The 4 Best Electric Coffee Grinders
For the best, freshest tasting coffee, nothing beats grinding your own beans. Keeping beans whole slows down the degassing process that causes coffee to lose its flavor. There are both high-quality electric and manual coffee grinders on the market, but the best electric coffee grinders offer convenience, control, and speed — all important things in the rushed morning hours. You can grind coffee in two main ways: blade or burr grinders. Blade grinders tend to be cheaper but typically offer less control over the final grind. Burr grinders are more accurate but tend to be bigger and more expensive.
No matter what type of grinder you choose, both are capable of grinding coffee for every type of brew, from fine espresso all the way to coarse French press. Budget and space are the two biggest factors in determining burr vs. blade grinders, but there are a few other things to think about. Do you have other grinding needs, like spices or grains? A blade grinder can be easily cleaned between uses and make small amounts of fresh-ground spice or flour.
No matter which one you go with, a great cup of coffee has a lot to do with freshness. If you’ve invested in freshly grinding your coffee, make sure you’re keeping your coffee beans fresh, too. In general, the freshest beans will have a date when they were roasted — you can try to get as close to the purchase day as possible. The ideal coffee bags also have a one-way valve that lets oxygen escape but not enter.
Once you have your coffee home, store them out of direct light and with as little oxygen as possible. Ideally, ground beans should be used immediately, but if you want to grind small batches ahead of time, the same rules apply: Store them somewhere with minimal exposure to oxygen or light.
1. The Best Overall Electric Coffee Grinders
Oxo's conical burr grinder gives you complete control over your coffee grind. A simple twist setting allows you to adjust between 15 settings for fine, medium, or coarse coffee. At $100, this isn't cheap, but a lot less expensive than other electric burr grinders of a similar quality on the market. It also has a smaller footprint that nevertheless has a hopper that can hold a standard 12-ounce bag of coffee beans at a time so you only have to refill it when your coffee is out. The tinted hopper also protects the beans from UV rays. A timer allows you to set how long you want the grinder to run. It may take some fiddling to figure out how long it takes for the appropriate amount of coffee to grind by weight or tablespoons, but once you figure it out you’re all set. The grinds are deposited into a stainless steel container with a mess-free lid. To clean, you can brush the blades off (never use water or soap). The hopper, lid, and stainless steel container can be removed and hand washed or washed in the dishwasher.
2. The Best Blade Grinder
While a blade grinder won't give you the same kind of uniform grind of a burr grinder, the stainless steel blades work with coffee and spices with a single touch for almost a quarter the price. A removable steel bowl allows you to load and even weigh your coffee beans with less mess — up to 12 cups, or about 3 ounces, at a time. Once the coffee has been placed into the base, the blades will only grind once the lid is safely in place. Since there is no timer or grind settings, it is up to you to gauge the correct coarseness. Blades also mean less consistent grind size overall. However, it's way easier to store than electric burr grinders. Clean between uses with a dry brush, and carefully hand wash the steel bowl as needed. Unlike burr grinders, this can also be used to grind spices, and can even be purchased as a set with smaller spice-grinding bowls.
3. The Best Budget Burr Grinder
Most burr grinders cost about $100 (or more), but this gets you a nice uniform grind for less than $50. It allows you to set grind coarseness on a scale of 1 to 17, with lots of room for personalization and fine-tuning of the final product. The grind time is determined by number of cups of coffee. The hopper holds 7 ounces of beans at a time, which is less than the Oxo pick, but you'll only have to refill once per standard bag of coffee. Because grinds are dispensed into a plastic container, there is the risk of static buildup. However, for the price, this is a tremendous value for a burr grinder. All parts can be removed for easy hand-washing, except for the grinder, which should be brushed clean.
4. A Blade Grinder With More Control
If you like the precision of burr grinders and the smaller footprint of blade grinders, consider this option from Homgeek. Like a burr grinder, it allows you to select desired coarseness and quantity of beans. Blades run the optimal amount of time for your specific serving size and brewing method. However, because you have to fill the basket, it's up to you to measure the correct amount of beans into the removable stainless steel chamber. There are also only five coarseness settings, though it does go from French press (coarse) to fine (espresso). Because the blades run on a timer, you also give up the control of the KitchenAid blade grinder. If you're unsure about how pour-over versus drip coffee grounds should look, however, this is a good way to never have to second-guess. The grinding bowl should be brushed clean with the included brush.
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