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THE COMPLETE GUIDE to buying your Coffee Grinder

THE COMPLETE GUIDE
to buying your Coffee Grinder
It's FINALLY decided. The Budget has been meticulously planned and forked out for your Espresso Machine, Brewing device, Fresh Coffee Beans and Accessories. But what about your Coffee Grinder? Most of the time, people cut corners when it comes to investing in the right coffee grinder. Cheap knockoffs or second-hand grinders with worn-out steel burrs is a commonplace on Carousell and Ebay. Perhaps the reason to why your espresso shots and coffee always ending up inconsistent/bad/sour and just downright bitter is found sitting right on your beloved countertop;consistency of grind size is the main factor of extraction. An inconsistent grind brings about uneven extraction; a horrid coffee.
Why INVEST in the right Coffee Grinder?
Brewing sweet, balanced and the best flavours out of your fresh coffee grounds is all about Extraction, and for a matter of fact, pulling an espresso shot is the most dependent brewing style on the consistency of your coffee's grind size. Just imagine! 9-12 bars of pressure, equivalent to a 16 Ton Elephant standing on one foot of force crushing down on your neatly tampered coffee puck. Sounds like a pretty manly and grim way of brewing coffee mm? The Perfectly designed beverage for the hustler, a sweet, rich and flavourful adrenaline shot if brewed right. Certainly a tragic disaster to encounter if all that pressure comes crushing down on uneven coffee grinds, extracting the sour and bitter compounds of coffee.
 
Nevertheless with Filter/Immersion/Stove Top/Cold brew brewing methods, aConsistent grind size is key for the perfect extraction. Visualize for a second, that coffee grounds are just like cuts of meat barbequeing on the grill for the same amount of cooking time. Bigger than the rest and the meat (coffee) is undercooked/underextracted, smaller than the rest and the meat (coffee) is overcooked/overextracted. Similar to how undercooked and overcooked meats taste either too raw or too tough, underextracted coffee will taste sour like vinegar and overextracted coffee will taste bitter like tar. Brewing a well extracted coffee or god-shot espresso as many swear by, will taste not only sweet and balanced, but display itself best of it's origins and roast.
What are you looking for?
Burr, Blade, Conical, Flat, Step, Stepless, Auto, Manual, Doser, Doserless, 35mm and 60mm. These terms may confuse you, but not to worry as we will be uncovering these essential jargons here. But first of all, decide what type of grinder is suited for your brewing type. Are you looking for a grinder for your filter brew, full immersion or high-end espresso machine? Every grinder is best suited for a specific range of brewing methods.
1)Burrs and Blades
Whether you care about your coffee is the contest here. Hands down, people who hate their coffee bitter and sour will own a burr grinder. Burr Coffee Grinders produce a far superior consistent grind compared to blade grinders. Burr Coffee Grinders function as two sharp pads that cut coffee beans into fairly even grind sizes depending on your grind setting whereas Blade Coffee Grinders function as the cause of bitter coffee, randomly whizzing through your coffee beans to produce whatever grind sizes deemed fit; from the minuscule sand size to the coarse sea salt grind size. 
2)Conical and Flat Burrs
There's a rather big debate on this cause but there's a good enough reason to explain why most competition grinders and cafes prefer to utilise the conical burrs. Conical burrs usually hone a lower Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) than flat burrs, this signifies a lesser heat production and friction, meaning a better preservation of flavours in your cup. Volatile oils and flavourful compounds in coffee are extremely heat-sensitive, an inkling of heat introduced will import away some of these delectable aromas. This also means a quieter grinder. Ultimately, comparing grinder models side by side will be the only viable method of comparing the differences in grind sizes as each grinder will utilise different size blades and will be hard to notice if both models are high quality machines.
3)Stepped and Stepless 
Adjustability is the difference here. A "Stepped" grinder has a fixed number of micro-adjustment settings, e.g. 1 to 20; there are established adjustments between the burrs, one can choose a fixed grind size setting for their brewing method through the range of numbers. A"Stepless"grinder on the other hand allows for a bottomless array of adjustability. This allows the barista to fine tune and micro-adjust even to the smallest of microns to tailor to the effects of staling, roast date and extraction rates. Especially necessary for the espresso machine as even the finest adjustment of grind size will determine the flavour extraction of your shot. 
4)Auto timer and Manual dose
Convenience is discussed here. Would you prefer to dose your coffee through a manual button for every shot or prefer the convenience of an auto dosing feature through a programmed timer or sensor button? It helps huge for the family member or colleague who knows little about coffee and just needs a hassle-free shot of espresso or cup of joe during the day.
5)Doser and Doserless
Preference is key here. Doserless Grinders are also called On-Demand Grinders. Understanding that ground coffee stales rapidly, subtle differences can be noticed within minutes and profound flavour changes are imminent within hours. The surface area of your ground coffee is hiked umpteen times to staling when compared to a whole bean of coffee. Hence, why bother with the doser? Well, there are certain advantages that comes along with the doser. Excess coffee grinds in the portafilter can be swept back in the doser for the next shot and less mess can be made on your countertop due to the usual spitting of ground coffees out of doserless chutes.  Advantages of the doserless? Faster input of coffee into brewing equipment and less clean up.
6)Burr Size
Usage and consistency is the argument here. Larger burrs require less Rates per Miniute (RPMs) to grind the same amount of coffee, leading to lesser heat production. However, costs does noticeably increase for larger burr grinders so how often will you be grinding in one sitting? An insight to note here is that larger burr size grinders are usually higher quality grinders with better built specifics and cutting profiles. You'll definitely be able to see and feel the difference in grind size between a 40mm Baratza Encore and 50mm Lelit William.
The famous saying that prevails in every coffeehouse and coffeemen's heart, I can make better coffee and espresso with a $400 espresso machine and $400 grinder than with a $2000 espresso machine and cheap $100 grinder.Unfortunately, some prefer to learn the expensive way. Based on the experience and knowledge of baristas, roasters, experts in the coffee industry and subtle differences of various techniques and methods in the art of brewing coffee, I dare say nothing else is more black and white in the coffee world than a Consistent Grind Size is key for perfect extraction and brewing of a consistent sweet and balanced coffee. Why bother drinking horrible rancid coffee again with your knockoff grinder? Correct the quality and enjoy your morning and afternoon cups of joes from today onwards!

Still thinking about whether you should grind consistent grind sizes and brew good coffee? Drop us an email on any recommendations

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