Coffee Grinders - Guide
The ability to control coffee extraction speed is essential for great espresso. With manual coffee machines, pressurised water is applied to a coffee puck and with a consistent Espresso Workflow extraction speed is controlled by just a single variable - coffee particle size. This means that it is essential to partner your Italian coffee machine with a coffee grinder that can accurately control particle size.
Coffee Grinder Types
There are 3 types of coffee grinders - blade, planar burr and conical burr. Blade coffee grinders crudely chop beans, resulting of a blend of powder and chunks. Planar and conical burr coffee grinders have cutting burrs with an adjustable gap. The gap between the burrs determines the grind particle size delivered and by adjusting the gap you can get the perfect grind size for your espresso extraction. Both planar and conical burr coffee grinders are excellent choices for home espresso.
Coffee Grinder Categories
Appliances ($100-$300) Here you will find burr coffee grinders designed for appliance machines with double walled baskets to artificially slow espresso extraction. Most appliance grinders are not suitable for Italian coffee machines due to poor particle size control.
High End Domestic ($500-$1500) These are compact burr grinders, designed for home from the ground up. Being designed for home means that these are generally optimised for low mess grinding with minimal stale grind retention.
Compact Commercial ($500-$1000) Many compact commercial coffee grinders are a great choice for home as they are compact, solid and reliable. For home use you can expect 20+ years of fuss free hard work from any grinder in this category.
Large Commercial ($1000+) These are rarely a good choice for home. They are expensive, they take up a lot of bench space, and they generally have high grind retention of 5-8 grams of stale coffee.
Best Italian Coffee Grinders
To help you with choosing the best coffee grinder for your home I have selected a handful at a number of price points. Here’s my list of the best Italian coffee grinders:
Best coffee grinder <$400 Baratza Sette 30 An innovative grinder with exceptional grind quality, low grind retention and tidy dosing. Outstanding performance but for long term durability I prefer the Macap M2 Micro
Best coffee grinder <$600: Macap M2 Micro A compact commercial grinder at a really great price point. Heavy, solid and reliable. The Micro model has stepless grind adjustment which pushes it to the head of the class. Amazingly good value.
Best coffee grinder <$800: Eureka Mignon Silenzio A commercial Italian grinder that is perfect for the home. Compact, solid, powerful, accurate, fast and tidy, delivering fluffy, clump free grind with class-leading low grind retention …and very quiet.
Best coffee grinder <$1000: Eureka Mignon Specialita This one offers all of the great performance of the Eureka Silenzio with the addition of a fantastic touch screen for accurate timed dosing.
Best coffee grinder <$1500: Profitec Pro T64 A compact domestic coffee grinder for home with a 450W motor and 64mm burrs to deliver the performance of a mid-size commercial grinder.
Choosing an Italian Coffee Grinder
When looking for a premium coffee grinder look to Italy. Italian coffee grinders are known for performance and durability.
What is the best Italian coffee grinder for your home? There is no best coffee grinder as best isn’t only about coffee grind quality and consistency. When choosing a coffee grinder for your home there are 3 factors to consider.
Coffee Grinder Performance
Particle consistency - particle size
Particle distribution - the “clumpiness”
Particle control - stepped v stepless
Stale grind retention
Coffee Grinder Experience
Noise - will you wake your neighbours?
Mess - many grinders are mess free
Speed - ranges from 6 to 30 seconds for 20g
Aesthetics - it has to look good
Coffee Grinder Quality
Design, build quality & engineering precision
Coffee grinder performance is all about in-the-cup results. This isn’t the only factor to consider though. Who wants a high performing Italian coffee grinder that’s noisy, messy, ugly and needs to be replaced every few years? Not me. This is why you also need to consider the coffee grinder experience and the coffee grinder quality.
Another factor to consider when choosing the best Italian coffee grinder for your home is your budget. Have no fear here as premium Italian coffee grinders start near $500. If you are reading this now you are on the right track as this means that you are taking some time to do a little research. That’s excellent.
Links to Other Guides
FAQs - Coffee Grinders
How much should I spend on a coffee grinder?
Is there a mess free coffee grinder?
Can I use an appliance coffee grinder?
Do I need a stepless coffee grinder?
Do I need a timer on my Italian coffee grinder?
For answers to these FAQs click here