Grinder for drip coffee
I'm looking for suggestions for a coffee grinder that will be used only for drip coffee.
I was torn between getting a Capresso Infinity vs. Baratza Maestro because of conflicting reports I've heard about them. But, then I realized I never asked myself the question if I even need to to pay so much for a coffee grinder in the first place.
I've heard so much about the importance of getting a burr grinder for coffee because of the more consistent grind but that discussion is usually in the context of espresso.
But, if I'm only drinking drip coffee, is the grinder still as important? Should I still get a burr grinder, or will the cost of burr grinder be out of proportion to the difference it will make for drip coffee?
I doubt you will notice any difference in the taste of your coffee, but you will appreciate the convenience of a burr grinder (load up the hopper once a week and press a button when you want a pre-measured amount of fresh ground beans). If you go with a basic model in the $100 range the cost differential is minimal when you consider the machine might last 10 years or more as my old Mr. Coffee did. These days I use a Breville grinder I got at BB&B for about $80 (with one of their ubiquitous 20% off coupons). It struggles with espresso grind, but I use a slightly coarser grind for my stovetop Bialetti, and it does that just fine.
Ah, but you've got 4 "yea" votes (Calamityville, me, my dad & Politeness) to a single "nay" vote (Zeldog).
I still say do it. $80 for a refurb Baratza is a great value in a quality grinder.
I also agree with Politeness' observations on bean freshness being very important within the whole grind-n-brew realm.
Zeldog, I am constrained to disagree with your advice on the bin-loading. Although I happen to belong to the school that appreciates the difference a burr grinder can make in the final brew (we make vac-pot coffee in our home), the freshness of the coffee beans is much much more important. Leaving the beans out in the air to oxidize for that long defeats freshness.
If you buy your coffee beans at the supermarket, then the chances are it is a couple of weeks or more stale by the time you get to the check-out counter, but if taste is paramount, you will get much better tasting coffee buying from a roaster who has roasted the beans less than 48 hours before you buy them. When you get the beans home, decant no more than three days' worth of beans into a countertop container (preferably a sealed one, which the bin of a burr grinder is not), and keep the remainder of the just-purchased beans, double sealed (vendor's bag inside a sealed plastic freezer bag), in the freezer until you are ready to dose out another thre days' supply to the countertop container.
We don't really disagree. In fact we agree that bean freshness is more important than how you grind (which was the original question). I don't buy supermarket beans except on rare occasions when I'm too lazy to get to one of my local roasters, and usually buy only 8 ounces at a time from the locals. You say no more than 3 days worth in the bin, I said 7 (although on further thought I probably refill every 5 days or so), but I expect neither of us has done a taste test with an impartial panel, so who can say how much difference 3 or 4 days makes? All I can say is I load up the bin and enjoy day 5 coffee just as much as day 1 coffee.
I can definitely say that moving to a decent burr grinder was the single biggest improvement in my drip brewing results. And the quality of burr grinder you'll get for your money today is much better than what I had available to me only 7 yrs ago. The $100 you spend now will keep returning results for many, many years to come.
I have no experience with the Capresso Infinity. My burr grinder is this one:
Back then it was labeled as either a Solis 166 or a Starbuck's Barista. It later became the starting point for Baratza's Maestro (& is now Starbuck's current "Barista" model).
December 2009 I bought my dad a refurb Maestro/Barista from Baratza:
I then had a chance to use it when I visited him in March 2010. For less money than what my earlier model cost (MUCH less money!), this refurb was astounding! It looked brand new (& even comes with a 6 month warranty!), & had a much wider grind range than my earlier model. The motor is more powerful than mine, & it's quieter as well. And it's a solid little beastie, too. To top it off, my dad's later comments after using his new grinder included how much better it made his canned/store-bought coffee taste. (I gave him several pounds of fresh roast varietal coffees with the grinder, & this was after he'd used up all of that.)
Replacement burrs are readily available from Baratza (I might replace mine at the 10 yr mark), & I've heard customer service is stellar. My grinder has had zero issues in 7 yrs, so I've never had to deal with Baratza Cust Svc myself.
I say do it. I think you'll be surprised at the results & pleased with the purchase.
They're both good grinders and yes the grind is important for drip coffee, though not as important as for espresso. One of the things I like about a burr grinder is that you can grind some coffee and be doing other things in the kitchen while it's grinding. Either of the models you listed appear to be reasonably price grinders. All things being equal I choose whichever one is quieter.