The Best Coffee Grinder for the Freshest Home Brew EverThe Best Coffee Grinder for the Freshest Home Brew Ever

The Best Coffee Grinder

Or how to drink a killer espresso without getting out of your PJs.
Elese Dowden
Words by 
Elese Dowden
Updated 
Sep 25, 2020
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At a glance

Whether you're trying to finish a long-overdue project, or just need to get out of bed, coffee is the solution to all problems. You might not be able to plan for life's little setbacks, but a great cup of coffee will prepare you for anything. Because great home-brewed coffee starts with freshly-ground beans, a coffee grinder is essential for anyone serious about problem-solving. The best coffee grinder is easy to use, with grind settings that cater to your fave brewing method.

If you're after an electric or manual or hand grinder, we've pored over the reviews to bring you our top picks for Australia's best coffee grinders. All you need now is a food processor or a blender so you can make oat milk at home, too.

Best for most

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

If you've got a home espresso machine, you'll be wondering where the Breville Smart Grinder Pro's bean all your life. Its LCD-screen makes for easy precision adjusting, whether you want finely-ground espresso, or coarse French press. The Smart Grinder Pro is made by an Aussie-owned company, and the price point doesn't hurt, either.

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Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Top
Pick
Best speciality coffee grinder

Baratza Sette 270

The Baratza Sette 270 is a brew-ti-ful machine for serious coffee nerds. Designed with the home barista in mind, this grinder is easy to clean with an LCD screen. It also has space for your favourite type of coffee chamber or filter. And with 270 grind options, you're well-equipped to get the best from your brew, whether you're drinking Aeropress, Chemex, or good old-fashioned espresso.

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Baratza Sette 270
Best for budget

Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder

If you want to learn first-hand why fresh-ground coffee reigns supreme, the Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder is for you. Choose from coarse, medium, or fine, tell it how much coffee you need ground, and off you go. This no-nonsense gadget will only set you back less than a week’s worth of lattes from your local.

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Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder
Best hand grinder

Porlex Mini II

The Porlex Mini II is everything you could ever ask for in a hand grinder. It's small, sturdy, and functional, with extra-fine to coarse grind settings, so you can apocalypse-proof your caffeine addiction in style. Designed with ceramic burrs that won't rust, the Porlex is a portable solution to grinding coffee on the go. It doesn't need batteries, and has a silicone grip.

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Porlex Mini II

How we picked

If you've ever researched coffee grinders, you'll know they come with an endless flow of strongly-brewed opinions. From your local barista, to your friend with the coffee superiority complex - everyone will tell you something different. Luckily, I'm (Elese - Cosier writer) an ex-barista and I've sold a few coffee grinders in my time. This meant I had some special insight. It also meant I've tried some of the grinders on this list.

Insider knowledge aside, we know that baristas are partial to hot takes, so we also checked what CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, had to say. We added some of the coffee grinders they'd reviewed to our list. Next, we jumped over to ProductReview.com.au to find out what other coffee-obsessed Aussies reckoned. Almost all of the top-rated ProductReview.com.au grinders had been reviewed by CHOICE, and we dropped grinders that scored less than a 4 from our list. 

CHOICE and ProductReview.com.au hadn't reviewed hand grinders, so we did some further digging and settled on 3 manual grinders popular with Australian coffee equipment sellers. We'd used 2 of the 3 we found, and cross-referenced our reviews on AlternativeBrewing.com.au. One wasn't quite as well-rated as the others, so we took it off the list. That's how we ended up with our guide to Australia's best coffee grinders.

The 8 best coffee grinders in Australia

Best for most -> Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

If you've got a home espresso machine, you'll be wondering where the Breville Smart Grinder Pro's bean all your life. Its LCD-screen makes for easy precision adjusting, whether you want finely-ground espresso, or coarse French press. The Smart Grinder Pro is made by an Aussie-owned company, and the price point doesn't hurt, either.

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The Breville BCG820 Smart Grinder Pro is proof you don't need to remortgage the house to get your hands on a good coffee grinder. We love its easy-to-use LCD-screen, and how easily you can change the grind for plunger, filter, percolator or espresso. You can also set how much coffee you'd like to grind, including the number of shots for espresso, or cups for plunger or filter. Set it to automatically dose into your portafilter, or grind direct into a container, filter, or basket.

The Smart Grinder Pro's brunt lies in its conical burr, which is a small, cone-shaped mechanism that rotates to gently crush your beans into ground coffee. Most home coffee grinders use conical burrs, as opposed to the flat burrs of commercial grinders. This Breville machine comes with a 2-year warranty, and is often on sale for around $200 at major appliance retailers. CHOICE reviewed the Breville grinder, and so did nearly 50 Aussies, who gave it 4+ stars on ProductReview.com.au. 

We've personally given this one a go, and reckon it's a must for anyone who has a home espresso machine. It's hard to get a fine, even espresso grind from a machine under $500, but the Breville delivers. While there are more than enough grind settings for the home barista to get a feel for, purists may be frustrated. The Breville only offers 2 settings for plunger and 3 for filter. If you're fussy about your brewing method, you're better off with a specialty grinder.

Reviewers say that this grinder has helped their espresso extraction, bringing them 'way more crema on top'. Other reviewers like how easy the Breville BCG820 is to clean, noting how quickly they could alter the dose or the grind. The bean hopper is wide, too, so you can easily pour beans in without spilling. Our only real qualm is how noisy it is. All in all, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro represents great value for money, especially if you've got a home espresso machine.

Why buy the Breville BCG820 Smart Grinder Pro

Ease of use

Easy-to-read LCD display with simple, straightforward controls.

Conical burrs

A true coffee grinder that produces an even grind.

Price

Boasts some of the features of $500 machines at half the price.

Compact

Won't take up your precious bench space.

Fast

Turns your beans into espresso powder in a jiffy.

Locally owned

Breville was founded in Sydney in the 1930s, making this grinder the most locally-sourced on the list.

Warranty

2-year warranty, which was the longest of all our picks.

The not-so-good bits

Limited settings

Most settings are for espresso grind, so alternative brewing fans may be disappointed

Noisy

Makes a bit of a racket, but most coffee grinders do.

In summary

The Breville BCG820 Smart Grinder Pro is a well-designed coffee gadget to be used with home espresso machines. It's easy to use and easy to clean with simple buttons and an LCD display. It boasts grind settings for the home barista to produce a stellar coffee, but you won't be overwhelmed when you go to change the grind before your first morning cuppa. We like that Breville doesn't mess with the pre-caffeinated. 

Best specialty coffee grinder -> Baratza Sette 270

Baratza Sette 270

The Baratza Sette 270 is a brew-ti-ful machine for serious coffee nerds. Designed with the home barista in mind, this grinder is easy to clean with an LCD screen. It also has space for your favourite type of coffee chamber or filter. And with 270 grind options, you're well-equipped to get the best from your brew, whether you're drinking Aeropress, Chemex, or good old-fashioned espresso.

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The Baratza Sette 270 is for you if you have trouble choosing between your Aeropress, Bialetti, and Hario every morning. It's a serious piece of coffee equipment, with 30 macro-adjustment options and 9 micro-adjustment options. This makes it easy to adjust the grind for smaller changes in humidity or temperature. You can also change your Sette grind within 0.01 of a second, and once you've sussed out what you like, you can save up to 3 grind preferences.

What we love about the Sette 270 is that it offers ample room to grind coffee into your pour-over, stovetop espresso, or filter. The holder is convertible, with rubber sleeves which you can wriggle around to fit the container or filter underneath. The Sette is designed to retain less grounds, so if you change beans or brewing methods often, you'll have precisely-ground fresh coffee each time with minimal mucking about. Of course, this comes at a cost, but we think it offers great value compared to similar models in its price range.

The Sette 270 is reviewed by CHOICE, and reviewers on ProductReview.com.au gave it 5 stars, although there were only a handful of them. Over 50 reviewers on AlternativeBrewing.com.au also gave it 5 stars. What people didn't love was the noise it makes, but as one reviewer put it, it grinds 'blazingly fast,' which more than makes up for it. The Sette isn't made for coarser brewing methods like French press or cold brew, but lovers of drip, plunger, filter, and espresso will be stoked .

Why buy the Baratza Sette 270

Steel conical burrs

Hard-wearing 40mm conical burrs.

Doesn't retain grinds

Designed to reduce wastage for a fresh grind every time.

Versatile

30 macro and 9 micro adjustments for an impressive 270 unique grind settings.

Clever holder

Convertible holder so you can grind direct into your filter or container.

LCD Display

Easily change grind time or save up to 3 settings.

The not-so-good bits

Warranty

While Baratzas are built to last, most retailers only offer 12 month warranties.

Pricey

It'll set you back around $500, but the Sette offers value beyond its price range.

Noisy

Reviews complained it was a little noisy, but again, most grinders are.

In summary

The Baratza Sette 270 is a sleek piece of equipment designed for those who know precisely how they like their coffee. It's much less confusing than a commercial grinder, but produces great results, especially for alternative brewing methods and espresso. We love how it's designed to prevent retention of grounds, and that it offers macro and micro-adjustment options. If you're trying to win the heart of a coffee fiend, the Baratza Sette 270 is just the ticket.

Best for budget -> Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder

Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder

If you want to learn first-hand why fresh-ground coffee reigns supreme, the Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder is for you. Choose from coarse, medium, or fine, tell it how much coffee you need ground, and off you go. This no-nonsense gadget will only set you back less than a week’s worth of lattes from your local.

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We love how no-nonsense the Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder is. It does the job, and includes a removable stainless steel chamber with hidden cord storage. It also has straightforward grind settings. Just choose between 'coarse,' 'medium,' or 'fine,' tell it how many cups of coffee you want ground, and press the button. It couldn't be more simple than that, right?

The Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder fared much better in reviews than other blade grinders, which is what you'll find in the sub-$100 grinder range. Blade grinders are cheaper because they chop the beans with blades at a high speed, rather than grinding the beans with burrs. These machines won't give you fine, even, espresso grounds, but you can bank on the Kmart machine for a solid French press.

If you're looking for an entry-level coffee grinder on a budget, the Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder is your best bet. Reviewers on ProductReview.com.au gave it nearly 5 stars, and it's around $20 cheaper than most other blade grinders on the market. Aussies love how simple it is, saying it gives a fairly consistent grind. Many commented on how much better it was than other blade grinders. If you want freshly ground coffee at home, this is a great place to start.

Why buy the Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder

Price

At around $30, you probably won't find a cheaper coffee grinder in Australia.

Removable chamber

You can take the inner chamber out to easily pour grinds into your filter.

Simple

It has two dials and one button. That's it.

Storage

It's compact with hidden cord storage, so you can easily sneak it under the bench if your coffee snob friends come for dinner.

Doubles as a spice grinder

Of course, you'll want to clean it thoroughly between uses.

The not-so-good bits

Blade instead of burrs

Burrs grind coffee beans down into a chamber, crushing for an even grind while keeping oils intact. This is how you get good 'crema,' which is the layer of oil on top of fresh-brewed coffee. The Kmart grinder has a blade, so won't produce the same result as a burr grinder.

Less control

If you want to change the grind, you'll have a hard time with this grinder. It only offers 3 settings, but it's better than pre-ground coffee any day.

In summary

The Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder is a great place to start in the world of coffee grinders. It's cheap, cheerful, and makes a strong case for fresh-ground coffee at an impressive price. While it won't give you espresso grinds, or more than 3 settings, it offers a delicious way to improve your home coffee experience on a budget. This no-nonsense machine does what it says on the box, and we respect that.

Best hand grinder -> Porlex Mini II

Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder

The Porlex Mini II is everything you could ever ask for in a hand grinder. It's small, sturdy, and functional, with extra-fine to coarse grind settings, so you can apocalypse-proof your caffeine addiction in style. Designed with ceramic burrs that won't rust, the Porlex is a portable solution to grinding coffee on the go. It doesn't need batteries, and has a silicone grip.

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The Porlex Mini II is a cleverly-designed, lightweight hand grinder that packs a Muhammad Ali-sized punch. It holds 20g beans, and fits inside an Aeropress. This makes it ideal for traveling or taking to work. It’s cheaper than an electric grinder, but still offers settings for pour-over, filter, plunger, and espresso. If you're looking for a good excuse to drink more coffee, the Porlex Mini II is just what the doctor ordered.

These Porlex grinders have ceramic burrs, which stay sharp longer, and the body is made from durable stainless steel. At just over $100, it's cheaper than an electric grinder, and won't make the same racket as a Baratza or a Breville. Of course, you won't get nearly as many grind settings. It only grinds a small amount at a time. But it still offers 12+ settings between extra-fine and coarse, and is one of the most portable manual grinders out. It's great for a single cup of filter coffee or pour-over, too.

The Porlex Mini II is a recent redesign, so this later model boasts 50% more grinds per rotation. ProductReview.com.au and CHOICE didn't review any hand grinders, but this one was rated nearly 5 stars by reviewers on AlternativeBrewing.com.au. Coffee drinkers liked how easy it is to use, and several said it offered a uniform grind. It won't replace an electric grinder, but it's a sturdy specialty grinder in a compact size. The whole thing only weighs 250g.

Why buy the Porlex Mini II

Portable

This Japanese-made grinder is light and small, so you can take it with you anywhere.

Burr grinder

Redesigned to produce uniform grinds with less effort. Ceramic burrs stay cooler as you grind to preserve flavour.

Specialty settings

12+ settings for extra-fine Turkish coffee, to coarse French press.

Silicone grip

Makes for easier hand grinding.

Hand powered

Won't run out of steam, so you can grind coffee while camping, or if there's a power cut while you're trying to leave for work in the morning.

The not-so-good bits

Small

Only holds 20g coffee, so not ideal if you're making a big pot for Sunday brunch.

Hand powered

Slightly more hassle to get your coffee from bean to cup.

In summary

The Porlex Mini II is the best grinder for alternative brewing on the go. It's a solid choice for home brewing if you're switching between Aeropress, stovetop espresso, or filter, a cup or two at a time. We love that it offers a high-quality grind with ceramic burrs in a compact size. It doesn't hurt that it's much cheaper than an electric grinder, and it's even more portable than a takeaway flat white. There's not much more you could ask for in a hand grinder.

The competition

No matter whether you're an espresso fiend or a plunger person, there's a grinder out there for everyone. These coffee grinders might not be for every coffee drinker, but they provide some hot competition.

Macap M2M Coffee Grinder

If you're buying a grinder for your espresso machine, the Macap M2M gives both the Sette 270 and the Breville Smart Grinder Pro a run for their money. So why didn't we recommend it? It's essentially an entry-level commercial grinder. The pro-level grind settings may be overwhelming for home baristas, but this machine offers impressive precision. It's best suited for espresso, and produces excellent grounds for alternative methods - it just takes a little more mucking around than the Sette 270. 

The Macap M2M is an import, but most retailers offer a 1-year warranty. That might not sound like a lot, but it’s standard with imported coffee grinders. You can sometimes buy extended warranties, but entry-level commercial grinders are designed to last as long as your grandma's Singer sewing machine. Replacement parts aren't hard to come by, either. There are no LCD screens or fancy tech, so there's less to go wrong.

What really sets the Macap M2M apart is its commercial-grade 50mm flat steel burrs. Flat burrs move slower than conical burrs, crushing beans more gently. This means your grounds stay cooler, so less of the flavour is lost in the grinding process. They can take a little longer than conical burrs, but reviewers said the M2M is quieter than other coffee machines. CHOICE reviewed it, and ProductReview.com.au gave it 5 stars, although there was only 1 review at the time of writing.

Choose this if…

You want a real workhorse of a grinder that will outlast most other appliances. 

Rancilio Rocky Coffee Grinder

The Rancilio Rocky grinder is one of the most popular specialty coffee grinders in Australia. Considered an entry-level specialty machine, it's often the first serious grinder coffee nerds buy. The Rancilio Rocky Grinder is similar to the Macap M2M in that it has flat 50mm burrs, but it's about $50 cheaper.  Although, it looks more like a 'home' grinder than the Macap. In saying that, the Rocky has a commercial-grade interior, and replacement burrs can be found easily.

What's confusing about the Rocky is that it comes in two versions: one with a doser, and one without. The doserless version is easier to use, as a reviewer on ProductReview.com.au said. They reckon the doser is 'a bit haphazard, and dispenses varying amounts,' so you may be better off with a scale until you learn how full your filter needs to be. More than one reviewer also said it sometimes needs a bit of a 'talking to,' as every so often it won't feed beans.

Even so, the Rancilio Rocky scored nearly 4.5 stars on ProductReview.com.au, and most reviewers have had their machines for a few years. Aussies commented on how difficult it was to change the grind from fine to coarse, however, so if you aren't just using it for espresso, you're better off with the Baratza Sette 270. It's also worth mentioning that any burr grinder should be running when changing settings from coarse to fine so that beans don't jam the burrs.

Choose this if…

You're willing to spend big bucks to get the most out of your home espresso machine.

Baratza Encore Grinder

The Baratza Encore has a great reputation for being an affordable, reliable little machine at an exceptional price. It closely rivals the Breville, and you'll pick it up for around the same price. The reason it lost to the Breville is because the Breville is more user-friendly. The Baratza doesn't have an LCD-screen, but it does have 40 grind settings, and conical burrs, which should stay sharp for years. Baratza also designs their machines to last, so you'll find replacement parts easily.

The Baratza is designed more like a miniature commercial machine than the Breville. It has fewer bells and whistles, but you can change the grind size quickly by twisting the hopper (the funnel that holds the beans) between graduated markings. ProductReview.com.au gave the Encore a full 5 stars from a handful of reviews. It’s a well-known machine from a reputable company. It'll do the job for espresso, but you'll see the greatest value if you're someone who likes a good alternative brew.

Choose this if…

You want a grunty entry-level electric burr grinder with a wide range of grind settings.

Rhinowares Hand Grinder

The Rhinowares grinder is a well-priced hand grinder which offers a great quality adjustable grind. It's wider than the Porlex Mini II, boasting double the capacity at nearly half the price. It has conical burrs, too, so grounds from the Rhinowares beat electric blade grinders at a comparable price. Reviewers on AlternativeBrewing.com.au loved this product, giving it just over 4.5 stars. In contrast, the Porlex scored nearly a solid 5.

The downside of the Rhinowares is its speed. One reviewer says it takes them 100 turns to fill a 2 cup stovetop espresso, which is the one of the smallest stovetop espressos you can buy. Another says you can expect 'a good few minutes' of hand-grinding for a double-shot espresso. It may take its time, but the Rhinowares is still a sturdy hand grinder. Given that it's around $40-$50 cheaper than the Porlex, we reckon it's a smart way to enjoy quality fresh-ground coffee on a budget.

Choose this if…

You want a quality burr grinder at under $100.

How we picked

If you've ever researched coffee grinders, you'll know they come with an endless flow of strongly-brewed opinions. From your local barista, to your friend with the coffee superiority complex - everyone will tell you something different. Luckily, I'm (Elese - Cosier writer) an ex-barista and I've sold a few coffee grinders in my time. This meant I had some special insight. It also meant I've tried some of the grinders on this list.

Insider knowledge aside, we know that baristas are partial to hot takes, so we also checked what CHOICE, Australia's biggest consumer advocacy group, had to say. We added some of the coffee grinders they'd reviewed to our list. Next, we jumped over to ProductReview.com.au to find out what other coffee-obsessed Aussies reckoned. Almost all of the top-rated ProductReview.com.au grinders had been reviewed by CHOICE, and we dropped grinders that scored less than a 4 from our list. 

CHOICE and ProductReview.com.au hadn't reviewed hand grinders, so we did some further digging and settled on 3 manual grinders popular with Australian coffee equipment sellers. We'd used 2 of the 3 we found, and cross-referenced our reviews on AlternativeBrewing.com.au. One wasn't quite as well-rated as the others, so we took it off the list. That's how we ended up with our guide to Australia's best coffee grinders.

Important features to consider

When it comes to coffee grinders, we know it's tempting to forgo the 'add to cart' button in favour of the 'too hard basket.' But because you can't beat a freshly-ground bean, we've broken the info down to help you decide.

Budget

You'll see an improvement over pre-ground coffee with a blade grinder, which you can expect to pick up for under $60. At under $100, you'll get the most bang for buck with a hand grinder. Electric grinders capable of quality espresso start at $200, with the best quality home machines ranging from $450-$700.

Burrs vs blades

If you just want ground coffee, full-stop, a blade grinder will do the job. It chops the beans into a powder, but you won't have much control over the end result. Blade grinders throw the beans around, which also means you'll lose flavour to heat. Burr grinders crush the beans between rotating ceramic or steel mechanisms, which ensures more of the oils end up in your coffee cup. They'll also grind beans evenly so you end up with more crema and flavour. 

Warranty

Grinders from major appliance brands had fairly transparent warranties. On the flipside, specialist coffee grinders are usually imported, so the warranty lies with the reseller. Most machines we looked at came with 12-month warranties. This is because specialty coffee machines are designed to be repaired rather than replaced. Be sure to check the availability of replacement parts, especially if you're spending more than $200.

Brewing method

The coarser your brewing method, the less you need to spend to get a good result. A plunger or French press takes the coarsest grounds, while espresso machines require a fine grind. If you're changing brewing methods frequently, it's worth thinking about how easy it is to switch between grinds on your chosen machine.

What you get if you spend more

If you can get a good coffee out of a $200 grinder, it might be difficult to understand why you'd drop $500. Here's why it might be worth spending extra. 

Finer result

Machines priced at $400+ produce the best quality espresso, as they have higher-quality burrs which, in turn, make more uniform grounds with evenly-distributed oils. No matter your brew method, starting with an even grind always produces better flavour and crema. 

Grind settings

The cheapest grinder on our list has 3 settings, while the priciest offers 270. If you want more than a few options, or enjoy experimenting with grind settings, you'll need to spend upwards of $200.

Sustainability

When you break it down, most specialty coffee grinders are just well-designed hunks of metal. They won't biodegrade like a banana peel, and manufacturers know this. Most of the pricier machines are designed to last, which is why manufacturers sell replacement parts. If you're environmentally conscious, you'll see value in spending $500 on one machine that lasts 10+ years, rather than $200 every few years.

The bottom line

You don't need to spend hundreds on a coffee grinder, but it's a slippery slope. One minute you're buying a $30 blade grinder on a whim, and next thing you know, you're losing friends to debates about conical vs flat burrs.

If you want to make the most of your home espresso machine, the Breville Smart Grind Pro will do your beans justice. It's designed with the home barista in mind, and has a great range of settings for finely-ground espresso. With a few quick adjustments on the LCD screen, you can easily change the grind time, too.

The Baratza Sette 270 may be the priciest of all our picks, but it's definitely the coolest coffee gadget around for alternative brew fans. The 270 in its title refers to the 270 grind unique settings the machine offers. It's designed to retain less grounds, too which minimizes wastage when you're flicking between your Aeropress and pour-over settings.

Our budget recommendation is the Kmart Anko Coffee Grinder. It's cheap and cheerful, but was rated the best out of all the blade grinders on ProductReview.com.au. With only 3 settings, it's ideal if you want a cheap, simple solution to improving your morning brew. And at only $30, it's a bit of a steal if you ask us.

Our final pick, the Porlex Mini II, is a hand grinder ideal for alternative brew fans on a budget. At only 250g, this is one of the lightest grinders on the market. The Porlex grinder is designed to be portable but versatile. From Chemex to espresso, its conical ceramic burrs mean you'll get beautiful, consistently-ground coffee every time.

Frequently asked questions

What's the difference between a blade grinder and a burr grinder?

A blade grinder, as the coffee snobs will tell you, isn't technically a grinder. Sometimes sold as coffee and spice grinders, these little machines are a budget-friendly way to get started with freshly-ground beans. Blade grinders chop the beans at high speed, generating heat, and producing a less even end result than burr grinders. You won't have as much control over grind texture or coarseness with a blade grinder, but you will end up with ground coffee.

Burr grinders are where the wheat really gets separated from the chaff. Most entry-level electric grinders have conical burrs, which are little whirly mechanisms that rotate against each other to crush your coffee beans into a powder. Conical burr grinders draw beans down into a chamber, like when water drains out of the plug in the bath. Because they crush slowly rather than throwing the beans around, you end up with more oil and flavour in your coffee grounds. The oils are what produce the 'crema' on top of fresh-brewed coffee.

What's the difference between an electric and manual / hand grinder?

Manual grinders, or hand grinders, have a crank that you turn by hand to rotate the burrs inside, crushing the beans and moving them into a second chamber. In short, you're the motor, so these machines are much cheaper than their electric counterparts. Electric grinders have similar working parts, with the added benefit of an electric motor. This saves time and energy, but costs more than a hand grinder.

Should I buy a coffee grinder?

Yes. Even the cheapest blade grinder will make your home coffee-drinking experience infinitely better. Once ground, coffee begins to lose all of the oils and gases that make it taste so delicious. When you buy pre-ground coffee from the supermarket, it's not likely your beans were ground that day, so you'll always get better flavour from a freshly-ground home brew. It's also why your local cafe grinds their own beans on a coffee-by-coffee basis. 

A coffee grinder is also essential if you're looking to up your home brewing game. I, as our resident barista, reckon coffee beans are best a few days to a week after roasting. Most local cafes nowadays sell fresh beans. If you have a solid burr grinder, and can get your hands on the freshest roast possible, you can drink cafe-quality coffee every morning. That's $5 and some café-travel time sliced off your day, so a good grinder will save you time and money in the long run.

How much should I spend on a coffee grinder?

The short answer is: it depends. If you've never ground your own coffee before, a $30 Kmart job is enough for a few pots of plunger coffee every week. But if you have a home espresso machine, you need a burr grinder capable of producing fine, even coffee grounds. Machines under the $200 mark won't cut the mustard, but anything in the $200-$400 range should do the job. But if you're really nerdy about your coffee, or you're looking for an impressive gift for a coffee-lover, you can expect to spend $400-$700 on a decent quality grinder for home use.

What kind of coffee grinder should I buy?

Most people don't need to spend more than $300 on a decent coffee grinder. Plunger, percolator and filter coffee drinkers will probably get away with a blade grinder like the Kmart one, especially if you mainly drink coffee to get you through the day. A hand grinder with burrs is a budget-friendly way to grind for alternative brewing methods like Aeropress and Chemex, too, but may prove a bit of a hassle if your main goal is to get hot bean water into your veins ASAP. 

To do a home espresso machine justice, you'll need a burr grinder. You can get a decent electric burr grinder for espresso at around the $200-$400 mark. If you're a seasoned coffee drinker who chugs a few espressos on the daily, it's worth going straight to the $500 mark. Electric grinders without LCD displays are fine if it's just espresso you're drinking, but if you're mucking around with the grind for alternative brews, it's worth looking into grinders like the Baratza Sette 270, which will save your grind preferences.

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