Ultimate Guide | The Best Coffee Bean Grinder

The Best Coffee Bean Grinder

Using the best coffee bean grinder is just as important as using the best coffee beans for making the perfect coffee. Speciality coffee like espresso or Turkish coffee requires very fine grinds, which not all coffee bean grinders are capable of.

This is part six of the Ultimate Guide for Grinding Coffee Beans, a comprehensive guide in which you'll learn anything needed to making the perfect coffee. In this article we will cover the best coffee bean grinders of each type.

6.0 What is the Best Coffee Grinder?

Now that we have a deep understanding of all the different types of coffee grinders, we can examine what features the best coffee bean grinder of each category exhibits. A coffee bean grinder adept at one particular task may struggle with another, and it is thus important to distinguish the best coffee grinders in terms of applications.

As a general example, the best home coffee grinder would be small, quiet, versatile, and relatively inexpensive. While most blade grinders fit these requirements, none of them could be considered the best home coffee bean grinder. Because different people prefer different brewing methods, we need to also consider how the grinder performs at producing a specific coarseness of grinds. Thus, if you were primarily interested in French press, we could say that the best home coffee grinder for you is a Porlex JP-30. If, however, you often host large parties of coffee drinking people, this grinder wouldn’t cut it. It is thus very important to consider specific applications when determining the best coffee bean grinder.

There are, however, a few general qualities that we can expect from the best coffee bean grinder. Any device that hopes to be called the best must be cost effective, and provide a high value for its price. The best coffee bean grinder must produce very uniform grinds, as grind uniformity is vital to the quality of any brew. Finally, the grinder should not be missing any fundamental features.

6.1 The Best Burr Grinder

Depending on your price range and ideal brewing methods, the best burr grinder for coffee beans can be very subjective. As such, we will examine the best coffee grinders for specific brewing methods in later sections. For the purpose of this section, we will determine the best burr coffee grinder overall.

What we’re looking for in the best burr coffee grinder is the following: excellent grinds uniformity, consistency across grind settings, as many supported brewing methods as possible, and a high customer satisfaction in burr grinder reviews.

6.2 The Best Espresso Grinder

It is an unfortunate fact that most burr grinders do not have enough adjustment increments to be ideal for brewing espresso. Espresso machines are highly variable, and an ideal fineness for one does not necessarily work on another. The most important variables to consider are: water pressure, portafilter size, portafilter type (single/double walled), and bean roast.

Although you can control some of the variables (by purchasing different portafilters or roasts of coffee) to minimize the amount of necessary adjustment increments on your grinder, you will still run into problems. When coffee bean lipids invariably oxidize, and when your espresso machine starts losing water pressure, you may find that the same grind settings no longer work. To minimize hassle, and to ensure that you have enough control to pull a 20 second espresso shot every time, it is better to purchase an espresso grinder.

6.3 The Best Coffee Bean Grinder for French Press

While French press is a very common brewing method across the world, most burr grinders struggle to achieve a decent uniformity on the coarseness settings required for it. Given that most burr grinders are not ideal for French press, blade grinders should not even be considered for this brewing method.

What distinguishes a product as the best coffee bean grinder for French press is its ability to handle coarser grinds. Furthermore, given the relatively inexpensive nature of French press brewing, the most ideal grinder is one that keeps the costs low.

6.4 The Best Hand Grinder

As long as you do not mind the physical labor associated with using a hand coffee grinder, purchasing a hand coffee grinder can be one of the best investments into delicious homemade coffee you can make. Not only does a generic hand coffee grinder produce excellent grind uniformity, it does so at a mere fraction of the cost of electric burr grinders.

And that’s just a generic hand coffee grinder. The best manual coffee grinder blows most devices out of the water in terms of performance, longevity, and value.

6.5 The Best Antique Coffee Grinder

Antique coffee grinders form a sub-category of the manual grinder niche. An antique coffee grinder stands apart from the other manual grinders by virtue of its aesthetics; its visual design is reminiscent of pre-modern grinders, usually older German hand-made devices. A vintage coffee grinder is a beautiful and elegant device that espouses the ideals of the era, visually and technically.

The best antique coffee grinders are those that manage to accurately capture the visual style of a specific era, all while maintaining fantastic build quality and top-notch performance. There are few brands existing today that can accomplish such a feat. Zassenhaus, a 200-year old German purveyor of antique coffee grinders, stands above them all.