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Choosing an Espresso Grinder

A consistent grind is hugely important in the process of making a high-quality cup of coffee, which is why the grinder is the most important piece of equipment when it comes to coffee preparation. Can it be more important than the actual machine itself? Yes, it can be. The grinder determines if the coffee you brew after you grind actually can be any good. Bad grind = bad coffee.
To prove the level of consistency of grind, we need a burr grinder and not a blade grinder. Burr grinders provide speed, quality, efficiency, consistency, and flavorful extractions.

Flat vs. Conical Burrs

There are two types of burr grinders - flat & conical. Conical burrs simply use gravity to draw the coffee beans into the grinder, where they are chewed up and spit out. Flat burrs use centrifugal force which is more taxing on the motor and creates more heat. This might not necessarily be a problem for you home baristas, but commercial locations don’t want to continually heat up their beans because it will alter their state.
The larger the burrs are, the more coffee they can grind, and the faster they can do it. Not only are bigger burrs generally more efficient, but they don’t heat up nearly as fast, especially if they are ceramic. As stated above overheating the beans can result in unwanted scorched flavors if you are not careful.

Stepped vs. Stepless

Another important feature in a grinder is whether they are stepped, or stepless which both have their advantages and disadvantages. Stepped grinders have defined settings making adjustments easy and convenient when switching between different types of beans. However, that being said, sometimes there will come a time when one setting will be too fine, and the next one down is too coarse. Stepless grinders give you endless adjustments and no limitations for dialing in your espresso. You can find that “sweet spot” of the bean most preferred for pulling a great shot of espresso.

Doser vs. Doserless

The third feature to look for is doserless vs. doser. A doser grinder has a dosing chamber on the front which pre measures out the ground coffee precisely for each shot. A lot of home users find that by using a doser grinder they are able to fluff their coffee before dispensing it into their portafilters which cannot be done on a doserless grinder. For that reason, and a few others, that is why some prefer a doser grinder.
Doserless grinders can be a little messier, but the grind on demand feature is the best way to get the freshest coffee. Oil from the coffee beans start to break down within 4 minutes of being ground. A lot of people are “single dosing” now so having a doser grind would not be practical for them and they would need to get a doserless on demand grinder. Doserless grinders are controlled either by time or weight, which both help with consistency and repeatability of drinks.


Chris' Coffee Staff

Starting out of the back of an El Camino with the help of my family and a couple off duty cops, Chris' Coffee Service has been the experts in coffee since 1975.