Coffee Grinder Buying Guide UK 2020
Thinking of buying a coffee grinder??
Having the ability to grind coffee beans at home, will ensure that you get the fresh taste of coffee, and that will make a huge difference to your daily brew. Below you will find a coffee grinder buying guide, that carefully explains what types of coffee grinders are available, and that way, you can decide which type will suit your needs the best.
What Types of Coffee Grinder Are Available?
There are four types of coffee grinder available on the market which we have listed below:
- Hand Grinder - also known as a "Coffee Mill"
- Electric Blade Grinder
- Electric Burr Grinder
- Built in grinder in bean to cup coffee machines
Hand Grinders (Coffee Mills)
As we mentioned earlier, these are referred to as either a hand coffee grinder, a manual coffee grinder or a coffee mill. As you can see from the image on the left, these have a really nice look to them, and will suit almost any type of kitchen.
They are very simple to use, relatively inexpensive to buy and do an excellent job of grinding coffee beans. The disadvantages of using these, is that they do require some physical effort, and they take quite a bit of time to grind the beans.
Some people love using these as they find them therapeutic, and they enjoy this process. They are however not really suitable for those who are pushed for time. They are really only suitable for grinding enough coffee beans for 1-2 cups of coffee.
They cost anything between £10-50 depending on which brand you buy, and what materials they are made from.
Electric Blade Coffee Grinders
The electric blade coffee grinder is by far the most popular choice for buying a coffee grinder on the UK market. The fact that they are electric, removes the need for any manual grinding. Buyers like these as they can be used for grinding coffee beans, but can also be used to grind seeds, nuts, spices and in some cases herbs.
They are very simple to use, affordable to buy and do a very good job of grinding coffee beans. These work by using a blade to chop up the beans, and you can select the thickness of the grind, and in some cases, the amount of beans that you want to grind.
The disadvantages of these is that they can heat up, and coffee purists say that this friction heat can impact on the taste of the coffee beans.
Blade grinders cost around £25-40 depending on the brand and the features that you want to have.
Electric Burr Grinders
The electric burr grinder is without any doubt the very best type of coffee grinder that is available on the UK market. Unlike the blade grinder we mentioned above, this grinder uses a set of burrs, that squeezes the coffee beans to make the desired grain thickness.
That ensures that you get the full flavour of the coffee bean, including the oils, and also that there is no heat build up to worry about.
The only disadvantage of buying a burr coffee grinder is the price tag, and these can cost between £50-200 for a good quality grinder.
This is the type of grinder that a coffee shop will use, and also the best choice for those who really want to drink the best quality cup of coffee.
Bean to Cup Coffee Machines (Built in Grinders)
The final option for a grinder is to buy a coffee machine, that has a coffee grinder built into the coffee machine. This type of coffee machine is known as a "Bean to cup" coffee machine. With this type of machine, you pour the beans into a coffee hopper. You then select your favourite coffee drink, and the built in grinder does the work for you.
With other types of coffee machine, you either need to buy pre-ground coffee, or buy beans and a coffee grinder.
The Bean to cup machine takes care of everything, and that includes the grinding of the beans.
The disadvantage of these is the price point. For this type of coffee machine with a built-in grinder, you can pay anything between £300-2000 for a machine of this quality.
Which Coffee Grinder is Best for Your Needs?
There is a lot of conflicting advice available online, about which the best type of coffee grinder really is. Here at "The Perfect Grind" we take a more pragmatic approach, when offering our readers any type of buying advice. In the remainder of this guide, we will try to explain what we believe to be the most important considerations to understand, before you spend any money on a grinder.
Key Considerations for buying a coffee grinder
How much are you willing or how much can you afford to spend? This determines just about anything that we decide to buy. For most people a burr grinder will be the best option, and they cost around £50-£200, and a grinder of that quality will last for years. These are also an ideal choice for those who want to own a grinder, that is quieter, fast and consistently delivers a consistent thickness of grain.
If you are on a small budget, then the blade grinder is always going to be the better choice, and that type of grinder also does a good job at grinding coffee beans.
Knowing your grind
Most coffee drinkers understand that the type of brewing method that you prefer, will depend on the type of grind that you need to achieve. Filter coffee needs a medium to coarse grind, whereas, an espresso needs a fine grind. Whichever brewing method you prefer, the most important thing is to be able to get the grind thickness you want, delivered consistently time after time.
A blade grinder can achieve that, but again a burr grinder is the better option. If you budget allows that, then always go with the burr option.
Coffee grinders are noisy and some are REALLY noisy. If you have used one of these before, then you already understand this, and if you haven't then be aware, you may suddenly become very unpopular with other members of your family. This is especially true if you like to make a coffee first thing in the morning.
Generally speaking a burr grinder is much quieter than a blade grinder.
Why Bother at all?
Do you really need to buy a coffee grinder at all? For some people it is easier to just buy coffee beans that have already been ground. However, that will restrict you to certain brands and that of course will limit your choice of bean. Most people buying a coffee grinder do so because they want really fresh tasting coffee, and the only way to achieve that is to grind your own beans at home.
For some people though, they will be happy enough with what is on offer at the supermarket. You can also get your local coffee shop to do the grind for you. If either of those are the case, then there is simply no need to buy a coffee grinder at all, as it will simple end up on a shelf somewhere in your home gathering dust.
Why Buy a Coffee Mill?
There are hundreds of different types of coffee mills available on the UK market. They all use a hand crank to grind the coffee beans. They are mainly used by people who have retired and have enough time on their hands to use them.
There is really nothing better than the aroma of coffee grains being ground slowly using a hand grinder.
There is also very little waste as you only grind the exact amount that you need.
Almost all of these use burrs, and that captures the full flavour of the coffee bean.
You should not buy a coffee mill if you don't have the time to use it. It can take several minutes to grind enough beans for 1-2 cups of coffee. So if you are dashing off to work in the morning, these are not a very good option.
The Perfect Solution
These come in a wide range of styles ranging from traditional wooden options, and all the way through to the contemporary look of glass and stainless steel. If you are someone who has the ability to physically turn one of these, and also has enough time to use it, then this is a very good solution as a coffee grinder.
Why Buy a Blade Coffee Grinder?
These remain the most popular choice on the UK market. There are two main reasons for that. The first is that they are the cheapest option, and the second reason is that, they can be used to grind other things such as nuts and grains.
That means more people can afford to buy one, and they can get more use out of their purchase. Almost all kitchen manufacturers produce some type of blade style grinder.
Some use a single blade, and other use twin blades to chop up the beans and make a grind. They typically take about 20-30 seconds to do this, but be aware, these are prone to heating up very quickly.
Most of them have a transparent lid and will use a pulse action to chop the beans.
You should not buy a blade coffee grinder if you have a distinct palette. Some coffee drinkers have very sensitive taste buds, and they may be able to taste a slight burning of the beans, and may also miss out on the full flavour of the coffee bean.
The Perfect Solution
Like the coffee mills, these come in a wide range of styles and prices. These are a good choice for anyone who wants to quickly grind their coffee beans, and also be able to use them for other cooking purposes. The good news is that you do have lots of choices and with lower prices, these are a great option for anyone not wanting to spend a lot of money on a coffee grinder.
Why Buy a Burr Coffee Grinder?
Burr grinders are the best type of coffee grinder to buy. Conical burrs really do get the most out of the coffee bean and you can really enjoy all of the flavour.
If you are someone who truly loves their coffee, then really, this is always going to be your best option.
A basic burr grinder costs around £40-£60, and if you want to own one with enhanced features, then you will need to pay around £100-200 depending on exactly the features and brand that you want.
A good quality one will last for years, and will consistently deliver the right thickness of grain for the various brewing methods.
You should not buy a burr coffee grinder if you are on a tight budget as these are expensive. We also think if you are only using a grinder a few times a week, then a bade grinder will do your job really well and these are more affordable.
The Perfect Solution
The burr grinder is always going to be our recommendation if you want full flavours and a consistent grind. These are also very durable and if cleaned regularly will last for many years. You can also buy replacement burrs easily from the better brands, such as Sage, Delonghi and Melitta.
Why Buy a Bean to Cup Machine with a Built-In Grinder?
The only time we would ever recommend one of these is if you are planning on replacing your coffee machine, or buying a new one. These are not a cheap purchase, but in our opinion, this type of machine is the best on the UK market.
All of these bean to cup machines have built-in burr grinders, and they determine the thickness of the grind, depending on which type of coffee drink you select. That takes any guess work out of which thickness of grain you need to have.
They have larger hoppers so ideal if you like to entertain, or like to drink a lot of coffee.
You should not buy a machine with a built-in grinder if you prefer to use a separate grinder, or already own a coffee machine.
These are expensive, so not really suitable for anyone on a restricted budget.
The Perfect Solution
These are expensive and you do need to consider these as an investment. They are an extremely good option as they take any guess work out of grinding coffee beans.