We’ve received a few questions lately about grinders and I thought I’d take a few minutes to break down some things to think about as you consider which grinder to purchase. This is intended to be somewhat short. If you’d like a really in-depth look at different grinders you can check out.

Key Coffee Grinder Questions

  • How much $$$$ do you want to spend? (isn’t that always the question?)
  • What kind of coffee do you brew?

Yep. It’s really about that simple.

Check Out This Video On Burr vs Blade Grinders

Burr Or Blade Coffee Grinder?

coffee grinder cone burr

The inner cone burr on a conical burr grinder. You can see how it is designed to crush coffee rather than chop.

There are basically 2 kinds of grinders on the market today – a blade grinder and a burr grinder. The blade grinder is the $20-$40 grinder you get at the store that has a little propeller shaped blade. You put the coffee in, close the top, push a button, whir-whir-whir, ground coffee. Burr grinders have two ceramic or steel burrs that crush the coffee into nice even pieces.

Here’s the quick deal – a burr grinder is always going to grind more consistently than a blade grinder. Blade grinders do 2 things to coffee that are bad:

1) They don’t grind evenly. Not a huge deal if you’re just doing french press stuff. It’s only a moderate deal if you’re doing drip or pour over coffees. However, if you are even remotely considering espresso it’s not even in the realm of possibility.

2) They generate heat – lots of heat. Heat causes the beans to lose flavor and the oils on the beans to come off in the grinder. We want the oils in the cup – not in the grinder. This is particularly true if you’re brewing dark roast coffees (which have a lot of oils on the outside of the beans already) you lose a lot in the extraction of the coffee.


I’m loving my Baratza Virtuoso grinder for general purpose grinding. It’s fantastic for everything from a French Press to my Aeropress. If you think you might have espresso in your future, you might want to consider some higher end options like the Baratza Sette.

Next week we’ll have a more in depth discussion about the Baratza product line and which one is best for you.