Burr Coffee Grinders

Improving your coffee can be as easy as improving your grinder.  Freshly ground coffee is the best.  But freshness needs to be combined with an even grind of the right size.  So the grinder you use makes a big difference in the flavor and aroma that ends up in your cup.  Even the best coffee machine can’t improve on the beans you start with.  In fact, baristas will tell you that the grinder is just as important as the coffee maker.  They will also tell you that only a burr grinder will do your coffee justice.  

Pick the Best Burr Coffee Grinder for Your Home:
Highly Rated Models for 2019

Model
Quick Description
Capresso Infinity Burr GrinderGood All-Around Slow Speed Grinder
Breville Smart Grinder Automatic Dosing + 60 Grind Settings
Baratza Encore GrinderPopular Entry Level Burr Grinder
Baratza Virtuoso GrinderEven Particle Grinding + Little Waste
KitchenAid Burr GrinderEye-Catching Design + Performance

Burr Grinder Basics

Burr grinders are considered the best type of grinders to get the most flavor and aroma from coffee beans.  They work by passing the beans through a narrow space between 2 rough surfaces. The parts with the rough surfaces are called burrs, and the motion of the burrs grinds the beans to the desired size.

The four basics you should know, that we discuss below, are:
• Types of Burrs
• Grinder Speed
• Dosing
• Grind Adjustment

Types of Burrs

Shape: Flat Plate Burrs & Conical Burrs

There are two different shapes of burrs. Flat burr machines use two round plates that are positioned parallel to each other. One stays stationary while the other rotates. The facing sides of the plates have sharp edges that grind the coffee beans as they pass between the plates. Conical burr machines use two nested cone-shaped parts, with ridges on the facing surfaces. As one of the cones rotates, the beans are drawn in and down through the narrow opening between the burrs, creating the grounds. Both styles of burrs work well.

Material: Stainless Steel Burrs & Ceramic Burrs

Flat plate and conical burr styles are are available in two different materials: stainless steel and ceramic. Both materials have their strong points, and there are coffee drinkers who favor one or the other. Stainless steel burrs can be sharper and sturdier, while ceramic burrs can keep their sharpness longer but are at risk for breakage if dropped. Stainless burrs work best making larger grounds with beans not roasted for espresso. Ceramic burrs really shine in creating very fine grinds with beans roasted for espresso. There have been some independent attempts to discover if the burr materials affects the final coffee flavor, but the debate continues and really comes down to personal preference.

Low Speed & High Speed Grinders

The speed of a burr grinder is represented in a number of RPM, or how many revolutions per minute are made by the burrs.

High Speed Grinders are less expensive than the low speed versions. The higher speed is created by a small motor that can create some heat transfer to the beans. But they are more consistent and give you more control over grind size than a blade grinder.

Low Speed Grinders are really the best of the best. With more powerful designs, they give you precision, very little heat, no pesky static charge, and quieter operation. Low speed grinders are available with either a Gear Reduction Motor or a Direct Drive Motor. A Gear Reduction model uses gears and a smaller motor to provide power while reducing the speed of the burrs. This prevents excess strain to the motor. The Direct Drive model is the best available for home or prosumer use. The motor is directly connected to the burrs and they turn at the same speed. The high quality motor is able to provide the needed power and the operation is very quiet.

Dosing and Non-Dosing Grinders

Dosing grinders are uniquely designed not only to grind the beans, but to dispense measured amounts after the fact. The doses are calculated to be the amount needed for an espresso shot, so these machines can be quite convenient if you’re brewing espresso. Non-dosing grinders still catch the grinds in a container as they are done, but are not measured.

Stepped & Stepless Grind Adjustment

Stepped adjustments are predefined by the manufacturer for different coarseness settings. Stepless models don’t limit you to preset options, and you can select any coarseness along the spectrum.

Pros and Cons

  • Considered the optimal method of preparing coffee grounds
  • Simple to operate
  • Creates even particle sizes for good extraction
  • Adjustable settings to precisely select grind size
  • Able to create very fine grounds needed for espresso
  • Produces less heat than a blade grinder
  • Generally more expensive than blade grinders
  • Requires a bit more maintenance than a blade grinder
  • Can be somewhat noisy to operate

Tips for Best Results

  • Avoid grinding flavored beans in your burr grinder. The flavored coating can adhere to the machine, transferring the taste to other coffees you grind, and be very difficult to thoroughly remove
  • If you’ll be making mostly espresso, consider a grinder with ceramic burrs
  • If you’ll be making mostly non-espresso coffee, consider a grinder with stainless steel burrs
  • Keep your grinder in good condition with daily, periodic, and deep cleaning.
  • Always match the grind size to the brew method you’re using

Buyer's Checklist

  • Particle Size - Does the grinder do a good job of creating the grind size(s) you need. Not all grinders are equally good at every grind type. Check user reviews.
  • Speed - High speed models are less expensive but may produce some heat. Low speed models are considered optimal.
  • Dosing - For making espresso, a dosing grinder may be convenient. But for other brewing methods, a non-dosing grinder is probably all you need.
  • Grind Adjustment - Choose a stepped adjustment for predefined grind sizes or a stepless adjustment for maximum flexibility.
  • Warranty - Things break. Be sure to check out the warranty and customer service, just in case.

Capresso 560.01 Infinity Burr Grinder

Good All-Around Slow Speed Grinder

The slow grind speed and stainless steel conical burrs enable the Infinity to create grounds for optimal taste and aroma.  Low noise and static build up make this model more pleasant to use and easier to clean up, while also producing high precision grinds from fine to coarse.  Features include built-in timer, heavy duty housing and safety lock.

✓ ​16 preset grind settings
✓ ​Includes measuring scoop and cleaning brus
✓ ​Container holds up to 4 ounces of ground coffe

Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Automatic Dosing + 60 Grind Settings

Breville’s precise dosing makes your life more convenient whether you’re grinding fine for an espresso or coarse for a French Press. With its electronic display, you can set grind time, number of shots/cups, and choose from 60 grind settings.  Duplicate just the right amount of your favorite grounds with ease.  

✓ ​60 grind settings from very fine to very coarse
✓ ​Automatic dosing gives you just the right amoun
✓ ​Large 16 oz bean hopper can be removed/stored
✓ ​1 year limited manufacturer’s product warranty

Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

Popular Entry Level Grinder

Baratza is a go-to brand for both professionals and at-home coffee drinkers. The Encore features metal conical burrs and Baratza’s Gearbox 2.0, for increased grinding strength.  This strength enables a slow grind speed of 450 RPM, which produces minimal heat, noise and static.  A size range from 250 to 1200 microns, gives you the flexibility of producing just the right grounds for every type of brewing method. And to reduce waste, the Encore is designed to leave a minimal amount of ground coffee in the grinder during use.

✓ Wide range of grind sizes
✓ ​Holds up to 5 ounces of ground coffee
✓ ​Slow grind speed (adjustable) for best flavor
✓ ​1 year limited  warranty

Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

Even Particle Grinding + Little Waste

The Baratza brand is recognized by coffee professionals and home baristas for the quality of their grinders.  And the Virtuoso’s stainless steel conical burrs are engineered for very consistent grinds across a wide range of sizes. The slow 450 RPM operation keeps the flavor and aroma of your beans intact.  It features a stylish design, 60 second timer, and the ability to grind directly into a portafilter for espresso.

✓ Consistently good, repeatable results
✓ ​Slow burr speed with smooth bean feed
✓ ​Grounds bin hold up to 5 ounces
✓ ​1 year limited  warranty

KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder

Eye-Catching Design + Performance

KitchenAid has designed a grinder that looks too good to be stored in a cabinet.  This beautiful machine, shown here in Empire Red, will be a stylish focalpoint on your countertop.  You get the benefits of low heat and more flavor from the burr speed of 450 RPM, which makes this a slow speed grinder.  Both the bean hopper and grind jar are made of glass, reducing static charge.  

Stainless steel conical burrs
✓ ​15 grind settings
✓ ​Includes scoop and cleaning brush
✓ ​Choice of finishes