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Oct 20, 2011 08:12 AM

Best Burr Grinders


I'm looking to buy a burr grinder for my coffee beans. I've used a roommate's Breville in the past and enjoyed great coffee, but, unfortunately, am no longer living with the owner of said machine. I was wondering what everyone else's top choice for grinder was. I am thinking about dishing out $100 for another Breville but was wondering if there are any cheaper options people think achieve the same quality.


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  1. We just do drip and had a Cuisinart for several years. It finally died (probably was just the switch that makes sure the bin is in place, but too busy to disassemble). I got a second one for a construction site office for only $25 at Costco (they don't carry them now, though).

    My parents have a Capresso that I got for them several years ago. I read a lot of reviews of the <$100 ones that were bad. I ended up rationalizing getting a Baratza Maestro Plus, which was a bit more. Wanted bomb-proof and liked that it has an antistatic coating on the grounds bin.I kinda think a lot of the bad reviews of the less expensive ones were folks who do espresso a lot and have very exacting standards for that. I contemplated the Kitchenaid since we have other appliances from them, but it seemed expensive and the glass bin would be heavy in use.

    The Baratza has been good so far a few weeks in. The only thing I don't like is the dial timer instead of any correlation to the amount ground. But I've adjusted. And the same knob has fallen off a few times.

    Good luck!

    6 Replies
    1. re: ted

      Cook's Illustrated ran tests on blade vs, burr grinders,
      and found el cheapo blade grinders produced better
      tasting coffee. I ran tests on both types, and agree.

      1. re: mpalmer6c

        I'm not a coffee geek, and I'll admit I probably over-bought on my grinder. But come on. I had to look, and that test is from 2001. It evaluated burr grinders under $50 to blade grinders in the same price range. I'm not sure any of the ones I considered are even on that list.

        I don't know if they did a blind taste test, but I bet you didn't. And I suspect that, like most other taste evaluations, what you're used to has a huge influence on your opinion.

        If I had it to do over, I'd still get some sort of burr grinder for convenience and consistency of the grind. Just telling it to "go" and it grinding how much I want from a hopper is a huge deal to me. Especially if the alternative is being fussy with a blade grinder to keep it from turning the beans to dust or overheating them. My time over the life of the grinder is worth orders of magnitude more than the cost differential.

        1. re: ted

          "And I suspect that, like most other taste evaluations, what you're used to has a huge influence on your opinion."

          Boy, ain't THAT the truth! My Father-in-Law absolutely LOVES drinking Folgers & Maxwell House from his Black & Decker "Brew-&-Store" style coffee maker. He told me that yeah, he's got a coffee grinder (blade type), but it's so much trouble to use & clean that he hates using it. Consequently, he "enjoys" his coffee more if he can just scoop in the grounds, pour in the water & hit the "go" switch.

          At least he no longer has his coffee maker with the glass carafe & hot plate. He used to make a full pot in the morning, let it turn itself off after 3 hrs, then reheat the remainder the next morning!


          1. re: Eiron

            OK, my friends use instant coffee and a hot water dispenser attached to their sink (one of those automatic hot water things) for their morning brewup. Seriously.

        2. re: mpalmer6c

          The "better tasting" debate notwithstanding, for pressure-machine-brewed espresso, a blade grinder will not give a uniform grind, meaning the quality and consistency of your espresso shot could be hit or miss. A conical burr grinder could be essential for attaining the precise, predictable, consistent grind the OP might need (if he's machine-brewing espresso, that is).

          Note that most burr grinders are not conical burr grinders, the more precise kind. I lucked out and picked up a Capresso Infinity grinder at a Tuesday Morning outlet store for just under $100; that make/model is considered one of the better conical burr grinders for the money.

          1. re: Riccardo

            My Mazzer Mini is not a conical burr grinder and Mazzer is a standard in the industry

      2. I have the Baratza Virtuoso burr grinder. I drink french press and the cheaper ones I have tried did not grind coarse enough. I have had this one for about 5 years and the only issue I have is that the switch broke so I turn it on and off by plugging and unplugging it.

        1. I was able to pick up a Capresso Infinity open box return at Bed Bath and Beyond and have been happy with it. I have been reading reviews and it seems like a lot of people are happy with the Bodum Bistro electric burr grinder.

          1. The "best" burr grinders, like Mazzer and Macap, are going to cost way more than $100, but unless you're making espresso, you won't need the best. You should be able to get by with a Breville conical burr grinder or a Capresso infinity for under $100. Depending on how much you need to grind at a time, you might also consider a hand crank manual burr grinder like Zassenhaus.

            1. maxinboston, you may not realize it, but your topic line betrays your question. You can easily go deep into $four digits getting the "best" burr grinder, and I think that your needs are more modest, as your question about sub-$100 reveals. The "best buy" for a high quality burr grinder at any reasonable price point will be found in the Baratza product lines, and the real steal is the Baratza refurbished grinder wearing a "Starbucks Barista" disguise, which you can purchase directly from Baratza:

              You will not find any grinder anywhere near as good as the refurbished Starbucks Barista for even double the price at which Baratza sells it, certainly not the Breville at half again the price.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Politeness

                I will second this. I own a Starbucks labelled Baratza and wouldn't use anything different in that same price point.

                  1. re: Politeness

                    I also second this. Unless you need a high-end grinder for espresso, the refurb Baratza is about the best that you'll get for the money. I own the Capresso and it's very good as well.