Best-tasting brew comes from freshly ground coffee. Everybody knows that.
So, why wouldn’t you ground your coffee beans yourself? All you need is a coffee grinder.
Now, the question is, which coffee grinder is better: a burr grinder or a blade grinder?
I spent hours researching, and I must say the burr grinder came out as a winner.
But blade grinders also have their perks.
Stay with me because I will give you the ultimate burr grinder vs blade grinder rundown.
What’s So Special About the Burr Grinder?
If you want to level up your coffee game, I definitely suggest you buy a burr grinder. Although burr grinders are a bit more expensive than blade grinders, they are way better options.
It will give you consistent, evenly ground coffee every time. And that means a great-tasting brew.
Do you know why it is so important to have evenly ground coffee?
It’s because of the process of extraction. If the coffee particles are all the same size, they will extract the same rate of flavors and caffeine.
That way, none of the coffee particles will be over or under-extracted. It means you will have a consistently great-tasting coffee.
Let me give you an analogy.
Say you’re cooking potato. If you want it to be cooked evenly, you will chop it into same-size pieces. It’s the same with coffee.
So, how do burr grinders work?
Inside the grinder, there are two separate, circular parts with burrs that have abrasive and serrated surfaces facing one another. These two burrs are revolving, and the coffee falls in the space between them and gets ground. That’s why a burr grinder is also called a burr mill.
Usually, burrs are made of stainless steel. These are very durable and will stay sharp for years. But you can also find ceramic or even plastic ones.
Also, you can adjust the distance between burrs to achieve different grind sizes. I love that! This way, I can have fine espresso grind but also coarse grind when I want to make cold brew.
Now, there are two types of burr grinders – conical burr and flat burr grinders. While both are great, there are some differences between them.
Let me explain.
Conical burr grinder
A conical burr is a standard for almost every model of burr grinder that you can find.
It has a cone-shaped lower part in the center. And on top of it, an outer donut-shaped burr. This type of burr grinder uses less energy, makes less noise, and heats up less.
Conical burrs give almost perfectly even coffee grounds. But espresso lovers with a refined taste will more likely opt for flat burrs.
Flat burr grinder
A flat burr grinder will give the most consistent coffee ground. Also, it can ground super-fine coffee, perfect for pulling some rich espresso shots.
This type of burr grinder has two donut-shaped burrs. Space between burrs is the same everywhere, and the grinding process is slower. That’s why you won’t be able to find any coarser coffee particles.
But, the downside of this grinder is that it’s making too much noise and using more energy than conical grinders.
Pros of Burr Grinder
- Produces a consistent ground which means you get evenly extracted coffee every time
- Adjustable grind setting allows you to tweak the size of coffee to your preferred brewing method
- The burrs are usually made of steel or ceramic, so it’s durable
Cons of Burr Grinder
- Quite expensive, so it’s not for those who are searching for a cheap grinding solution
- It’s not really made for busy mornings because it’s a bit slow
What Is A Blade Grinder?
When I was a beginner at home brewing, I wasn’t so eager to spend tons of money on fancy coffee-making equipment. So, my first grinder was a simple blade grinder. And I was perfectly happy with it!
It wasn’t a professional, nice-looking burr grinder, but it was easy to use, and really not so expensive. It was more than enough for my beginner’s needs.
A blade grinder looks like a miniature version of a food processor or blender.
In the center of the grinding chamber, there is a propeller-like blade. When you turn it on, the blade will spin super-fast and mix and chop coffee in the grinder.
But what’s the problem with the blade grinder?
Well, you won’t get nice and uniform coffee grounds. The blade will mix beans and cut them randomly. You’ll have some super-fine particles but also coarse chunks of coffee.
This means you will get an over-extracted coffee from the fine grind and an under-extracted coffee from the coarse grind within the drink. It’s not the end of the world, but the result will be an unbalanced taste of coffee.
If you’re not too picky when it comes to the taste of your coffee, it’s fine. (Sometimes I’ll drink whatever as long as it contains caffeine). But, if you spoiled your taste buds with perfectly tasting brew every time, you’ll know the difference.
Another downside is that blade coffee grinders don’t have multiple options for grind size. You only have grinding speed settings.
All you can do is grind shorter if you want coarser grounds or longer if you want finer grounds. But even that way, you’ll still end up with a bunch of different particles. That doesn’t leave you with too many brewing options.
Also, because the blade spins so fast, coffee beans get warmer. That means some of the fresh flavors and aromas can evaporate, leaving you with a not-so-flavorful brew.
- Buying it won’t cost you a fortune because they are pretty affordable
- Super-easy to use, so there’s no learning curve
- Real time-saver because it grinds coffee very fast
- Coffee will have an unbalanced flavor because of uneven coffee ground
- There are no adjustable grind settings meaning you have limited brewing options
Burr Grinder vs Blade Grinder: The Features Showdown
Now, I will compare the features of burr and blade grinders face to face. This way, you will get a clear picture of what you get with each.
Let’s dive in!
Which one makes a more consistent grind?
Consistency of ground size is maybe the most important factor for good-tasting coffee. And here, burr grinders are a clear winner.
While blade grinders chop the coffee bean randomly, producing an uneven grind, burrs crush the bean consistently.
Burr grinder delivers perfectly even coffee grounds every time. That means evenly extracted and balanced flavors.
Which one does the job faster?
Burr grinders are much slower than blade ones. It is because they grind a smaller amount of coffee beans at the time.
With a blade coffee grinder, you’ll grind a larger amount of coffee faster because the blades rotate at a higher speed.
Which one will last longer?
Stainless steel burrs are almost indestructible. You can’t break them, and they will be sharp for a very long time.
That’s not something you can say about blades. Although they are made from metal (most commonly stainless steel), they lose sharpness faster than burrs because of the high grinding speed and thin shape.
On average, a blade grinder can grind 500-800 pounds before the blades lose their sharpness, while burrs will grind 1500 pounds of beans before you need to replace them.
Which has more options?
Since the only way how you can control grind size with a blade grinder is by tweaking the time of grinding, a burr grinder is an obvious winner.
Burr grinders have a grind control knob, so you can adjust the distance between burrs and get different grind sizes. You can even get super-fine coffee grounds for espresso.
Which is simpler to use?
Blade grinders are easier to use since they commonly only have speed control. Because of that, they are a more popular choice for beginners.
The numerous settings on a burr grinder are handy, but it can take a bit of time to get a grasp on them.
Which costs more?
Since burr grinders are more professional and complex devices, it is understandable that they are more expensive. Basic burr grinders can cost up to a few hundred dollars.
So, if you’re on a budget, look for blade grinders. You can easily find a decent one without breaking the bank.
Which one gives you a better-tasting coffee?
When it comes to taste, burr coffee grinders take the win. Uniform and even grind size promises an even extraction process and a well-balanced flavorful brew.
And that’s it.
For those who want to take the best out of their coffee beans, a burr grinder is a real deal. If you’re ready to spend more cash, you’ll have perfectly ground coffee every time.
A burr coffee grinder gives you a consistent grind for a flavorful cup of joe. You can adjust the burrs and achieve different grind sizes for different brewing techniques.
But if you’re looking for an easy-to-use, cheap and fast option, a blade grinder will do the work. You won’t get as consistent grind, but you will still get fresh ground coffee without spending half of your salary on a grinder.
Searching for a cheap coffee grinder? Check out our top picks of budget grinders and a buying guide so you can make a smart purchase.
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