Coffee Grinders, According to Baristas and Coffee Roasters

by The Pinebrook Team February 17, 2020

For the freshest cup at home, you should be grinding the beans yourself with these tool recs, from the Strategist

Even if you’ve purchased the coffee maker of your dreams, your morning cup of coffee is only going to be as good as the beans you’re using. And any coffee snob will tell you that you’re going to get much better results — and fresher-tasting coffee — if you grind coffee beans yourself, as you need them. Coffee beans can stay potent for a while if they’re left whole, but the flavor starts to degrade once they’re ground. So if you want good coffee in your kitchen, you’re going to need a good coffee grinder.

All of the experts we spoke with favor burr grinders over blade grinders. “Burrs give you a consistent grind size, which is the most important thing when it comes to brewing coffee,” says Joanna Lareau, general manager at Blue Bottle. “Blades just chop the coffee up into inconsistent sizes,” which can leave some of the coffee “over-extracted,” and some “under-extracted,” she says. “Burrs give you more control over the extraction, so you can tinker with it until you find what tastes good.” To figure out which coffee grinders are worth the investment, we asked baristas, roasters, and coffee-shop owners about the coffee grinders they keep on their own kitchen counters (and sometimes even in suitcases, because good coffee never takes a vacation).

 Best overall coffee grinder

Baratza Encore Electric Grinder

The Baratza brand came up more often than any other. Some experts favor their higher-end models, but five of the coffee experts we spoke with recommended this more affordable option, highlighting its quality performance and solid build, especially for the price. “You can spend way more money on the higher-end Baratza models, but this one does the job for a fraction of the cost,” says Yasmina Palumbo, co-owner of New York City’s Mud Coffee. Lareau tells us, “For home use, I 100 percent recommend the Encore. It’s simple to use and super consistent. I’ve had one for almost three years now and it’s still amazing.” Barista and founder of Third Rail  Humberto Ricardo adds that Baratza machines are “designed to be repaired instead of thrown away should something break, which is good for my wallet and for the planet.” To top it off, the Encore has 40 grind settings, so you can easily adjust to whatever coarseness or fineness you’re looking for.

Best (less expensive) coffee grinder

 

 

Krups GX5000 Professional Electric Coffee Burr Grinder

Paul Schlader, co-founder and head roaster at New York City–based Birch Coffee, calls this “a more affordable alternative” to most burr grinders. In fact, you’re getting a burr grinder for about the same price you’d pay for a blade grinder. The Krups GX5000 is pretty simple, but it has the essentials: nine settings for selecting your preferred grind size, and a “cup selector” dial to grind the exact amount of coffee you need.

More expert-recommended electric burr coffee grinders

Breville the Smart Grinder Pro

“Breville has consistently provided near-commercial-level quality with consumer-level costs,” says Mike Jones, director of retail at Variety Coffee. This is his favorite grinder for making coffee at home. “Obviously, there will be some quality differences between this and the best pro grinders, but considering it’s over $2,000 cheaper, I’m not going to complain,” he says. Although this Breville is on the pricey end, Jones says it has a lot to offer anyone looking to seriously upgrade their coffee setup: “It’s easy to use, easy to clean, and is a worthwhile investment if you want to dramatically improve the quality of your coffee at home. Just get a simple pour-over (Chemex, V60, whatever), use filtered water, buy this grinder, and some high-quality beans, and you’ll already be making better coffee than the majority of coffee shops out there. No joke.”

Best burr hand grinders for coffee

Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder

On the other end of the spectrum are manual hand grinders. The ones featured here employ the same burr grinding method as the electric models, but you have to do the work yourself. Although it might sound strange to take a technological step backwards, grinders have plenty of fans. They’re more compact, which makes them especially great for travel, and you never need to worry about finding an outlet. Lareau uses this stainless-steel mini Porlex hand grinder when she’s traveling, and while she admits it’s sometimes “a pain” to do it by hand, “It’s good at what it does.” Which is the most important part.

 




The Pinebrook Team
The Pinebrook Team

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