Espresso Tamper

Coffee Grinders - 2018

If you are serious about coffee at home then you are serious about grinders. The single most component of coffee is the grinder, even more so than the coffee machine, espresso machine, heat source, or anything else you can think of. That means any dollar spent on a grinder will be a dollar invested in making great coffee or espresso and it will be better spent than on anything else.

For the sake of simplicity we'll differentiate between coffee grinders and espresso grinders. Espresso needs to be ground more finely than normal coffee so while some grinders can do both, not all can. You can certainly get away with one grinder, but it's generally going to limit the quality of your espresso. That limitation might happen at a level that you don't care about (we're talking cafe-grade espresso) but it's worth noting this trade-off.

Coffee Grinder Buying Guide

To make great coffee at home you'll need a grinder. Why? Because great coffee requires two things: control and freshness. And that means grinding your own beans.

TLDR: What Should I Buy?

Don't want to research? Not interested in the fine print? Get a Baratza Virtuoso for a little over $200 or a Capresso Infinity Grinder for a little under $100. Done and done. Have a nice day!

Best Coffee Grinders Under $100

Best Coffee Grinders Under $250

This is a list of espresso tampers that are above $100 but below $500. This is a sweet spot for coffee making as you can get a grinder that does its job extremely well without missing next's month's rent.

Coffee Grinders Over $250

Best Grinder for French Press

When we think french press coffee, we think simplicity and limited reliance on parts. So our best coffee grinder for french press, is the Baratza Virtuoso (586). This grinder delivers very good consistency at a coarse grinder (which is very hard to do), a sufficiency coarse grind size, and a timer that's accurate enough that only perfectionists (admittedly, like us) will need to buy a coffee scale.

Espresso Grinder Buying Guide

Espresso grinders tend to be more demanding than coffee-focused ones, since consistency is more important and they have to grind more finely. So expect pricing to be a bit higher on these models.

Best Espresso Grinders under $200

Best Espresso Grinders under $500

Best Espresso Grinders under $1000

Coffee Grinder Reviews

Baratza Encore Review

If you are looking for an affordable burr grinder, than the Baratza Encore is almost certainly on your list. This conical burr grinder is very popular with home users thanks to its brand, price, simplicity, and speed. Baratza is a top choice for enthusiasts, so the fact that they have a model so close to the $100 mark makes for huge appeal. The internals are very similiar to those of the Preciso and Virtuoso, but the Encore lacks a timer and high-precision grinder settings. The Encore also has a full plastic body, where the others have more metal parts as you scale up the line. This is the benchmark in coffee grinders under $150, but we tend to prefer the Capresso Infinity over the Encore in this price category.

What to Look for in a Grinder

When considering a grinder, here are the attributes to keep in mind:

Coffee Grinder Basics / FAQ

Coffee Grinder vs. Espresso Grinder?

The best way to think about an espresso grinder is as a specialized coffee grinder. Coffee needs to be ground along a spectrum of size, with French press at the large (coarse) end and espresso at the small (fine) end. In this thinking, coffee grinders tend to go from Large to Medium while espresso grinders go from Medium to Small. There is some overlap, and some grinders have wider ranges than others, but generally speaking, anything that can grind very finely and have precise control in that range, won't be able to grind very coarsely.

All this is to say that an espresso grinder a specialty coffee grinder with super fine grinding, super precision, possibly a doser (so you an get an exactly 15 grams or whatever you need of grinds), and less sensitive to size and price than a normal coffee grinder. It's not impossible than one grinder could do both jobs, but it's rare. And once you become a discerning espresso drinker, you'll almost certainly want to upgrade past but your (otherwise very good) coffee grinder can handle.

What is a Hand Grinder? Should I Buy One?

So it turns out that motors are expensive. Strip the motor out of a coffee grinder, add in a handle, and the strength of your arm, and you have a cheap grinder. Some of money can even be put back into other parts, and then you have something like the LWW HG One grinder, which has the grind quality of a $2000+ grinder but costs half that.

The typical hand grinder is a portable-sized option that has the precision and quality of a more expensive device. This means they can be used with very good results at home, but they will be tiring to use and very slow to grind. That said, something like the Porlex grinder or the Hario Skerton, tend to be known for high quality grinding for a cheap price, if you are willing to work for your coffee.