Can I use an appliance coffee grinder?
I’m often asked this when people make the step from an appliance coffee machine to a manual Italian coffee machine.
The good news is that most find that they can keep on using their old appliance coffee grinder. The bad news is that this is a temporary solution as most appliance coffee grinders cannot give the grind particle size consistency or control needed to get the most out of a manual coffee machine. So if you do keep your appliance grinder expect to be back for a professional coffee grinder in the not too distant future.
Is it important to get a stepless coffee grinder?
Steps on appliance coffee grinders are an issue because of large changes to coffee particle sizes between settings. With commercial coffee grinders stepped adjustment is far less of a problem. Of course, stepless adjustment is the way to go if you are an espresso aficionado looking for the ultimate in grind particle size control.
Only a stepless coffee grinder will allow you to accurately tweek your grind size to control the speed of espresso extraction.
Is a timer useful on a coffee grinder?
I never use the timer on my home coffee grinder. The reason for this is that it is more accurate to dose by weight than to dose by grind time. Although weighing the dose is an extra step in your espresso workflow, it’s a simple and quick step, and one well worth having.
This is because when grinding with a timer the typical grind accuracy for Italian coffee grinders is in the range of 2-3 grams. When dosing by weight you can get the exact dose that you need. It doesn’t have to perfect of course. A 0.5 gram range is fine.
If you don’t want to weigh there a few grinders that can dose within a 0.2-0.5 gram range. Of these my recommended grinders are the magnificent Eureka Silenzio and Eureka Specialita. These are 2 of the best coffee grinders for home espresso and this is why I list them on my Coffee Grinder Buying Guide
To learn more about dosing by weight please see my Espresso Workflow
Is there a mess free coffee grinder?
Going back 10 years coffee grinding was a messy affair. I recall the daily coffee grinder and bench top wipe down.
There were a few causes of this. One was that messy dosser grinders (the ones that click) where still commonplace. The grind-on-demand Italian coffee grinders that were available often spurted out clumpy coffee grinds with coffee particles charged by static. The static meant that coffee particles would really stick onto metallic grinder bodies.
The good news is that dosser grinders have been left in the past with mostly grind-on-demand grinders on the market today. Most of these grinders are low mess and many are completely mess free thanks to new designs and coffee grinder innovations.
How much do I need to spend on a coffee grinder?
Some good news …The need for a ridiculously expensive coffee grinder for home espresso is a myth. Great espresso grinders start at $500 and as you go up from there you will find a huge range of Italian coffee grinders to choose from, each with strengths and weaknesses. Factors to consider when making your decision are performance, experience and quality.
As you go up near the $1000 mark you get to choose from the very best coffee grinders for home from a range of compact commercial and high end domestic grinders.
Here’s a surprise for many. Spending more than $1000 is unlikely to improve the quality of your coffee. In fact, expensive large size commercial grinders are generally a poor choice for home due to more mess and higher grind retention.
There are many great Italian coffee grinders to choose from. My advice is to start off by choosing your Italian espresso machine. Choose the right machine for you, then find the right coffee grinder and accessories to suit your total budget.