Why conical burr coffee grinders are better than blade grinders

Do you not have a scale?

I’ve had an Oxo grinder for about two years now. I think it works well but don’t have anything to compare it to since it was my first grinder. I’ve rubbed off some of the markings (mostly the logo on the button).

My only annoyances are static in the bin when grinding large amounts and afaik there’s no way to stop it if you don’t want it to run for the full time—I would expect pushing the button a second time or turning the timer knob would stop it. Normally, I use the timer to measure my morning cup. On occasion I’ll grind larger amounts for making cold brew and this is when I hit those issues.

I like my Hario mini slim manual grinder, it’s cheap and relatively quiet and I can grind enough for a pour over cup before the water gets up to boiling. Adjusting grind size is annoying, but if you always use the same technique you can dial it in and leave it there, which is where I’m at these days.


I have a cheap blade grinder but I keep my beans in the freezer, so hopefully the temp of the beans counteract being burnt by the fast blade. seems like it works but I don’t have anything to compare with

the reason it tastes burnt is because the friction caused by the spinning blades actually heats up the beans while it beats the shit out of them. avoid blade grinders at all costs.

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I suspected that as well, but I don’t get the same reaction from dried pumpkin seeds (when ground for homemade cat food). Could be that the “dried” pumpkin seeds still have more water than roasted coffee beans and don’t provide the same friction.

Either way, switched to burr long ago.

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This technique is occasionally credited to me (including by Hoffman in a note under the video), which always cracks me up a bit since I live in Hawaii and haven’t had a problem with grinder static for over 30 years.

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I guess you’re using a filter coffee maker, not an espresso machine, then. Otherwise the difference would be very apparent.

I have the exact same grinder, with the upgraded Preciso burrs, for about a year and a half now.

It does a fantastic job, very little static on grounds. Best part is the timed grind. Set it and walk away. I just use 1/2 cup of beans for a pourover and let it grind everything. I can get spare parts to fix or upgrade it for life, it’s the company model.

Only things I don’t like about it are the difficulty of getting it to grind on the very last mark or zero marks settings of fineness, and that ungrounded beans tend to backup under the hopper rubber seal. They don’t affect grinding though, it’s just something I have to clean every month or so.

It’s an awesome grinder, but I remember Mark’s Capresso being the only other thing that came very close to it- the Capresso is a good grinder too. It’s main advantage over mine was finer grind capability.

I also have this in addition to my Baratza Virtuoso:

This hand cranked Hario is very finicky to set up- but it grinds coffee to super fine cocoa powder consistency when you get it just right, finer than the Viruoso can go.

I really want to automate it by machining a small steam engine kit to do the grinding for me, as an alcohol lamp boils my water that powers it. It takes 20 min to grind a hopper of beans on that setting!


Can anyone recommend a good small burr grinder? Counter space is at a premium, and I only need to grind 3 tablespoons each morning.

I bought a $12 manual ceramic burr grinder locally in January, and it really does taste way better than the blade grinder I used for decades, but it takes a long time to grind with that thing, and both the handle and adjustment mechanism have already broken.

Is there a faster, easier manual grinder, or a small electric one? I’m certainly willing to pay more than $12, although hundreds is right out.

Try this? https://www.hario-usa.com/products/ceramic-coffee-mill-mini-pro

None of these grinders are that big though.

If you’re grinding that little each day, a hand grinder would make quick work, and Harios are slim.

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Well, I can heartily recommend the one I posted a pic of (thatˋs not mine but itˋs the same model).

Made in the 1960’s, just as manual grinders were going out of fashion in favour of more exciting (and modern!™) electric grinders. Mine belonged to my wife’s grandmother and it’s still going strong.

You can pick up similar grinders on ebay for prices ranging from the realistic ($50-$60) to the ridiculous ($$$).

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I put my coffee in any grinder and it just makes a mess. And it doesn’t seem to taste any better, although it does dissolve faster.


How fine are your grinds? Grinding for French press requires less time than grinding for quasi espresso (I use a pismo, and the need for a finer ground has driven me to an electric burr grinder. Unfortunately, that particular burr grinder was reviewed horribly on reddit, so hurrah. I am officially not enough of a snob to care.)

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One word - Spong:

Got this one off of eBay last year, the design has been around since 1895, but this was probably one of the last produced by Salter in the 1980’s. When I got it the burrs were very rusty, but a combo of water, vinegar and bicarb sorted them out - at which point I realised that the owner had just used it as an ornament, no wear on the cast iron edges at all.

Works for me as I only use Aeropress, so never change the grind. This is a No. 1, larger models are out there but harder to come by.


I used to believe this, but then I got a burr grinder and found it creates a fair bit of powder and sand-size particles, too.

What has worked well for me for over a decade now, is to get a blade grinder, because they’re cheaper, and get consistent grain size the way I did with my burr grinder: shaking the entire thing during operation like I was Dean Martin running a cocktail shaker for the Rat Pack. (Small, basic, $25 blade grinders are actually better for this: they’re just the size of a cocktail shaker.)

You have to hold the lid on, of course, because the shaking includes right upside-down, to get the big chunks that get trapped at bottom, back into circulation.

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Scientific method FTW. Good for you, doing the legwork (although if you really enjoy your cuppa joe, I imagine it was more in self-defense).

You mean that the "Ross droplet Technique (!) has nothing to do with David Ross? How did such a notion come to pass?