A burr coffee grinder is a version of a burr mill designed to grind coffee beans and are considered to be the best option for coffee grinding. This is because they keep the aroma and flavour of the coffee intact and grind in a uniform manner.
Burr mills are used for a wide variety of purposes in addition to coffee grinding such as pepper mills and flour grinding.
The big advantage of a burr coffee grinder is that it doesn’t produce friction which in turn creates heat and this heat can affect the taste of the coffee. Instead, they use two mechanisms to grind the beans at a lower speed. Some models use a small electrical motor that operates a series of gears while the more expensive models use a larger motor and a belt. This latter type is often called a direct drive and tend to be quieter to operate and last longer than the former version.
Electrical burr grinders can have many different variations. Some of them are termed as ‘stepped’ which means they have a set of factory settings while a ‘stepless’ version has a whole range of different settings. This means you can manually set the grinding range and change it for different types of beans.
Another variation to the grinders are dosers. Dosers are catch bins that collect the ground coffee and allow you to set a certain amount to grind using a level. Doserless machines don’t have a bin or dosing function and grind straight into a container or an espresso machine portafilter. When using the second type of machine, it is normal to weigh out the beans beforehand to get the desired amount.
While electrical grinders have largely replaced the original manual version, these can still be bought and are often prized for their traditional appearance. Also, they can be operated anywhere as don’t need electrical output to function.
One of the most popular manual grinders still being sold are the Turkish coffee grinder – these are inexpensive and reduce the beans to a fine powder required for Turkish coffee better than electrical models.
Manual grinders tend to be either free standing, attached to a wall, or use a bracket to attach to a bench.
Product exampleCuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
This is an elegant, heavy-duty version of the automatic burr coffee grinder that has 18 different grinding positions allowing settings from ultra-fine to coarse. It has a doser slide dial to select from four to eighteen cups from the removable 8-ounce bean hopper. The grinder automatically turns off after a set period of time and uses a heavy duty motor for efficiency.
All of the removable parts can be cleaned in the dishwasher on the top rack. Do not immerse the base unit in water, simply wipe with a wet cloth and use a small, soft brush to clean the grind release area.
Grind time examples: medium grind – 40 second for 12 cups, 55 seconds for 18 cups.