So you want a black coffee grinder in your kitchen. Not stainless steel, not white or even red but a black one. O.K., we have gotten over that part of the coffee grinder buying experience. You already know that by purchasing and using a good quality coffee grinder, you are allowing yourself to have the freshest cup of coffee or coffee beverage available.
Not having to go and buy a $3 cup of coffee or espresso is liberating and the financial savings can be astounding. In essence, you are selecting a machine that will grind your beans to the coarseness you desire so you can have a better quality coffee beverage experience and take some financial responsibility as well. How cool! Let’s get started.
Very coarse coffee looks much like dark raw sugar. Medium coarseness has the consistency of table salt and very fine has a powdery feel with a little grit. Coarse ground coffee does best with drip coffee makers since the coffee grinds are somewhat uneven, therefore the flavor of the coffee may not be quite the same for each cup. Medium to powdery coffee is best for the high end coffee drinks and espresso.
For a great cup of expresso, the brew time can be dramatically different based on several factors like barometric pressure, temperature and humidity. So, if you are considering a grinder exclusively for espresso, these are some factors to take into consideration in addition to the grinder itself. Unless you have gone to a barista school, be prepared to spend some time on trial and error when embarking on the making of this very equisite coffee drink.
Types of Grinders
There are basically two types of grinders available on the market today. The blade coffee grinder and the burr grinders (flat wheel and conical).
Blade Coffee Grinders
The blade coffee grinder is great for those people who just need a basic cup of coffee and could care less that their coffee has a burned taste or smell. You see, sometimes the blades can generate heat which can give your brew a burned taste. Since the coarseness of the bean is uneven with a blade grinder, the flow through the coffee is uneven, giving the coffee an inconsistent flavor with each cup. This is why a blade grinder is better used for drip coffee makers. But again, the blade grinder is better than no grinder at all!
Burr Grinders (Flat Wheel)
Burr grinders are considered to be a preferred method of grinding coffee beans. Burr grinders work by evenly crushing the beans with a a spinning wheel against a stationary flat surface. Since the wheel spins more slowly than a blade grinder, less heat is generated by friction. Even though the clean-up of a flat wheel grinder is a bit more intenstive then a blade grinder, the time is worth it!
Burr Grinders (Conical)
The advantages of a conical burr grinder over the flat wheel or the blade is that out of all of them, the conical produces the most consistent grind. Because the spin cycle is slower, there is less heat friction and it makes for an easier machine cleanup. Also, the hopper tends to clog up less.
One of the major disadvantages of this machine is that it tends to be the most expensive grinder. The cost of manufacturing the cones makes the purchase of the machine cost prohibitive for some coffee/espresso lovers. However, if you can afford it – it will pay for itself many times over.
Remember to use a medium grind if you are going to buy a blade grinder. When you make your first batch of coffee, measure the coffee and time the brewing cycle. If the cycle takes longer than 6 minutes, the coffee will taste bitter because it most probably was over extracted. Adjust the grinder to produce more coarse coffee so the brewing cycle can be less than 6 minutes. If the brewing cycle takes less than 4 minutes, adjust the grind to more coarse. The key here is to have a grinder generate as little heat as possible.
For more information about coffee grinders, coffee and dealers and anything coffee, please visit: Starbucks, About Coffee and Tea, Coffee and Espresso Lingo (cool site), coffeeforums.com, Coffee Research, Coffee Reviews, Espress Machines
How To Buy a Coffee Grinder!