Many people think when they want to improve their coffee “I better buy a new coffee maker.” Seems logical. But the truth is, that there are three main factors that can make your coffee better. And how you make coffee is not even number 2. It’s number 3.
It’s the grinder. Getting a better grinder doesn’t intuitively seem the most effective way to improve your coffee, but one of the very few things that coffee experts agree on is that the grinder is the most important factor in getting your coffee to taste great.
If you’re using a decent burr grinder, you’re in good shape (unless the burrs are worn out or damaged.) But if you’re using a spice grinder – those painfully loud two bladed devices—to grind your coffee, you’re in for a treat when you get yourself a good grinder. Leaving everything the same, your coffee will take three steps up in quality with your new grinder.
There are many decent grinders available. One that I recommend, which is pretty inexpensive is the Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder (about $70) . The KitchenAid KCG0702 is another good grinder at over twice the price of the Bodum. The KitchenAid also has a glass catch up and is nicely built. The burrs are replaceable, though it would be years before you needed to. The Capresso 565.05 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder varies in price depending on the base material, but lies between the Bodum and the KitchenAid in terms of price. Cuisinart makes the Cuisinart Supreme Grind which is the cheapest of the four at about $43.00. I haven’t used this one, but it seems adequate from the specs. There are pricier ones available, but they are not necessarily better and even if they are, they won’t necessarily make your coffee taste noticeably better. One thing I like about the Bodum and the KitchenAid is that they have a glass catch cup that reduces static and helps keep the coffee from clinging. All of them come in different finishes to match your kitchen.
Ceramic burrs in a conical burr grinder
I’ll go into some detail in the next blog post about exactly why the grinder is so important. In the meantime, you might look into getting a new one, and if you are using one of those spice grinders, it would be a good idea to clean it up and use it for spices. You won’t miss the noise!
Caveats: no grinder in the above price ranges will give you good espresso. That’s a whole other subject! If as much as the grinder is super important for regular coffee, it is even more so for espresso. Also, beware: all these companies offer those cheap spice grinders as well. Don’t get one of those by accident. You need a burr grinder. And don’t get rid of that spice grinder. They’re great for spices.
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