One of the most important tools in a coffee aficionado’s arsenal is the coffee grinder because it extracts the rich, flavorful interior from the coffee bean. This part of the bean holds all the magic—the oils, flavor, and aroma that make coffee the world's most delicious and recognizable morning drink.
The best coffee grinder for your coffee brewing experience depends on the type and style of coffee you enjoy, not to mention your budget and brewing space. For the inspired brewer with a love of pour-over, immersion, or drip-style coffee, our Fellow Ode Brew Grinder Gen 2 is your go-to for premium, precision grinding. For the espresso enthusiast or coffee newbie, our Opus Conical Burr Grinder is the all-purpose must-have for your countertop.
How To Choose the Best Coffee Grinder
Selecting a coffee grinder can be a personal choice, usually dictated by your favorite coffee style, taste preferences, and lifestyle. That said, if you've ever had an exceptional brew, you will most likely appreciate the flavor nuances from different grinds and styles of coffee—and the role that a quality coffee grinder plays in helping you find that experience again.
The Science Behind Pre-Ground vs. Fresh Coffee Grinds
When harvested, raw coffee beans (aka green coffee beans) hardly resemble the coffee beans we think of when imagining our morning brew. In fact, green coffee beans are softer and don’t smell or taste anything like your daily brew. They don't truly develop the recognizable traits of coffee until they have been put through a complex drying, roasting, and cooling process. It’s only during this chemical process that the bean’s sugars and amino acids begin to react and trap in robust oils.
But as soon as coffee beans are roasted, they begin to slowly release some of their flavor and aroma. Grinding them speeds up the oxidation process, which is why passionate brewers avoid buying pre-ground coffee. There’s no way to know how long pre-ground, manufactured coffee has been sitting on the store shelves, which means it loses some of the precious flavors and aromas that make coffee taste so good.
The taste consequences of pre-grinding your coffee also explain why gourmet coffee lovers only grind a single serving of beans at once. You can ensure that your coffee beans remain fresh by measuring a serving size before you pour it into your coffee grinder. If you don't want to deal with the inconvenience of measuring your coffee beans every day, our Fellow Ode Brew Grinder and Opus Conical Burr Grinder comes with a single-dose load bin to simplify your daily coffee bean prep.
How Does Grind Size Affect Flavor?
In coffee brewing, grind size is crucial to finding the ultimate flavor and texture, which will determine the style of coffee you drink. Coarse grinds are best used in immersion like French press and Cowboy coffee, and of course, cold brews. Medium grinds are great for drip or pour-over coffee, and fine grinds work best with espresso and Turkish coffee.
While the brewing process needs more explanation, coffee grind size and consistency that play a role in producing your cup of coffee. In general, smaller grinds require less contact time with hot water to extract the inherent flavors within the grinds, while coarser grinds need longer to brew to allow the flavors to really show in your cup.
So, if you use a grinder that doesn't produce a consistent grind, you are over-extracting some of the beans while under-extracting others. Either way, you end up with a bitter, sour, or plain, flavorless cup of coffee. That’s why a great grinder can change your brew game.
Types of Coffee Grinders
Once you understand what type of coffee ground size and flavor you prefer, you can better select a coffee grinder that fits those needs. Coffee grinders come in a variety of styles and types to fit the needs of coffee drinkers around the world. Two types of coffee grinders are available on the market, as well as two power modes.
Blade Grinders. One type of coffee grinder is the blade grinder, which is composed of a system of sharp metal blades that can cut the beans into smaller pieces quickly and easily. The blade grinder is a favorite of cold brew enthusiasts who need their coffee beans rather coarse, although many brewers use a blade grinder for a smaller grind. Because this kind of grinder produces grinds that are not uniform, it ultimately affects the flavor of the brewed coffee.
Burr Grinders. Another type of grinder is the burr grinder, named because of its abrasive burrs that are set a particular distance apart to create pressure that breaks the coffee beans down little by little. The burr grinder is a great all-purpose grinder and is the preferred grinder for serious coffee brewers. It produces grinds that are consistent throughout, so each bean extracts around the same amount, creating a smoother, more balanced texture and flavor.
Types of Burr Grinders. While the burr grinder is popular for its ability to provide a consistent grind size, it's designed for different uses as well. Two distinct configurations you may find in a burr grinder are:
- Conical: In a conical burr, two burrs fit together like a cone. An inner burr can be adjusted to increase or decrease the horizontal distance to the outer burr, giving the grinder a range of grind sizes to choose from.
- Flat: For the flat burr design, two flat rings align with teeth that allow you to quickly grind your coffee beans to a consistent diameter. They are commonly used for grinding large amounts of beans at once.
- Espresso: These specialty burrs are designed to grind very fine for espresso, and coarser grind size for pour-overs and cold brew. The mechanism works on a micro-scale, allowing for minuscule adjustments so you can find the perfect grind size to produce a ridiculously good shot of espresso.
Other Burr Grinder Characteristics.The burr grinder is perfect for coffee drinkers who see grinding and brewing as an art. Let’s dig into the intricate differences between different brands and styles:
- Stepped vs. stepless grinders: If you're trying to grind your coffee beans to meet a specific need, stepless grinders are not bound to a fixed number of grind settings, so you can make minuscule changes to the size of your grind.
- Burr sizes: Grinders with bigger burr sizes require less work to grind and can speed up your morning routine.
- Burr composition: Burrs are typically made from stainless steel or ceramic. Steel burrs are said to last longer and remain sharper over time, but ceramic is a favorite for those who want a smoother, more "organic" taste.
- Specialty Burrs: Besides the standard brew burrs used for brewing regular drip or immersion-style coffee, there are also specialty burrs, such as our Ode Gen 2 Brew Burrs and the SSP MP Burrs, that can increase the extraction and clarity of your coffee or change its flavor profile.
The Question of Manual vs. Electric Grinders
Let’s look at the differences between manual and electric burr grinders. The obvious distinction between the two is that one utilizes electricity to power the burrs, while the other relies on your manual strength and dexterity. Both are suitable options, but coffee "purists" often choose a manual grinder over an electric style for a few important reasons:
- Generally less expensive.
- Doesn't rely on electricity, making them more portable and dependable.
- More control over the final size of your coffee grounds.
- Generates less heat, minimizing the risk of burning your grinds.
- Lack of a motor makes it quieter during use.
On the flipside, electric grinders are ideal for grinding a large batch of beans at once or if you are running low on time to manually grind your beans.
Features of a Good Coffee Grinder
While it can be difficult to determine the world's "best" coffee grinder, it is quite easy to define a good quality coffee grinder. A good coffee grinder will be made from quality materials and designed to last well into your future. It will also be suited for your particular needs. If you're a coffee connoisseur, you’ll want to go with a burr grinder instead of a traditional blade grinder for two reasons: one, you’ll notice a huge difference in the consistency of your coffee grinds, and two, there’s a much larger selection of grinders to choose from, including our award-winning Ode Brew Grinder Gen 2 and game-changing Opus Conical Burr Grinder.
Quality Coffee Grinder's Durability. The design and intended use of different styles of coffee grinders often mean that one style will last longer than another.
In general, a quality grinder, if used regularly, will last between 5 and 10 years. The exact life span depends on the type of beans you grind (light, dark roast, etc.), the type of grinder you use, and how well you maintain the grinder.
- Blade grinders regularly last 5 to 7 years or 500 to 800 pounds of beans.
- Burr grinders can last between 12 and 15 years, with a capacity of 1500 pounds of coffee before the blades dull.
- Manual grinders have a life span of 5 to 15 years and can grind between 500 and 1500 pounds of coffee.
How to Choose a Quality Coffee Grinder
When you're ready to commit to a new coffee grinder, it is important to organize and prioritize your grinding needs. Create a checklist of the most important features you need in a grinder like:
What kinds of coffee do I like to drink? Most modern coffee grinders are multifunctional, so whether you like espresso, cold brew, pour-over, or drip-style coffee, you'll be able to modify your grinder to create the grind size you need.
What's my budget for purchasing a new grinder? The price range of a new coffee grinder varies widely, depending on the grinder type (blade/burr), style (manual/electric), composition, and complexity.
What are the most important features I need in a coffee grinder? Do you need an easy-to-use coffee grinder, or are you looking to invest some time in learning how to brew a great cup of coffee? Do you need something quiet? Portable? How many people will be using the grinder? Taking the time to determine exactly what you want before beginning your search can save you a lot of time and missteps.
Why People Choose the Ode Brew Grinder
- 31 unique grind settings.
- Choice of 64 mm stainless steel or SSP professional-grade burrs.
- 1,400 RPM burr speed.
- Grinds knocker.
- Smart Speed PID Motor for consistent grinding.
- Premium materials.
The Fellow Ode Brew Grinder can grind beans anywhere between a medium-fine and a coarse grind size, so you can use this grinder to make your pour-over, French press, AeroPress®, or cold brew coffee.
Why People Choose the Opus Conical Burr Grinder
- 41+ precision settings with intuitive grind guide.
- 6-blade 40 mm conical burrs.
- 6 Nm of torque.
- 350 RPM burr speed.
- 110 gram capacity.
- Spouted catch for easy transitions.