The first step to making an excellent cup of coffee at home is freshly ground coffee beans. Fresh coffee beans ground right before brewing will be a game changer for home-brewing. Instead of buying pre-ground beans that have been sitting on a grocery store shelf for an undisclosed amount of time, grinding coffee beans is an easy alternative to making a better cup of coffee.

Start with a high-quality grinder that will enhance the flavor of your coffee beans. In this article, we’ll go over the difference between types of grinders and the four best grinders out there.

What’s the Difference Between Burr, Blade, and Manual Grinders?

There are a few things to consider when choosing a coffee grinder. There are three types of grinders, which can make choosing the one that suits your preferences kind of tough. Here’s a rundown of what sets different coffee grinders apart.

Burr Grinders

A burr grinder is the highest quality and most expensive grinder. This type of coffee grinder is made for consistently pulverizing coffee beans evenly and effectively, which makes an overall great coffee.

Adjusting the grind settings to achieve the desired coarseness is easy. From coarse grind to fine grind, burr grinders produce coffee grounds for any type of brewing method.

There are two types of burrs: steel and ceramic. Steel burrs are less expensive to purchase but can wear out quicker than ceramic. Ceramic burrs are hardier and will dull slower than steel.

There are two shapes to choose from as well. Conical burrs create less heat when grinding. Flat burrs are less expensive, but they produce heat when grinding, which can affect the taste of the coffee beans.

Blade Grinders

Ground coffee, beans, and brewed cup of coffee

First-time coffee connoisseurs are likely to purchase a less expensive blade grinder before upgrading to a burr grinder. For many coffee drinkers, blade grinders work just fine. Blade grinders are ideal for drip coffee makers, but not necessarily for espresso. Blade grinders work with one flat blade that grinds depending on how long you operate the grinder. Grinding coffee too fine or too coarse can lead to a bitter or tasteless flavor, so be sure to experiment a bit.

Manual Grinders

Manual coffee grinders are an alternative choice to an electric grinder and they are sold at the lowest price point. Manual grinders are great for being portable. They’re a good choice for bringing to the office or for traveling. For the coffee drinker that wants a high-quality cup or two on the go, a manual grinder is convenient.

They require a few minutes of effort to grind, but they are typically quiet, easy to use, and able to be adjusted to your desired grind size.

Our Top Picks for the Best Coffee Grinders

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

Best Coffee Grinders: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

Why we love it: It’s the perfect entry-level coffee grinder for first-timers while still being high quality.

Baratza is a high-end European coffee grinder company. The Baratza Encore grinder is a base model machine with impressive quality and a consistent grind. This electric burr grinder is quite modestly priced for the quality it lends. It will work great for a variety of brewing methods including pour-over, drip, or espresso.

Some perks of having this machine are that it is easy to clean, it only takes up a small amount of counter space, and it grinds more evenly than other similar coffee grinders. It is equipped with 40 adjustments, so customization is simple. One purchase will yield years of use because Baratza prides itself on commercial-grade machines. If the burrs begin to dull, they can be replaced without needing to replace the entire machine.

There are a couple of potential downfalls of this coffee grinder. First, there is no grind time setting, and instead, just an on/off switch. While this might be a simple and straightforward plus to some, espresso connoisseurs will find this frustrating.

If you prefer a timed grind setting, pass on this machine and opt for another.

Cost: $139

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Baratza Virtuoso Burr Coffee Grinder

Best Coffee Grinders: Baratza Virtuoso Burr Coffee Grinder

Why we love it: It produces consistent quality comes with upgraded features like a 60-second timer and lightning-fast grind speeds.

The Baratza Virtuoso is an upgrade from the Encore model, with a few major adjustments. This coffee grinder maintains the same quality parts and consistent grind that Baratza offers. There are 40 adjustment settings, including one for espresso. The machine’s base is durable and the industry-quality burrs will be reliable for years to come.

This model grinds quicker than the Encore model and twice the speed of other similar-caliber coffee grinders. This model has also been upgraded with a 60-second timer, so it makes a consistent cup of coffee every time. If you drink several cups of coffee a day, this machine will make the same amount each time based on the new timer feature. This coffee grinder has a small footprint, taking up a minimal amount of space in the kitchen and it is styled in chic silver and black.

If the 60-second timer, quicker grind time, and sleek appearance seem like significantly notable features, then this machine won’t disappoint. However, the quality of the grind is the same as the Baratza Encore, but the upgraded features definitely escalate the price tag.

Cost: $229

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JavaPresse Manual Conical Burr Grinder

Best Coffee Grinders: JavaPresse Manual Conical Burr Grinder

Why we love it: A manual grinder is portable and convenient for an office setting or travel. This grinder is a good gadget for almost any brewing method.

The JavaPresse Manual Conical Burr Grinder is a stainless steel hand grinder. For a manual grinder, it is one of the best coffee grinders for French press, espresso, cold brew, and Turkish brew.

Although a manual grinder requires some effort, it won’t heat coffee grounds as some electric grinders can. The friction of grinding the beans can create excess heat which changes the flavor of the beans. With this manual grinder, no heat is created and the oils of the coffee beans are preserved.

Need to grind coffee beans in the office? Make French press coffee wherever you are with a manual grinder. It’s small and easy to travel with, so you can take it with you and make great coffee anywhere. The stainless steel grinder is made with a non-slip handle for safety. The burrs and other components of this grinder are industry-grade, which will last years at a very low-cost price point.

Hand-grinding is more time-consuming than using an electric grinder that does all the work for you. You’ll have to be willing to put in a few minutes more of your time and effort to grind coffee. Another potential negative is that a manual grinder will not make coffee grounds for large amounts of coffee. This manual grinder is best for small amounts of coffee at a time for someone on the go.

Cost: $16.99

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Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Best Coffee Grinders: Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Why we love it: This machine is a cost-conscious option for espresso lovers.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is known as one of the best grinders for French press and espresso coffee makers. The price point is lower than many grinders made to grind coffee beans for espresso brewing. This coffee grinder can hold up to 18 ounces of coffee beans. One convenient feature this machine offers is the option to grind coffee into the portafilter, an airtight container, or paper filter.

This coffee grinder is equipped with a sleek LCD display that shows the grind setting, grind time and the number of shots or cups selected. The pre-programmed settings create foolproof coffee grinding. Whether the brewing method used is coarse or fine, the pre-programmed settings intelligently produce consistent results every time. There are 60 grind settings to make adjustments as desired.

On the coarsest grind setting, the machine sometimes locks up and stops grinding. It’s been noted in some reviews that there are common defects in the manufacturing of this coffee grinder. Breville happens to sell many refurbished models, further affirming this. However, the company responds and acts quickly to provide replacement parts.

Cost: $199.95

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Go on a Coffee World Tour Every Month

Atlas Nicaragua beans

Investing in a quality coffee grinder is a key ingredient for success for every home brewer. Grinding your own coffee beans makes you a part of the brewing experience and improves the taste and consistency of your coffee.

At Atlas Coffee Club, we think home brewing should be a fun experience. That’s why we designed a coffee subscription that brings you the world’s best coffee beans and delivers them fresh to you. All of our coffee is roasted within 24 hours of shipping, so you get the best-tasting coffee available. The packaging for each country is influenced by its local landscapes and textiles, inspiring a sense of wanderlust and giving it a really special touch.

Each month, you’ll receive a special delivery of a new coffee from a different country. Pair up fresh coffee beans with your new coffee grinder for a winning combination.

About The Author

Michael Shewmake

An entrepreneur and musician, Michael quit his full-time job in the corporate world to assemble a band of fellow storytellers, travelers, and coffee-lovers as enthusiastic as himself to share the unique stories and coffee from around the world.