Bridge Coffee Roaster’s Most Loved Grinders
To replicate coffee shop quality drinks at home, it is paramount to understand how to use a coffee grinder. For coffee lovers, it’s not all about the caffeine kick, but also the delicious and aromatic flavour notes that shine through with their favourite cup of coffee. And to get these flavours time after time, it’s important to grind beans fresh to use with your preferred brewing method.
When learning how to grind your coffee, it’s important to distinguish the difference between manual and automatic grinders, and how the different types of burr grinders and blade grinders can affect the quality of your drink.
Burr vs Blade grindersBlade grinders use a double-pronged blade which rotates and slices up the coffee beans into much smaller pieces, similar to how a blender works. This type of grinding style produces an inconsistent grind size which can alter the flavour of the coffee during the brewing process due to larger particles under-extracting and smaller particles over-extracting.
Burr grinders are very different from blade grinders as they use two mechanical burrs or plates which crush the coffee beans to create uniform size grounds. These grounds will all extract at the same time to create a more balanced brew than those from blade grinders. Burr grinders are also able to grind the beans without heating up, meaning they won’t alter any flavours or the natural oils of the beans.
Manual vs Automatic grindersAnother defining feature of a coffee grinder is how it is powered; manually or electrically. Manual grinders require grinding the coffee beans by hand, which means they’re usually smaller than electronic grinders, more eco-friendly and economical, but more tiring for the coffee enthusiast involved. However, they can create just as fine a bean as an electronic grinder.
But for a coffee enthusiast wanting something with a little more convenience, electronic grinders could be the perfect match. With the right set up and grind size adjusted, they work at the touch of a button and can produce as fine or as course a grind as desired. They perform much quicker and sometimes more consistently than a manual grinder. However, manual grinders will perform much better than a lower-end automatic grinder, as these tend to have poorer quality burrs, and sometimes even dull blades.
Is it crucial to have a grinder?As surprising as it sounds, a highly performing coffee grinder is a much better investment than a new espresso machine for a few reasons. You could have the very best coffee beans that taste incredible, but if your grind size is even slightly off, your coffee will taste either too acidic or too bitter, so it’s really important to get this right to avoid wasting all those delicious beans.
One of the most important reasons to grind your coffee at home is so that you always have freshly ground coffee. Did you know, coffee beans can oxidise when left open to the air for too long? This usually happens within the first two weeks of opening a bag, and will result in them turning stale and the flavour being changed. With ground coffee, the oxidisation process speeds up to under 24 hours, which means once your ground beans are opened, you need to brew them sooner rather than later. The only way to avoid flavour disruptions due to oxidisation is to grind your coffee beans at home, meaning there will always be fresh ground coffee. This will result in much more prominent flavours shining through in your brew, from floral flavours, to fruity flavours and beyond. Plus, is there anything better than the smell of freshly ground coffee in your home?
Another important feature of owning your own coffee grinder is setting the right grind size for your desired brewing method. As every method involves different amounts of water, it’s essential to get the grind size right to allow the perfect amount of water to travel through the grounds and extract those delicious flavour notes. For example, it would be wise to use a coarse to medium grind size when brewing your coffee through a cafetiere, as this uses th immersion brewing method, the coffee grounds sit in the water, causing a slower extraction which is more suited to coarse grounds. Knowing which grind size is most appropriate to your preferred method of brewing is essential when grinding your coffee, and finding the right grinder which is most compatible to that setting is even better.
So, which grinders are some of Bridge Coffee Roaster’s favourites?
The Wilfa coffee grinder is an affordable automatic coffee grinder which incorporates professional grinding with at-home convenience. The burr grinders produce a highly consistent grind and is adaptable to many brewing grind sizes, including the filter, cafetiere, AeroPress and perculator. It’s great for speed and consistency for those who prioritise these factors.
The Timemore Chesnut G1 manual grinder is a great alternative to an automatic grinder. It uses ceramic burrs for a consistent grind and balanced extraction, and can produce fine, medium and coarse grinds for different methods of brewing. Not only that, but it’s small in size, meaning it’s extremely easy to store, and its manual aspect makes it great to travel with. There can always be freshly ground coffee wherever you are. The downside? For similar money you can actually buy an electric grinder. However, when it comes to consistency of grind size, this one is hard to beat for the price.