Choosing the best coffee bean grinders for you?

Choosing the best coffee bean grinder for your needs is not an simple task. First of all you must be very clear about what you will be using the grinder for. This knowledge will determine which models are suitable and which ones should be ruled out.

For example, if you are only going to grind coffee for French press, you do not need the grinder to grind the coffee very fine. But, you have to get a model that does not produce too much fine dust – something that is sure to ruin your coffee. On the other hand, if you are after an espresso grinder then the best coffee grinder for you will be a model that can grind coffee very fine and very consistently. It is also crucial that the grinder allows you to change the size of the grind in very small increments.

There are many different coffee bean grinders on the market today.  For the serious coffee aficionado, but, only burr grinders deserve serious consideration.  Once blade grinders are eliminated from the field of choices, there are still an overwhelming number of variations on the burr coffee grinder.  Some people prefer fully automatic espresso machines with build in burr grinders, and others find them annoying to use and clean.  For full flexibility, a separate appliance is best.

There are two kinds of burr coffee grinders:  flat and conical.  Both types have a stationary burr and a second burr that spins from an electric motor or, in some models, the power from your arm turning a crank.  The beans fall in between the two burrs which crush them.  The fineness of the grind is determined by the distance between the burrs.  Conical burrs are usually used on low-speed gear reduction grinders.

So which is the best coffee grinder for you?  It depends on the amount of beans you want to grind, your style, and your budget.  Here are a few of the options:

* Low Range Grinders (under $200)
For many home coffee and espresso drinkers, a excellent, basic burr grinder will do the trick. Both the Baratza Maestro and the Baratza Virtuoso stand out in their class.  The Capresso Infinity and Breville Ikon are worth a look as well. If you do not expect to grind beans for a crowd and appreciate the classic look of a hand grinder, Zassenhaus manufactures several attractive and reliable models.

* Middle Range Grinders ($200-$350)
For the dedicated espresso artist, a mid-range grinder can deliver a precise, highly adjustable grind over many years of use.  The Gaggia MDF is a crowd pleaser, as is the Rancilio Rocky.  Users report that Rockys still perform reliably fifteen years into heavy use.

* High Range Grinders ($350 and up)
The models in this range are prosumer/commercial grinders.  The Mazzer Mini is a heavyweight machine with a stepless grind. This grinder is applauded far and wide.  Another brilliant choice in this category is the Macap M4 (or M5, which is the same model, only with a taller hopper).

If you are on a really tight budget then you may want to consider Capresso Infinity burr grinder or a excellent manual coffee grinder.