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Burr versus Blade Grinders

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Most coffee lovers know that you need to grind whole beans to get the best-tasting cup of coffee, but they don't always know what kind of grinder to use. Granted, most of the great taste of a gourmet flavored coffee will depend on choosing the right specialty coffee roaster, but selecting the right grinder does make a difference.

There are a few different kinds of grinders on the market - and most of them can be purchased from the online coffee store of your choice - but for most people the choice will come down to choosing a blade grinder or a burr grinder. Both of these options have their advantages and disadvantages, and we're going to take a look at both types to decide which is best for you.

Blade Grinders

True to their name, blade grinders use two fast-moving blades to chop up coffee beans. This, of course, means that these "grinders" don't technically grind the beans, but the end result is similar to that of other grinders. Blade grinders are generally less expensive than burr grinders, making them popular with casual coffee drinkers who use drip coffee makers.

The problem with blade coffee grinders is that the grinds aren't always of a consistent size. You might have some fine grounds, but at the same time you might see large chunks of your coffee beans. A finer grind will result in a more flavorful cup of coffee, so a blade grinder isn't ideal if you like your coffee strong. Blade grinders also are not good for French presses and espresso machines, both of which call for a very consistent grind size.

Burr Grinders

Burr grinders work by grinding coffee beans between two burred plates. These plates are flat in some models and conical in others, but with both styles one plate remains stationary while the other spins.

Burr grinders are generally more expensive than blade grinders, but they also yield a more uniform grind. Not only does this result in a better-tasting cup of coffee, but the grounds are much less likely to clog a French press or espresso machine. It is also easier to adjust a burr grinder so you can get the grind that you want. A good burr grinder can grind your single origin coffee beans as finely or as coarsely as you want.

The only real downside of burr grinders aside from their higher price tag is that they can heat the beans as they grind them. In extreme cases, the beans will actually burn and result in some horribly bitter coffee. This is most common in high-speed grinders, so try to find a low-speed model if you want to use a burr grinder.

Overall, burr grinders are the preferred option for the true coffee connoisseur. They yield more uniform grinds, they are easier to adjust, and they're ideal for French press coffee makers and espresso machines. Still, a blade grinder is definitely better than nothing. Whole beans that are ground right before brewing are always better than pre-ground coffee, even if all you have is a blade grinder.

Having a consistent grind for your gourmet coffee is essential if you’re looking for that great tasting at home cup of coffee. Make sure you have the best tasting beans available by shopping the selection of gourmet flavored and single origin coffee beans around from Fortunes Coffee. For over 60 years, Fortunes Coffee has served as Pittsburgh’s premier specialty coffee roaster, offering the best gourmet flavored coffees and single origin coffee beans available to their loyal customers. Shop Fortunes Coffee today and discover the difference of quality and dedication in your morning cup!


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