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Blades VS Burrs: What Is the Best Type of Coffee Grinder?
Written by: Garrett Oden
If you’re in the market for a new coffee grinder to transform your coffee routine with vibrant flavors and a variety of brewing methods, you’re headed into a trap.
There are two types of coffee grinders in the world, burr grinders, and blade grinders, but most grocery and kitchen stores only carry one - and it’s the one you don’t want anything to do with. One type is consistent, durable, and produces uniform coffee grounds. The other is cheap, uncontrollable, and a waste of your time.
Don’t fall for the trap!
You should know what you’re buying when it comes to blade and burr coffee grinders. That’s what we’re here for. By the end of this article, you’ll know which type of grinder will empower you and which to avoid at all costs.
Blade Coffee Grinders
Blade grinders are all made with the same design: a double-pronged blade at the bottom of a chamber spins rapidly, chopping up anything it touches (in this case, coffee). Most have only a single button that, when pressed, causes the blade to spin.
Coffee beans that are hit by the blade are blasted into a bunch of differently-sized pieces. The fine grounds fall to the bottom of the chamber where the blade is and get chopped all over again. The boulders (big grounds) stay towards the top, occasionally getting hit by the blade.
This grinding style produces coffee grounds of all shapes and sizes. Sometimes, halved-beans are left after a blade grinding session (a big coffee no-no!). The heat produced by the rapid blade spinning can alter the flavor of your coffee grounds, eliminating some of the fresh flavors that would make your coffee taste incredible.
Differently sized grounds brew at different rates, so coffee made with grounds from a blade grinder is bound to be unbalanced and disappointing. You’ll be able to find these cheaply made grinders at any kitchen or grocery store, but they won’t provide you the coffee experience you deserve.
- Convenient - Press a button for a few seconds, and you’re done.
- Accessible - Find one in any grocery or kitchen store.
- Inexpensive - It’ll run you less than $20.
- Inconsistent - You never know what size your coffee grounds are going to be.
- Cheaply Made - built to sell, but not to last.
- Heat - Eliminates a bit of flavor from the coffee grounds by heating them up.
- Uncontrollable - No option to choose grind size.
Burr Coffee Grinders
Burr grinders are very different than blade grinders. Two burr pieces funnel the beans, a few at a time, through the grinding area where the beans are ground to a fairly uniform size. These uniformly sized grounds extract at the same rate and produce a balanced brew - exactly what you’re after if you’re considering a coffee grinder.
The burrs themselves are typically made of ceramic or stainless steel and perform a lot longer than cheap metal blades. The very little heat created in the grinding process, leaving the flavors intact.
Burr coffee grinders allow you to move the burrs closer and farther apart to adjust the size of your coffee grounds. Since different coffee makers thrive with different grind sizes, you’ll be able to use any coffee brewer you want, like a french press or stovetop espresso maker.
You can also make small grind size adjustments to hone in your brew, something that’s utterly hopeless with a blade grinder.
In the end, Burr grinders can open a new world to you by revealing the incredible flavor of fresh and balanced coffee, enabling you to use a variety of coffee brewers and empowering you to make small adjustments between brews to improve your coffee.
It’s no wonder why burr grinders are the industry standard across the globe - and should be in your home too!
- Uniformity - Grinds coffee beans to a uniform size, which encourages balanced flavor.
- Adjustable - Allows you to grind coffee to a variety of sizes, enabling you to use a variety of brewing devices and Brew coffee your way.
- Durable - Built with burrs that will stay sharp for years.
- Uncommon - You’re unlikely to find this type of grinder in grocery and kitchen stores.
- Higher Electric Cost - Great hand burr coffee grinders start at $20, but if you want to go electric, you’ll want a bigger budget.
Who Wins This Grinder Showdown?
The Irrefutable Answer: Burr Coffee Grinders!
While a blade grinder will slightly improve your coffee game, a burr grinder will totally transform it with flavor and opportunity. When it comes to returning on investment, you just can’t beat the burrs - especially if you go for a less-expensive manual coffee grinder.