Coffee Grinder For Moka Pot

For a long time, I did not understand why the coffee I made at home was so, so much worse than the cups I was getting at my local third-wave coffee shop. I bought the expensive fair-trade coffee beans, which I ground myself. I tried the barista-approved brewing methods, like a pour-over or French press. And yet my at-home brews never tasted as good as the drip coffee I paid $3 for someone else to make. Exasperated, I asked my biggest coffee snob friend where I’d gone wrong. You need to change your damn grinder, he said.

Fellow food lovers with rudimentary coffee knowledge, I beg of you: Stop spending all your cash on precious coffee beans unless you’re also investing in a high-quality burr grinder like the Baratza Encore. Yes, the best coffee grinders are much pricier than the type of grinder I was using in the past—a $30 blade grinder—but my Baratza has transformed my daily coffee from tolerable to luxuriant and has dramatically cut down on my impromptu café spending.

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Why is a burr grinder way better than a blade grinder?

There are two different types of coffee grinders: burr grinders (the kind you’ll find in coffee shops) and blade grinders (the dinky plastic gadget that doubles as a spice grinder). Both grinders will break down whole beans, but the results are vastly different.

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Burr grinders crush the coffee beans between two revolving, serrated surfaces called burrs (hence, the name). This technique is more likely to yield an even grind, which means the beans’ flavors will be released evenly in your brew. The price point for a good burr grinder starts around $100—but if you want to take your coffee routine to the next level, it’s worth the investment.

Blade grinders, which you can buy for as little as $20, use a more, ahem, violent approach. A conical blade whirrs around the chamber like a propeller, chopping those pricey beans into sad bruised bits. In addition to damaging the beans, this technique is less likely to give you an even grind: Some beans could end up in bigger chunks, while others may be powdery. As a result, a blade grinder is more likely to produce slightly bitter coffee or a brew that isn’t quite as flavorful as the ones you get at a coffee shop.

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What to look for in a burr grinder

Burr grinders start around $100, and at different price points, you’ll find a variety of features. Here are a few key distinctions to look out for, based on your choice brewing method:

  • The range of grind settings: Different brews require different grind consistencies: You’ll want a fine grind for espresso, a medium grind for pour-over coffee, and a coarse grind for French press and cold brew. Machines vary in the number of grind settings they offer, but generally more settings = better. However, don’t be wooed by a machine offering 800 settings if you’re not actually going to use them all. Instead, think about the coffee making methods you use most often and choose a machine that covers all of those grind consistencies. If you’re pulling espresso shots at home on the daily, you might want a grinder that dials in on fine-grinding capabilities (like the Flair manual espresso grinder, which offers 72 fine-grind settings). If you enjoy an occasional espresso but also make your own cold brew, opt for a machine with a broader range (like the do-it-all Fellow Opus).
  • The timer: In addition to adjusting your grind size, burr grinders typically allow you to set the amount of time the machine will grind for. Most under-$200 burr grinders operate on what’s essentially a fancier version of a windup timer, while slightly more expensive models like the Baratza Virtuoso+ use a digital timer to achieve split-second precision. These smart timers are ideal for honing your espresso craft, but if you’re working with a drip or pour-over, this feature isn’t too important. As long as you’re weighing the coffee beans and depositing them in the hopper per batch, the grinder will only eat up the amount of beans you feed it. Our advice: Unless you’re serious about espresso (or don’t want to weigh out your beans per batch), a digital timer isn’t essential.
  • The grounds container: Once the machine has ground up the beans, where does it dump ’em? Some grinders, like the Baratza Encore, deposit the ground coffee into an attached chamber (kind of like a vending machine), which you can shovel the grounds from to use as you please. Others, like the Fellow Ode, deposit into a sleek removable cup, making it easy to pour the grounds directly into a French press or pour-over filter. Some grinders, like the Virtuoso+, deposit directly into an espresso filter basket (a removable insert that goes into the portafilter, the part of the espresso machine that holds the coffee grounds). This is one particularly helpful feature to look out for if you have an espresso machine.
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The Best Bet for Most People: Baratza Encore Burr Grinder

Sure, the pricier grinders come with some great benefits, but if you’re just starting to upgrade your coffee game, the Encore is the cheapest of Baratza’s offerings at $150, and it will—I can’t emphasize this enough—change your coffee life.