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Do I really need a Burr coffee grinder?

michaelnrdx Jul 9, 2011 07:32 AM

I have heard many recommendations for a Burr grinder, because it allows you to control how fine or coarse your grind is and also produces a consistent grind, while standard blade grinders tend to produce uneven grinds with dust at the bottom. I can see why you would want a Burr grinder if you use different brewing techniques or if you are making espresso. However, I will not be making espresso, and the only coffee I will be brewing is drip coffee though a cone filter, which requires a somewhat fine grind. Would a standard coffee grinder be good for this purpose?


This grinder has good reviews on Amazon for being able to produce a fine grind (though of course, with a bit of dust). Any thoughts on this?

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  1. scubadoo97 RE: michaelnrdx Jul 9, 2011 09:09 AM

    While I have two burr grinders in the kitchen, one for espresso and one for everything else I use a blade grinder when traveling. It does a fine job for drip or my aeropress when not at home.

    1 Reply
    1. re: scubadoo97
      poser RE: scubadoo97 Jul 9, 2011 12:26 PM

      Have you ever used a hand grinder for your traveling coffee brewing? I find them much better and much more convenient then a blade grinder.


    2. e
      escondido123 RE: michaelnrdx Jul 9, 2011 09:36 AM

      I standard coffee grinder will be fine. I have used both kinds and frankly don't see that much of a difference though there is certainly a big difference between freshly ground/burred and preground. But then I put milk and sugar in my coffee so that makes it a whole different flavor demand.

      1. Bada Bing RE: michaelnrdx Jul 9, 2011 10:56 AM

        Like many other people, I find that uniformity of grind is only crucial for espresso.

        1 Reply
        1. re: Bada Bing
          cheesemaestro RE: Bada Bing Jul 18, 2011 12:24 PM

          A uniform grind is better for any method of brewing coffee, but, besides espresso, it's also critical for press pot (French press) coffee. This method requires an even, coarse grind. When there are a lot of fines, they fall to the bottom of the pot and you wind up with sludge in your cup.

        2. h
          HokieAnnie RE: michaelnrdx Jul 9, 2011 11:27 AM

          I used that exact grinder for about 2 years before it died. It's cheap and it works but only until it dies. I purchased a Kitchenaid Pro burr grinder maybe about five years ago based upon googling coffee websites and reading the reviews on Amazon. I bought my parents a modestly priced Capresso burr grinder for around 80.00 bucks as a Christmas present 2 years ago and it's going strong as well.

          In short the blade grinder will be "good enough" but be prepared for it to not last as long as a burr style.

          11 Replies
          1. re: HokieAnnie
            Dapuma RE: HokieAnnie Jul 9, 2011 01:33 PM

            I am on the 2nd unit of that exact grinder, works well but like the previous poster said, it wont work forever

            i make espresso with it but it always leaves me wishing i had the burr grinder, but i cannot have a grinder more expensive than my espresso machine so until then it will do :)

            1. re: Dapuma
              Eiron RE: Dapuma Jul 18, 2011 12:06 PM

              You've got an espresso machine that cost less than $69??


              1. re: Dapuma
                scubadoo97 RE: Dapuma Jul 18, 2011 02:57 PM

                On the contrary you SHOULD have a grinder more expensive than your espresso machine (up to a point). It is the most important link in the espresso making chain. A good espresso grinder will help create good espresso from a low end espresso machine. A low end grinder will make poor espresso no matter how high end the machine.

                1. re: scubadoo97
                  Duppie RE: scubadoo97 Jul 18, 2011 03:25 PM

                  I can attest to that fact, I had a Rancilio Silvia espresso machine for a year before I bit the bullet and ordered the Rocky burr grinder,the difference in coffee's taste,appearance and texture is like night and day and now use the rocky to grind beans for my French press also.
                  If you are serious about your coffee you really should invest in a decent burr grinder.

                  1. re: Duppie
                    scubadoo97 RE: Duppie Jul 18, 2011 03:38 PM

                    The Silvia is a bit finicky when it comes to grind for an entry level home espresso machine. I'm sure Silvia and Rocky work well together.

                    1. re: scubadoo97
                      Duppie RE: scubadoo97 Jul 18, 2011 03:53 PM

                      They certainly do but only after much experimentation. I was able to narrow the grind settings depending on the bean and oil content, now my espressos are shop quality with nice crema and great taste.

                      1. re: Duppie
                        chuckl RE: Duppie Jul 23, 2011 05:31 PM

                        It took me forever to work out the proper grind for rocky and temp surfing with silvia. I dont use a PID. Where do you set your grind on rocky and how long do you pull your shots?

                        1. re: chuckl
                          Duppie RE: chuckl Jul 23, 2011 06:01 PM

                          For my favorite beans from Lavazza, I set the grind at 11 because the beans are not overly oily and I pull a double shot at about 40 seconds.For Peets french roast which is quite oily,I set the grind at 16 and pull a double at about 30 seconds.
                          Each gives me a healthy crema but only after the second or third pull.

                          1. re: Duppie
                            chuckl RE: Duppie Jul 24, 2011 08:13 AM

                            Just a suggestion, but i dialed rocky down quite a bit to the point where i get a very thin "mouse tail" on my shots for 25-30 seconds. Do you pid or temperature surf? I flush til the boiler light goes on.. It goes out after about a minute, then i wait another 45 secs and pull the shot. It seems pretty consistent. Ive been using blue bottle espresso beans.

                            1. re: chuckl
                              Duppie RE: chuckl Jul 24, 2011 10:38 AM

                              I'm the impatient sort and can hardly have the time to go through that ritual but still produce a fine shot.

                          2. re: chuckl
                            scubadoo97 RE: chuckl Jul 23, 2011 06:56 PM

                            It should be noted that each grinder will grind a little different and hardness of tamping will effect pull as well. You want to shoot for 1-1.5 ounces of water passing through the espresso in 23-28 seconds for a double or around 14 g of coffee.

              2. l
                LBinFL RE: michaelnrdx Jul 23, 2011 10:15 AM

                My Cuisinart Burr Grinder died late last year. I purchased a Capresso 560 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder and I love it. This one does not have the "coffee cling" that my last one had.

                Using a burr grinder gives me the ability to grind for my mood, espresso, french press or drip.

                1. q
                  QuantumTurk RE: michaelnrdx Jul 24, 2011 05:16 PM

                  The reason you want a burr grinder, in addition to getting more consistently sized grains (which will result in more consistent coffee, espresso or not, as grain size effects extraction rate), is because it will generate less heat. This is important, as many of the compounds that you want to end up in your coffee for taste and aroma are called "volatiles" and one property common to volatiles is that they become a gas at reasonably low temperatures. Thus, if you heat up your grounds too much while producing them, all the goodies get into the air before they can get into your coffee.

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