I was talking with a new friend I made a few weeks back about coffee – you know, good coffee, and he reiterated to me what I already know. Even if you are making drip coffee you do indeed need a good burr coffee grinder in the home. Why? It makes things so much easier. It actually makes it easy to make some of the best coffee possible every time no matter what coffee maker you want to use.
What got me talking to this guy (other than the fact that many of my friends know this guy) is that I made an offhand comment to someone at a party that the stovetop espresso maker makes the best coffee possible. I wasn’t talking to him but he heard and chimed in saying that they make some of the best coffee possible. I obviously took the bait and asked him what his opinion was and he told me that although he loves his Bialetti moka pot he loves his Aeropress even more.
Funny, I’ve known about the Aeropress for a long time now but haven’t gone out and bought one. I did pick up an inexpensive Chemex pour-over coffee maker at a yard sale about a month ago to give a try but the Aeropress hasn’t been on my shopping list.
In any event we continued talking coffee and although I will have to join him for a blind cupping to test my preferences between his Aeropress and my Moka Express we did agree on the grinder.
As any well versed coffee drinker will advise, you have to buy whole beans and grind them with a burr grinder immediately before brewing coffee no matter how you plan on brewing it.
If you are using a drip coffee maker freshly ground beans that were ground in a burr grinder will leave you with a better flavor. Blade grinders produce fine powder, large particles, and all sizes in between. This causes some of the grind to extract partly while some of the grind over extracts.
Burr grinders produce a more uniform grind size that is creates a better flavor – you can taste the difference. When it comes to french press you have to use a good grinder to minimize the dust (mud) in your cup. And with espresso your cup will not even come close to it’s potential without a good burr coffee grinder.
Luckily, grinding coffee beans in the home doesn’t have to be wildly expensive – although it certainly can be if you choose to open your wallet all the way. The grinders I have decided to buy for my own kitchen are quite modest although they do require a bit of muscle and time to use them.
I’ve been an advocate for Hario hand coffee grinders since the summer of this year. They feature spring loaded movable burrs so that you can fine tune the grind size without worrying about the burrs slipping while you are grind your beans in the morning. Burrs that aren’t spring loaded tend to produce slightly inconsistent grind sizes, at least in lower cost manual units.
I know I tend to make french press or stovetop espresso but when I make drip coffee I still think the burr grinder is a must have. The low end Hario grinders work very well and they are not even any more expensive than the low end blade grinders. The only difference is the manual labor you will have to use to make them work.
See my earlier post on the best hand coffee grinders for more details on why I like the Hario models better than all others.
Do you need a burr grinder for drip coffee
Drip coffee is one of the most common and easiest way to make a fresh cup of brewed coffee. I own an automatic drip machine and it has been serving me for more than 2 years now. If there is one thing I would have bought together with my drip machine, it is a coffee bean grinder.
Well, I learned the hard way that coffee ground has a short shelf life.
At the time when I didn’t knew better, I would buy pounds of coffee ground and store in for a month. I would scoop coffee grounds when I need it. For the first few weeks, it was great tasting. But I noticed that the coffee was beginning to taste less than ok. By the fourth week, it was almost stale and rancid. I knew there was something wrong.
After some research, I found that I should have bought a coffee grinder if I want to make my own brewed coffee at home. There are two primary reasons why getting a good coffee grinder is a good investment.
- Grind beans when you need it to ensure freshness. You will only grind coffee beans when you need them. And even if you do it every morning, or when you feel like drinking coffee, it will only take you a minute or two to grind coffee beans good for 2 cups of coffee. It is a little effort but the result is a beautifully tasting cup of coffee.
- Grind coffee according to your need.. Maybe you have a French press and an automatic drip coffee machine at home. Either way, you will need different types of coffee grounds to achieve the optimum cup of coffee. If you own a coffee grinder, you can adjust the texture of the ground coffee according to your preference.
The secret to a perfect cup of coffee using a drip machine
If you want to get a good cup of drip coffee, you need to remember these tips:
- Make sure that your coffee maker is always clean. A dirty coffee machine can turn your good coffee into stale, bad coffee.
- Use coarse ground coffee. Imagine the texture of brown sugar. That is a perfect texture for drip coffee. This will allow water to seep evenly through the coffee grounds. Too fine ground coffee will not allow water to penetrate all the grounds
As mentioned, getting the right grind of coffee helps make a good cup of coffee even if you are using a drip machine.
Burr grinder: Usage and Types
Burr grinder reminds you of traditional coffee grinding. The rhythmic fashion of hand grinding produce a consistent texture of the ground coffee. You will need a minute to grind coffee beans for a cup of coffee.
There are basically two types of burr grinder: manual and electric
- Manual burr grinder
This is as old-fashioned as you can get. Manual burr grinder is like a labor of love. You will need to exert some effort for about two minutes to completely grind coffee beans good for two people. Manual burr grinders works well with pour over machines and French press coffee maker. Even if you have money to burn, getting a manual grinder will still work best. It gives an even and consistent grind because you can control the strength and pressure of every twist and turn. Plus, you can take the manual grinder anywhere. This is perfect for outdoor activities like barbecue party, camping and swimming.
Recommended models: Handground Coffee Grinder, Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill, Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder and Peugeot Antique Mill
- Electric burr grinder
Electric grinder is so convenient to use. It is easy to assemble, store and clean. You can have ground coffee with just a push of the button, in less than 20 seconds. But be ready to shell out some cash. There are cheap electric burr but as they say, you get what you paid for.
Recommended models: Baratza Virtuoso, Fiorenzato F4, Capresso 565 Infinity SS Grinder, and Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Do you really need a burr grinder for drip coffee?
Well, it really depends on your preference. You may want to consider asking yourself these questions:
- How much time do I have in the morning to prepare my coffee? Do I need to make a quick cup of coffee or can I spare at least 15 minutes in the morning or in the afternoon to make great tasting coffee?
- If I am buying a new coffee equipment, how much is my budget? What is my ceiling budget? Will I add more if the equipment I really need is more than my budget?
- What kind of brewing method will I use on a regular basis? Will I use French press every day? Or will I stick with the moka pot?
Asking yourself these questions will help you determine your exact need for a burr grinder. If you will be using a drip coffee most of the time, getting a burr grinder is the next best thing to own in your kitchen. Plus, if you plan to add a new coffee brewing machine, you can opt for a French press which will also benefit from the burr grinder that you plan to buy next time you visit an appliance store.