Why conical burr coffee grinders are better than blade grinders

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2020/09/11/why-conical-burr-coffee-grinde.html


I have the same Capresso grinder pictured in the post. Too bad they could have included a grounded plug so as not to have all of the static electricity blow grounds all over the place.


I have a Baratza Virtuoso. Its a more expensive grinder, but it has anti-static coatings that really reduce particle sticking and clumping. It also has more closely spaced grind settings, lower noise, and I think faster output than that Capresso grinder. They also have very good supply of replacement parts. If $250 is too expensive (totally understandable), the Encore is more competitive with the Capresso. Sadly it lacks a timer which is just nuts, but I guess you are supposed to weigh your beans before grinding instead.


The only thing that matters to me is how quiet the grinder is. Comparing my inexpensive Magic Bullet grinder to my buddy’s Baratza burr grinder, when sifted the Magic Bullet’s grounds are 99% by weight the same size as the Baratza. Sure, I get some larger bean chunklettes, but the coffee it produced tastes the same.

IMO, you should save money on the grinder, the brewer (pour over, French Press, Aeropress, etc.), and spend more money on the bean.

I personally use an Aeropress because of the ease of use and cleanup. To me it brews up the same as a French Press but without the hassle of scraping grounds off the bottom.

Taste is subjective, try different variations and see which produces the best bang for the buck!


Has anyone tried the Oxo grinder? It get’s good reviews and has a grounded plug.

Totally agree. Coffee needs to be ground differently for different purposes and a blade grinder cannot do that. A french press requires a coarse grind, whereas an expresso machine needs a fine grind!

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I always thought blade-ground beans to taste slightly burned when compared to burr-ground.

That said, I’ll drink damn near anything to get that sweet, sweet caffeine.

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You’re bound to get those over-extracted flavors, since a blade grinder doesn’t produce a consistent grind size and so has a lot of ‘fines’ (particles much smaller than the intended size which extract too quickly and clog up your filter).

I vaguely recall the older models of the Virtuoso having a timer, but it was worse than useless: it was a mechanical twist-knob one which was impossible to set with any precision. I think they replaced it with the simple on/off switch on the side. (Maybe it was a different Baratza model that had the timer, though.)

Unfortunately in my experience the Virtuoso doesn’t do a great job of grinding down to empty - the last few beans tend to bounce around instead of going through the burrs. But that’s still the best way to grind the right amount without wasting beans.

The timer is the only reason I’ve kept the Vario I bought back when I thought I was going to get into espresso (I never got around to buying an espresso machine). It’s otherwise totally overkill for pourover, but it has a digital timer which I can dial in to grind exactly the right amount of coffee every time.

I might replace it with the new Fellow grinder, which is specifically designed to grind a single pre-weighed dose at a time, once it ships and some hands-on reviews come in.

My Capresso blade grinder is still working fine for 20 plus years. I’ll see about an upgrade when it fails.


Everything is grounded in the UK and it doesn’t make any difference, honest. However! All you need to do is stir the beans pre-grind with a spoon that’s been run under a tap. No wait! Come back!


My Encore (purchased refurb) has the mechanical timer. It’s consistent enough for me.

I just bought a BonsenKitchen burr grinder for $55 off Amazon (they have a $10 off coupon). Does the trick and has a timer, too. Happy with it so far.

Yeah, right. If I’ve learned anything from coffee snobs, it’s more likely that you’re a philistine who couldn’t taste the difference anyway. Feh.

/s - sorry, couldn't resist.


My mom has a couple of those vintage manual grinders. Next time I return to the old homestead, I may ask if I can take one if it works.

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Being endowed with a super sniffer and taster I’m quite particular about my gastronomical endeavors, and arranged a double-blind taste test of six coffee beans, three grind methods, and four brew durations, to arrive at my coffee configuration.

My and I buddy then did the cupping and then normal sipping. The cupping creates a different flavor, but since the sipping is what you do day in, day out, that’s what wins out for me.

Can I taste the difference between a $7/11/16 dollar a pound bean, absolutely. Can I tell the difference in a one week and two week old beans (buying in larger batches, thanks COVID-19), yes. Can a $16 bean taste worse than a $7 bean, not usually, but yes. I find the middle ground at $11 suites me just fine for a daily beverage.

When all is said and done, it doesn’t matter how you arrive at your choice, but that you enjoy the end result. :coffee: :relaxed:


Another happy owner of that same model! I recall it was one of the least expensive burr grinders.

i think it’s “because marketing says so, and burr grinders are MUCH more expensive and profitable than blade grinders.” – i don’t think most people can tell, taste-wise, and that includes me. i once talked to a roaster who had been selling beans locally for decades, and she said burr grinders were nonsense. that being said, i do have a burr grinder, because our blade grinder died and i figured “why not try one?”

still think she was right.


You know what else is great @frauenfelder an air fryer.