First Published - November 18, 2013 (By Steven – Co-Founder)
I got into a conversation recently with a customer who buys from us on-line from our website, and he also purchased our pre-ground coffee from a store local to his home. He asked me why we offer pre-ground coffee?
I had to tell him we recognize that most homes don’t have a coffee grinder, and we want people to try our coffee so we’ve tried to remove that hurdle. But it’s true that pre-ground coffee is accepting a compromise in quality. It may appear to be a convenience but the notable difference in taste will more than compensate for the investment in extra preparation time and cost!
It may be expensive, but a burr grinder is probably the greatest investment you can make to improve the quality of your brew. Certainly whole bean coffee retains freshness longer than ground, as you’re preserving the delicate flavours of your precious beans. Also you can grind your coffee to achieve the most effective particle size for your chosen brewing method. Whether you use a pour over or high-ticket priced domestic espresso machine, the quality of the drink preparation will be vastly superior if you grind just before brewing.
Achieving an accurate grind to produce the best extraction will require experimentation, but this will allow you to extend the depth of your coffee knowledge by referencing how the flavour profile of the cup changes against adjustments to grind particle size and dose.
If you are considering spending on a grinder, search for a model with burr discs, not a simple blade grinder; the latter has a tendency to chop rather than grind beans, which will prevent you from achieving the consistency of grind particle size required to produce a correct extraction and balanced flavour profile (read up on Coffee Geek for the technical details.)
There is a recent review of home grinders in Caffeine Magazine. They recommend the Ascaso i1 or Eureka – both set up for dosing to portafilters (espresso). At home we use the Mahlkoenig Vario, RRP £350 – which was also well reviewed, but got some negative comments about an adjustment needed for cafetiere grind which I don’t agree with. In fact we think it’s so good we are giving one away to one lucky purchaser of our 6 month Roastmaster subscription in the coming weeks, more details here.
Consider how much you’ll be using the grinder and what quantity of coffee you’ll be grinding when you choose what to purchase. Here are some ideas where you can invest your cash for your first grinder.
Hario Mini Mill – £29, grind by hand
Krupps Burr Grinder – £40.99, a basic burr model that’s had good reviews
Cusinart DBM8U Grinder, £59.95 and 18 grind positions to experiment with
Dualit Burr Grinder – £79.96, a conical burr grinder at entry level
Have you just bought a grinder or is there one on your Christmas list? We want to hear what impact it makes on your brewing at home!