When you set your budget for your espresso machine, don’t forget to include a good grinder. Skimping on this part will make even your best efforts at achieving that great cup of espresso dismal, at best. When you talk to the pros, they’ll all tell you that getting the best coffee grinder for espresso is just as important as the actual espresso machine.
Why You Need A Good Grinder
A good grinder will grind your coffee beans to the perfect, uniform size that’s need to make a great espresso. If you have an inferior model you can end up with uneven particles which leads to extraction that’s too fast. You want to find a grinder that gives a very fine, consistent grind.
Features To Look For
When you’re choosing the best model for home use, there are a few features you want to look for. Manual examples aren’t really recommended for the grind you’ll need for your espresso. They don’t tend to give you a consistent enough grind and they take too long. It’s important to start the brewing process right away, 30 to 45 seconds after grinding is recommended, so spending two to three minutes grinding just doesn’t add up.
Other features to be mindful of are stepped or stepless models. This term describes how the grinder allows you to change your grind particle size. On the low price range, most units you find will be stepped. This means that there are preset positions for choosing your grind going from fine to coarse. The stepless models have no preset choices and allow you to change the grind in increments that you choose. Deciding on the model for your use depends on whether or not you want to be able to tinker with the grind until you find your perfect setting or just choose the desired setting and be done.
Another feature that should be taking into consideration is doser and doserless options. Again, when choosing the best unit for the home, this can be a matter of choice. Most users find doserless versions to be kind of messy, so take that into consideration. However, the doser equipped examples sometime trap old and stale coffee and are best for commercial applications where the beans can be used within ten or so minutes of grinding and where the machines are cleaned religiously. The merits of each type usually end up being a personal preference and depend on how much you actually use your espresso machine.
Burrs – Conical or Flat
Burr grinders come in two types, conical and flat. Most of the cheaper models have conical burrs but both styles seem to work equally as well for the espresso machine used in the home. Most users will tell you that it’s not whether the burrs are conical or flat that determine which product they choose, but rather the overall features.
You can find models designed for espresso in the high end range and those that are more budget friendly. Many of the less expensive products, such as the Baratza Preciso or Vario, can work great for home use, so don’t base your decision solely on cost. A lower priced model can be durable, quiet to operate and easy to clean. Reading online reviews can help you get some real world feedback on how well a model performs.
When it comes to the budget, consider the fact that veteran espresso makers are adamant about choosing a good grinder and that you should factor that into your overall budget. You’ll often hear that it’s better to have a high end grinder and a decent espresso machine than a high end espresso machine with a cheap grinder.
Overall, choosing the best coffee grinder should be your first decision, even before you decide on your espresso machine. Factor in the time you’re willing to put in to this process, the ease of cleaning, the space you have available and of course, your budget. Once you’ve thought about your overall needs, your research can help you find a model that will help make you and your espresso machine an expert at producing a great cup of espresso.