There’s nothing quite like coffee made from freshly ground beans to wake you up in the morning. The strong aroma, the crisp taste, and the caffeine kick that you get from freshly ground coffee are incomparable to the quick and easy instant coffee.
Once you have taken your time to pick your favorite bean, and even have your brewing method in mind, you need to decide what kind of grinder to use to grind up your beans! Let’s have a closer look: Burr compared to Blade Grinders!
Coffee grinders come in two main types: blade and burr grinders. There is a clear preference for one over the other amongst coffee drinkers. After going through this detailed distinction between the two methods to grind coffee, you can decide which one of these coffee grinders works better for you.
Burr Coffee Grinders
Let’s first have a look at burr coffee grinders: flat plate vs conical burr grinders
What is a Burr Grinder?
Electric burr grinders exist in two types: conical or flat plate coffee grinders. Conical burr grinders have two conical plates with ridges that sit at an adjustable distance from each other. Flat burr grinders have two ring plates that are serrated sit parallel to each other, also at an adjustable distance.
These plates work together with the use of a motor to crush the beans into an even grind. The two abrasive surfaces can be adjusted for distance, according to the size of the grind you want at the end. The closer the surfaces are, the finer the final grind from such a burr coffee grinder will be. This allows to create coffee grounds that are coarse for use in a French Press, or fine and small as you need to brew an espresso.
How does a Burr Grinder Work?
A conical burr grinder works by gathering beans between two conical burrs (one stationary and one moving that is controlled through a motor) so the beans can be crushed into a uniform size. The beans are placed in the top compartment and are drawn between the conical burrs of the burr coffee grinder systematically as more space is created for them. The crushed beans enter another compartment of the conical burr grinder where they can be removed and the coffee grounds are ready for use.
Blade Coffee Grinders
The next option you have are blade grinders. Let’s check out how they produce ground coffee in detail:
What is a Blade Grinder?
A blade grinder is what you can compare to a blender in the sense that it works with a propelling blade in the center of the main compartment. The grinder’s blade is fast and powerful but they are not the greatest to use for coffee because their grind is not consistent.
Your beans might be ground up in record speed, but they will be uneven in size. Your coffee grounds and final brew won’t be of the quality they could potentially be. A blade grinder is not recommended by coffee aficionados or baristas because you can get a much better cup of coffee by using a burr grinder.
These grinders came around in the 20th century, getting their inspiration from the propellers on motorboats. The speed of the propellers used the energy produced to chop and cut, which worked great in blenders and grinders alike.
How does a Blade Grinder Work?
This machine works by combining the processes of chopping and mixing with the use of a metal blade that spins at high speed. You can compare the mechanism to that of a blender or a food processor or even a rotary lawnmower, just with a smaller size.
To use a blade grinder, you start by putting a desired amount of beans into the main compartment of the grinder. Press the button for a few seconds until you reach your desired coarseness and that’s it, you’re done!
Why Is a Burr Grinder Better than a Blade Grinder?
Coffee grinders with a blade are a budget-friendly option as compared to a coffee grinder, costing you under $20 even for a good quality one, and you can find them practically anywhere; your local supermarket or kitchen appliance store will have one for sure! Plus, they are super convenient; you just need to push a single button to get the results.
Saying all this, however, you need to know that blade grinders have no control to determine your desired grind size; you just get what you get. And the grinds that it gives you are likely going to be inconsistent in size, resulting in a low-quality cup of coffee. The machines themselves are only so cheap because they are cheaply made and the grinder’s blade emits heat, which can alter the taste of your coffee.
Burr grinders, on the other hand, give you a lot more control. They are adjustable, meaning you can get your preferred grind size and a consistent grind for your preferred brewing technique like using a French Press or using a drip coffee maker. Plus, the coffee grounds are going to be uniformly consistent, giving you a great-tasting cup of coffee at the end!
Blade grinders are less expensive compared to burr grinders. They usually won’t last as long. A burr grinder is also super durable. The burrs don’t dull as quickly as blades, giving you a coffee grinder that lasts for years.
A burr grinder comes with its own set of cons. They aren’t very easily available. You’re probably not going to see one at your local grocery store or appliance store. You might have to visit a specialty coffee store or order one online. These machines can also cost a little more, but their durability makes up for the attached price tag.
Even with its flaws, the burr grinder is still a far superior machine to have, especially if you’re looking to get a great quality cup of coffee at the end of the day!
Is a Manual Coffee Grinder Better than an Electric?
Manual grinders are small, simple, and durable machines that only require a little bit of elbow grease and not much else. Because they are such simple machines, you are often going to get a good quality one for a low price. They are also portable because of their small size, plus they give you an even and consistent result every time. The only problem with these devices is that because of their small size, they yield small amounts of coffee per grind round, plus it has very limited options for the grind size you can get.
Can you use a Manual Burr Grinder?
When you think of a manual burr grinder, you can picture a salt or pepper grinder with an attached rotating handle and a compartment where the grounds are collected. The mechanism it uses is the same, only it gives you more leverage with the rotating handle.
The manual burr grinder consists of the same components like the electric grinder to grind up the coffee beans. The results will be the same. It will take a little longer and be somewhat labor-intensive.
Electric grinders are super convenient machines that will give you a consistent result with many different grind size options; all with the push of a button. However, if you aren’t willing to spend a lot on a high-end grinder, you might get stuck with one which is noisy, poorly build, and has a low performance.
Both grinders have their pros and cons in their own regard, you just need to find the one that works for you; the yield on both machines can be great, or bad depending on what you want.
Can You Use a Burr or Blade Grinder for Espresso?
Espresso requires an extremely finely ground coffee bean. The consistency of the grind has to be as fine as table salt or powder if you want to get a proper cup of espresso. Espresso machines require the grind of the coffee to be extremely fine, almost like powder.
Burr grinders use their two plates to crush coffee beans into your required grind size. This works out especially well for espressos because burr grinders can get you an extremely fine and consistent grind, which will be perfect for a quality cup of coffee. Burr grinders are the ideal choice for espressos.
Blade grinders work by chopping up the coffee beans; the longer you let the blades propel, the finer the grind on the coffee will be. If you let it go long enough to get a fine grind, the heat created within the grinder will alter the taste of the coffee and the static created by the spinning blades will make the coffee stick to the sides of the grinder. Even if you manage to get this coffee out of the grinder, chances are that you will get an inconsistent texture, which will result in a low-quality cup of coffee.
We don’t recommend to use a blade grinder, especially for a fine grind like you would require to make an espresso.
There is a clear winner if you want to compare which type of grinder to get a better result with. Burr grinders are far superior to their blade counterparts, If you are willing to spend a few extra bucks at the start, you will be getting a much better result. Go for a burr grinder to enjoy the best quality cup of coffee your beans offer!