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William Cook
William Cook

Which Coffee Grinder Should I Buy High Quality


Our favorite coffee grinder for serious coffee geeks who want a lot of control over grind size is the Baratza Virtuoso+ Coffee Grinder (we also liked the Breville Smart Grinder Pro and the Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, as a less expensive option). For those looking for a more straightforward burr grinder with fewer grind settings, the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder will serve most people well. And for about $50, the Krups Precision Grinder is our super-budget pick. We also recently reviewed the Fellow Ode Gen 2 and, while pricey, we really liked it.




which coffee grinder should i buy



We recently tested the Fellow Ode Gen 2 grinder, an updated version of the grinder we previously tested, and added it as another winner. We also tested coffee grinders from OXO, Capresso, and Zwilling (which weren't available at the time of our original testing). We've added our thoughts on each of these newer models to the bottom of this page. It's also worth noting that when we initially published this review, our overall top coffee grinder was the Baratza Virtuoso, which has since been replaced by the Virtuoso+. It's comparable, performance-wise, to the Virtuoso, but has a digital display and a 40-second timer.


Wirecutter senior staff writer Rachel Wharton, who worked on the 2021 and 2022 updates of this guide, has decades of experience in breaking down complicated culinary subjects for readers, as well as a good grasp of sensory analysis and coffee-brewing principles. The research and reporting in this version of the guide builds on the work of Cale Guthrie Weissman (who wrote the previous versions of this guide and spent months researching and testing grinders) and coffee writer Liz Clayton.


This guide is based on many years of hands-on testing and research, beginning in 2015. For the 2022 update, we spent two weeks performing testing of two newly available grinders. This was in addition to several months of research and reporting, which had us sorting through newly available grinders, interviewing experts, re-researching all of our old recommendations and dismissals, and combing through a mountain of existing reviews of high- and low-end machines, as well as recommendations and long-term testing notes from Wirecutter staff.


Perhaps most important, we understand that for many people switching from a small, cheap blade grinder (which you can stash in the kitchen cupboard between uses) to a $100 or $200 device that is messier and louder and demands permanent counter space is a big deal. Coffee is a particularly beloved topic at Wirecutter, and many of our staff buy and use these picks daily, and provide detailed feedback. We know how these grinders operate in real-world conditions, and whether they truly improve your daily coffee drinking existence or get in the way of it.


Even the best burr grinders will produce some fines and boulders, but good grinders will yield a lot fewer of them, and the ones at the right size will be more consistently shaped, too. And that makes for better coffee. The short explanation, said Rao, is that fines will brew too quickly and thus too long, giving you the bitter, astringent, tannic flavors of over-extracted coffee. Boulders brew too slowly and thus not long enough, giving you the weak, or even sour, flavors of under-extracted coffee.


We rated electric burr grinders first and foremost on the quality and consistency of their grind, the number-one thing a good grinder must do well. But there are other features and factors to consider, like how easy the machine is to use and how long it lasts. A good grinder should be simple to operate, maintain, and clean, and it should last for years, with proper maintenance. These and other features are explained in more detail below.


For the 2022 update, we wanted to revisit all our top picks from the previous guide to see what might have changed, test two new electric burr grinders on the market and compare them against our picks, and check back in on the cult favorite Fellow Ode, which had just been released around the time of our last update.


To find the right grind setting on each machine for a taste test, and to test for grind-size consistency, we used the Kruve coffee sifter and guide. The sifter works by separating boulders and fines into separate compartments; grounds at the ideal size are left in between. With each grinder, we used the Kruve tools to calibrate a medium-fine grind for drip coffee, and later to visually quantify which machines had the most grounds in the target range. In other words, with better machines, you should see fewer fines and boulders and more grounds that are in your target range.


Once we separated boulders and fines, we were able to see how many of those boulders were extra-large or odd-shaped, which can also affect the way coffee tastes. (Kyle Ramage said he worries more about there being too many boulders than too many fines, partly because fines are inevitable as brittle beans are jostled or ground, and partly because he thinks boulders are what really muddy the flavor of the coffee.)


In original tests of the Baratza and OXO grinders in 2017, we also had access to professionally trained palates and a suite of brewing and analytical equipment at the Counter Culture Coffee lab in New York City. There, we used a refractometer to measure the extraction percentage (essentially, how much coffee you get from the coffee grounds) and total dissolved solids (TDS), based on the light refracted by the particles within the coffee. These measurements told us how much of the coffee was dissolved into the water, and thus how successful the extraction of the grinds was. (A well-extracted cup of coffee should measure between 18% to 22% extraction on a refractometer.)


Equally important, the Counter Culture team taught us that no professional tool was as accurate as a trained palate when it comes to determining over- and under-extraction. The last step was to have their professionally trained team taste the coffee made with each grinder.


Baratza has a great reputation among customers and coffee professionals for durability and customer service. Almost every part of the Baratza grinder is repairable or replaceable, which is rare among grinders designed for home use, and the company has detailed video guides for many fixes.


Timemore has been making high-end manual grinders for several years, which have earned strong reviews from coffee experts. With the C2, their budget grinder, the company purposefully sought to bring the price well under $100. It did this by using PCTG plastic, rather than steel, in some of the interior pieces that hold the burr mechanism together, by skipping some of the higher-end finishes, and by using a burr set that is less complex than their high end models. The C2 is made of a thick, sturdy aluminum alloy metal, rather than the glass or plastic of many other low-cost manual machines, and it includes a one-year warranty.


Unlike blade grinders, which randomly blitz coffee beans into smaller and smaller pieces, burr grinders cut coffee beans between a set of two grooved burrs, the same way flour is milled. The space between the two burrs determines the final size of the coffee grounds, so the grounds end up being a much more consistent size than anything buzzed in a blade grinder.


We tested the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, intrigued by its encyclopedic list of options and features. But the abundance of settings (timed dosing down to 0.2-second increments, and nearly 60 grind sizes) and complicated digital interface made this grinder difficult to use. It took forever for us to dial in. And perhaps more importantly, our tests produced over-extracted batches each time, which means there are likely too many small particles in the results.


We had also wanted to test the heavy-duty retro burr grinder from KitchenAid, which is shaped like a professional grinder. It came highly recommended by the coffee experts at Abraço in New York City and is still available online in some places, but the company informed us the model has been discontinued.


Brewing coffee is a scientific process, and the more consistent your variables are, the closer you'll get to achieving your perfect cup day in, day out. Be it French-press, drip, pour-over, or espresso, the most important thing after fresh beans is a precision grinder.


Burr grinders and blade grinders are your two basic options. Burr grinders are pricier, but they offer more uniform results; they work by carefully crushing coffee beans between two revolving sharp-edged surfaces, or "burrs," and perform better than blade grinders because you can adjust the space between those burrs to determine the size of the grounds.


Blade grinders, on the other hand, work similarly to blenders, pulverizing coffee beans with a propeller-like blade attached to a motor. You won't get consistent results, but you will always get coffee, and you won't be breaking the bank, either. We've been testing coffee grinders for years to find the best ones out there. You can read more about our testing methods here, along with a rundown of which grind size to use for which brewing method.


However, when we tried a finer grind for espresso (250-500 micrometers), the results were only 50 to 70 percent on-target, with the irregular particles mostly being fines. A too-small grind can lead to over-extraction, which results in a bitter brew. So, while this machine will serve most home coffee brewers very well, we recommend upgrading to the Baratza Sette 270 if you plan on making espresso regularly.


We ended up with a little more than half of our target French press grind size, with lots of fines mixed in, but fared slightly better when we switched to a coarser setting. Our coffee was certainly a step up from the batches made with blade grinders.


Otherwise, it's a better investment than any blade grinder we've tested, so if you're not willing to make the investment in an Encore (or a Fellow Ode), this will be a major improvement in your home coffee setup.


That said, this is a do-it-all package at a reasonable price, and if you take your home coffee seriously, it's a great step toward improving your setup without making a major investment (top quality burr grinders can easily go for four figures). 041b061a72


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