In this article we will take a look at coffee grinders for home use and in particular, the ones that are ideal for a French Press.
This method of brewing great tasting coffee is still a very popular choice for many people. It is also often described as a "cafeteria." Now this can be a very good method of brewing but it does take some care.
Of the numerous brewing methods available, this is the one that people do tend to get wrong, as it is very easy to over extract using this method. The secret to avoiding that, is to get it from the press to the cup quickly, and the instant it has stopped brewing.
What Makes the Perfect Grind for a French Press?
To make the best tasting coffee, the grind should be medium/coarse or even coarse and as even a grind as you can make it. Both of these characteristics are very important. An espresso is almost the opposite type of grind, as it is very fine.
For example an espresso needs a very fine grind, and that is the opposite with pour over brewing methods such as the French Press method. So for a French Press use a medium to coarse grind always.
In the ideal world it is best to grind your coffee beans immediately before use. When the hot water is then added to these grounds, the coffee will be as fresh as you can get it.
For French Press the ratio for water to coffee grains should always be double. 50 grams of coffee would need 100 grams of water. Stick to this rule and you will never go too far wrong.
The coffee should steep for 4 minutes similar to the time required for a soft boiled egg. Just set the timer on your cooker or mobile phone and stick with this timing if like me, you enjoy perfectly brewed coffee.
Push the plunger firmly down and pour instantly when it reaches the bottom.
French Press Brewing Mistakes
In this section we examine the most common mistakes made by people brewing French Press coffee at home.
Too Much Water - People do tend to add too much water and that of course weakens the brew. Stick with the 2-1 ratio as that will give you a great taste.
Leaving it to brew - when the plunger is pushed down a lot of people believe that it should be left there as that will brew even more. That is true but then it can just become too strong and you can get a bitter taste from that, which personally I do not like.
You may need to experiment a bit with this to find the ideal strength for you.
Grind is too coarse or too fine - that will mean that you coffee will also be weak. When you push the filter down if it quickly drops to the bottom then it is too coarse. Likewise if the grind is too thin, it will be just too hard to push it through the hot water.
It should feel firm to push down and according to the experts the perfect pressure feel should be 15-20 pounds. If you want to perfect the right grains then try achieving that by using a set of scales.
How To Pick The Right Grinder for French Coffee?
There are three types of grinder available in the UK market for grinding any type of coffee beans. A French Press requires a medium to coarse grain with a uniform size of grain.
Any type of grinder will be able to do that. The three types of grinder available are:
We look at those in detail below. Just before we do that I want to explain the difference between a grinder that uses blades and one that uses burrs. Blades, as the name would suggest, grind the beans by chopping them up into small pieces or grains.
Burrs squeeze the bean and grind them that way. There is clear evidence that using a burr grinder gives better results in terms of taste.
Blade grinders chop, and that allows the flavour (oils and water) to slightly escape from the bean. With the burr version more flavour is kept.
It is more complex than that, however, that is the general jist of the difference. The reason I mention this is that the manual or hand grinder is available in both blade and burr models.
Manual/Hand Coffee Grinder Mills for French Press
As the name would suggest this is where you grind the coffee beans by hand using a handle on the top of the grinder. These look very traditional, look great in any kitchen, and are super simple to use and clean.
They are also affordable for most people so buying one does not cost a lot.
The disadvantage is that you have to physically turn the handle and grind up the beans to the ideal grind. That is a matter of trial and error until you find your ideal setting.
As mentioned earlier these manual grinders are available in both blade and burr, with the burr being the better quality.
The model I would recommend is the Hario Medium with ceramic burrs which you can read about in detail by clicking the link above.
However if you prefer to see all of the blade grinders available, you can read about the top 5 manual grinders by clicking here.
This Hario model is the best seller over at Amazon and combines a hand grind solution, but uses conical burrs to do the actual grinding.
It costs around £21-22 depending on where you but it and gets consistently good reviews by actual real life buyers, like you and me.
Best Blade Coffee Grinder for French Press
These are probably the most popular choice for most people. That is because they are fast and also very affordable. As I mentioned earlier, they use a set of blades, usually stainless steel to chop up the beans, and the grounds are then captured in a container.
Most of these will have grain settings so a lot easier to find and set a medium to coarse grind, which is of course ideal, for our French Presses.
The model I would recommend is the Shardor Coffee Grinder model which you can read about in detail by clicking here.
This is a good quality blade grinder from a very good brand. At around £30 it does represent good value for money. As of now, it is also the highest buyer rated online, and as such is a very popular choice for many buyers.
However if you prefer to see what is available in other brands and price points, you can read about the top 5 blade grinders by clicking here. This model is of course included in that table.
Best Burr Coffee Grinder for French Press
The conical burr does of course provide the ultimate grind thanks to its unique method of crushing the coffee beans. These are at the top end of the grinder range, and as such are a little more expensive.
It depends how much of a coffee perfectionist you are as to whether you will want to take it to this level.
They are easy to use, very fast and capture the most flavour from your roasted beans.
The model I would recommend is the De'Longhi KG79 Professional Burr Grinder which you can read about in detail by clicking here.
I like this one as it is a good quality model and it is at an affordable price of just under £45-50 which is pretty hard to beat for a grinder of this quality from an excellent brand.
You can pick the number of cups that you need to grind for, and then use a simple dial to pick the grain thickness. Hit the button and you will get a nice uniform thickness of freshly ground beans.
However if you prefer to see what is available, you can read about the top 5 burr grinders by clicking here.
Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso and French Press
Some people want to buy a coffee bean grinder that is suitable for both French Press and espresso. So as we know we need a coarse grind for the Press and a find grind for an espresso.
When making an espresso, steamed water is forced through a fine grind to get the flavour out.
Clearly the one you pick needs to be able to make the full range of grounds for your particular brewing method. All grinders are capable of doing that, as it simply comes down to how long you grind the beans.
Some are better than others as most people will simply want to pick a setting and let the grinder do its work.
For that I would recommend a good quality burr grinder. The one I use is the De'Longhi KG79. This is a professional burr grinder that costs less than £45-50
It is the best selling burr coffee grinder over at Amazon and that speaks volumes.
There are of course other options available. I find this one to be the best quality at the most affordable price. It is certainly ideal for delivering coarse grain. That is what you need for a French Press style coffee.
Cheap Budget Coffee Grinder for French Press
Now although the burr is the best on the market without any question, some people just want to be able to grind up some beans, as and when they need them. they also do not want to, or can not afford to, splash out a fortune on a fancy machine.
If you don't want to spend a fortune, then something like the James Martin Wahl Coffee, Nut & Spice grinder will tick all of the boxes.
This is a powerful grinder that costs under £20. That is hard to beat in terms of value for money. It can be used for many different tasks around the kitchen.
Small Coffee Grinders for French Press
Quite a few people have asked me what small grinder is best? Usually they have small kitchens and do not have a lot of storage space. If you fit into that bracket, then I would recommend the Andrew James one shown just above. It gets very good ratings and is also at an affordable price.
It is small and compact and I think ideal for a number of cooking jobs around the kitchen.
Conclusion on the Best Coffee Grinder for Making French Press Coffee
Hopefully you are a little better informed about buying a coffee grinder that is suitable for grinding beans to the right size to make French Press coffee.
The reality is that any grinder will do the job. The key to success is getting the grind at just the right size. You don't want it too coarse as your coffee will be weak, and you don't want it too thin, as you end up with a mouthful of grounds at the bottom of your cup or mug.
That may take a few tries to get that grain just right.
Ideally when you do, then you should grind your beans just before you want your coffee for the freshest taste.