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Burr Grinders For Espresso - The Beginners Guide

Grinding your own coffee beans is an essential part of brewing home espresso. Getting the grind just right can go a long way in creating that perfect shot. Let's face it, you can easily spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars on an espresso machine, but if you don't grind the beans the right way, your investment can be a complete waste of money!

So does it all come down to the grinder? Well..sort of! The most popular grinder is the Burr Grinder, and that's what I'm going to talk about today.

What Is A Burr Grinder?

Basically a Burr grinder crushes the beans instead of chopping them. It does this by spinning a sort of wheel and smashing the beans between that wheel and a stationary object. Grind.

This makes very consistent coffee grounds. Want a finer grind? Just position the wheel a little closer to the stationary object.

When it comes to burr grinders there are basically two main categories: Wheel and Conical.

Wheel Grinders

You don't really see those as much these days. They use high spinning wheels and tend to make a heck of a lot of noise. Since you have high speed spinning wheels here, these machines will usually be a little on the messy side. They are less expensive because of these things.

Conical Burr Grinders

Subsequently (comparatively speaking) these are more expensive, but they're also the very best grinders on the market today. A burr grinder will tend to be slower, hence less noise and less mess to deal with. Many super-automatic espresso machines come with this type of grinder attached.

A third type of grinder I've seen more and more lately is the ceramic grinder. The ceramic nature of the grinder is supposed to make better coffee because it doesn't interfere with the flavor of the bean (due to the ceramic nature of the blade). I'm not sure I buy that, or that it's even really an issue...regardless I just wanted to mention them to round out the report. You can read up on them yourself if you're really interested.

What About Prices?

Prices for grinders can shoot all over the place from $10 up to $500 (yes $500!). A burr grinder can range anywhere from $50 up to the aforementioned $500. I know it's painful to buy a $350 espresso machine and then have to run out and buy a $200 coffee grinder, so only the very serious espresso connoisseur will do something like that.

But if you're more reasonable - seriously look into spending $80 or so on a burr grinder. Capresso has a very nice one for $120 but you can get it on sale for $85 or so at the link below and I highly recommend you do so while supplies last.

Can you get by with a cheap $15 grinder from Walmart? Absolutely. Will your espresso taste as good? Probably not. If you want the absolute best, then invest in a decent Conical Burr Grinder today and I think you'll be glad you did. After a while you'll wonder how you ever got by without one!