A coffee grinder often influences the taste of coffee more than the coffee maker or coffee machine used. Within reasonable limits, of course. Falling asleep even the freshest and perfectly uniform grinding in some no-name grinder, you will not get a model espresso from the coffee shop. But even on the inexpensive Delonghi ECP Horn, you can feel the difference between the grinders of different classes.
In this article I will try to consider the top of the best coffee grinders in all price categories. I highly recommend reading this article before buying a coffee grinder!
1. The first type is the knife grinders, familiar to us from childhood (they are also rotary).
Average cost: from 7 to 60 dollars.
Main advantage of such a coffee grinder are clear – price. The main disadvantage is the inability to regulate the degree of grinding. On it you can get a homogeneous mixture only by grinding “to dust.” When you try to get a larger fraction, you will not get homogeneity. Therefore, the only way to brew coffee for which a rotary coffee grinder is suitable is a cezve. After all, it is in cezve used grinding “in dust”.
The grinding adjustment function, which is implemented on some rotational models (for example, De’Longhi KG 40/49), in reality, firstly, will not have the desired effect, and secondly, such milks stand already as pseudo-burrs (see below).
If you decide to buy a knife grinder, then there is no preference for brands here. Although here’s an example of a proven option:
Bosch MKM 6000/6003
Proven rotary coffee grinder for the cezve and one of the best deals on price / quality.
- Width x Depth x Height: 10 x 10 x 20 cm.
- Steel rotary knife.
- Coffee compartment: 75 g.
- Power: 180 W.
- Features: inclined coffee bowl for a bit more uniform grinding.
- Color executions: Bosch MKM6000 – white, Bosch MKM6003 – black.
- Suitable for: Cezve, with a big stretch for a geyser, grinding sugar, spices and cereals.
2. “Fake” burr coffee grinders.
Average price: 45-100 dollars.
These are low-cost millstone grinders with flat disc millstones of small diameter. In all descriptions on manufacturers websites, such coffee grinders are called “burr”. However, I call them “fake-burr”. And that’s why.
If you disassemble such grinder and carefully look at how these very millstones look (see the photo on the right), we will see one unpleasant feature – “teeth”, towering above the main working surface. Unfortunately, it is these “teeth” (and not the notches on the disc itself) that do 80% of the work. Because of this, the coffee bean basically “breaks down”, “crushes” as well as on cheaper knife grinders, and does not neatly grind (at the same time increasing the service life of the discs). However, the remaining 20% of the work still falls on the disc, which makes it possible to obtain a more or less uniform grinding, similar to the result of the work of this millstone device.
Such pseudo-chests are on the Delonghi KG 79, Delonghi KG 89 (differs from the 79th only in the metal case), as well as on the Krups GVX2 and Polaris PCG 1620, which stands two times cheaper than any other of this trio as of 2018 is discontinued from production and sale. They all have identical millstones. A little different, but similarly arranged millstones in Gaggia MM. In all of these models, the grinding adjustment works adequately, although the minimum degree of grinding could be finer. In any case, from the pseudo-cakes, except for the completely disgraceful quality products under the brands of Erisson, First, the cheapest at the beginning of 2018 is Delonghi KG 79.
Delonghi KG79 / 89
The most affordable “fake burr” coffee grinder – the minimum possible for making espresso and drinks based on it.
- Width x Depth x Height: 13 x 16 x 26 cm
- Steel flat pseudo grinders, 16 degrees of grinding
- Coffee compartment: 120 g
- Power: 110 W
- Features: adjustment of the amount of grinding – from 2 to 12 servings (in time), capacity for ground coffee – 120 g
- Color versions: KG79 – black, KG89 – black with a metallic finish of the case
- Suitable for: geyser, with stretch for espresso
3. The third type is an inexpensive coffee grinder with a conical burr.
Average price: 110 – 160 dollars.
In fact, on the market there are only three models of this type – this is the Rommelsbacher EKM 300, Solis Scala and BORK J701(not to be confused with the J700!). Apparently Bork took the Finnish coffee grinder Wilfa WSCJ-2 as a basis, they look like two drops of water.
Upon testing, Rommelsbacher will quote here conclusions from his review, valid for this class of initial millstone grinders:
- Obviously, such a coffee grinder is significantly better than any pseudo-grain, it’s just another level.
- With a certain type of grain and requirements for espresso, you can even customize its work so that the result will be almost indistinguishable from a burr for 220$ +. However, the range of settings and the small diameter do not allow us to say that this is a professional milk capable of delivering exactly the drink that the user wants from any blend. Roughly speaking, here the grain must be chosen under the coffee grinder.
- That is a similar coffee grinder, can be recommended for moderate consumption of several cups at home, including for espresso. For aerial and other types of presses, filtered coffee and a geyser – generally excellent.
Rommelsbacher EKM 300
The most affordable coffee grinder with conical millstones is a good option for espresso, if the task is to buy real millstones for a minimum of money.
- Width x Depth x Height: 14 x 18.5 x 29.5 cm
- Steel conic millstones of 38 mm, 12 degrees of grinding, adjustment step
- Coffee compartment: 220 g
- Power: 150 W
- Features: adjustment of the amount of grinding – from 2 to 10 servings (in time), capacity for ground coffee – 120 g, compartment for the cord
- Color executions: black
- Suitable for: espresso, moka pot coffee makers, in principle, not bad for an alternative.
Rommelsbacher EKM 300 competitor in consumer properties and price, sometimes even cheaper.
- Width x Depth x Height: 13.5 x 16.5 x 28.5 cm
- Steel conic millstones of 38 mm, 13 degrees of grinding, adjustment step
- Coffee compartment: 250 g
- Power: 100 W
- Features: adjustment of the amount of grinding – from 2 to 10 servings (in time), ground coffee container – 100 g, cord compartment
- Color executions: gray, gray / red
- Suitable for: espresso,
moka pot coffee makers, in principle, not bad for an alternative
4. “Expensive”, and in fact typical burr grinders. Average price: 220 dollars.
These devices are characterized by:
- Large millstone diameter (about 50 mm for discs and 40 mm for conical), which allow for a short time to grind the required number of grains and not to overheat them;
- Ground coffee is poured directly into the filter for the horn coffee maker, and not into the bunker (since such coffee grinders are designed for the fact that you will only use freshly ground coffee when preparing espresso);
- A large number of grinding adjustments (up to 30-40) or with stepless adjustment.
These are models like Cunill Tranquilo (flat steel millstones 50 mm), Gaggia MDF (flat 50 mm), Lelit FRED PL55 or PL043MMI (38 mm tapered), Ascaso I-Steel i2 (38 mm tapered), Nuova Simonelli GRINTA or MCF (flat 50 mm). Such coffee grinders are already designed for a professional level and together with a good coffee maker and a skilled barista can give espresso to the most demanding taste.
On the Delonghi ECP level coffee makers, you can also feel the difference. But, perhaps, it will still be an “unequal marriage”, since on these coffee makers you simply cannot reveal all the nuances of the proper grinding that coffee grinders of this level can provide. Therefore, if you do not plan to delve into the science of making coffee enough to consider the possibility of buying a carob coffee maker for 400$, then the golden middle will be the Rommelsbacher EKM 300.