Sure, you can buy your coffee already ground, so that all you have to do is scoop the stuff right from the bag into your coffee maker of choice, and your coffee would be just fine. (There’s seriously nothing wrong with buying the pre-ground stuff, as long as you store it properly in an airtight container that’s UV-protected!) But if you’re willing to add one extra step to your caffeinating routine, you will notice that your resulting coffee tastes a little fresher, bolder, and better. To go this extra mile, you’ll need a coffee grinder. Which one? Let’s take a look.
First, let’s back up a second. There are two types of coffee grinders out there: blade grinders and burr grinders. A blade grinder works almost like a food processor — with a blade (or blades) that whirls around and chops the beans into smaller and smaller pieces. Burr grinders have two pieces (called burrs!) that pulverize the beans as they pass through. The second type is going to give you a more consistent grind, which is really ideal, but there are still some good blade-style grinders out there.
Got it? Now, let’s take a look to see which machines other sites recommend. (While there are plenty of cool-looking and small hand-cranked grinders — like in the photo above — none of them came up in these reports.) In true Kitchn fashion, we added our own thoughts at the end, too.
The Best Coffee Grinder, According to Wirecutter
Baratza Encore Coffee Grinder, $139
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The folks at Wirecutter said this burr grinder churns out grinds more evenly than almost any other machine they tested. They liked that there’s no learning curve to figuring out how to use it, it’s got a decently small footprint, it’s easy to clean, and that it’s incredibly reliable. While it can’t grind coffee fine enough to please super-serious espresso makers, Wirecutter says it can make a “serviceable shot” and it’ll work with basically any filter you’ve got.
The Best Blade-Style Coffee Grinder, According to Cook’s Illustrated
Krups Coffee and Spice Grinder, $19
When it comes to burr grinders, Cook’s Illustrated also picked the Baratza Encore that Wirecutter liked. So for this entry, we’ll focus our attention on Cook’s Illustrated pick for a blade-style coffee grinder. They liked this one best during an earlier test and picked it again, years later, while updating the post. They love that the machine has a big clear lid (so coffee drinkers can see the grinding process) and that the grind button is off to the side (as to not block the view). The grinding chamber is big enough to hold enough beans for a full 10 cups. And thanks to its oval shape, it’s easy to load and empty the compartment and no full beans are left behind.
The Best Coffee Grinder for Most People, According to Serious Eats
OXO BREW Conical Burr Coffee Grinder, $100
Our friends at Serious Eats took a smart approach and recommended coffee grinders based on the type of drinker at hand. While they recommended one machine for serious coffee geeks (a Baratza, which seems to be out of stock), and another for budget-conscious coffee geeks (the Baratza Encore), they said this one will appeal to the most people, collectively. (It’s also the budget pick from Wirecutter, for what it’s worth.) The price is just right — you can certainly spend more, but if you spend less the quality really starts to suffer. The editors say it’s great for anyone who wants more control and to experiment, but doesn’t need to nerd out too much over coffee science.
The Bestselling Coffee Grinder on Amazon
KRUPS Coffee Grinder with Scale, $119
The bestselling coffee grinder on Amazon has more than 12,000 positive reviews. It has a large bean hopper that holds up to 14 ounces (an entire bag of beans!) and is easy to reload, and does most of the calculations for you. Just choose the number of cups you want to make and the Auto-Dose Grinder automatically delivers the grinds you’ll need. Plus, it’s got 30 grind settings — from coarse to fine.
Kitchn’s Thoughts on the Best Coffee Grinder
Another Kitchn Best List where we like every single one of the nominees! If we had to pick a favorite, we’d have to go with Serious Eats. We totally agree that it’s probably not for the super-geeky coffee folks, but for most of us — who just want fresh, good coffee at home — it’ll get the job done. And it’ll do it well. It’s got stainless steel conical burr grinders, 15 coarse settings (plus micro settings between those), and a generously sized hopper and grounds container (the latter holds enough to brew up to 12 cups).
Do you have a coffee grinder you love? Is it one of these?
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