The goal: Break up coffee beans into smaller pieces.

Why? To create more surface area so we can extract all of coffee’s dark, caffeinated goodness.


So let’s start with blade versus burr grinders. In our brewing basics post we talked about why you should almost always choose a burr grinder over a blade grinder:

Blade grinders grind inconsistently, leaving you with both boulders and dust. They also whip and burn beans, changing the flavor. Conversely, Burr grinders crush your beans between two sharp, gear-like burrs. Because one burr is rotating and the other is stationary, you can adjust the spacing between the two, to grind to a specific and more uniform particle size.

The only time we ever suggest purchasing a blade grinder is if you can’t find a cheap burr grinder and don’t know if brewing is right for you. Burr grinders you can purchase anywhere between $25-$1,000.

We’ll spend the rest of this article going over a couple different options, starting on the lower priced end:


hario handgrinder

Hario Hand Grinder -$25

If you’re cash strapped the Hario is one of your cheapest options. This little guy is handy because you can take it pretty much anywhere and pump out a OK French press or drip grind – you’ll just have to work for it.

The pros:

Adjustable conical ceramic burrs

Dishwasher safe


The cons:

Isn’t capable of making an espresso grind

Difficult for grinding large quantities of beans

No markings for setting different grind sizes


Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder

Baratza Maestro Encore – $130

If you’re just getting into home brewing, this is the entry level grinder for you.

The Pros:

Large grind range (40 settings)

Weighted base

Convenient side timer

The Cons:

Relatively noisy

Can be difficult to clean


Baratza Virtuoso Grinder

Baratza Virtuoso – $230

In the $200 range, Virtuoso is the best deal. You get a quality range of grind sizes from espresso to French Press.

The Pros:

480W DC motor keeps beans cool even during extended grind times

450 RPM burr speed for a smoother bean feed and quieter grinding experience

The Cons:

Small catch bin can make it annoying to make large batches of coffee




Rancillio Rocky Grinder

Rancilio Rocky – $355

Sold since 1990, the Rocky is the type of grinder you have for decades.

The pros:

Will last a long time

Quiet (50% quieter than most low speed grinders)

55 grind settings

The cons:

For a beginner home grinder, this may be a little pricey.



Baratza Vario Grinder


Baratza Vario – $480

The $450 grinder that competes with $2,000 commercial grinders.

The Pros:

Over 200 grind pre-sets

Switching between its extensive grind settings is a breeze

The W version includes a scale

The Cons:

Grinds sometimes stick to the plastic catch bin


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