What Makes The Best Coffee

Tuesday 15 February 2022


What Makes The Best Coffee

What Makes The Best Coffee: Blade or Burr Grinder?

Want to make the best of your expensive imported coffee beans but are worried about which grinder to choose? Let’s help you out with this exclusive coffee grinder guide. 

What Makes The Best Coffee

Coffee enthusiasts may fight over the best brand of coffee but unanimously agree on one subject. Fresh ground coffee is superior to pre-ground coffee. Getting the best beans isn’t enough, grinding these dark beans is the best step to brewing and a good grinder will ensure quality.

There are two grinders available in the market - a blade and a burr grinder. If you are confused about which to splurge on, we are here to walk you through the pros and cons of each to make your purchase easier.

Why Do You Need A Coffee Grinder?

No one would deny a good cup of coffee. In the never-ending quest for a delicious, rejuvenating cup of caffeine, many techniques have been tried and tested to maximize the flavors. Grinding fresh coffee beans is by far the best-tested method to achieve the ideal coffee drink.

Whether you opt for a burr or blade grinder, ground coffee is better than pre-ground coffee. However, keep in mind that your coffee begins to go stale after grinding thus the fresher the ground coffee, the better it tastes. This is also why the type of grinder will influence the flavors.

What Makes The Best Coffee

What Is A Burr Grinder?

Burr grinders aka burr mills come in manual or electric settings. Manual grinders come with steel or ceramic grinders whereas electrical ones are equipped with flat burrs. Let’s walk you through both of these coffee grinders.

How Does A Burr Grinder Work?

Burr coffee grinders ground the beans using two revolving grinding surfaces. Conical burr grinders have a static outer burr and a rotary cone-shaped inner burr. In contrast, flat burr grinders use two facing burrs to grind the whole beans. The simpler hand grinders may make a more consistent grind size whereas electric burr grinders are much more convenient for a large quantity of coffee.

You can change the size of the gap between the two burrs to alter the grind size.

Conical Burr Grinders

For large scale productions, conical burr grinders are the hallmark. The cone-shaped center with a serrated outer burr makes the coffee well-grounded. Additionally, the heat-resistant and energy-efficient properties contribute to their popularity among home and professional baristas alike.

However, the 2013 World Barista Championship saw the rise of flat burrs to produce evenly ground coffee. This was further established by their preference to make espresso.

Flat Burr Grinders

These have two sharp-edged, donut-shaped burrs facing each other which captures the bean until they are symmetrically grounded, unlike conical burrs where beans slip. The one-note flavor of such grounds allows baristas to experiment with other flavors.

On the downside, the loud, energy-consuming flat burrs are more suitable for home use than shops. Nevertheless, ground coffee calls for flat burrs.


      Uniformity - The balanced flavor can be contributed to the uniformly grounded coffee beans.

      Adjustable - If you are in the mood for some variety, then you can grind coffee and brew it your way.

      Durable - Burrs that will retain their sharpness for a long time.


      Difficult to find in grocery and kitchen stores.

      A good quality hand burr coffee grinder can go for as high as $20 but prepare for a bigger budget if you want to go electric.

What Is A Blade Grinder?

Blade grinders are the best tools for a novice barista due to their affordability and user-friendliness. Unfortunately, consistent grind size is tough with this grinder.

How Does A Blade Coffee Grinder Work?

A blade grinder usually chops coffee beans and spices while mixing them. It contains a blade in the center similar to a propeller, like the ones in a blender or a food processor. This yields faster but unevenly sized beans.

Remember that uneven grounds are the biggest taste-killer. The finely ground coffee's bitterness, combined with the larger pieces, conflicts with the robust flavor, resulting in mediocre coffee.

To avoid such a disaster, pulsing the beans is better than holding down the grinder until it’s done. The beans can then fall back toward the blade to achieve the preferred consistency as well as prevent heating the beans, thus preserving flavor.


      Quick- As you only need to press a button for a few seconds.

      Readily accessible at grocery or kitchen stores.

      Affordable with many reputable brands under $20.


      Inconsistently sized coffee grounds.

      Cheaply Made - Quantity over quality.

      Heat - causes it to lose a bit of flavor.

      No control over grind size.

What Makes The Best Coffee

Why are burr grinders better?


The answer lies in grind size and uniformity. Ultimately, the flavor of your coffee will be determined by this factor. The small fragments are called fine and the large ones are called boulders. This will largely affect how your coffee will brew.

Even though the fines extract (brew) instantaneously,  the boulders barely extract at all.

This results in a combination of under-extracted and over-extracted. The under-extracted coffee tastes sour whereas over-extracted ones taste bitter. Overall the coffee tastes bad.

Blade grinders have just a one-speed setting which determines the grind size as long as you hold the power button down.

On the other hand, burr grinders allow you to select a grind size setting as well as avoid continually grinding the bean thus preventing unwanted fines.

The two burrs grind the beans between them which determines the grind size. One spins at a certain RPM burr while the other one remains still.

Despite the pros and cons of both types of burrs; flat burr grinders are still the preferable industry-grade grinders. By rule of thumb, a larger burr leads to a uniform grind.

Why are burr grinders so expensive?

Blade and burr grinders have a massive price difference, another factor that deters people from buying burr grinders. On one hand, blade grinders are easily affordable at £15 ($20) whereas even the entry-level electric burr grinder can fetch up to £110 ($140).

For those that place importance on grind size, prepare to pay more than $3000 for commercial level grinders.

This begs the question, why such a huge gap in prices?

Many factors that determine a burr grinder’s price include one or more of these features:

      Dose by weight

      PID-control for motor speed

      Low grinds retention

      Premium motor and gear quality

      Premium burr build quality, material, size, precision

      Motor cooling feature

      Digital screens

      Auto shut-off

      Premium quality internal and external materials

With all these built-in features, the price can be justified. Additionally, the grind quality makes the cost worth it.

Blade grinder hacks

For those, who can’t get their hands on a burr grinder, here is a hack to help achieve a similar grind consistency with blade grinders.

Step one

Add the coffee beans to the grinder and pulse for one to two seconds at a time. Pour in 10 percent more than you need.

Shake the grinder between each pulse. Keep repeating to reach the desired grind size.

This gives you a mix of small and large grounds. These large ones will be ground again in the second stage.

Step two

The second step then sifts the grinds to leave large grounds. Repeat step one, after sifting the coffee. Repeat these two steps a few more times.

The remaining boulders can no longer be crushed. Now onto the next stage to make it even better.

Step three

Finally, empty the grounds on a sheet or paper towel (kitchen roll) and onto the paper. Spread them out then pour them back into the bowl.

The paper will hold onto the fines, leaving you with uniformly ground coffee.

Given the amount of coffee this process requires, as well as all the tedious steps, this may not be worth the effort or the coffee. Wastage is a concern Which is why investing in a good burr grinder is the better solution.


Therefore, burr grinders win the final show between grinders. If you want to maximize the flavor and quality of your coffee, then go the extra step and invest in a burr grinder. A poor grinder will completely ruin your expensive coffee beans and make your purchase go to waste.

If you are still skeptical, go for the slightly cheaper manual burr grinder and bring in your best game for the perfect cup of hot, steaming coffee or a great coffee dessert.

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