what is a burr coffee grinder

Many coffee lovers prefer to grind coffee beans at home. As opposed to pre-ground coffee, grinding beans at home helps keep them fresher for longer and produces a better-tasting cup of coffee. If you’re looking to purchase a new grinder or add the grinding process to your coffee routine, it may be beneficial for you to get familiarised with its two main types – the blade coffee grinders and the burr coffee grinders.

A burr coffee grinder, also known as a burr mill, is less common but is generally thought to be the better option. So, what is a burr coffee grinder, and how is it different from a regular or blade coffee grinder? This beginners’ guide will teach you everything you need to know about burr and blade grinders to help you make an excellent choice when it’s time to select one.

Burr Coffee Grinders Explained

Types of Coffee Grinders: Blade vs Burr

Burr Grinders

manual grinding device

Burr coffee grinders are typically made with either ceramic or stainless steel components. Burr grinders feature two revolving abrasive surfaces, known as burrs, that grind ingredient between them. Burr grinders can be either conical or flat by design and are also available in electric or manual options, but more on that later.

One of the most significant benefits of using burr grinders is their consistency. They can produce evenly ground coffee beans in varying grind sizes. When it comes to making the best cup of coffee possible, consistent grind size is a great place to start as it helps to even out the flavour. The two burrs on burr mills excel at this.

Changing the distance between burrs also helps make a better cup of coffee as it allows you to customise the grind size to your preferred brewing method. You can easily adjust to make a coarse grind for a French press, finely ground coffee beans for drip coffee or a medium grind for use with an espresso machine.

Burr grinders are also highly durable and do not add a lot of heat to the coffee grounds while they work. Again, this results in a better flavour in the end.

Blade Grinders

A blade grinder, or regular coffee grinder, features a two-pronged blade that spins like a propeller. You have to add the coffee beans to the blade grinder and press a button until your coffee grounds reach the desired consistency. The blades inside chop and mix the beans, similar to a food processor or blender.

Blade grinders are generally inexpensive and easy to find as they are sold in most grocery and kitchen stores. However, a blade grinder tends to produce less consistent coffee grounds, which can somewhat diminish your coffee’s flavour.

Are There Different Types of Burr Grinders?

There are two main types of burr grinders, flat burrs and conical burrs.

Conical Burr Grinder

Conical burr grinders are the most common burr grinder used in home and professional barista settings. A conical burr coffee grinder contains a centre burr featuring a cone shape and an outer burr with serrated edges for grinding. Technically speaking, conical burrs don’t produce perfectly even grounds, but they come pretty close, and they certainly do a much better job than blade grinders.

Flat Burr Grinder

Flat burrs are extremely precise when it comes to grinding coffee. A flat burr grinder contains two circular ring-shaped burrs with sharp edges. The burrs face each other and keep beans and grounds between the burrs until a perfectly even grind is achieved. Often, flat burr grinders use more energy, are louder, and create more heat, but thanks to their precision, they are often preferred when grinding espresso.

Electric or Manual Burr Grinders

Both flat and conical burr grinders come with the option to be manual or electric.

Manual burr grinders operate with a twisting motion. A manual coffee grinder can often produce a more consistent grind and are quite simple to use without batteries or a mains power outlet.

Electric burr grinders can grind a larger quantity which can be convenient if you have a large family or prefer making larger batches of coffee grounds. Larger electric grinders may even have a bean hopper on top to store beans.

What Is the Best Type of Grinder?

Ok, now that we know about all of the different kinds of coffee grinders, do you think a burr grinder or a blade grinder would be better for you and your coffee needs? Let’s find out.

Burr Grinder Pros:

  • More control thanks to the adjustable grind size
  • Better grind consistency and quality across the beans
  • Better-tasting coffee with a consistent flavour
  • High durability product
  • Minimal heat is created during the grinding process
  • And if you go for a manual burr grinder, it will be energy efficient as well

Burr Grinder Cons:

  • Can be more expensive
  • Less available as it is not typically sold in grocery stores

Blade Grinder Pros:

  • More affordable
  • More convenient to find and purchase
  • Fast and easy to use

Blade Grinder Cons:

  • Adds more heat which can alter the flavour
  • Produces uneven grounds, which can affect the coffee’s flavour
  • The blades become dull with extended use
  • Can be less durable overall
  • Lacks grind settings

Is a Burr Coffee Grinder Worth It?

Considering the extra cost and the need to seek one out, is a burr grinder worth it compared to a blade grinder? Most coffee connoisseurs would agree that, yes, a burr grinder is, in fact, worth it. Their added durability makes up for the price difference. Their ability to produce consistent grounds without the addition of excessive heat also makes them great if you value taste and quality over immediate gratification.

However, if you are looking for a quick solution or want to save some money, a blade grinder is still a great choice compared to drinking pre-ground coffee. After all, they wouldn’t be so readily available and the most common type of coffee grinder if they weren’t, right?

Do You Need to Clean a Burr Coffee Grinder?

Just like other appliances and kitchen tools, burr coffee grinders need to be cleaned to keep them running in top shape. Most burr grinders will come with detailed instructions on this and a brush for wiping away grounds and coffee bean oil. For the most part, all you will need to do is brush off the surfaces after every use to keep it running smoothly for a long time to come.

Why Should You Grind Your Own Coffee?

Now that you know the answer to “What is a burr coffee grinder?” let’s talk about why you should grind your coffee. With all this talk of coffee grinders, you may be wondering why grinding your own coffee is so important anyway.

Some people may not be able to tell the difference, especially if they take a lot of milk or sugar with their coffee. But for the true coffee lover, the difference in freshness and flavour can make a world of difference. Even if you are not a coffee connoisseur yet, the first thing you can do to improve your overall coffee routine is start grinding your own coffee beans.

Is a Burr Grinder Right for You?

Chances are pretty good that you have a pretty significant interest in making yourself delicious coffee if you have come this far. If this is true, we strongly recommend you use a burr coffee grinder to get the best quality, consistency, and flavour every time you brew yourself a cup. Of course, a blade coffee grinder is better than choosing coffee that is already ground, but if you are ready to level up, a burr coffee grinder is the logical next step for most people. Is a burr coffee grinder right for you?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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