There's no way around it: Pre-ground coffee goes stale...fast. And we get it: Sometimes you just don't want to jack around with grinding coffee in the morning if you're in a hurry.
But if you want to keep your Awesome Coffee from us fresh as long as possible: Get a coffee grinder, and order your coffee Whole Bean. It's that simple. But which grinder should you get? That can be a bit more complicated...
In this guide we'll walk you through the considerations for making the best decision when it comes to buying a coffee grinder for your situation.
Ground or Pulverized?
The first thing to know is that there are 2 main types of home coffee grinders you'll find in the market:
- Blade Grinders - Think "mini food processor." It's got an on/off button and a set of blades inside the grinding chamber. Beans go in. Button goes down. Blades go 'round and 'round. Beans gets chopped up. Simple.
- Burr Grinders - Think "spice mill." These grinders have granularity settings (coarse, medium, fine), and use steel or ceramic grinding burrs to grind, rather than pulverize, the beans.
Simple advice: Go for #2
With blade grinders you have absolutely no way to control grind settings, and you always end up with wildly inconsistent grind particle sizes, which makes for wildly inconsistent brews. And like with most things in Specialty Coffee: Quality & Consistency is king.
The 2 advantages that burr grinders have are
- Their ability to change the grind size
- Their ability to grind consistently
Blade grinders can do neither, and advantage #1 is crucial if you're using different brewing methods at home. With the advent of Cold Brew Coffee and its growing popularity with coffee drinkers, many cold brew lovers have started thinking, "Can I make this at home?" The answer is Yes, but you'll need a grinder that can do a coarse grind. And your regular coffee maker is going to use more of a medium grind. And the AeroPress or a Moka Pot needs a bit finer grind. Etc.
You'll need a grinder that can adjust to your brew methods at home, and only burr grinders can do that.
Advantage: Burr Grinders
Hopefully I've convinced you that burr grinders are the way to go. But now the question remains: Which burr grinder? There are plenty on the market, and we happen to sell 2 that we think are both great options in specific situations. One is manual, the other is electric. I'll discuss each type and their benefits...
Option 1: The Handground - A Manual Precision Burr Grinder
What started as a Kickstarter project turned into a globe-spanning collaborative product development project, and Roaster Brian was an early backer on Kickstarter and eventually was involved (in a very small way) in the development process. The concept is simple: It's a burr grinder that you operate manually.
- The less expensive option
- Smaller size - Easy to put in a cupboard or pack for travel
- Ideal for 1-2 coffee drinkers drinking 1-2 cups of coffee per day, with manual brewing devices such as the AeroPress
- Can become tiring for your arms!
- Not ideal for larger batch brewers (like an electric coffee maker)
Shop now: The Handground ($79)
Option 2: The Baratza Encore - Give your arms a rest, brew more coffee
Baratza is a rock solid brand in the world of home coffee grinders. There are cheaper burr grinders out there on the market, but none can hold a candle to the build quality of its products and customer service that Baratza provides. And the Encore model has long been considered the best entry-level burr grinder on the market, which is why we carry it. Only the best for our Home Coffee Pros!
- You don't have to grind by hand!
- Top-mounted hopper holds nearly a 12oz bag's worth of beans
- Ideal for bigger brewing batches, like coffee makers and cold brew
- Fantastic warranty and service from Baratza
- Cost - Not everyone has $140 to throw around for a coffee grinder
- (Maybe a con) Bigger footprint means it has to sit out on the countertop, which might turn off some folks
Shop now: The Baratza Encore ($140)
So depending on how much coffee you brew, and how hard you want to work your arms - we have 2 great options to take your home coffee making operation to the next level, if you've never had a grinder or have only used the inferior blade-type grinders in the past.
Happy grinding, and Happy brewing, coffee friends!
Featured image photo by Wade Austin Ellis on Unsplash