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How to choose the correct coffee grinder ?

There is a difference between grinders for espresso and grinders for filter-style brews, so make sure you buy one designed for your preferred method, as shown opposite and on pages 38–39. However, there are some key choices that affect both types of grinders.

Grinders with blades are most commonly available, and usually run for as long as you hold down the “on” button. Even if you are using a timer to measure how long to grind for and how fine to go, you will find it hard to replicate accurately the size of ground coffee particles from one cup to another, especially if you vary the amount of coffee each time. Blade grinders also lead to a lot of grit at the bottom of your cup, particularly if you brew with a French press. An advantage is that they are generally quite affordable. If you would like to step it up a notch, invest a little more money in a grinder with “burrs,” conical or flat (see below), that will crush the beans into particles of a more uniform size and allow for more even extractions. Some grinders have “stepped” adjustments that lock into set grind sizes; others are “stepless” and allow you to adjust in tiny increments. Burr grinders do not have to be expensive, especially if they are the manual, hand-cranked variety. However, if you want to spend a bit more or plan to grind large quantities of coffee each day, choose an electric one.

They often have a timer function that you can use as a way of dosing how much coffee you grind. Keep in mind that the coarser a grinder is set, the less time it takes to grind through a 1oz (30g) dose of beans, and the finer it is set, the longer it takes to grind the same amount.


These grinders are cheaper than espresso grinders. They can be adjustable, but will not normally grind fine enough for espresso. They also rarely have a dosing, or measuring, mechanism. As explained opposite, avoid buying the ones that use whirling blades to chop the coffee into pieces, as these are hard to control and often create fine dust that will over-extract, as well as several large chunks of bean that will barely extract at all. This can result in an imbalance in flavor that even good beans and correct brewing can’t fix.


Engineered to grind very finely, espresso grinders are adjustable in small increments, and often portion out coffee for each dose. They are heavier than filter-style grinders, with solid motors and a higher price point, but they are an essential investment if you want to produce really good espresso at home.

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