If you like your coffee to be as close to perfect as possible, then you can’t escape grinding your own beans. While pre-ground coffee can be a convenient option, there’s nothing quite like freshly ground coffee when it comes to making sure that your brew has the best flavor.
Does a Burr Grinder Make a Difference?
No matter what brewing method is your favorite, whether you’re investing in an espresso machine for your home or using a more old-fashioned way to brew coffee like French Press coffee, it’s important to be able to adjust the grind of your coffee to make sure that you always get the best results. This usually means that getting your own coffee grinder is an inevitable step. However, if you’re new to grinding and brewing your own coffee at home, selecting the right grinder and choosing the right type for you can be overwhelming. Here are some of the main considerations for you to make when deciding on a burr grinder vs blade grinder.
Before diving deeper into the different materials used, it’s important to understand the type of blade that you are getting with your coffee grinder. The fact is that for the best coffee, you can’t afford to get anything other than a burr grinder. Does coffee grinder make a difference? Read on to find out.
Coffee Grinder Burr Vs Blade
The answer is absolutely – a blade grinder might be a cheaper and more widely available option, but when it comes to the burr vs blade grinder, a burr grinder will ensure that you get consistent results every time, while the burr grinder is much more hit and miss. Along with this, a burr grinder can be controlled much more tightly, giving you the option to change your grind level in smaller increments.
Burr grinders work by using two blades that come together to produce a grind size that is completely uniform. On the other hand, a blade grinder works in a propeller motion, indiscriminately slicing and chopping the beans, leaving you with what could be huge inconsistencies that ruin your coffee.
Ceramic Burr Grinders
Most of the domestic burr grinders available today are ceramic, rather than stainless steel, and there are some main reasons for this. Firstly, with a ceramic burr coffee grinder, you can expect high-strength, long-lasting blades. While they may not be initially as sharp compared to a steel blade, they will stay at their initial sharpness level for a longer period of time. Along with this, ceramic will not get hot when grinding, leading to many coffee lovers preferring this material for their grinder since they do not need to be concerned about the impact of the temperature on the coffee beans while grinding.
On the downside, ceramic isn’t quite so tough against bigger impacts, so if you drop it or put anything hard to grind in the grinder, you might have a problem. On the other hand, however, ceramic won’t rust or be subject to any deterioration in a moist or warm environment, which is a huge plus for most users.
While most of the flavor of your coffee is down to the beans that you are grinding and not much else, ceramic burr grinders are a good option for producing a traditional coffee taste. The coffee that has been ground using a ceramic burr grinder tends to have a very distinct mouthfeel and will usually have more body compared to coffee prepared in a steel burr grinder.
Ceramic Burr Grinder Best Uses
Manual grinding is the best use for ceramic burrs and there are various ceramic burr hand grinder options to consider. You may be wondering if there is a difference between coffee hand grinder vs burr grinder but the truth is that the only main distinguishing feature is usually whether or not the grinder can be powered using electricity. Hand or manual grinding is the best way forward with this type of grinder since this will protect the blades for longer, ensuring that they don’t get damaged. They are also known for being a better choice for espresso grounds compared to steel grinders, so it’s worth considering a ceramic burr grinder if your espresso machine doesn’t have one built-in.
Stainless Steel Burr Grinders
Stainless steel is a burr material that is becoming more and more popular among coffee lovers. While some still consider ceramic to be the best option, stainless steel blades do have some important features that are worth finding out more about. One of the main benefits is that stainless steel contains chromium, which is resistant to corrosion and means that the grinders shouldn’t rust when they are washed. On the downside, however, steel is a heat conductor and the grinders are affected a little more by a hot environment compared to ceramic burrs, which can lead to a shorter lifespan overall.
Compared to ceramic burrs, stainless steel burrs do tend to lose their initial sharpness faster. However, when you first get one of these grinders, the burrs will be a lot sharper initially compared to stainless steel, which is ideal for anybody who wants to grind with more precision and achieve even better uniformity.
The flavor of the coffee produced by a steel burr grinder is going to taste and feel clean. Due to the high level of precision that a steel blade will produce, the coffee is easier to brew exactly how you like it no matter what kind of brewing method you prefer.
Stainless Steel Burr Grinder Best Uses
Both automatic and manual steel burr grinder options tend to work very well with more alternative coffee brewing methods, including French Press brewing and pour-over coffee. They also tend to work better with beans that are single-origin and non-espresso.
The Main Things to Consider When Buying a Grinder
When deciding whether a ceramic or stainless steel burr grinder is going to be the best option for your coffee, the truth is that it’s mainly down to personal preference. Both of these grinders are the ideal choice for any home and have many benefits that will help you achieve your coffee exactly how you like it. However, before you make your final decision and invest in a burr grinder for your coffee making routine, there are some main factors to consider.
Automatic or Manual?
You will need to decide on whether you want automatic or manual, which can feel like deciding between a spice mill vs coffee grinder. The truth is that as long as you go for burr grinders, whether it is manual or automatic should make no difference to your final coffee grounds. Steel blades tend to be a better choice for automatic grinders, while you will usually get better results from ceramic blades in a manual grinder. However, either material functions well in both settings, so it’s really down to how much convenience you want. If you like the idea of being fully in control of every step of your coffee making process and want to be able to grind the coffee you need quietly and conveniently in the morning, a manual grinder might be the best choice for you. On the other hand, if all you want is something that you can throw your beans into, press a button, and leave it to grind your beans, an automatic grinder will be more suitable.
For many people, the cost can sometimes be the main deciding factor when it comes to choosing the right appliances and accessories for making coffee. If you are going to get a ceramic burr grinder that is a decent quality, then you can usually expect to pay more for it upfront. However, bear in mind that since ceramic burr grinders do not deteriorate as quickly, they will usually not need to be replaced quite as frequently compared to stainless steel grinders, which ultimately means that you will save money over time.
On the other hand, if you are more concerned with saving money in the short-term, a stainless steel burr grinder will typically cost you less to buy upfront. In the long run, you may end up paying more by replacing your grinder more frequently, since the blades become blunt and start to warp much quicker when compared to ceramic.
For the most part, there is not a huge difference between the cost of these two types of burr grinder since whether the grinder is manual or automatic tends to have a much bigger impact on the price compared to the material that the burrs are made from.
If you like brewing your own coffee, then you’ll know that the first rule is to use coffee beans that have been freshly ground just for you. If you’re currently using pre-ground coffee, then you’ll taste a huge difference when you invest in a grinder and start grinding your coffee beans on demand when brewing your coffee in the morning. But before you can benefit from this, you will need to decide whether a ceramic or stainless steel grinder is the best option for you. Both have their own benefits and downsides, and ultimately, it’s down to your personal preference, budget, and style of coffee making.