Recently, I talked about my recent acquisition of a coffee grinder. When I was at the stores, my main consideration was cost. I just bought myself a $40 drip brewer, and I wasn’t about to spend more than that on a grinder.
And so I got myself a small Krups blade grinder. But at that time I didn’t realize I had other options, and that these would likely give me a better coffee experience, if not for the price.
This means if I had the cash to burn, I should’ve gone for a burr grinder.
Blade vs. Burr
There are two basic types of grinders: blade and burr. A blade grinder works by spinninng a set of blades, which chop up the coffee beans. The fineness or roughness of the resulting grind is determined by how long you spin the blades. If you’re using a brewer with a cone-shaped filter, then most likely you will need a finer grind (about 30-40 seconds). But sometimes spinning blades can produce friction and exposure to heat might cause a burning taste in the coffee grind, and the resulting grind will not always be of similar consistency all throughout. Blade grinders can come as cheap as $20 for the smaller ones.
Burr grinders, meanwhile, use a circular or conical wheel, which grinds the coffee against an unmoving surface. The fineness of the grind is controlled by how close the grinding wheel is to the surface. The fineness of the coffee grind is better controlled with a burr type grinder. However, this comes at an expense of higher cost, at about $300 or so for the cheapest.
For personal use, I would say a blade grinder is probably good enough. But if you’re venturing into commercial or heavy duty use, then by all means go for the burr kind, particularly the conical-shaped ones, which are more expensive, are easier to control and maintain.