Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

The coffee grinder is probably the most underrated item of home barista gear, with many people just buying a grinder as an afterthought. 

I did this when I first started getting into the home barista hobby. I was purely focussed on the espresso machine, and didn't put much thought into which might be the best coffee grinders to pair with the espresso machines I was looking at. 

Several years later, I understand just how important the coffee grinder is, and having used & reviewed many coffee grinders since then, I also have quite a bit of experience with them.

So when I'm talking about the best coffee grinders I'm talking from experience, not just from theory.

There's a lot of info in this best coffee grinders post, so to save you having to read the entire post from start to finish, I'll present it in a way that you can just pick the bits that are the most valuable to you.

I'll start out with quick links to the important sections of the post, and then I'll just give you a big product table with nutshell reviews for you to scan, and then if you're interested in reading more about any particular grinder, you can simply scroll down to the grinder you're interested in. 

The Types of Coffee Grinder
Best Blade Grinders
Best Wheel Grinders
Best Entry Level Burr Grinders
Best Mid Range Grinders & Upwards

 

The Types of Coffee Grinders

Coffee grinders differ mainly by their price point, not only, but mainly, and can be categorised as follows.

By the way, this post is specifically about electric coffee grinders. If you're thinking about manual coffee grinders, see:

best manual coffee grinders review

Blade Grinders

So at the very entry-level you'll find blade grinders, which of course aren't grinders at all, and really should be referred to as “choppers” because blades don't grind, but I digress.

I'm not a big fan of these, burr grinders are definitely way better than blade grinders, I find blade grinders to be a pain to use, they're noisy, and they don't grind, they chop. You may wonder why I'm even including them in a post about burr grinders, but I've decided to include them because they're the cheapest, many people buy them, and I think “grinding” your own coffee beans even with one of these is usually a better option than buying pre-ground coffee.

So just keep in mind, while I do think any way of grinding your own is better than pre-ground (and infinitely better than instant), but if you can afford to spend a few more quid on a burr grinder, I think you'd be making a wise choice.

Grinding Wheel Grinders

These are a handful of grinders all with a similar design and a similar price point, and they have a couple of things in common.

1. They're very cheap.
2. They have weird, blunt “burrs”, that the manufacturers refer to as “grinding wheels”.

Again, I'm not a massive fan of these, as they crush beans, so you end up with a similar particle uniformity (or lack of) as with the choppers. Burrs are two sets of teeth, for want of a better word, which chew beans into uniform chunks. These wheels do a similar job as a mortar and pestle, or is it pestle and mortar, I'm never sure! 

The finer you go, the better the uniformity, but generally speaking, these kind of grinders don't produce as uniform particle size as proper burrs will. I think they're a step up from using a chopper, and certainly a step up from using pre-ground, but I'd go for a burr grinder if you can.

Entry Level Burr Grinders

The next type of coffee grinders we'll get onto are the entry-level burr grinders. There are actually quite a few of these, they have proper (usually stainless steel, conical) burrs, they tend to range from around £80 and upwards, and most of these grinders are actually fine for most brewing methods.

The one thing most (there are one or two exceptions) of these grinders have in common, though, is that they're all-rounder grinders, not specialist grinders, and most of them won't work with espresso with traditional baskets, which requires a finer grind.

Mid Range & Upwards Burr Grinders

This is where there is the greatest amount of choice. These all have proper burrs, either conical or flat, and they tend to be specialist grinders, either brew specific or espresso specific, with a couple of exceptions. There also an increasing number of the mid and premium range grinders that are being made purely for single dose use.

Best Blade Coffee Grinders

So I'll kick things off in the cheap seats ;-), with the low-cost blade coffee “grinders”. Let's be honest, these contraptions aren't really “grinders”, they have blades, how can they grind? They don't perform brilliantly, in terms of particle uniformity, they produce uneven grinds, lots of fines & lots of bigger chunks, and there's no way to adjust the grind size, the only thing you can control is how long you “grind” for.

So if you can, I would very highly recommend that you skip this section and move swiftly on, but if you can't stretch the budget & you absolutely must get one of the cheaper blade grinders, then have a look at these:

Duronic Electric Coffee Grinder CG250




Duronic Electric Coffee Grinder CG250.



29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

Check Price - Amazon

As far as these blade grinders go, this isn't a bad one, well – I'd say it's one of the best of a bad bunch ;-). Unlike some of these (and yes, I've had the misfortune of using blade grinders) you don't have to pick up the entire unit to empty the grinds into your brewer or portafilter, you just twist out the metal cup part, so that's good.

Some of the marketing blurb does have me shaking my head, if I'm honest, for example, this is listed as working for espresso, cappuccino, and Americano… The obvious error with this is that they're all the same thing, cappuccino and Americano are of course made from espresso, and actually, saying that a grinder is compatible with espresso is an error, too, although it's an error many of the grinder brands make.

For me, the word “espresso” means traditional espresso and traditional espresso is made with traditional filter baskets, which require a fine and precise grind. Yes, you'll probably manage to get a grind fine enough for espresso with dual walled baskets, also known as pressurized baskets, with one of these blade grinders and with most of the budget burr grinders, but listing them as being capable of “espresso” – can be problematic, as they're not making it clear that this is espresso with dual walled baskets.

If you have a budget espresso machine costing from £50-£150, then you're probably using dual walled, pressurized baskets – and if you have an entry-level home barista espresso machine such as the Gaggia Classic Pro or Sage Bambino Plus, then these come with both standard, traditional baskets, and dual walled baskets, so you can choose whether to use a higher quality grinder & standard baskets or a budget grinder (or pre-ground) with the dual walled baskets.

The Gaggia Classic ReviewThe Sage Bambino Plus Review

This blade grinder has thousands of reviews, and most are very positive, for the money it doesn't look like a bad punt at all, I do like the fact that it has a removable grounds cup, as I've mentioned, and I think using one of these and whole beans, would usually be a better option than buying pre-ground.

I say “usually”, the exception is if you're buying coffee beans from a local roaster who'll grind for you when you collect, or if you're buying from me :-), all of my coffee at The Coffeeworks is available whole bean of course, but if you want it pre-ground, just select the pre-ground option and we'll grind it as we're bagging it up, on the same day of dispatch, to maintain maximum freshness:

Use discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

Twomeow Coffee Grinder

Twomeow Coffee Grinder.

Check Price - Amazon

If you can get beyond the brand name ;-), this appears to be a similar but slightly more premium version of the first blade grinder featured above, with the same kind of removable grinds cup, but by the looks of it slightly more in the way of finesse, and with multiple timer options.

The timer options seem like a good idea actually, instead of having to remember how long you ground for to achieve a particular grind size, you can just adjust the timer wheel, so once you find a grind size that works (well, a grind time, which should result in a similar overall grind size) you can just leave it at that setting.

Best Grinding Wheel Grinders

OK so next we're moving on to what I refer to as “grinding wheel” grinders. These are sold as burr grinders, and OK, I suppose they do have burrs, but they're what the brands themselves tend to refer to as “grinding wheels”, and what they all have in common is that they have round grinding disks which are relatively blunt.

In fact, when I've taken a couple of these apart to inspect the burrs, I've noted that the only real sharp surface is the heads of the screws that keep the burrs in place.

I do think they're a better option than the blade grinders, but still, I'd definitely prefer “proper” burrs, to these kinds of burrs, so if you can afford to jump up just a few quid more in some cases, then I'd recommend leapfrogging these and starting off at the entry-level burr grinders below.

Krups Expert GVX231

Krups Expert GVX231.

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The GVX231 coffee grinder by Krups has been around for almost 20 years, and I think it was the first grinder of this kind, which is why I'm putting it first in this section. I may be wrong, and apologies to DeLonghi if their KG79 below was first, but from what I can ascertain, the Krups is the first of this kind of grinder.

There is a newer version, the G VX2 42 however that one is a lot more expensive, it's more expensive than some of the entry-level burr grinders, which have proper burrs, so I can't really see the benefit of going for that one unless I'm missing something.

Features:

Size & Weight: 21 x 17 x 30 cm – 1.95Kg
Hopper Capacity: 225g
Burrs: Stainless grinding wheels, not a traditional burr set
Grind Settings: 17
Dosing: 12 dose selections

My Observations

As I've mentioned this is one of the grinders that have these blunt grinding wheels, and while in theory, I'd rather have burrs than blades, and at least you can select a grind size with these, the fact is that they're really crushing the beans rather than grinding them.

Grinding coffee involves burrs that have sharp “teeth”, for want of a better word, and the beans are relatively (depending on the grinder) precisely ground up into uniform-sized chunks. OK, you always have some fines and some bigger grinds, but with really blunt wheels like this, you're going get quite a bit of exploding coffee beans, leading to all manner of particle sizes.

This grinder and the Krups below are very, very similar. In fact with the two units I have, it's difficult to tell them apart, they even have the exact same brand of plug, so whether they're made by the same factory, I'm not sure, but they look and perform very similar, and the burrs look spookily similar.

I'm telling you this just so that if you're trying to decide between one of these grinders, you don't waste too much time choosing, as they are very similar.

Espresso Grinding

An important note on this grinder is that as with the other grinders at this kind of price point, it won't grind fine enough for espresso if you use standard, non-pressured baskets. As I mentioned earlier, if you're using a budget espresso machine with dual walled baskets, then you'll be able to work with a grinder like this, however, if you're using standard, traditional baskets, it's unlikely you're going to be able to grind fine enough with any of these grinders, and you also don't have the fine-tuning adjustment you'd want for dialing in the grind with traditional baskets.

The blurb says it grinds for espresso, as do many of the reviews – while many others say it doesn't, and I think the main thing here is standard baskets vs pressured baskets.

I did an experiment using a bag of whole bean coffee and a bag of the exact same coffee pre-ground, both supplied by Blue Coffee Box.

I ground the beans via the Sage Smart Grinder Pro, the Krups grinder, and also the De'Longhi KG79.

The Smart Grinder Pro Review

Via the Smart Grinder Pro, I was able to get great results, with plenty of range left (I was around at about setting 16, so nowhere near finest). With the Krups GVX231 and the De'Longhi KG79, I couldn't get anywhere close to acceptable via standard baskets, so very under-extracted espresso.

With pressured (or Dual-Walled baskets, as Sage calls them) baskets, I got the kind of espresso I'd expect from pressurized baskets. So if you're using a budget espresso machine that comes with pressured baskets, as many of them do, then you should find the Krups grinders, and the De'Longhi KG79 is fine – but I wouldn't expect to get fine enough to use with standard baskets.

For brew methods like pourover, filter coffee machines, Aeropress and so on, you'll be able to grind fine enough, but still, I'd recommend going for a grinder with proper burrs if you can, as the improved particle uniformity these will provide, should translate into better cup quality.

De'Longhi KG79 Burr Grinder

De'Longhi KG79 Burr Grinder.

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The DeLonghi KG79 is another grinder that has been around a long time, and as I've just said, this is very, very similar to the Krups grinder above. It's a bit more petite than the Krups, and it's slightly lighter, plus it does have a smaller hopper at 110g – but they're very similar grinders, with “burrs” (grinding wheels) which look pretty much identical to me.

Features:

Size & Weight: 16 x 13 x 26 cm. 1.5Kg
Hopper Capacity: 120g
Burrs: Stainless grinding wheels, not a traditional burr set.
Grind Settings: 17
Dosing: 12 dose selections

My Observations

This is marketed as a “professional” grinder. No, just no! Stuff like this really winds me up, I don't know why marketing people have to make such huge jumps into alternate realities when writing marketing blurb.

This is not a professional grinder, to call it a professional grinder would indicate it's for professional use, which would make it a commercial grinder that a Barista may use, and, no… definitely not! Commercial grinders cost thousands of pounds, I'm sure no one expects a coffee grinder costing literally a few tenners, is going to be a commercial coffee grinder.

But forgetting that, this is a very low cost grinder that as with the Krups, will give similar results to blade grinders, but I think just a bit better control over grind size, as you can change the actual distance between the burrs in order to change the grind size, rather than just changing the time as is the only control you have over the blade grinders.

There are lots, and lots of very good reviews about this grinder, from users who state it's good for a range from Espresso to cafetiere, while some complain that it won't grind fine enough for espresso, and as I mentioned earlier, this will just come down to whether you're using a standard basket or pressurized basket.

I've used all three of the grinders in this section, and I think they're all a much of a muchness to be honest, especially where particle uniformity is concerned, and none of them are brilliant in this regard, you do get quite a lot of fines, and larger chunks of ground coffee (boulders) as I'd expect from such a cheap grinder with these dull burrs.

It does grind fast, so the beans do become heated to a certain degree. But when all is said and done it's a very cheap grinder, and it will do the job as well as any other grinder at this price in my opinion.

Melitta Molino Coffee Grinder

Melitta Molino Coffee Grinder.

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The Melitta Molino has been around for a few years, occupying a similar space to the Krups & Delonghi grinders above, and it's a very similar option, with the same dull “burrs”, and again this is an option for anyone who just can't currently afford to spend another £20-£30 on a grinder which has proper burrs.

Features

Size & Weight: 9.5 x 16.5 x 25.5 cm – 1.6Kg
Hopper Capacity: 200g
Burrs: Stainless grinding wheels, not a traditional burr set.
Grind Settings: 17
Dosing: 14 dose selections

My Observations

As I've said, I do think it's a case of splitting hairs, really, among these very cheap grinders. I've used all three, and there's really not a great deal of difference, in fact with the experience I've had of these three grinders, I'd just say if you're going for one of these, go for the best deal you can get.

At the time of writing, for example, the Molino is available for a price cheaper than even the blade grinders above, and it's quite a bit cheaper than the other two in this category, so I'd grab this if I was wanting a really cheap grinder and I wasn't too fussed about getting a better cup quality by investing in a grinder with proper burrs.

Best entry-level burr grinders

So now we're moving up to the entry-level burr grinders, and these start at around the £50/£60 mark.

Keep in mind, though, that if you're looking for a grinder for espresso, most of the budget burr grinders in this category are fine for dual walled baskets, but aren't compatible with traditional baskets, as they won't quite go fine enough and the grind adjustments aren't small enough for the fine tuning you'll need to do when dialing in with traditional non-pressured baskets.

I'll point out in my observations for each one, whether or not it's capable of espresso with standard baskets.

Duronic Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

Duronic Conical Burr Coffee Grinder.

Check Price - Amazon

 

Features:

Size & Weight: 19.3cm wide x 24.3cm deep x 31.2cm tall. 2.2 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 200g
Burrs: stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 19
Dosing: 12 dose selections

My Observations

This grinder is about the lowest price “proper” burr grinder available in the UK. If all you're looking for is a true burr grinder for as little pennies as possible, then this is probably it, at the time of writing.

When I say “proper” burr grinder – as I've mentioned, the grinding wheel grinders in the last category have these blunt “grinding wheel” burrs, which I believe are slightly better than blades, but not as good as proper burrs, at least where particle uniformity is concerned. The blunt disks will cause the beans to explode into non-uniform chunks, while burrs actually cut the beans up into more uniform pieces.

So if you're looking for the cheapest grinder on the market with actual burrs, this is probably it. Personally, I'd usually try to avoid the very cheapest option with whatever I'm looking at buying, if I can help it. I've found that generally speaking, the best real value tends to be somewhere towards the middle.

I'm not only talking about coffee grinders here, the same is true with most things, the very cheapest options can often be false economy (buy right or buy twice), and the high end options are often way past the point of diminishing returns. With a grinder like this, I'd be concerned that I'd end up having to replace it in the relatively short term, in which case spending an extra £40-£50 on something like the Wilfa Svart or Gaggia MD15 would have possibly been an investment well worth making.

Wilfa Svart

Wilfa Svart.

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Features:

Size & Weight: 17cm wide x 13cm deep x 28.5cm tall. 1.9 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 250g
Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 17 (34 if you count the half steps)
Dosing: Timer and on demand

My Observations

The Wilfa Svart, while saying it out loud may sound a bit weird (Wilfa's Fart?) is a fairly popular grinder at this price point, especially for brew.

It's actually a really cleverly different design vs. traditional grinder design, with the hopper sunk into the main body of the grinder, instead of sticking proud of the grinder. The hopper and the grinds container are both UV filtered to keep the beans protected from natural light, it has an adjustable timer and an on-demand button, and it comes with a huge 5-year manufacturer's warranty!

I've used this grinder, and while being completely honest I don't think there's a massive difference in grinds quality and therefore cup quality between this grinder and some of the cheaper 40mm conical burr grinders, the build quality is noticeable better with the Svart vs some of the cheaper, similar grinders – I also think it's a few decibels quieter than some of the cheaper options, but the main reason I'd go for this grinder in a heartbeat vs the cheaper generic brand grinders, is the build quality and the warranty situation.

Yes, this will mean spending maybe £40 – £50 more depending on the best deals available at present for this and for the Duronic or whatever has replaced that as the cheapest generic brand grinder available (as they change occasionally), but having used both grinders, I'd expect the long-term value to be much higher for the Wilfa Svart, and the Svart also has the 5 year warranty.

The hopper is turned in order to adjust the grind, and there are handy instructions on the hopper to tell you roughly what grinding range you're within.

The Svart is not one for espresso with standard baskets, by the way, if that's what you're hoping to grind for, look at the Gaggia MD15 below.

Remember, no matter what grinder you choose, you'll need great coffee beans to produce great coffee. These are the beans that I use daily:

Use discount code CBNC25 for 25% off your first order at Coffeeworks

Also see the Aroma Precision version of this grinder below.

Gaggia MD15

Gaggia MD15 coffee grinder.

Check Price - Gaggia Direct

Now comes with shims as standard for finer grinding! See below.

Gaggia Discount Codes!

Gaggia Direct have given me discount codes exclusively for coffeeblog readers, PLUS they're all currently subject to an EXTRA automatic 5% discount at checkout.

You can find them all here:

The MD15 from Gaggia is a conical burr grinder that Gaggia launched specifically for their lower-end espresso machines, the Gran Gaggia, Carezza, and Viva, and for the Gaggia Classic Pro with the pressurized baskets (the Classic Pro comes with both standard and dual walled pressurized baskets. See the note about shims below, though, for traditional baskets.

Gaggia Carezza Deluxe Review

Features:

Size & Weight: 19.3cm wide x 24.3cm deep x 31.2cm tall. 2.2 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 350g
Burrs: 38mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 15
Dosing: On demand and 5 dose selections.

My Observations

For decades, Gaggia had the Gaggia MDF grinder, which I always thought was a bit of a funny one, as it was a grinder aimed at the domestic market but had a doser.

Doser grinders are the grinders you'll be familiar with from seeing baristas in cafes frantically flapping the doser lever to dispense coffee that has already been ground and is sitting in the doser for fast access for the next few shots, and these kinds of dosers aren't really suitable for home use.

Anyway, as far as I could see the fact the MDF was a doser grinder was the only thing that put off a lot of people from pairing their Gaggia Classic with this grinder, so when I heard Gaggia were bringing a new doserless grinder to the market, I was hoping that they were going to develop something more along the lines of the MDF but on demand, to compete with the likes of the Sage, Baratza and Eureka grinders.

This didn't turn out to be the case, and the Gaggia MD15 was really designed to pair with the entry level Gaggia options, including the Gran, Viva, and Carezza, and other cheaper espresso machines using pressurised baskets.

Best Gaggia Espresso Machines Review

But then it became apparent that the MD15 is actually one of the easiest grinders to mod, in order to bring the burrs closer together to allow them to grind fine enough for espresso with standard baskets. The hopper comes off, the outer burr simply twists out, and there are two screws holding the outer burr onto the burr holder.

You simply unscrew them, draw around the burr holder on a piece of thin card or plastic, cut it out, put it between the burr and the burr holder, and put the screws back in place, and you have a grinder that will grind fine enough for traditional basket espresso, at about half the price of the usual entry level for espresso capable grinders.

Gaggia Direct made the MD15 even more appealing in this regard, though, when they had shims (the spacers to put under the burr) made in bulk, and started putting them in with the MD15 free of charge, along with installation instructions, making this the cheapest grinder on the market that will grind fine enough for espresso, albeit with a very small DIY project. It is very small, though, it's just a case of removing two screws, plopping one or two of the spacers provided (I find two tends to work best), and then putting it back together, 2 minute job.

Best Coffee Grinders. Gaggia MD15 dose selection.

If you don't need to grind for espresso, then you don't need to install the spacers.

It's quite a nice-looking little grinder, it's really simple to use with grinding volume (dose) selections in the form of coffee beans, or continuous grinding when you choose the portafilter icon, and it's not particularly loud.

Espresso With Standard, Traditional Baskets?

Out of the box without installing the spacers, this isn't made for traditional basket espresso. You usually have to spend a bit more money for an espresso capable grinder, if we're talking about traditional baskets and not pressurized baskets.

But because this now comes with the spacers (if you buy your grinder from Gaggia Direct), and it's so easy to fit them, I think it's fair to call this an espresso-capable grinder, although it's still not ideal, because the grinding steps are a bit on the large side.

There are only 15 grinding steps, and moving the burrs closer together means it can grind finer, but it doesn't make the adjustments any smaller. When I've dialed in with this grinder, I've easily got into what I refer to as “ballpark dialed in” but the grinding steps aren't small enough to really precisely dial in as you'd be able to do with stepless adjustment or a much bigger number of smaller steps.

It's worth mentioning if you're buying an espresso machine too, that Gagga Direct are offering a bundle deal for the Gran Gaggia, or the Gaggia Viva, with the MD15, with the shims, and with a standard portafilter (or naked portafilter, your choice) from as little as £248 for the full package!

Find Out More

Melitta Calibra

Melitta Calibra.

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The Melitta Calibra is a relative newcomer when it comes to coffee grinders, but they're not a newcomer to coffee in general, in fact Melitta invented filter coffee!

Back in 1908, a lady by the name of Melitta Bentz began experimenting, with the goal of creating a cleaner cup of coffee. What she created was the first known filter holder and drip filter for coffee.

Best Filter Coffee Machines Review

This was a long time ago, of course, and the Melitta company has come a long way since then, but they're still in coffee, producing bean to cup coffee machines, filter coffee machines, and more recently coffee grinders.

Best Bean to Cup Coffee Machines Review

Features:

Size & Weight: 37 x 12 x 23 – 2.4Kg
Hopper Capacity: 375g
Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 39
Dosing: Manual and by weight

My Observations

This is an interesting grinder from Melitta, for the price, it's the cheapest GBW (grind by weight) grinder on the market. The scales aren't the most precise, I've found they can be out by around a gram or so, but still, it's an impressive feature for the money, and for most people being around a gram out in a 30-gram dose really isn't a massive deal.

You can't use the inbuilt scales when grinding into a portafilter, but given that you can't do that with the Baratza Forte either, which costs around nine times the price of this grinder, I don't think it's fair to expect that feature on this grinder, at the end of the day it's really intended mainly for brew, and I think as a grinder for filter, Aeropress or cafetiere, it's a great option for the money, and the grind by weight option is great for that, for the money.

Keep in mind that when I talk about using a portafilter, this won't go fine enough for espresso with standard baskets, but it will work fine for pressurized baskets. I did try this, and on the very finest setting, even with very dark roasted beans (which usually don't require quite as fine a grind) I wasn't able to get a shot time anywhere near what I'd be happy with.

I really like the way you just have to push the button to eject the hopper, and when you do that the hopper automatically locks so you don't get coffee beans all over the place. It's easy to adjust the grind size, it's not overly loud, and it's quite well priced.

In terms of value for money, in my opinion, more money has been put into features here, than build quality. If you just want a fairly simple grinder that will keep on working well for years, and you're not as fussed about features, namely the inbuilt scales, then you might be better in the long term with the Wilfa Svart or Wilfa Svart precision, given that they both come with 5 year warranty.

If you're wanting a grinder for brew, rather than for espresso, with a built in scaled, though, this is the cheapest option you'll find at the time of writing, and overall it's quite a nice grinder to use.

 

Barista & Co Core All Grind

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

Check Price - Amazon

This is a very interesting looking grinder from Barista & Co, for grinding for brew, with one of the most interesting features being the easy removal of the grinder unit, the part which houses the burrs.

Features:

Size & Weight: 34.5cm tall, 11.5cm wide, 22cm deep. 2.3Kg
Hopper Capacity: 240g
Burrs: 29mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 40
Dosing: On demand and timed with 10 second increments.

My Observations

Barista & Co have come up with a different, and quite intriguing design for this coffee grinder, with a removable grinding unit. This part can be easily removed to clean, which means it can be easily replaced too.

I do think this should probably be more obviously marketed as a grinder for brew or for espresso only with dual walled baskets. The fact that this grinder comes with a portafilter cradle would give buyers the impression that it's a grinder for espresso, and although they do state on their website that this isn't an “espresso specific” grinder, what they don't explain clearly is that as many of the other grinders in this category, it'll grind fine enough for using with dual walled, pressurized baskets, but not for traditional baskets.

Having said that, Barista & Co have responded to some of the Amazon reviews (which is impressive as it's quite rare to find a brand replying on Amazon) explaining that they've recently tweaked this grinder to be able to grind finer for espresso and that if anyone has a slightly older model which doesn't have this tweak, they gave their email address and asked customers to email them for instructions to tweak their grinder to grind finer.

I'm not completely sure what the crack is here if I'm honest, because there are recent reviews (recent at the time of writing) that contradict each other where grinding for espresso is concerned, with one user saying they choked their Sage Bambino at a finer setting, with standard baskets, but with another user saying that it doesn't grind anywhere near fine enough for espresso with standard baskets.

This could of course be that it's two users using different espresso machines and very different coffee beans, but it could also be an indication that the newer models will grind much finer, and it could be that the person singing its praises (who bought a few months later compared to the other guy) has a newer model with the finer grinding ability.

Interestingly this is the only conical grinder I've seen so far with a 29mm burr set, most in this category have slightly bigger 38mm burrs. In theory, this does mean that the burrs will have to spin at a higher RPM to match the grinding speed of a grinder with bigger burrs, however, they're very keen on pointing out in their marketing blurb that this grinder ensures a great particle uniformity, so I'm assuming they've chosen this burr size for a specific reason.

Wilfa Svart Aroma Precision

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

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Features:

Size & Weight: 20cm wide x 15.5 cm deep x 31.2cm tall. 3.9 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 250g
Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 17 (34 if you count the half steps)
Dosing: Timer & on demand

My Observations

This is the updated version of the Wilfa Svart, with a slower, lower-temperature motor, with the goal of reducing the heat in the burrs so as to have less negative impact on flavour. It's just about the same grinder, other than the change in motor.

The difference in motor means a slightly quieter grinder, and in theory according to the blurb, increased flavour and aroma, due to the reduced RPM and less heat being introduced to the coffee while grinding.

In all honesty, I think the idea that burrs spinning a bit on the quick side leading to a reduced taste or aroma is slightly fanciful, being polite ;-). OK, there are some people out there with a palate sensitive enough to be able to detect the very small difference that a tiny amount of heat in the burrs is likely to cause, but the majority of people I really don't think are going to notice any difference in cup quality.

The main difference in my humble opinion is that the precision is a nice matt black colour (I prefer it, but that's just personal preference), and it's slightly quieter.

Baratza Encore

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

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Features:

Size & Weight: 11.94 x 16 x 35.05 cm 3.09 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 227g
Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 40
Dosing: On demand

My Observations

The Baratza Encore is a grinder which has been around for a good few years now and is one of the most popular entry-level grinders, particularly for manual brew and for espresso with pressurized baskets. Baratza is owned by Breville, by the way (who we know as Sage, in the UK), which is only really anecdotal information as they are run as completely separate businesses.

See all Baratza Grinders in this post;

It has 40mm conical steel burrs, and a DC motor geared down to 450 RPM, with the intention of reducing heat generated while grinding, and also reducing noise and static.

With the second generation gearbox, the Encore is more durable and quieter than the first version, and Baratza apparently did some really vigorous testing of the failsafe built in to stop the grinder from breaking if foreign objects end up in the burrs, by trying to grind metal screws, which lead to everything stopping instantly and the thermal cutout being triggered, with no damage to the gears or the motor.

If you do accidentally grind a rock, or even worse a diamond, you'd be best checking the burrs for damage (especially if it was a diamond as those things are tough! But if you do find a diamond in your coffee beans you'll probably be able to afford replacement burrs) but it's unlikely that any damage will be done to the rest of the grinder.

The Encore has 40 grind settings, and it'll do fine for brew methods, however, if you're looking for a grinder for espresso, the Encore won't quite get fine enough for espresso with standard filter baskets.

If you have a lower cost domestic espresso machine such as the Swan Retro, Gran Gaggia or DeLonghi Dedica EC685 with pressurised baskets, the Encore should be fine for you.

The swan Retro ReviewThe Delonghi Dedica Review

As far as these kinds of grinders go, which are geared towards brew, or espresso only with pressurised baskets, I think the Encore is one of the best quality choices, but it's one of the most expensive too, so it should be really.

MiiCoffee D40

MiiCoffee D40

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Features:

Size & Weight: 17.3 x 9.7 x 35.6 cm 2.7 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 40g
Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 95
Dosing: On demand

My Observations

This looks like a smaller sibling of the popular DF64 and DF83 single-doser grinders and is sold by Turin & Miicoffee who also sell these grinders, but it's actually produced by a different Chinese manufacturer, so although this is an interesting grinder for the price, it's worth noting that it's not actually related to the DF grinders other than being sold by a couple of the same brands who also sell the DF64 & DF83.  

The D40, sometimes sold as the SD40 is a conical grinder, with similar 40mm conical stainless steel burrs that you'll find on most of the cheaper conical grinders on the market, but with a finer range than most aimed at covering espresso with standard baskets, and with the same inclined stature and single dosing nature as the DF grinders, and with more grind settings than most other low-cost conical burr grinders.

The bellows and the lid leave a bit to be desired, I think this is the worst feature of the grinder where looks are concerned, the main body of the grinder looks really good for the money, but they do the job, and beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Forgetting looks and focusing on performance, I think this is one of the best-performing low-cost conical grinders on the market, it's the only dedicated single doser grinder at this kind of price point, and although it's not perfect, it's probably about as perfect as you'll get for the money.

De'Longhi Dedica Style Coffee Grinder

De'Longhi Dedica Style Coffee Grinder.

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Features:

Size & Weight: 24 cm x 15.4 cm x 38.2 cm 2.75 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 350g
Burrs: 40mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 18
Dosing: On demand & timed

My Observations

If you have the DeLonghi Dedica, you might be drawn to this because the design fits in so well with that machine. Honestly, my opinion of this machine is that it's overly expensive for what it is. It's fine, but for me, it's just another 40mm conical burr grinder with not much going for vs the generic brand versions, other than the DeLonghi brand name and the style that matches the Delonghi Dedica,  in my humble opinion.

If you're willing to pay the price mainly for the DeLonghi brand name and to have a grinder that matches the looks of your espresso machine, then that's fine, but if you're just shopping based on performance and durability, personally I'd recommend the Wilfa Svart, or the Gaggia MD15 if you're considering switching over to traditional baskets.

It has 40mm stainless steel conical burrs, a grinds container, and a portafilter cradle, on demand and timed grinding, and it'll perform similarly to the Wilva Svart & the Wilva Svart Precision, both of which are cheaper and come with a 5 year manufacturers warranty vs a 1 year guarantee with the Delonghi. It'll perform very similar to the Gaggia MD15, too, but the MD15 is quite a bit cheaper and comes with the spacers in case you decide to upgrade your portafilter to a standard basket or bottomless portafilter.

Best DeLonghi coffee machines review

Baratza Encore ESP

Baratza Encore ESP.

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Features:

Size & Weight: 13 x 15 x 34 cm 3.1 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 227g
Burrs: 40mm M2 Etzinger stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 40
Dosing: On demand

My Observations

This is the espresso specialist version of the Baratza Encore.

The Encore has been a hugely successful entry level grinder, but with 40 relatively large grinding steps and a range that doesn't go quite fine enough for most espresso machines using traditional baskets, it was never really designed for espresso.

So in order to have an entry-level espresso grinder in their range, Baratza developed the ESP, which has a really clever grind adjustment which the first 20 settings being much closer together, and at a finer range for espresso.

It comes with a standard hopper but is available with an optional single doser attachment from Baratza. It comes with a dosing cup with a gasket you can easily add or remove to make it fit 53/54mm portafilters and 58mm portafilters, and the new grinding adjustment works really well! 

In case you're wondering how they've done this, they've just made the thread steeper in the 20-40 range, so the burr gap per click is much smaller when you're in the espresso range. I think it's one of the best entry-level espresso grinders on the market, and it appears to be giving the competition at this price range (especially the Sage grinders below) a real run for their money. I don't think Sage will mind that much given that Breville is now part of the same company (Breville Worldwide acquired Baratza in 2020 for around $60 million).

If my budget was a couple of hundred quid, and I was purely grinding for espresso, I'd definitely have the Encore ESP on my short list.

Sage Dose Control Pro

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

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This is the slightly cheaper and slightly shorter sibling of the Smart Grinder Pro, below, and it's more or less the same grinder but without the digital grind size controls, timer programming, and LED display.

Sage Discount Code

If you're thinking of buying any product from Sage Appliances, I have an active discount code that works (UK & most of EU) so you might want to drop me an email. Click here to join my “Brew Time” mailing list, and then email me ([email protected]).

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Features:

Size & Weight: 20(W) X 16(D) X 34(H)cm. 3.54Kg
Hopper Capacity: 340g
Burrs: 38mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 60
Dosing: On demand and timed

My Observations

This is the first grinder so far that I'm featuring (by price) which is capable of espresso with standard baskets, and this is a great all-rounder grinder, capable of a wide range of brew methods from cafetiere to espresso – and as I've mentioned, it'll get you fine enough (with most coffee beans) for espresso with traditional baskets, too.

This is the slightly more budget sibling to the Sage Smart Grinder Pro which I'll talk about shortly, and the main differences are that it has a slightly lower-powered motor (130W vs 165W) and that you adjust the grind via the hopper while on the smart grinder pro, there's an LCD screen and a grind adjustment dial, oh and the hopper is slightly smaller and holds fewer beans too, 240g capacity vs 450g.

While this isn't an espresso specialist grinder, I think it's about the cheapest grinder on the market which is capable for espresso with traditional baskets, and it also has fairly small grind adjustments, but being a stepped grinder it is very quick and simple to make big grind adjustments. So let's say you're dialed in for espresso but you need to grind for cafetiere or filter, you can easily jump up to the desired grind size, and then jump straight back to where you were.

Espresso specialist grinders usually have stepless adjustments, which makes them great purely for espresso, but not so good for jumping around to grind for different brew methods.

Sage Smart Grinder Pro

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

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I've had one of these grinders for over six years at the time of writing, and I think it's a brilliant grinder. In my humble opinion, if you're looking for a great allrounder grinder and you want the ability to grind for espresso with standard baskets too, then this is probably the best of this kind of grinder, for this kind of money.

Features:

Size & Weight: 22(W) X 15(D) X 38(H). 4.1Kg
Hopper Capacity: 450g
Burrs: 38 mm stainless steel conical burrs
Grind Settings: 60
Dosing: On demand & timed

My Observations

If you're looking for user friendliness and beginner friendliness, I don't think you'll find a grinder to beat the Sage Smart Grinder Pro, at this price, especially if you want a grinder for multiple brew methods, as it's so easy to make big grind adjustments with this grinder and easily find your way back to where you were.

See my Sage Smart Grinder Pro Review

Sage (Breville as they're known everywhere else, they sold the brand name in Europe in the 80s, so the Breville we know of here is a different brand) are very clever, and they really do make smart products, especially where user-friendliness is concerned.

So with this grinder there's an LCD display, which tells you what grind size you're at and what brewing method you're in the range of with that setting, it has 60 grind settings, you can dose on demand or via a timer, and it comes with a portafilter cradle for using for espresso, and with a grinds container for brew.

There's really not a lot I can say about the Smart Grinder Pro when it comes to negatives.

If you do enough research you will find some people saying that the impellers wear, which causes issues after a few years of grinding – this was actually resolved several years ago when they started making the impeller (the fan-shaped component that is responsible for brushing the grounds into the chute) out of a sturdier material, so don't be put off if you read about that.

I've ground a heck of a lot of coffee with mine over the years, and I've had no issues with the impeller, not only have I found it very simple to use, but it's been a real workhorse, too.

I have to admit, I've not really looked after my smart grinder pro when it comes to keeping it clean, I've not really maintained it as well as I should have, and still, it's been brilliant.

As I've come to expect from Sage Coffee Machines the Smart grinder pro excels when it comes to user-friendliness. As you'll see if you watch my video above, it's just ridiculously easy to use, it really is smart. It grinds more than fine enough for espresso and will grind for most brew methods including cafetiere, Aeropress & pourover.

The Best Sage Coffee Machines ReviewThe Best Cafetiere Reviews

Watch how to make espresso-style coffee using the AeroPress:

The only negative for espresso is that worm dial adjustment grinders (see the Iberital MC2 below) give you a slightly better ability to finely tune in the grind, this is a stepped grinder although the steps are very small.

Also when grinding for espresso the smart grinder pro does create slightly clumpy grinds, but I think this is probably just down to small conical burrs, and you can easily sort this with the WDT method, which simply involves using a pointy implement to distribute the grinds in the basket and break up the clumps.

Best Mid Range Grinders & Upwards

OK, so we've dealt with the entry-level, now to discuss what I'm referring to as mid-range for want of a better word, and upwards.

Rancilio Rocky

Rancilio Rocky

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The Rancilio Rocky has been around for ages and is probably on the underrated side. Some will argue that it's overrated, this may have been the case in the past, but these days it's not that often that this grinder will come up in conversation, and as the cheapest proper flat burr grinder on the market, I think it's a very worthy option at this price.

Features:

Size & Weight: 12 x 25 x 35 cm – 7 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 300g
Burrs: 50mm tempered steel flat burrs
Grind Settings: 55
Dosing: On demand
Motor power: 166W
RPM: 1725
Special features: Very solid build quality

My Observations

As I've said, this was once a very popular grinder, particularly when paired with the Rancilio Silvia, for obvious reasons, but I think there's just so much competition at the entry-level that the Rocky probably doesn't seem like the most obvious choice, but the fact is that this is the cheapest flat burr grinder I'm aware of, it's a good £12o cheaper than the Eureka Mignon Manuale at the time of writing, and all things considered, I think it's worth a look.

It's a very well made, sturdy grinder, with high quality 50mm tempered steel flat burrs, and to me, it looks more along the lines of a small commercial grinder. I've put the build quality as the special feature because although this is a no-frills grinder, there are no bells or whistles, the build cost has clearly gone into the components and build quality, as it does look and feel very solid and sturdy considering the relatively low price.

The only thing I think is a bit of a pain, is that you really need four hands to operate this grinder, if you're to do it properly. You really should have the grinder running when adjusting the grind, at least while adjusting it finer, and this is true with any grinder, but you have to push a little paddle down while turning the hopper to adjust the grind. If you're doing that, that's your two hands busy, how are you going to hold the portafilter, and how are you going to press the grind button?

You could single dose, and if you're single dosing (just throwing in the beans you're about to use) then you'll probably be fine adjusting the grind both ways while it isn't running, in which case two hands should suffice.

By the way, you're clearly interested in improving cup quality given you're looking to upgrade your grinder (unless it's your first grinder, of course, but in any case, this will still be relevant) but what about upgrading the quality of your coffee beans? Can I recommend some amazing quality, freshly roasted coffee beans, I hear you ask – sure :-). Here's a shameless plug…

Try some of my coffee from The Coffeeworks, if you spend more than a tenner delivery is free within mainland UK, and here's a discount for you, too:

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Baratza Sette 270

Baratza Sette 270.

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The Sette 270 is definitely a grinder I think you should have on your shortlist if you're looking at the entry to mid price range and if you're looking for a grinder for espresso and/or pourover, and if you've read negatives about this grinder or if you have a negative impression of it for some reason, I'd highly recommend reading below about the changes Baratza have made to this grinder.

Features:

Size & Weight: 13cm wide x 40cm tall x 24cm deep. 3.2Kg
Hopper Capacity: 285g
Burrs: 40mm conical steel burrs
Grind Settings: 30 stepped macro adjustments & stepless micro adjust with 9 indicators.
Dosing: On demand plus three programmable timed presets
Motor power: 240W
RPM: 550
Special features: Ring burr drive system – direct grind path, for lower retention.

My Observations

The Baratza Sette may seem to be a grinder that needs no introduction, but it probably needs a re-introduction, as I get the impression that many people aren't aware of the fairly fundamental changes that have been made to the Sette 270.

This is a 40mm conical steel burr grinder, and it's a grinder that has been generally well accepted within the home barista market along with the Eureka Mignon as one of the obvious choices for an entry to mid-level burr grinder, especially for espresso although it'll work well with manual brew methods too.

One of the changes I'm referring to is that as well as the 30 macro grind steps, meaning bigger grind adjustments, there is an additional stepless micro-adjustment for espresso. I think this is genius and is something I think Baratza has really got right with the latest iteration of the Sette 270.

Any grinder that is intended to be used for espresso and/or for brew methods really needs the ability to make macro and micro adjustments, and I'm surprised, if I'm honest, that all of the other grinder brands haven't followed suit here, as it just makes sense.

The other change is that they've introduced a completely new drive system that spins the outer ring burr instead of the central conical burr. What this means is that the coffee falls directly into the grinds chute, and this leads to a lower retention, of approximately one gram, I'm told.

In case you're not familiar with retention, grinds retention, or more specifically what's known as “exchanged retention”, refers to the coffee that ends up in your basket, or your brewer, or whatever, the next time you use the grinder. What this means is that if we don't want to use some stale coffee when we brew for the first time of the day, we need to purge some coffee to ditch that exchanged retention, and we also have to purge each time we adjust the grind, or we'll be using a mix of grind sizes.

How much you need to purge depends on your grinder and how much it retains, and this is exactly what the Niche Zero was built to address, which will feature shortly, as this is a grinder that achieves very close to zero retention, and is made as a single dose grinder, meaning you weigh the beans before you chuck them in, rather than filling a hopper and then weighing the ground coffee.

But this change on the Sette 270 actually puts it very close to the Niche Zero in terms of grinds retention, so it's a big deal.

The reason I mentioned earlier that this grinder is good for espresso and small batch pourover, is because, with a grinding range of 230–950 μm, it's mainly geared up towards finer grinding. It'll work well for small-batch pourover brewing with Kalita Wave, Hario V60 & Chemex, but if you're wanting to go more coarse than this for cafetiere and/or bigger batch filter brewing, you may find this doesn't quite have the required range on the more coarse side of things.

Eureka Mignon Specialita

Eureka Mignon Specialita

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Features:

Size & Weight: H: 350 x W: 120 x D: 180mm – 5.6 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 300g
Burrs: 55mm Flat hardened steel
Grind Settings: Infinite stepless micrometric regulation
Dosing: On demand plus two programmable doses via digital touch screen
Motor power: 310W
RPM: 1350
Special features: Silent technology

My Observations

In my humble opinion, the Eureka Mignon is one of the best mid-range grinders, and all things considered, the Specialita is my favourite of the range. It's a fairly big range which starts with the Crono at just over two hundred pounds, and the XL at just over £700, but the Specialita is roughly in the middle of the price range, I've used it for quite a while paired with various espresso machines, and I'm very impressed with it.

It's compact and solid, it's clearly very well built, it's quiet, the infinitely fine micrometric adjustment makes it great for dialing in, the two programmable doses are great, and it's very quiet and relatively mess-free.

I can tell you from personal experience that these grinders are sturdy, because when I tried to grind a lump of copper with this grinder, twice – it did no damage whatsoever. No, I didn't do this on purpose ;-). The grinder jammed and turned itself off, I adjusted the grind much more coarse and tried grinding again, but it jammed again. I took it apart and discovered that a lump of copper had ended up in with some coffee beans I'd received, odd. I removed it, with no problem whatsoever.

Grinding foreign objects can happen, although I'd usually think of this as pebbles rather than lumps of copper, as it does happen occasionally that a stone or very small pebble will end up in a bag of coffee beans. Manufacturers deal with this in various ways, and clearly, the way Eureka deals with it works well.

Just a quick comparison, and it's not a fair comparison as I'm talking about a grinder at half the price – but the Sage Smart Grinder Pro has a clutch as a failsafe, similar to the clutch on a cordless drill, which is in place to limit the amount of torque that can be applied to the burrs.

This works very well too, and I've experienced this, the only downside – and I'm guessing the reason that some of the premium brands including Eureka and Niche have a different system for this, is that this can mean occasionally that if you're using a particularly lighter roasted and/or non-porous bean which can be quite a bit harder than a standard coffee bean, can trick the Sage grinders to thinking they're trying to grind stones.

It's important to point out though, that grinders that don't have some kind of failsafe will strip gears or cause other damage when they encounter something too hard for that grinder to cope with.

Anyway, I'm a big fan of the Mignon Specialita, and there's very little I don't like about it. The only thing I can think of, if you were pushing me for any criticism, would be that although the grind adjustment is infinite, the numbers are far apart. There are 10 settings on the adjustment wheel (0-5 with half step increments), but if you're grinding for anything other than espresso you may end up going over a full revolution of the wheel and being at 0 again with no reference to tell you that.

There are many other versions of the Eureka Mignon, for more see:

Eureka Mignon Models Reviewed

Baratza Vario

Baratza Vario.

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Features:

Size & Weight: 13cm wide x 37cm tall x 18 cm deep. 4.8 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 300g
Burrs: 54mm ceramic flat burrs
Grind Settings: 10 macro steps each divided into 20 micro adjustments
Dosing: On demand plus three programmable timed presets
Motor power: DC motor
RPM: 1350
Special features: Big grinding range of 230 to 1150 microns

My Observations

The Baratza Vario is an interesting choice, especially when weighing up your options with the Sette 270 wi below, as they're almost the exact same price but offer slightly different specialities.

The Vario is essentially the same as the very popular and more expensive bigger sibling of the Vario, the Forte (which you'll find a bit further down this post), with the same 54mm ceramic burrs, and the same big grinding range from 230 to 1150 microns, which makes it a great all-around grinder. The super-precise control over grind size is also a great feature, and although the Vario doesn't quite have the same precision here, a total of 200 grind settings (20 micro settings to every 10 macro settings) is a lot of dialing in power.

Combining a great grinder with excellent coffee will produce the best results. This is the coffee that I choose to drink:

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Baratza Sette 270 wi

Baratza Sette 270 wi

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So this is basically the Baratza Sette 270 but with built-in scales and Acaia technology. What this means is that you can create and store doses actually by weight, not by time, thanks to the integrated scales.

Features:

Size & Weight: 13cm wide x 40cm tall x 24cm deep. 3.2Kg
Hopper Capacity: 285g
Burrs: 40mm conical steel burrs
Grind Settings: 30 stepped macro adjustments & stepless micro adjust with 9 indicators.
Dosing: On demand plus three programmable timed presets
Motor power: 240W
RPM: 550
Special features: Weight-based dosing with integrated scales

My Observations

This is the dosing by weight version of the Sette 270, and if you're familiar with the 270W which also had the integrated scales, the W I is an updated model which addressed some of the niggles of the W version.

The latest version really displays how smart Baratza is, and how well they're able to respond to user feedback. While the W was a popular and welcomed model, there were a few creases that they've ironed out well with the new version. One of the issues with the W was that people were finding it difficult to get a stable dose on unstable surfaces.

They dealt with this issue well on the new version, with an adjustable portafilter cradle and adjustable grinds container cradle, allowing the grinder to compensate for the instability. They also tweaked the new I version so that it automatically adjusts to counter offset, which means that for example if you set it for a 21g dose and you get 21.2g, over the course of a few shots it'll tweak this automatically so you start getting closer towards the exact dose.

Best coffee scales review

DF64

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

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Features:

Size & Weight: 13cm wide x 30cm tall x 22.5cm deep. 8 Kg  
Hopper Capacity: 80g (approx 40 in hopper and 50 in bellows)
Burrs: 64mm flat burrs (choice of various burr options)
Grind Settings: Stepless adjustment with 90 settings as reference points
Dosing: On demand  
Motor power:  250W
RPM: 1400
Special Features: Low retention, single doser.

My Observations

The DF64 was the first single-dose grinder on the market to give the Niche Zero (below) some competition. It's become a popular single doser, low retention grinder, and it really does have quite a lot going for it.

The first thing to say about the DF64 is that it's a flat burr grinder, vs the conical burrs in the Niche Zero. The Zero has 63mm conical burrs, the DF64 has flat 64mm burrs. If you're someone who has a particular preference for flat burrs, then this may be something that draws you towards this grinder.  I can't tell the difference in the cup between flat and conical, so it's not something that would make a huge difference to me personally.

The DF64 is often seen as a budget option vs the Niche Zero, and with the standard burrs I think that's fair enough as they're about £100 cheaper than the NZ, although it's worth pointing out that the Niche Zero standard burrs are very high-quality Mazzer Kony burrs, and if you upgrade the DF64 to the SSP red speed burrs, which is a common upgrade, it ends up costing more than the Niche Zero. 

If you're someone who wants to play around with your grinder over time, doing things like having bits 3D printed, replacing the de-clumper, or upgrading the burrs, then the DF64 might be something you'll enjoy owning as a lot of people do. If you're someone who just wants to buy a grinder and use it out of the box, and if you're a bit more focused on overall build quality and looks, you might want to have a look at the Niche Zero.

Niche Zero

Niche Zero Review.

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While the Niche Zero doesn't look like a traditional coffee grinder, and I suspect there was some eyebrow-raising, and even some sniggering from the well established grinder brands towards this strange-looking grinder initially, I don't think anyone is laughing now… In fact, in my opinion, the Niche Zero has changed the market for home coffee grinders.

Features:

Size & Weight: 12.2 cm w x 21.1cm deep x 31.1 cm tall.
Hopper Capacity: 50g
Burrs: 63mm Mazzer Kony conical hardened steel burrs
Grind Settings: Infinite stepless with 50 indications
Dosing: Single dose
Motor power: DC motor
RPM: 330 (geared down to 330 rpm)
Special features: Single dosing & close to zero retention

My Observations

What initially looked like a very odd, strangely designed coffee grinder – in fact, it didn't look like a coffee grinder at all – has quickly become arguably the most impactful home barista coffee grinder ever made.

Martin Nicholson who designed this grinder, was very experienced when it came to designing products, after working as a product designer for a few decades for some of the UK's most well-known brands, but thankfully, he wasn't particularly experienced where coffee grinders were concerned.

So here's an experienced product designer whose ideas wouldn't have been polluted deep-rooted knowledge of the way things are usually done, and the results speak for themselves! While most of the other grinders at this kind of level in the past are modeled on commercial grinders, simply because that's the way things are usually done – James appears to have looked at what the home espresso enthusiast needed and designed a grinder specifically to meet these needs.

What resulted was a grinder which looks far more at home in a modern kitchen than in a cafe (although I do know quite a few coffee shops do use them as decaf or backup grinders), but far more important than the stylish design is just how perfectly the grinder performs for the home barista.

In a nutshell, this is an ultra-low (almost zero) retention grinder, designed for single dosing, with commercial-grade Mazzer Kony burrs 63mm burrs.

So what James clearly recognized was that the target market for this grinder needed:

To not have to waste coffee by purging when dialing in
To be able to single dose
The torque to grind all beans regardless of roast profile and porosity
High quality burrs capable of producing uniform grinds
A grinder that looked at home in the home

The success of this grinder over the past few years has proven that the Niche Zero hits these requirements. For me what's special about this grinder is that it isn't just delivering on one particular area, it's close to perfection from just about all perspectives. For example, they could have purely focused on the single dosing and zero retention side of things, they could have focused purely on the design side of things, they could have focused purely on performance – but they've ticked off all of the possible boxes for home baristas.

In fact, I think there was only one area the Zero initially came up short on, which was popcorning. When you grind the last few beans in the hopper in any grinder, you'll usually get a bit of popcorning where the beans fly around because there's no weight of other coffee beans feeding them into the burrs. With a single doser grinder, the latter part of the grind is always going to end up popcorning, and in theory, this could lead to less uniform grounds, although it'll only ever affect the last couple of beans so it's probably not a huge deal anyway.

But soon after the initial release, they fixed this with a simple plastic plate that fits over the burrs. This works very well, the only issue with it is if you're grinding a bigger dose you might find it slows down the grind slightly. I just remove this disk if I'm using the Niche to grind a larger dose, for example, if I'm grinding 40g or so for a cafetiere brew.

I use the Niche Zero paired with my Sage Dual Boiler, a great pairing.

The Sage Dual Boiler Review

 

Eureka Mignon Zero

Eureka Mignon Zero.

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Features:

Size & Weight: H: 345 x W: 120 x D: 140 mm – 5.6 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 45g
Burrs: 55mm flat stainless steel burrs
Grind Settings: Infinite stepless micrometric regulation
Dosing: Single dose
Motor power: 310W
RPM: 1350
Special features: Single dose version of the Specialita

This is the latest “Zero” option from Eureka, and while the Oro Zero (below) is the zero retention version of the Mignon XL with the bigger, “diamond inside” burrs, this is the Zero retention single doser version of the Mignon Specialita, and at the price point they've set it at, I think it's a very interesting alternative to the Niche Zero.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think the Mignon Zero is quite on par with the Niche Zero where grinding quality is concerned, given that the Niche Zero has 63mm Mazzer Kony burrs – but the NZ is a bit on the steep side for some people at £499. If you're reaching into your pocket and coming up about £80 short, the Mignon Zero is potentially going to be affordable (you can often find it for around £420 – £430), and it's more or less a single-doser version of the Mignon Specialita with the single dose hopper and bellows.

Eureka Mignon Oro

29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews

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The Eureka Mignon Oro is the first real contender I've seen in terms of a grinder aimed at competing with the Niche Zero.

Features:

Size & Weight: H: 321 x W: 128 x D: 260mm – 7.2 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 45g
Burrs: 65mm diamond inside burrs
Grind Settings: Infinite stepless micrometric regulation
Dosing: Single dose
Motor power: 350W
RPM: 1650
Special features: Big burrs – fast grinding.

My Observations

I wondered when we might see one of the big coffee grinder brands stepping up to take on Niche, simply because they've clearly found an incredible Niche (couldn't resist that, sorry) market for this grinder, and as you can only get the Zero directly from Niche, this means that all of the various coffee gear re-sellers are unable to target this market.

So if a big brand with a decent distribution network manages to create a real contender to the Niche, this gives them, via their distribution network, access to this market that Niche has all to themselves.

I've not used the Oro yet (I will be doing it very soon, and I'll update this post accordingly) but on paper at least, they appear to have done a very good job. Basically what they've done is to take their Mignon Xl, with its very high-quality diamond inside 65mm flat burrs, and its rapid (around 3g per second!) grinding speed, and they've put it at an angle to create a more direct, gravity-fed grind path, and they've paired it with a bellows to further decrease retention.

The big difference between this and the Niche Zero is the grinding speed. These big 65mm flat burrs lead to fast grinding without any worries of heating up the coffee, and there's no doubt that the Oro is going to grind faster, at around 2.3 – 2.8g per second for espresso grinding vs around 1.5 – 1.8g per second with the Niche Zero.

These are for home use, so speed isn't really the most important thing for most people – in fact, the design of the Niche purposely gives preference to torque over speed with the motor being geared down to turn the high rpm of the motor into torque, but there may be some people who do feel the need for speed, and who may be interested in the grinding speed of the Oro.

I have to say I really like the look of the Oro Zero, it looks like they've really given Niche a run for their money with this grinder, although it's early days and the proof is in the pudding, which is a really weird saying. The only thing I have to say negatively is that I think it's a shame that Eureka didn't keep the touch screen programmable doses from the Mignon XL on the Oro, for anyone who wants that feature.

The one thing that I wish the Niche Zero had, is dosing. The simple on-off switch is cool, but when you're in a rush in the morning and trying (and failing because I just can't do it) to multi-task, having to stand there for 10-15 seconds waiting for the grinder to finish isn't a massive deal, but I'd prefer being able to use a programmed dose if I choose to.

I understand why Niche did this, as it's all part of the minimalist design, but given that Eureka has made the Oro using the Mignon XL which does have a touchscreen display with a programmable display, it seems they've removed that purely to make it more like the NZ, which I think is a mistake, personally. I think if they'd have kept the doses, they'd have possibly tapped into a market of people who love the idea of the NZ but who want the convenience of being able to grind pre-set doses.

Baratza Forte

Baratza Forte Coffee Grinder.

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Features:

Size & Weight: 13cm wide x 36cm tall x 18 cm deep. 6 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 300g
Burrs: 54mm ceramic flat burrs
Grind Settings: 10 macro steps each divided into 26 micro adjustments
Dosing: By weight or by time
Motor power: DC motor
RPM: 1950
Special features: Integrated scales + Big grinding range of 230 to 1150 microns

My Observations

The Baratza Forte is considered by many to be among one of the very best coffee grinders for home baristas, for both espresso grinding and for brew grinding. As with the Baratza Sette 270 wi, the Forte has integrated scales so that you can choose to dose by weight, and with the mix of macro and micro adjustment, you have a huge range of 260 settings from 230 to 1150 microns.

This is a commercial-grade grinder, and it really has a lot going for it including fast grinding and a huge grinding range to cover all brew methods, and being able to dose by weight is great, too. For me, though, the ultra-precise dialing in this grinder enables, with each of the 10 grind steps having their own 26 (A-Z) micro-adjustments, which is probably the biggest attraction.

Watch the Baratza Forte review on my youtube channel:

Eureka Atom Specialty 65

Eureka Atom Specialty 65 Coffee Grinder

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Features:

Size & Weight: 21.2 cm wide x 30.9 cm deep x 54 cm tall (with standard hopper) 9.5 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 1.2Kg
Burrs: Flat 65mm burrs, choice of materials
Grind Settings: Stepless Micrometric Regulation System (patented by Eureka)
Dosing: Two programmable timed doses & on demand
Motor power: 510W
RPM: 1,310
Special Features: Commercial grinder, choice of burrs, choice of short bellows hopper

This is clearly a commercial coffee grinder, but it's one that has the ability and the price point to make it a good choice for high-end home barista use too, especially with the short bellow hoppers that Baratza also offers.

They're fast, grinding at roughly 3 grams per second for espresso (depending on the grind size of course), they're quiet (featuring Eureka's quiet grinding technology), and the burrs are serious quality, the stock burrs are hardened steel, and you can interchange them for their Diamond Inside burrs, Red Speed M2 burrs or Titanium burrs.

I'm not expecting many people to invest this kind of money on their grinder, but if you're considering a serious commercial grinder for home use, I think the Eureka Atom is well worth consideration, and it's actually very affordable for a commercial grinder.

Ceado E37SD Single Dose Coffee Grinder

Caedo E37SD Coffee Grinder

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If you check out the price of this grinder, you'll see we've taken a huge leap in price, and I've done this on purpose, just to show what a huge range of grinders there are over such a huge price range once we start getting up to the higher end of things, price-wise. If you do have the budget, though, and if you're pairing with a high-end espresso machine such as the La Marzocco Linea Mini, and you want a single doser, this is a serious grinder.

Features:

Size & Weight: 21.2 cm wide x 30.9 cm deep x 37 cm tall. 13.2 Kg
Hopper Capacity: 50g
Burrs: Flat 83mm Titanium Coated
Grind Settings: Stepless worm dial plus fast change Macro adjustment
Dosing: Single dose
Motor power: 400W
RPM: 1400
Special features: Very quiet, super fine adjustment. Looks like a Dalek.

My Observations

OK so as I've said, we've taken a big jump in cost price, and we're talking some serious grinder here, with 83mm flat burrs, super fine worm dial adjustment, and very smart macro adjustment.

While this isn't a grinder for the masses, as the majority of us just can't afford to spend this kind of money on a grinder, it's a very high-end single doser grinder for those who can afford such an investment, and who can justify such a spend to their better half!

If you've ever watched Doctor Who, you'll probably agree that you'd half expect the grinding noise to be a constant repetition of “Exterminate…” but no, it doesn't do that, and actually the grinding is incredibly quiet.

This is a big, heavy-weight grinder, and if you do end up buying this grinder just keep in mind that as with some bigger commercial grinders, it will take a bit of breaking in, so don't be too concerned if you seem to be getting inconsistent results initially. Once broken in, though, this grinder is known for incredible quality grinding.

I've heard that there is a bit of popcorning with this grinder, and I'm not sure if this is an out of date opinion and they've updated the grinder since then, but this is one of the potential slight pitfalls of taking the hopper off a grinder, putting bellows on there and calling it a single doser. As Niche discovered with their first version, popcorning occurs simply because the last few beans have no beans above them to feed them into the burrs, so they tend to bounce around a bit.

While I doubt that this will make a huge difference to cup quality, I do find it surprising that spending this kind of money on a home coffee grinder, doesn't buy you perfection – and I'd have thought that the cost of fixing this (a little plastic plate would do it) would be negligible. Again, I may be talking rubbish, as they may have already fixed this slight issue.

One of the key features of this grinder is the combination of micro and macro adjustment with a worm dial, which I think is a very clever feature. Worm dials give you the very finest adjustments, but they're only really suitable for using one brew method, you wouldn't want to change from espresso to cafetiere and back again with a worm dial.

Best Coffee for your Cafetiere

So what they've done is devised a way to simply disengage the worm dial and make macro adjustments of the grinding wheel as you would with the Niche Zero, and then re-engage the worm dial, very smart!

29 Best Coffee Grinders – Conclusion

OK, so that's all of the grinders I decided to include in this rundown of the best coffee grinders in the UK at the time of writing. I realize that I made a big jump between the Forte and the E37SD, but as I've mentioned I've just done this to show you how much choice there is when you get higher up in budget.

I could have included many more higher-priced grinders, but I'm sure you don't want to spend the time it would take you to read the report on lockdown parties at no.10 just reading a post about the best coffee grinders ;-). You may argue that would be a more entertaining read, though, and you're probably right.

Anyway, if you do want to see lots of other options for coffee grinders at a much wider price range than I've covered here, check out the full range at Shop Coffee:

All Coffee Grinders @ Shop Coffee

Home Coffee Grinders @ Shop Coffee

Kev's Best Coffee Grinders What the FAQ

So I'm just going to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions here, in the hope that I can help to steer my fellow coffee botherers towards ending up with the perfect coffee grinder for their requirements.

What are the best coffee grinders?

If you're looking for specific grinders, then I've given lots of options, above, but I think this question relates to the types of coffee grinders. If that's the case, then the best coffee grinders are burr coffee grinders, not the cheapest blade grinders (which are still better than pre-ground in many cases), not the really cheap “grinding wheel” grinders (which are better than blade grinders, in my humble opinion) but grinders that use either flat or conical burrs with sharp teeth.

What are the best brands of coffee grinders?

This is a bit of a subjective thing, but some of the biggest names in coffee grinders are, Sage (known as Breville outside of the UK), Baratza (who're now owned by Breville) & Eureka (who mainly make commercial coffee grinders).

Then when we talk about the commercial grinders that are often used by home baristas, there are many brands including Mazzer, Mahlkonig, Victoria Arduino, Anfim, Ditting, Cunill… there are many.

Should I buy a single doser grinder?

This depends, really, on you. Single doser grinders are very popular, mainly thanks to Niche – yes there were many home baristas who were modding the Mazzer Mini and other grinders prior to the NZ being created, to make them doserless and single doser grinders, but I think the huge success of the Niche Zero is the main reason that single dosing is now such a popular practice.

In short, if you have a good or improving palate, and you're dialing in each shot – or working hard with each manual brew to get the perfect cup, then single dosing is a good idea to help you to improve results.

If, on the other hand, you don't weigh your coffee, you don't have a clue what I'm going on about re dialing in, and you just want to make coffee and don't see yourself as a home barista by any stretch of the imagination, then going for a single doser may be a pointless exercise. Using a more traditional grinder with a hopper will probably be fine for you, although I would recommend you don't store coffee in the hopper.

Rather than filling the hopper, try storing your coffee in an airtight container and just sticking in the hopper what you think you're going to use that day. If you're not happy with the results you're getting from using a more normal grinder and loading the hopper, then using a single doser is certainly a way to move towards upping your home coffee game.

What is the best grinder for espresso?

As I've mentioned a few times within this post, it depends on whether you're using standard, traditional baskets, or dual walled, pressurized baskets. If you're using pressured baskets, then many of the entry-level burr grinders I've mentioned will be fine. If you're using standard baskets, though, you need an espresso capable grinder.

Espresso capable grinders have both the ability to grind finer than standard burr grinders and have finer adjustment to allow you to make small adjustments to the grind size, in order to allow you to dial in, which simply means to perfect the espresso extraction.

If you've not yet got your espresso machine, by the way – you might find these posts helpful:

Best Espresso Machines Best Home Barista Espresso Setup

Home Barista Gear

Looking for a wide range of home barista accessories, including tampers, milk jugs, knock out boxes, manual brewers, manual grinders, brew scales, and loads more?

Coffee Hit.

Checkout my friends at Coffee Hit, one of the UK's most established suppliers of pro and home barista gear.

How much of my total budget should be spent on the grinder?

As much as possible, basically. The thing is, especially when we're talking about the entry-level to mid-range, you get a heck of a lot more per £ in improvements when you invest more in a grinder, than you do when you invest more in an espresso machine, generally speaking. 

If you spend a couple of hundred quid more on the grinder, taking you from the entry-level into the mid-range, if we had a way to calculate cup quality improvement per £ spent, I have no doubt that we'd end up saying that you get a lot more value from investing that extra money in the grinder vs sticking at the entry level for the grinder and spending that extra money on the espresso machine instead. 

In order to make real gains in cup quality with the espresso machine itself, you usually have to spend a lot more money to make a difference, and even then the chances are you're not going to actually see the benefit without also upgrading the grinder. 

Many people won't give this much thought, they'll just buy whatever espresso machine they can afford, and they'll often buy the grinder as an afterthought, so this can mean that the percentage of the budget is split something like 60/40 favouring the espresso machine, or even more like 70/30 in some cases. I'd recommend splitting the budget the other way if you can, throw 60-70% of your budget at the grinder, make the espresso machine the afterthought.

My opinion on this changed a few years ago when having a chat with a commercial espresso engineer, who was telling me that when all is said & done the espresso quality is down to the grinder, not the espresso machine, and that the espresso machine is basically a water heater! 

I know that's a bit over the top, and there really are differences from one espresso machine to the other, but the point he was making is that it's much easier to make a detectable difference in cup quality with the grinder than it is with the espresso machine. You can make a real difference in cup quality by spending a couple of hundred quid more on the grinder, you're usually going to have to spend a lot more than that for real cup quality improvement with the espresso machine alone. 

Life is like a box of chocolates, subscribe to my YouTube Channel, try my coffee at The Coffeeworks (use discount code CWNC25 for 25% off your first order), follow me on Twitter & Instagram, follow the coffeeblog FaceBook page, and that’s all I have to say about that. 

The post 29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews appeared first on Coffee Blog.

By: Kev
Title: 29 Best Coffee Grinders. Kev’s 2024 UK Reviews
Sourced From: coffeeblog.co.uk/best-budget-electric-burr-coffee-grinders-in-the-uk/
Published Date: Tue, 19 May 2020 19:28:50 +0000