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Burr coffee grinders & the best way to grind your brew

  1. What is a burr coffee grinder?
  2. How does a burr coffee grinder compare to a blade grinder?
  3. Is there a way to easily grind coffee without a coffee grinder?
  4. How should I grind my coffee for the best result?
  5. How do I best clean a coffee grinder?

One of the great things about coffee is that you have to work a little to get an excellent cup of java. This work results in a fantastic payoff; a delicious cup of coffee! But what some coffee lovers may be wondering is the best way to grind coffee beans, and what is the best type of grinder?

Burr grinder
Inside of a burr grinder

What is a burr coffee grinder?

A burr grinder or burr mill is a coffee grinder comprised of two revolving burrs, which are ridged blades. The coffee beans get crushed up between the stationary and moving burr blade. The burr grinder comes in manual and electric variations, and there are also two types of burr blades: conical and flat. 

  • Conical- The conical burr grinder comprises a conical rotating burr that crushes the beans against a stationary burr. This grinder is excellent for getting thoroughly crushed beans, but the grinds may be uneven.
  • Flat- this style features two flat ring-like burrs. This grinder is a bit more labor and energy-intensive but does lead to even and fine grinds, making it a better choice for espresso.

How does a burr coffee grinder compare to a blade grinder?

The burr grinder isn’t the only grinder on the market. Instead, the blade grinder is the burr grinder’s primary rival. Like the burr grinder, blade grinders come in electric and manual styles.

The blade grinders have blender-like blades that cut and chop the beans rather than crush them. The blade grinders are often cheaper and a bit easier to use, but they also result in less precise and coarser coffee grinds. In this way, a burr grinder will be superior for your finished product and your overall brew in the end. This is because the more controlled and consistent grind sizes will be able to unlock more aroma and flavor.

Is there an easy way to grind coffee without a grinder?

With all this talk about grinders, some coffee lovers may wonder if a grinder is necessary. However, you can grind coffee beans with other household items and appliances rather than using a grinder. 

  • A blender or a food processor can also slice and grind beans like a blade grinder. 
  • For a more pulverized and crushed grind, using a mortar and pestle can be a fun and effective way to grind beans. However, be sure to use a mortar that you don’t also grind potent herbs or ingredients in, or you may have a spicy coffee brew!

How should I grind my coffee for the best result?

The best way to grind coffee beans depends on two main factors; your beans’ roast type and the brew style you will use. Different roast types synergize with different grind types too. For example, the denser, thicker light roasted beans will be difficult to grind to a fine texture. But fine grinds are simple to achieve for lighter, more brittle dark roasts.

The next factor to consider is the brewing method you will use. This goes part and parcel with roast type but not always! For example, espresso will only ever use a fine grind, but one can be a bit more creative for pour-over coffee. One day you may want a finer grind, and other days something coarser, affecting what grind is “best” to use!

How do I best clean a coffee grinder or blender after grinding coffee?

An excellent way to maintain your grinder for a long time is to be sure to clean it after each grind. Here is a handy guide on how to clean your grinder after a good grinding.

  • First, turn off or unplug your grinder if it is electric.
  • Then, remove the grinding chamber and wipe that and the hopper down with a cloth. Try not to use paper towels as these can leave some lint. Also, if using any soap or detergent, clean and dry thoroughly so they don’t leave any soapy tastes. Finally, water should be used sparingly as it can corrode some metal pieces. 
  • You can take out the outer burr of your grinder by twisting it gently till it lifts out. Leave the stationary burr in; removing it’s too much hassle, but give it a nice sweep with your cloth instead.
  • Now, clean the chute, the burrs, basically anything in or on the component that looks like it may need a sweep or a dusting. Be mindful of not using cleaning agents that may leech into your grinds or water that may
  • Then, put all the pieces and components of your grinder back together.
  • Finally, get ready for the next grind!

The only way to know what grinder is right for you is to get out there and make some coffee. Happy brewing!