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Thread: Burr grinder?

  1. #1
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    Burr grinder?

    Dumb question? I know that a burr grinder is preferred over a blade grinder, but what is really the difference in the final product? I have a blade grinder and I grind all my beans fresh and I make really good coffee. How much better will it be with a burr grinder?

    I would guess that the difference may be that the beans are pulverized rather than cut. Is that correct? and is that a better way to extract the essential oils?

    Thanks!
    Alicia
    Alicia

  2. #2
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    Blade grinders cut into essentially irregular pieces and a good quality burr grinder creates very consistently sized particles. I'm not sure I'd use the word "pulverized" but what you'll tyically get with blade grinders is a mix of fine powder and tiny chunks whereas a burr grinder delivers uniform particles.

    I stressed "good quality" because there are many cheap burr grinders that are worthless and one is better off with a blade grinder compared to those. The cheapest burr grinder I know of that is decent quality is a Solis Maestro or Maestro Plus at about $100 - $150 US. If your'e serious about mkaing espresso and want consistent repeatable results you'll need to jump up to the $200 - $500 price range for a good burr grinder. The Rancilio Rocky at about $275 US is the best known in the middle fo that range.

    For at home use with paper filter drip coffee you can get decent results with a blade grinder. You'll get better extraction with a good burr grinder but the difference between burr and blade in this instance won't be earthshaking. Get into vac pot or French press coffee and you'll see a bigger difference. Then there's espresso - cheap grinders just won't cut it.
    Owen O'Neill
    Syracuse NY

  3. #3
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    You should check out European Gift and Houseware. They have some that have worked well for us and they are reasonably priced.

  4. #4
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    Thanks to both of you. Owen, I understand what you mean about the powder and chunks that are left from the blade grinder. I make both drip and french press and though I love the fp method, I do notice that certain coffees are a bit more bitter and I'm sure that is from all the "mud" which comes from the fine powder.

    I don't have an espresso machine and I am in the market for one now, but I am taking my time, since it really is quite a large investment. I don't want to get a lousy one and be sorry later. Now I am thinking that maybe I should spring for a good burr grinder and wait on the espresso machine.

    Thanks!
    Alicia

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by aliciaf
    Now I am thinking that maybe I should spring for a good burr grinder and wait on the espresso machine.
    Thanks!
    A very wise move. You can use a really good grinder for dtrip and french press coffee but you can't make good espresso with a cheap grinder. Soem coffee are inherently more bitter than others but more often the bitterness is a result of too many fine particles int he grind - thus you get overextraction and excess bitterness.

    Expect to pay $200 - $300 for a good bur grinder. That will get you into an Anfim or Cunill at the lowe end (or a used Rockey) or possibly a new Rocky or clean used Mazzer at the high end. Buy a good grinder and it's a lifetime investment.

    You're also wise to wait and get a good espresos machien the first time if you're serious about making good espresso at home. If you don't mind tweaking and don't make lots of milk based drinks look at a Rancilio Silvia.... otherwise just bite the bullet and buy one of the many good E61 typre machiens for about $900 - $1200.
    Owen O'Neill
    Syracuse NY

  6. #6
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    I liken a blade grinder to a blender for coffee beans. Its ok but you get powder and sometimes fairly large pieces.

    The burr grinder is ideal because it crushes beans against an unmoving surface so you get grounds that are of a consistent size.
    Jason Neumann
    Up North Coffee: retail & wholesale supply

 

 

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