FAQs - Choosing an Italian Coffee Grinder

Paul here again. As my own home barista journey continues I am always learning from online guides, friends, colleagues and even from my customers. There is so much to learn when it comes to Italian coffee grinders.

Sometimes I learn from others and sometimes experience leads me down a new road. I always question what I read and I run my own experiments to test out theories. I guess that’s the ex-scientist in me. I can’t help myself.

With my coffee grinder FAQs you will be able to rocket all the way from pod novice to knowledgeable home barista. My FAQs will really help you to choose the best Italian coffee grinder for your home.

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 doser 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 doser 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.

Some good news …The need for a ridiculously expensive coffee grinder for home espresso is a myth.

Great espresso grinders start near $500 and as you go up from there you will find a huge range of domestic Italian coffee grinders to choose from, each with strength and weaknesses. Factors to consider when making your decision are:

  • Coffee Grinder Performance

  • Coffee Grinder Experience

  • Coffee Grinder Quality

As you up to and just past the $1000 mark you get to choose from the very best coffee grinders for home from leading domestic coffee grinder brands.

Forget about $1500+ commercial grinders as these are a poor choice for home due to high 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. 

I’m often asked this when people make the step from an appliance coffee machine to an Italian coffee machine and buying a new coffee machine and coffee grinder at the same time is going to blow the budget.

The good news is that most find they can keep 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.

Although steps on appliance coffee grinders are an issue because of large changes to coffee particle sizes between steps, with commercial coffee grinders steps are close are not a problem. 

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 grinders will allow you to accurately tweek your grind size to control the speed of espresso extraction.

I have never used a timer myself and I never recommend using one.

The reason for this is that it is generally more accurate to dose by weight than to dose by grind time. This is because when grinding with a timer typical grind weight accuracy for an Italian coffee grinder is +/- 3 grams. When I dose by weight I aim for an accuracy of +/- 0.5 grams.

To learn more about dosing by weight see my Espresso Workflow