Baristas burr before brewing. You can, too.
If you want the freshest, most full-flavored cup of coffee, we always recommend grinding your own coffee beans. It’s best to do this right before you brew, as beans begin to lose flavor and aroma within an hour of being ground. Home grinders come in two styles: blade (think tiny food processor) and burr (operates like a pepper mill). Burr grinders are the norm in the coffee industry for good reason: They produce precise, evenly ground beans. We recently tested household burr grinders and found a few that were easy to use—and others that required us to decipher hieroglyphics to operate. Our Best Buy is well designed, and now it’s 20% off.
Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
Best Buy - Recommended
Reviewed in Cook’s Illustrated January 2019
This machine has only 16 grind settings, but we liked that each was clearly labeled. Its dial timer doses the correct amount of coffee beans for the number of cups you're brewing (two cups or more). Its grounds container was a little small and slightly awkward to clean.
Number of Grinder Settings: 16 Highest Percentage of Medium Pieces: 69% MODEL NUMBER: #560.01
The Two Types of Coffee Grinders
Less work for you.
More precise grind.
Works like a pepper mill
Two metal rings spin against each other to grind whole beans.
How to use:
1. Choose the setting, from coarse to fine
2. Switch on the machine
More work for you.
Less precise grind.
Works like a tiny food processor
A rapidly spinning blade chops coffee into smaller and smaller fragments.
How to use:
1. Hold down the grind button
2. Time the grind
3. Shake the grinder periodically to distribute the beans
4. Visually inspect the coffee to see if it's reached the desired consistency
Even grinds = A Better Brew
Brewing coffee is inherently a race against time. Coffee has more than 800 aromatic compounds, and the goal is to try to extract as many of the pleasant aromatics before some of the more unpleasant flavors—such as excessive acidity or bitterness—have time to dissolve into your brew. If all the grounds in your coffee were the same size, the water would extract each tiny piece of coffee at the same rate. But ground coffee is never completely even.
Coffee beans shatter like glass when they’re ground—they break into some big pieces (the coffee industry calls them boulders), some medium pieces, and some tiny, dust-like pieces (known as fines). Some amount of boulders and fines is inevitable no matter how great your grinder, but burr grinders are known for producing an exceptionally even grind (a high percentage of medium pieces) compared to blade grinders. A more even grind means more control over your final brew.
Will be underextracted during brewing, tasting dull and flavorless
Even grind for consistently good brewing results
Dust-like pieces that will be overextracted during brewing, tasting bitter and acidic.
How we tested burr grinders
We purchased 10 burr grinders and used each to grind coffee beans of different densities on fine (recommended for espresso), medium (recommended for drip coffee), and coarse settings (recommended for French press coffee). Six testers—from novices to coffee experts—operated each grinder to gauge its user-friendliness.
A panel of 21 tasters sampled coffee made from beans in the least even and most even coffee grinders; we standardized the weight of the ground coffee, the brew method, and the type of beans. We repeated the test three times to confirm the results.
We also removed the burrs from all the grinders, inspecting their shape and size; measured the capacity of each bean hopper using whole beans; and measured the capacity of each grounds container using ground coffee.
Winning Traits of the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
• Steel conical burrs with sharp grooves
• Intuitive and easy to use
• Timer to control dose
• Small stature to fit under cabinets
• Roomy, sturdy plastic grounds container
• Operates cleanly—no sprayed grounds