To make great coffee, you have to focus on the tiniest detail—the coffee grind. Coffee lovers will attest to this fact: The grind size of coffee affects taste. Whether it’s coarse or extremely fine, the slightest change in grind size drastically affects your brew. Small but terrible? Definitely. If the grind is that important, we will discover what constitutes the best budget coffee grinder in this quick guide.
A Quick Guide On Coffee Grind
Before we get to the nitty-gritty of price in finding the best budget coffee grinder, we have to understand some of the basics.
The flavor of your final brew depends on how much of the flavor, oils, and other components you can extract out of the coffee beans. If the goal is extraction, our variable is the grind size. Several factors affect the taste, including grind size, brew time, and coffee and water ratio. But we’ll stick to grind size.
Over Extraction vs. Under Extraction
The goal of grinding coffee to a specific size is to extract the perfect flavor, and it’s easy to overdo it or miss the mark. These are the signs of poor extraction, together with some quick remedies.
- Over extracted coffee – Over extracted coffee tastes bitter and misses the rich flavor you would expect in your coffee beans. If you notice this, create a coarser grind, decrease the brew time, and increase the water temperature.
- Under extracted coffee – Under extracted coffee leaves an acidic, often sour taste, which can still be remedied by creating finer grinds and increasing the brew time while decreasing the water temperature.
Grind Sizes And Brewing Methods
No matter how well you grind your coffee beans, the wrong brew method will not effectively extract the coffee beans’ compounds. To sum it up in one statement: There is an ideal grind size for every brew method. There is no one-size-fits-all grind size. Below is the suggested grind size for some common brewer types.
- Extra fine – Turkish coffee
- Fine – Stovetop Espresso maker, Espresso machines
- Medium-fine – Pour-over brewers with a cone shape
- Medium – Drip coffee machines
- Medium-coarse – Manual pour-over, glass coffeemaker
- Coarse – Percolator or French press
- Extra coarse – Cold brew, Cowboy coffee method
Factors That Affect Grind Size
Now that we’ve established how essential grind size can be, let’s determine the factors that affect the ideal grind size.
- Origin – Coffee comes from different parts of the world. Beans are grown in cooler areas often have harder beans, making it more challenging to grind.
- Variety – The coffee variety affects the flavor of the coffee and how it should be roasted. Bourbon, for example, has a sweet taste.
- Roast – The coffee’s roast profile affects flavor and the machine. Dark roast is oilier and may be more challenging to grind.
- Brewing method – As mentioned earlier, the ideal grind has a lot to do with the brewer you plan on using.
- Age – Roasted coffee loses its flavor as the days pass, which is why some baristas grind finer to increase extraction, while others grind coarse and increase the dosage for intensity.
What You Need To Know About Coffee Grinders
Coffee grinding is a complex process influenced by several factors. Now that we understand its role for the enjoyment of coffee let’s look at grinders in detail to decide on the best budget coffee grinder.
Why You Should Get A Coffee Grinder
- Control – Using a grinder allows better control and precision over your coffee grind. Since you’re doing the grinding yourself, you can control the roast profile and when you grind to get the most out of your beans.
- Brewing Versatility – As mentioned earlier, there are ideal grind sizes for different brewing methods, and grinding your coffee allows you to switch between brewing methods so you can enjoy your coffee any way you wish. This experimentation also leads to a better understanding and appreciation of a good cup of coffee.
- Quality – Pre-ground coffee loses its quality even before you buy it. The aroma and flavor aren’t the same as freshly ground beans.
2 Types Of Coffee Grinders
There are two major types of grinders, and although there is much debate about which one grinds better, they each have their merits.
- Burr – This grinder crushes the beans, producing a more consistent grind. Although this type of grinder gives you better control, it can be pricier and bulkier. Burr grinders can be flat and conical with steel or ceramic material. Conical burrs are more precise than flat burrs because of angle adjustments, and burrs with ceramic material last much longer than steel.
- Blade – This grinder uses a sliding mechanism on the beans resulting in inconsistent grind sizes. The key to using blade types is all about timing, and usually, consistency can be achieved by its built-in timer. If you’re looking for the best budget coffee grinder, this should fit the bill.
Coffee Grinder Cost
Coffee grinders can cost as much as $700 and as affordable as $20. Factors that affect the price are dependent on the grinder’s features, including the controls for grind adjustment, the availability of a doser, and the size of the motor. Some coffee lovers recommend limiting the price to $100, a reasonable price range to expect quality grounds.
A good cup of coffee has multiple factors, within and beyond our control. As an essential part of taste and extraction, the grind size can be controlled with an excellent coffee grinder. The pressure to grind the best coffee may have given you doubts about finding the best budget coffee grinder in the market, but ultimately, the grind has more to do with practice than it is with technology. If you think about it, how did people of long ago enjoy coffee without the precision of high-end, automated, expensive grinding? Here’s to learn more about coffee grinders.