The ergonomic design of this manual coffee grinder makes it stand apart. It is specifically designed to fit your hand perfectly. So while you will still need to work a bit more to get the grounds from this grinder, at least it will be a comfortable fit while you’re doing so. The ceramic burr creates consistent and even grounds that make your fresh coffee taste all the better.
OXO has also designed a mechanism to help reduce static build-up as the coffee grinds, an issue we encountered with other models often in our testing. As an OXO representative explained it: “We found that the best way to dissipate static is by electrically grounding the steel Grounds Container through contact with a steel tab on the Grinder body. The steel tab is then connected to the ground plug on the power cord. This provides a direct path for the static electricity stored in the grounds to dissipate.” In our testing, this feature made for a cleaner grinding experience, though it doesn’t completely eliminate static. We’ll continue to long-term test to see how well it works with different coffees under different conditions. We also like that the shape of the canister makes it super easy to pour fresh-ground coffee into your filter.
This blade grinder is certainly nothing fancy, but it sure does get the job done, and for a fraction of the cost of the rest of the grinders on our list. It can grind up to three ounces of beans in about 10 seconds, enough for about 12 cups of coffee. You won’t be able to use the grinds for espresso, but for a drip coffee maker or even for something like a French Press, they’ll be perfect. (It’ll even work to give your single cup coffee maker a boost if you’re using reusable K-Cups.) Its compact design means won’t take up much space on your counter, and there’s even a lid activated safety switch to keep your fingers intact.
This week's honorable mention goes out to Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder, a fully automatic "smart" grinder that's capable of grinding espresso-fine coffee and coarse drip or press coffee right after each other. All you have to do is tell the grinder how you're preparing your coffee and how much of it you're planning to make. No knobs to dial or settings to fiddle with—the grinder handles the rest and even spits out the right amount of ground coffee for the serving you plan to brew. Of course, if you have more exacting standards, you can override its settings and grind as much or as little as you want, too. This conical burr grinder will set you back close to $200 at Amazon, and you can read more first-hand experiences in the nominations thread.
The Baratza Encore grinds coffee more evenly than almost any other machine we tested on a wide range of settings. It’s a reliable, straightforward tool—there’s almost no learning curve—that takes up only a modest square of counter space. It’s also super easy to clean and maintain, meaning it’ll be an investment you can rely on morning after morning. While it can’t produce a fine enough grind for serious espresso enthusiasts, its output is consistent enough for a serviceable shot and should satisfy anyone’s filter coffee needs.
This grinder is big on options. If your morning coffee is for just you before work, adjust the settings and grind a cup’s worth into the portafilter. If you have a slower morning or have guests and you want to brew a pot, you can adjust the settings again and grind directly into a paper filter. The coffee world is yours to enjoy with the Breville Smart Grinder Pro.
If you enjoy a good cup of coffee, making an investment in a coffee grinder is a small price to pay for fresh coffee at its best, brewed at home or in the office. Coffee is most flavorful when the beans are ground just before brewing: Once exposed to oxidation through the grinding process, coffee beans begin to lose flavor. High-end versions of this countertop appliance can set you back a few hundred dollars, but we sifted through expert commentary and user reviews to find several costing $30 or less that are more than adequate for this simple task.
Cold brewing your coffee is an increasingly popular alternative to the regular iced coffee that’s so tempting when the temperature outside starts to rise. You’ve got a great deal of flexibility when it comes to grind size than with other methods. Extra-coarse and coarse grinds both work extremely well with cold brew. You can even get away with a medium grind so experiment and determine which you find most suits your palate. Cold brewing is a very forgiving method of delivery so think about what works best for you rather than fixating on a pre-determined grind size.
Then, we read a wide array of user reviews from Amazon, Reddit and Prima Coffee and cross-referenced them with “top grinders” lists, looking for commonalities. We narrowed our list to 10 and then cut it to seven by looking for overlapping brands or features that would negatively impact that grinder’s ability to be the “best coffee grinder” to use at home. For example, one brand makes multiple grinders with the same designs, but upgraded features at higher price points.
This dual-purpose grinder is designed to switch back and froth from herbs or spices and coffee beans. Epica claims it has the “most powerful grinder on Amazon” and while that may be true, keep in mind that behind that power is a risk of overheating; you should only grind for 20 seconds at a time. Luckily, 20 seconds seems to be more than enough for you to get any consistency you want.
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The attractive back-lit LCD screen made eyeballing our grind setting easy, spelling out the selection both in numbers and plain English. (Settings from 1-30 are labeled suitable for espresso; 31-54 is best for drip coffee; and 55-60 is recommended for French press.) Instead of having to weigh out the beans to determine proper dosing, we liked that we could use the button controls to select the number of cups to brew and trust the Breville to stop grinding once it had yielded the proper amount.
A burr grinder also allows for a broad choice of brewing devices and types of coffee: It can grind coarsely enough for a good French press or cold-brew batch but also nails a medium grind for drip. Whether you make coffee at home once a day or once an hour, whether you brew with a Hario V60 and a precision scale or just dump it all into a French press carafe or an automatic drip basket, and whether you buy your whole beans at the grocery store or order them direct from Norway, how well your grinder performs will have a tremendous effect on the end brew.
Like the Encore, the Virtuoso also has a front-mounted pulse button and a foolproof on/off switch, but it also features a 60-second timer so it’s easy to replicate the perfect grind once you figure out your preferred setting. And don’t forget about Baratza’s stellar repair program, a huge plus when you’re investing in an expensive grinder like this one.
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