Why Are Burr Coffee Grinders Better Than Blade?

Why Are Burr Coffee Grinders Better Than Blade?

Oh look it’s coffee o’clock!

Life can bring you situations where you may have a “Y” in front of you and have to choose what road to take; either left or right. You may say, “Which way should I go?”. You see, the coffee life brings us to situations where we too may be presented to a “Y” and are forced to make decisions. Among those decisions comes the topic of choosing a grinder. As a subtopic to grinders there is a “Y” decision to make, burr or blade grinder.

…and no, you can’t just grind coffee in the food processor. ūüôā

Today we are going to talk about this – why burr grinders are better than blade. So if you have questions regarding this subtopic of grinders, then you have come to the right place.

Burr Coffee Grinders vs Blade Coffee Grinders

Any barista or coffee enthusiast will tell you that in the assembly line of a perfect cup of joe, one of the most important piece of equipment is the grinder. Coffee professionals tell us that we should be buying our grinders first.

Regardless of your opinion on this suggestion by coffee professionals, the point is that we should be focused on and prepare ourselves to the end product of our cup of coffee. When people think this, they reckon the coffee beans to be the most important part. As you see, we fail to realize that poorly ground coffee beans will bring you problems in the taste of your coffee. Good beans need and deserve the right grinding for the right process.

What’s the Difference Between Burr and Blade Grinders

burr vs blade coffee grinderA blade grinder is pretty easy to explain. They have a propeller-looking blade in the center of the grinder itself. It is a lot like one that you would find in a blender.

A burr grinder is made up of two abrasive surfaces that revolve (those are the burrs), in between which the coffee beans are ground most likely a few beans at a time.

Flat & Conical Burr Grinders

There are two different kinds of burrs found.

  1. Flat
  2. Conical

The flat burrs, as you see above, are different from the conical burrs but they both do the same thing: grind coffee. The distance between the burs can be changed which will change the size of the coffee bean grounds. Conical burr grinders have two cone shaped burrs with ridges that grind (a more correct word would be-crush) the coffee beans, while the flat burr grinders have two flat, identical, and face-serrated rings; these are the flat burrs. One of them is stationary. The other one is turned by the grinder motor. Conical burr grinders are leaned on by experts and I believe I agree with them on this.

What One Is Better?

Coffee professionals lean more on burr grinders over blade because more uniformity in the grounds is achieved. Not only that, but you have more control over the uniform size with burr grinders than you do with blade grinders. A consistent grind is much harder to achieve with a blade grinder, especially if you want a coarser ground of coffee bean. Experts highly recommend burr grinders, especially for anyone who is making coffee using the french press method or even the pour over method.¬†Although blade grinders are cheaper than burr grinders, the coffee-educated people will express the need of going to burr. Blade grinders aren’t very consistent in their grinding of coffee beans and doesn’t make quality coffee. You never know what you will get with blade grinders. You may get variations in your coffee bean grounds; anywhere from powder/dust to chunks. On top of that the coffee grounds get static. That means that now the coffee will have a tendency to stick to EVERYTHING. As you can conclude this may come to be a huge mess to clean up. This is why I don’t recommend you getting a blade grinder. Now here is another “Y” in our coffee life:

High Or Low-Speed?

High-speed burr grinders tend to heat up the coffee beans up kind of like the blade grinders. That is not a good thing. But the upside of high speed grinders is that they give the user more control over the grind size. They tend to be pretty consistent. They are often called “direct drive” grinders because the motor is directly connected to the burrs and so both the motor and burrs turn at the same speed. The downside to high-speed is that it has more of a tendency to create dust or powder, but still are way better than blade grinders. They also tend to cause problems with static.

The most desired among the coffee lovers are the low-speed burr grinders. These offer very little to no static charge. Also they are very quiet in their operation and produce very little heat to the beans. They have options of “direct drive” or “gear reduction” grinders.

Now To The Point Of My Article

In my research I have found that in general, burr grinders are hands down the best for making coffee. Of course they come in different shapes and sizes. So if you are looking for a more sleek and compact look you may want to look into manual burr grinders. There are manual and electric burr grinders.

In my coffee journey, I have found several burr grinders that do you right, both in price and in quality:

Electric burr grinders: Capresso 560.01, Breville BCG600SIL, Mr. Coffee, Bodum Bistro, and Cuisinart DBM-8

Manual burr grinders: DuraCasa, Galleany, Kona Slim, Bruntmor Slim, Blisslii, Kuissential, Hario Skerton, and Tanors Mill.

Phew! I know this was a lot to take in. By now your brain may be mush but I really hope you took the time to educate yourself by reading this article. My aim was to clearly explain why burr grinders are better than blade and to explain things within that topic¬†that haven’t¬†really been considered. Both you and I can now¬†come to the realization and conclusion that burr grinders are definitely better than blade grinders. Thank you for reading and letting me help you achieve the best cup of coffee that you can offer yourself. As I always say, I hope that you are now more educated and equipped to face the world of coffee with great boldness and confidence.

What Kind Of Coffee Grinder Is Best For French Press?

What Kind Of Coffee Grinder Is Best For French Press?

I go through life coming in contact with all kinds of people. Among those are those who are coffee lovers. The most common place I come in contact with them is at coffee shops. A lot of the time we meet at a high-end coffee shop and this comment or question often comes up: “How do they make their coffee so well?”.

As I do my research I have found that it isn’t only about the kinds of beans or the coffee machine, a lot of it has to do with the quality of grinder that you have. Not just any grinder will do.. if you are making french press you need to use the right kind of grinder.

The Best Coffee Grinder for the French Press

coffee grind for french pressHaving a coffee grinder is an important tool to have. Sure you could grind your coffee in a food processor but why not use the right tool for the job.

Grinding it right will give you the full-aromatic experience. You can choose the beans that you want instead of buying some already ground products. But trying to find the best coffee bean grinder for your home can be very hard. I mean there are different styles, features, options and of course, prices. I am sure that you want to make the best decision when choosing your grinder; one that looks good in your home; one that comes with the features you need; and one that has little affect on your pocketbook. People like to say that your coffee grinder should be at least 1/3 of the cost of your coffee machine to match the quality.

True coffee fanatics know that the best method of making the most superb cup of coffee is by using a french press. French presses are cheaper and come with a satisfaction in your cup of coffee that only comes with a french press. Using a french press is actually pretty simple but an important aspect of coffee brewing has been disgustingly overlooked. What I mean is that people don’t think much about the grind. The grind is very important especially if you want to¬†use the french press to its complete potential.

So as you look at those around you and look at the coffee life they lead, you will notice that this oversight is a real problem. This could be for various reasons:

  1. They don’t like to do their research
  2. Family traditions
  3. Largely also due to false advertising of grinder companies

There are many grinders out there. If you read reviews of each, you will come to find that they are all alike. The “alike” that I am talking about is that you will find that there are pros and cons to all grinders. People who brew coffee that requires fine ground coffee beans, need to find the best grinder that achieves a consistent fine grind. People who brew coffee that requires coarse ground coffee beans, need to find the best grinder that achieves a consistent coarse grind. But if people want to produce different kinds of coffee, then they need to look for the best well-rounded grinder. There are grinders that use blades and others that use burrs to grind their coffee. I will explain in another article why burr grinders are better than blade grinders. But you will find, as you do a little research on burr grinders, that most have a specific setting for french press that supposedly gives you the desired coarseness for french pressing coffee. But mechanically, they are incompetent to actually make this a reality. This seems to be a problem that impacts most cheaper burr grinders. Like they say, “You get what you pay for!”.

Related Reading – French Press Coffee vs Stovetop Espresso

To put this simply the best coffee grinder for a french press is one that is consistent in the production of a coarse grind. Uniformity is the key to success in this subject. Coffee grounds should be consistent in size. If you have too many chunks it will make your brew weak and too many finer particles will give you “mud” or “sludge”. In my experience, I found that the best way to give you an explanation of the desired coarseness for french press is by saying that coffee grounds should be SLIGHTLY finer than steel cut oats.

My title tells you the purpose of this article. I really want to open up your eyes so that you can look past all these claims that manufacturers have set up for themselves so that you are able to determine for yourself, in your new-found knowledge, what the best french press coffee grinder is, based on what you have read above and on what the french press expects from us. When choosing your coffee grinder, you need to educate yourself on several things:

  1. The features
  2. The convenience
  3. The performance
  4. The build quality
  5. The value for your money

Let me tell you that there are so many grinders out there that are incapable of giving you a coarse enough grind, and there are others that barely pass as competent, but among those here are some of the best: Kyocera VM-45CF, Breville BCG600SIL, Capresso 565, Zassenhaus 156BU, and Baratza Encore.

Now, I have found that many people prefer manual grinders due to the fact that they may be more consistent in their grinding. Many people seem to be pretty satisfied with the Zassenhaus brand. Here are what I have found to be most effective to use for french pressing coffee: Zassenhous Santiago, Zassenhaus 156BU, and Zassenhous Brasilia 151DG.

There is a growing love for coffee everywhere that hasn’t lost momentum. People are making sure they are having the best experience in their coffee-drinking and coffee-making lives.¬†You may live alone, have a family of your own or you may be living with your parents; you may have moved a lot, lost a job or lost that perfect girl or guy but coffee has remained faithful to you throughout the years. The last thing you want to do is neglect it. There are so many things to learn about coffee. It is always good to educate yourself, especially about the things that you are most passionate about. I can only conclude that since you have read my article, coffee is something you are passionate about. As always, I hope that you are now more educated and equipped to face the world of coffee with great boldness and confidence.


Can You Use a Manual Grinder for French Press Coffee?

Can You Use a Manual Grinder for French Press Coffee?

There are over 100 million daily coffee drinkers in the United States and 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink coffee everyday. Wow! Just like gas fuels a car, in the same way coffee fuels this nation. It is no doubt that many of Americans are well educated as to what a good cup of coffee should taste like. The educated know that it isn’t only the quality of the coffee beans used that makes a good cup of coffee; it is also about the process of making it and the equipment used. Making coffee in a french press is a perfect example of this. People have tried to perfect the art of using a manual grinder to grind their coffee beans for french press use.

Hand Grinding For French Press

manual grinder for french pressThere are many ways of making coffee, all of which require different coarseness of coffee bean grind. For example when you use a drip coffee maker, you should be looking for a finer grind of coffee in comparison to that of a french press.¬† One of the least expensive options is to use a manual grinder. For those who don’t have time constraints in the morning, this is a great direction to go in if you are wanting to save some money. It isn’t only a cheaper tool to buy but it also has no affect on your electricity bill. It is also cheaper to buy whole coffee beans than it is to buy them already ground. Not to mention that the other approaches to making coffee require more things that you need to buy. For example: in drip coffee makers you need to buy paper filters or get washable gold filters among other possible things.

For some fascinating reason, people like to get their exercise by using a manual grinder along with their french press. French pressing seems to have become more popular for various reasons. Here are some:

  1. The naturally-present oil in the coffee is not absorbed. This oil seems to give the cup of coffee a desirable creaminess and taste.
  2. People like investing their time in the making of their cup of coffee. It gives them a greater sense of satisfaction when they drink it.
  3. It is cheaper and requires less parts in making the cup of coffee.
  4. It is the purest form of coffee (classic) that captures the concentrated flavors with results such as these: deep, dark and full-flavored.
  5. The french press itself is smaller in size and more attractive in a home than a coffee maker.
  6. Drinking coffee using this method can be therapeutic.
  7. You have control over the strength of the coffee.
  8. A french press is easy to clean.
  9. A french press can also be used in place of a tea infuser to brew loose tea.

Does a Manual Grinder Make Good Coarse Ground Coffee?

Before I explain why there is a need for a coarse grind of coffee beans I am going to explain how a french press works.

First off, the reason for a coarse grind of coffee beans is because finer grounds of coffee will seep through the press filter and into the coffee. So the process is as follows: you place your coarse ground coffee beans in the french press with hot water together. Then you stir it and leave it there for a few minutes; this is the brewing taking place.

When the few minutes are up, you then press the plunger to trap the coffee grounds at the bottom of the french press beaker. So this is the reason why french pressed coffee captures more of the coffee’s flavor and keeps the natural coffee bean oil in it because coffee grounds remain in direct contact with the brewing water. So instead of using a paper filter like in drip coffee makers, the french press has a mesh that isolates the coffee bean grind from the brewing water and so retains the natural goodness of coffee. This is the simple process to using a french press.

Some french presses are better than others. If you are interested in starting your new journey to a better cup of coffee, here are some french presses that have been the most successful in giving the most consistent cup of coffee: KONA or Bodum Brazil.

Are Manual Grinders Good for French Press?

Now that we have touched on french presses let’s talk about manual grinders. Let’s be clear about something. Manual grinders are not the best for french pressing coffee because they falter a bit in the coarse range.

Hario makes both the Mini Mill and the Skerton, which are among the best for coarse range. These two are top of the line manual grinders that use burrs instead of blades. These burs are ceramic so they do not rust. Burs remain sharp longer than blades do. But when burs begin to lose their sharpness, they start crushing the beans more than grinding them, kind of like how using a food processor to grind coffee would do. This is no good for french pressing coffee, as it produces dust.

Dust or fine grind is not desirable for french pressing coffee as it leaves “mud” at the bottom of your cup of coffee which may be unpleasant. That is why it is essential that you get the best tool for the job. Manual grinders take a little elbow grease but if you don’t mind grinding your own coffee, you can produce coffee as good, if not better than, using an¬† electric grinder. You see, manual grinders don’t heat beans up during the grinding process which can have a small impact on the flavor. They also are known to be more durable than electric grinders. The backbone for a good cup of coffee is also about the consistency of the coarseness of the grind and so getting better quality equipment will help you reach that goal.

You are now at the end of my article. You read this because you had questions about the things that I talked about or maybe you were just curious, but whatever the reasons are, I hope that you are now more educated and equipped to face the world of coffee with great boldness and confidence.

Grinding Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

Grinding Coffee Beans Without A Grinder

Can you grind coffee beans without a coffee grinder? Yeah, it’s not optimal but it can be done.

There are actually a few popular methods to grinding beans when you are lacking a grinder – or power to operate your grinder. I’ve outlined some of the best ways possible below with a quick summary and tutorial for each technique.

Of all of these the most popular method is probably to grind coffee in a food processor.

Grind Coffee Beans With A Mortar & Pestle

grind beans no grinderThe slowest but probably the best way to grind coffee beans without the aid of a grinder tool is to use a mortar and pestle. For generations, hundreds and thousands of years actually the mortar/pestle combo has been used to mash things together, break up small things, and generally pulverize stuff.

You usually think of old timers grinding wheat into flour on one of these but you could just as easily grind beans into a fine powder that would rival any blade grinder run on electricity today. By crushing you get bits and pieces that aren’t jagged meaning your extraction will be a bit nicer and even bodied.

This is pretty manual though and takes a good deal of time. If you haven’t lost power and want a faster solution then turn to your food processor.

Grind Coffee Beans With A Food Processor

grind coffee in food processorA very common question on this topic I get is, “can you grind coffee in a food processor?”

Well, assuming you have plenty of working electricity and have a good¬†food processor you can easily shred you coffee beans into coffee worth particles in a food processor. If you try this it’s likely that your particles will only get so small because the food processor is pretty large bodied compared to a real electric blade grinder.

Like using a blade coffee grinder the shredded and splintered beans will not give the best tasting coffee but it will be passable for most people.

If you do try this out then it’s probably best to only use the “grind” for coffee made in a french press and many of the larger particles will simply not extract much desirable flavors without a good steeping.

The large sizes basically require the steeping of a french press pot, just be ready for a bit of bitterness caused by the random small particles and coffee dust the food processor creates.

If you are thinking about using a food processor to grind coffee you can always improve the results by using a fine mesh sieve to filter out the dust. Then use the larger particles to make french press coffee.

Grind Coffee Beans With A Bag And A Hammer

Like the mortar and pestle method the beat the crap out of your beans method will crush beans into smaller coffee sized particles but won’t likely be precise enough to get a good small and even grind size. In some cases beating the beans will leave some quite large pieces that are even a bit big for french press but may well work for cowboy coffee.

The hammer and beans in a bag trick is a frequent way to get coffee while camping or spending time on the open trail. Many people don’t travel with equipment and find that whole beans stay fresher longer. By hammering the beans to a smaller particle size you can then steep them in a pot of near boiling water to make coffee and then when you are ready to indulge just pour the coffee and grounds through a paper or cloth filter.

Sock anyone?

A Video Demonstration

This video also demonstrates a great way to prepare roasted beans for brewing without a grinder.

This page is still a work in progress as I want to list off a few more common methods for making coffee grind but in the mean time we do recommend checking out the manual grinders listed over on Grider Expo. We know that electric grinders are way easier to use but in the event of a power outage or a camping trip it pays to have a good manual grinder. Their coffee grinder reviews will help you find one that’s going to work for you.