Even if you're using a state-of-the-art
espresso machine, coupled with the best beans, you still need a great grinder to bring it all together for the perfect shot. The best coffee grinders for espresso maximize the flavor and aroma of the bean and elevate your standard latte to something bordering on nirvana.
So, what separates an exceptional espresso grinder from a just mediocre one? It all comes down to a consistently fine grind, and the way to achieve that is to look for a grinder that uses burrs instead of blades.
Burr grinders use two revolving, serrated plates — called burrs — instead of a single propeller blade. Because of that double pulverizing action, a burr grinder can achieve a uniform grind every time. There are both conical burr grinders and flat burr grinders, but they both get the job done equally well.
The next thing you need to consider is whether you prefer an automatic or
manual grinder. Automatics are generally more expensive but reliably quick. While artisans will appreciate the craft that comes with a manual grinder, the process only nets a cup at a time, and as the Wirecutter put it, "the grind speed feels glacial." That being said, if you have limited counter space or want a grinder that can travel, a compact manual might be the way to go.
Last but not least, it's time to talk about price. High-quality espresso grinders aren't cheap, but those immersed in craft-coffee culture swear they're worth every penny of the investment. Yet, if you're on a tight budget, it's still possible to snag a functional
burr grinder for around $50. It may not have all the different settings that a premium model would, but the end result is still freshly ground beans, and that will always beat pre-ground.
With all that in mind, it's time to shop for the best espresso grinder for you. The ones below cover a range of different price points and come highly rated on Amazon.
1 The Best Overall: Breville Smart Grinder Pro
If you're looking for the best espresso grinder that's both easy to use and extremely versatile, try the
Breville Smart Grinder Pro. With 60 precise grind settings for everything from an ultra-fine espresso to a coarse French press, you can achieve perfect results, no matter what kind of coffee you want. Its intuitive LCD screen lets you program in grind setting, time, and dose (i.e. number of shots or cups). It uses stainless steel conical burrs that are designed to minimize grinding heat so your cup tastes the way it should. Plus, it lets you grind directly into the filter of your choice or into the included container that comes with an airtight cap. What fans are saying: "This little gem makes me so happy to make my espresso each morning. I have only had it a month and a half, but every day it grinds beans perfectly. Still trying to find the exact setting, but 12 seconds at a grind setting if 13 with my beans for my Breville Roma espresso machine seems to be just right. Looks nice, and the magnetic snap in pieces that catch overflow and hold your ports filter are just so smart. I think they have a magnet engineer over at Breville for just these little touches. Summary: awesome, consistent grinds, looks sharp, small footprint. Jury is out for durability.” 2 The Runner Up: Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
If you're a grinding newbie, you can't go wrong with the
Baratza Encore Conical Burr Coffee Grinder. It's a reliable workhorse that's straightforward to use — you can be up and grinding with basically the twist of a knob. It comes with 40 grind settings for a range of brew options, from espresso to drip — and your grinds go straight into the included container that’s transparent enough for you to see how much is inside. Featuring quality, alloy steel conical burrs, it promises to accurately grind for many years. However, should you need a new part, Amazon reviewers raved about the customer service.
It's worth noting that while this machine is generally considered to be one of the
best coffee grinder for beginners, it is a touch loud according to reviewers, and for an extra fine grind, you may want to spend slightly more money to get the Breville. What fans are saying: "[...]Because I'm pulling espresso shots, I have to use a burr grinder, so I can get the kind of consistent, finely-ground coffee that's required [...]. I checked multiple round-up reviews, and the overwhelming consensus that[...] the Baratza Encore is the perfect marriage of inexpensive price and superior function. So, I bought one [...], and after a few days of use, I can strongly encourage people in the market to try it as well. Right out of the box, the grinds were more consistent and perfectly sized than what had been coming out of the old machine, and the shots were some of the best I'd pulled in quite a while. Highly recommended!” 3 Editor’s Choice: Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
An under-$100 conical burr grinder with the ability to reach a fineness level suitable for Turkish coffee and espresso, it’s easy to see why the
Capresso Infinity grinder has earned a loyal fanbase. It’s won the hearts of Bustle editors and reviewers alike, with more than 7,000 Amazon ratings and counting. It offers 16 grind settings and it even has a timer feature that you can program for 5 to 60 seconds so you don’t have to hover near the machine. The included canister can house 4 ounces of ground beans. One reviewer described the steel conical burrs as such: “The burrs do their job excellently! It gives me a flawless, consistent grind before pushing it into the final chamber.” You get a cleaning brush with your order to keep those burrs clean. Editor Praise: Bustle editor Jen Fiegel says, “I drink a lot of coffee and the many other coffee grinders I've used start clogging or having other issues after a year or two. I'm on year three with this one and it's still going strong. Plus, it's super easy to adjust the setting so it's as good for French press coffee as it is for espresso or drip.” 4 The Cult Favorite: Cuisinart Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
Boasting more than 25,000 ratings, the
Cuisinart Supreme Grind automatic burr mill is one of the best-selling machines on Amazon. It features a burr mill (although not conical burrs) that promise uniformity whether you want an ultra-fine for espresso or ultra-coarse. You can choose from 18 different grind settings to find just the one you’re looking for, and the included slide-out canister comes with a lid for keeping grinds fresh. The grinder automatically shuts off when the grind is complete so you don’t have to babysit the machine in the morning. What fans are saying: “Overall, an excellent grinder ! I love that I can just set the grind level, and the amount to grind -- essentially just once (given my consistent coffee routine) -- and just push a button any time I'm going to brew coffee ! Of course, many grinders offer that kind of control, but I have done a lot of grinding with this machine so far, and it has consistently ground to the desired level of fineness and the desired amount. [...]I am very pleased with the fineness of grind that can be achieved with this grinder (e.g., for espresso), but it would be nice if it could grind even finer, so I could at least experiment with extremely fine grinds.[...]” 5 The Budget Pick: Secura Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Mill
Many coffee geeks will argue that if you're going to buy a grinder, it's worth going all in, but this
affordable coffee grinder from Secura is a smart choice for anyone who might not be ready to fully commit to a pricier machine. With a 4.2-star rating on Amazon, this small burr grinder is simple and efficient (although a bit noisy according to reviewers). It boasts 17 grinding options, so you can customize your grind from extremely fine to coarse, and a one-push grinding process. The removable grind container is large and clear, making it easy to see the grinds you have ready. What fans are saying: “I purchased espresso machine and needed conical burr grinder. [...] Love it. I use multiple times daily with different types of beans, even ground coffee to make espresso powder. FYI, the finest setting is a little small for espresso.” 6 The Best Manual Espresso Grinder: Porlex Mini Coffee Grinder
If you're the kind of person who wants a quick shot of espresso before running out the door in the morning, then this grinder is not for you. However, if you have time to spare, and love the thoughtful process of hand-grinding your own beans, then this
manual Porlex grinder, made in Osaka, Japan, is a gem. Featuring ceramic conical burrs that grind from the finest powder to a coarse French press, this small hand-held tool definitely appeals to the artisanal set. In fact, 77% of Amazon reviewers gave it a five-star rating.
It is compact — standing just over 5 inches tall — and has a sturdy, stainless steel body. It can hold about 20 grams of beans, but it's worth noting that if you're grinding to the fineness needed for a shot of espresso, you'll be at it for a few minutes or longer. That being said, the grinding action itself is smooth and easy.
What fans are saying: "First off, great quality of grounds.... super smooth, consistent and even grind with the Espresso/Turkish fine settings. Be prepared to take your time (2-3 minutes for a full double-shot), honor your morning coffee as the relaxing ritual it's meant to be, and enjoy. [...]The Porlex Mini is well made and for my small hands, easy to hold. I like the hand-crank, reminds me of the winch-handles i grew up with sailing. The fittings are simple and perfect. [...]”
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This article was originally published on
June 12, 2019