The way you grind your coffee beans directly affects the taste of the cup of coffee you’ll make. Poorly grounded beans often result in a bad cup of joe, and no one likes a lousy coffee in the morning, right?
So if you want to start grinding your beans to get the best coffee drink, knowing which grinder to use can help you in this journey. But you probably didn’t realize that there’s more than one type of grinder available.
In this guide, we will discuss the two types of grinder, burr grinder vs. blade grinder, how each grinder works, what their differences and similarities are, and which one is perfect for you and your coffee needs.
What Is A Burr Grinder? (Overview + Are They Worth It?)
A burr grinder, also known as a burr mill, is composed of two revolving burrs with a non-moving surface. The beans are crushed between these two moving grinders, grounded to a relatively uniform size. There are two main types of burr grinders: conical and flat burr grinders. Both grinders produce consistent and high-quality grind, but each type serves a different purpose.
Conical burr grinders have a cone-shaped center burr with an outer serrated burr that creates well-ground coffee. They are the industry standard when it comes to a burr grinder. They are energy-efficient and heat-resistant, which makes them perfect for home baristas and professionals.
Flat burr grinders are designed to keep the beans between the two donut-shaped burrs to produce perfectly symmetrical grinds. They are louder than conical burrs and utilize more heat and energy during the grinding process. This type of burr grinder isn’t ideal for commercial or home use. However, if precision is required, flat burrs are a better option.
Whichever type of burr grinder you use, both allow you to move the burrs closer or further apart from each other so that you can adjust the size of your coffee grounds. Because of this, you have the flexibility to create different grind sizes, enabling you to use different types of coffee brewers so you can find which brew is best for you.
Overall, burr grinders can open you to a world of incredible flavors of fresh and balanced coffee; no wonder they are the industry standard across the globe.
Pros & Cons Of A Burr Coffee Grinder
What We Like
Things We Don’t
What Is A Blade Grinder? (Overview + Does It Make Good Coffee?)
Blade grinders are ubiquitous. They are a more common option, especially if you are new to the world of coffee. Compared to burr grinders, they are more affordable, easy to find and use. However, they don’t offer a consistent grind size, unlike burr grinders.
There’s only one type of blade grinder, and all are built the same way: a double-pronged blade at the bottom of a chamber that spins rapidly to chop up coffee beans. Most of them only have a single button, which causes the blade to spin when pressed. When coffee beans hit the blade, they are blasted into differently-sized pieces. The fine grounds fall to the bottom, getting hit by the blade and chopped continuously, and the bigger grounds stay towards the top, almost getting hit by the blade, but not quite enough to grind them finely.
Because of this grinding style, blade grinders produce inconsistent grinds. In some cases, you can see halved beans left after a blade grinding session, which is a big coffee no-no. Apart from that, the heat produced by the spinning blade can alter the taste of your coffee, which can eliminate some of the fresh flavors needed to make a great cup of coffee. Lastly, differently sized coffee grinds brew inconsistently, so grinds coming from blade grinder will produce an unbalanced and disappointing cup of joe.
You can easily find these grinders at any grocery or kitchen store, usually at a low price, but they won't be able to provide you with the great coffee experience you long for.
Pros & Cons Of A Blade Grinder
What We Like
Things We Don’t
Burr Grinder Vs Blade Grinder: Key Differences Compared
If you want to know which grinder is best for you, the answer will depend on a few things, including your budget, your preference, and how much space your kitchen can accommodate. For example, some people prefer convenience, while some want the real barista experience. To help you narrow down your choice, this table gives you a breakdown of their key differences:
Coffee Ground Size
Not so much
Expensive but worth it
Easy to use
Can adjust the grind size
No control on grind size
Finished in one press
Can last up to years
$20 or less
The critical differences between burr grinders vs. blade grinders can be seen from the table above. While blade grinders are more affordable and convenient and can produce an okay-tasting cup of coffee, burr grinders can give you the flexibility and consistency you need to make exceptional coffee drinks. This is because burr grinders can grind your coffee into almost the same size while allowing you to adjust them depending on what type of brewing device you will use.
To help you understand their differences even more, below are different types of brewing devices and how these grinders affect the coffee they produce:
For A French Press
When you create a cup of coffee using the grinds from the burr and blade grinder, you won’t notice any distinction in the taste; both have the same aroma and flavor. However, the burr grinder had done a pretty good job pulverizing the beans evenly. Also, in the burr grinder coffee cup, there were fewer flecks of floating coffee grounds, unlike the blade grinder cup. But the difference isn’t too noticeable, especially if you’re not paying too much attention.
For A Pour-Over
With the pour-over coffee maker, the clear winner between the two grinders is a burr grinder. When you use this brewing device, you need to have all your grinds the same size to filter all the flavors of the coffee at the same time. Blade grinders can’t produce consistent grounds, which can throw off the taste of the coffee you’ll make. However, if you aren’t much of a coffee connoisseur and don’t notice the flavor difference, using a coffee grind from a blade grinder for a pour-over machine won’t be much of a sin.
For A Moka-Pot
Moka pots require a medium to medium-fine coffee ground to get the best flavor. This means that you need a grinder that can help you achieve this consistency, which is the burr grinder. If you try to use a blade grinder for Moka pots, you might get an imbalanced coffee flavor. For example, a blade grinder produces both fine and coarse grinds, and the fine ones will not be effectively filtered out by the Moka pot, resulting in a slurry layer at the bottom of your cup.
Grind size affects the taste of your coffee, mainly when you use an Aeropress. When you have fine coffee grounds, they cover a larger surface area, which affects the speed at which flavor is extracted from the coffee. When using Aeropress, a finer grind will also help increase the resistance and relative pressure while you’re pressing down the plum ger, creating a richer flavor profile for your coffee cup. This makes burr grinder the best partner for this device.
People Also Ask (FAQs)
Does a finer grind make stronger coffee?
The more finely ground your beans are, the more caffeine they can release to your cup. So when it comes to caffeine concentration, a finer grind does make stronger coffee compared to a coarser grind that will brew a weaker cup.
Do burr grinders wear out?
Yes, burr grinders wear out. However, a good quality one will last long. If your burr grinders have steel burr, you may need to replace them after grinding approximately 1000 lbs of coffee beans. For ceramic burrs, you need a replacement after grinding 750 lbs of coffee beans.
Do coffee grinder blades get dull?
Yes, like any sharp object, coffee grinder blades can get dull. One clear sign of dull blades is when you start to pick some weird taste from your coffee cup. If this happens, sharpen the blades or replace them.
Can coffee grinder burrs be sharpened?
Burrs have a more complicated structure than coffee blades, making it impossible to remove them from the machine for manual sharpening. So, if your burrs are starting to get dull, you’ll need to replace them.
Understanding the difference between burr grinders vs. blade grinders can help you choose the best grinder for excellent tasting coffee. If you only use a french press at home, the type of grinder you use won’t make much of a difference, but if you have other brewing devices, investing in a burr grinder will surely pay off.