There are lots of different grinders out there; blade grinders, burr grinders, disc, and conical grinders, etc. And there are lots of different ways to brew coffee; pour overs, espresso, french press, etc. So what kind of grinder is the best one for you?
While blade grinders are one of the least expensive options on the market, they are also one of the least consistent. Much like a blender, a blade grinder cuts and smashes the beans, yielding an uneven product of larger coffee particles mixed in with coffee that has been reduced to powder. Another con of blade grinders is that the blades spin at a very high RPM, putting your coffee at risk of being burned.
If you have had a blade grinder for years and aren’t quite ready to make the switch to something different, here are a couple of tips. There is a sweet spot in the amount of coffee you are grinding in a blade grinder. Try to grind right around 3 ounces for the most evenly ground coffee (This is a good number for most grinders, but it’s always a good idea to check the recommended amount from the manufacturer.) To avoid burning the coffee, try not to grind for more than 20 seconds. Lastly, when grinding a small amount of coffee, for approx. one cup of coffee, shake the grinder as it is grinding to more evenly distribute the particles.
Hand or burr grinders are incredibly consistent, and not necessarily much more expensive than a blade grinder. There are pros and cons to these little guys. They can be somewhat tiring and time-consuming (about a minute per cup). However, the coffee particle sizes are much more even and uniform than with the blade grinder. There is also no risk of burning the coffee, as with the blade grinder.
And if you are willing to spend yet a few more bucks, there are electric-powered burr grinders (conical or flat) that eliminate the time and energy factors. By far, these produce the most consistent grounds, giving you the highest quality cup of coffee. While a good electric burr grinder can run as high as $1000, there are some decent options for $80-$500 for those hoping to have an excellent coffee experience without cleaning out their wallet.