Choosing the top coffee makers with built-in grinders among all the possible models out there is like looking for a needle in a haystack. There so many possible options with attractive features at various price points that it can be difficult to choose the best option for you.
Luckily, you won’t have to! This article will help you choose which among the top coffee makers with built-in grinders so that you can choose which model will be best suited for your budget and coffee-making preferences.
What’s the Big Deal with Built-in Grinders?
In one word: freshness! The quality of a cup of coffee is largely dependent on the freshness of the grounds. If you want the optimum taste and aroma from your coffee, the only way to do that is to grind the beans right before you brew them.
When coffee beans are whole, they can retain their freshness longer compared to grounds. Whole coffee beans have the best flavor and aroma for 2-10 days after roasting, but they can retain most of their freshness for up to 30 days if they are kept in an airtight container.
Grounds, on the other hand, will only keep fresh for up to 2 weeks even if they are stored properly.
So if you’re looking for the best flavor and aroma from your coffee, it can’t get any fresher than having the grinder built into your coffee maker!
Types of Grinders
There are two types of grinders that you can choose from--blade grinders and burr grinders.
- Blade Grinder – Blade grinders composed of two blades that chop the beans into smaller pieces. This type of grinder is cheaper and easier to clean, but they are noisier and produce a lot of static on your grounds. If you’ve ever found small bits of grounds stuck in your grinder or coffee maker, this is because the grounds have a high static charge. Blade grinders also tend to produce inconsistent sizes when it comes to grinding size.
- Burr Grinder -- Burr grinders come in either a conical or flat plate. These cones or flat plates move against each other to crush the beans into smaller pieces. Burr grinders are more consistent in producing grind sizes and produce little to no static charge. However, they are more expensive, harder to clean and produce grounds more slowly.
Does Grind Size Matter?
If you love different types of coffee, grind size matters significantly! The size of the grind dictates what type of brewing method you will use. Here are the typical grind sizes, and what type of coffee brew you can make with them:
- Coarse grind – the largest type of grounds. The particles of coffee look like small pebbles. The coarse ground is best used for French presses and cold brews.
- Medium coarse grind – somewhat smaller compared to coarse grind, but you can still see the individual pieces of coffee. This type of grind is best for pour-overs.
- Medium – the grounds are the size of sea salt particles. For medium ground and smaller, you will need to use a filter to prevent the grounds from filtering down into your cup. A medium grind is best for drip coffee.
- Fine – for a fine grind, the grounds are the size of table salt and are gritty in texture. Fine grounds are used for making espresso.
- Extra-fine/Turkish – if you have a grinder that’s capable of making extra-fine grounds, you can use these grounds to make Turkish coffee. The grounds feel smooth and powdery.
Types of Filters
If your coffee maker has a filter built in, you can check the type of filter. There are two kinds of filters available:
- Metal/mesh filter – this type of filter can be found in French presses and some espresso makers. They are built into the coffee maker and must be rinsed after each use.
- Paper filters – the most common type of filter, you will find paper filters in drip coffee makers. You will need to keep buying replacements for this type of filter, but since you will just discard the paper filter after it has been used, it is the easiest type of filter to clean up.
What About Charcoal Filters?
Charcoal water filters are quite rare in coffee makers and they are expensive. However, charcoal filters work the best in straining out the grounds from the liquid and producing the cleanest cup of coffee. One of the best things about charcoal filters is that they can filter out up to 80 times their weight in contaminants before you need to replace them, so you can virtually use the charcoal filter in your coffee maker for years.
Features You Should Look For
Here are some of the most important features that you should look for in a coffee maker with a built-in grinder:
- Size of the Bean Hopper – The size of the bean hopper will dictate how many beans you can store in your coffee maker. Since most hoppers are airtight, you can leave the beans there for a whole month without worrying about the freshness of the beans. Most bean hoppers will hold around half a pound of beans, but commercial coffee makers can hold a pound or more.
- Programmable Cup Size and Strength – High-end coffee makers allow you to customize the size and strength of your brew so that you can make the perfect cup of coffee. You can choose to program a standard 8oz cup for your morning coffee, or you can program a huge 22oz travel mug to have coffee the whole day. As for the strength of the coffee, you can choose to have a regular cup of coffee or coffee that can stand up to ice cubes without losing flavor.
- Automatic Shut-off – On busy mornings, you’ve probably forgotten to shut off your coffee maker and came back to a burnt pot of coffee. It’s frustrating and annoying! With an automatic shut-off feature, the machine will shut down after it has finished brewing the coffee to prevent the coffee from burning and turning bitter.
There you have it, a quick and straightforward guide to choosing the top coffee makers with built-in grinders. By using this guide, you can easily choose the best coffee maker with built-in grinder that will suit your budget and coffee-making preferences. What are you waiting for, go choose your coffee maker today and enjoy a fresh cup of coffee every morning! Find out more about coffee makers.