Buying the right coffee grinder is important because coffee grinding is certainly an art unto itself. Grinding your own coffee beans is the best way to ensure you get the right flavor from the size of the grain for your coffee machine. Coffee grinding basically increases the surface area of the coffee bean and allows water to infiltrate increasing taste.
There are four basic coffee grinders: the conical burr coffee grinder, the burr coffee grinder, the blade coffee grinder and the manual hand grinder. Each coffee grinder has its benefits and downfalls:
The Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
The conical burr coffee grinder is the type of grinder which professional cuppers prefer the best. The conical burr coffee grinder provides the most consistency of grinds and the finest of grinds resulting in a proper infused taste. However, some models have up to 16 settings, so you can always use it to grind coffee coarsely. The conical burr coffee grinder grinds at a lower speed, which decreases heat to the bean and imparts its true aroma. Conical burr grinders are perfect for grinding fine Turkish coffee, espresso and are useful for all coffee makers from the French press (cafetiere), to the stovetop espresso maker to the automatic drip system coffee makers. Conical burr grinders can cost anywhere from about $100 - $400.
The Burr Coffee Grinder
The burr coffee grinder is slightly different to the conical burr coffee grinder. The burr coffee grinder uses disc burrs and grinds the coffee faster; which in turn heats the coffee slightly robbing it of aroma. It still provides an even grind, however the burr coffee grinder cannot grind as finely as the conical burr coffee grinder. Generally, prices of a burr coffee grinder range from about $40-$300.
Blade Coffee Grinders
Blade coffee grinders are the most common and one of the cheapest forms to grind coffee. Generally, the blade coffee grinder is a quick and easy method of grinding coffee beans. Blade coffee grinders whirl and basically crush the coffee beans. The biggest con, when it comes to using blade coffee grinders, is it generally creates an uneven grind, which doesn't release the full flavor. It is easy to clean, but due to the high speed, it heats the coffee beans and creates an uneven taste. Prices range from about $15 -$100 for a blade coffee grinder.
Manual Hand Coffee Grinders
Manual Hand Coffee Grinders have steel burr systems which are akin to pepper grinders. They are a fantastic way to grind coffee to your specific grind specifics. Plus, hand coffee grinders are usually very attractive especially to match antique or country cottage type homes and kitchens. Some manual hand coffee grinders even hang on the wall to keep kitchen counter space open. However, the hand coffee grinders are a time and labor intensive way to release great flavor. If you are looking to purchase one for practical reasons it's important to get a good one. You get what you pay for when it comes to manual coffee grinders; some are mostly decorative and some will last a lifetime. Prices range from about $20 - $100.