Today, we’re diving into a topic that’s been going around a lot in the coffee world – the debate of blade vs burr grinders.
If you’re serious about your coffee, you’ll know that how you grind your beans is incredibly important. Generally speaking, the two choices for grinding beans are burr grinders and blade grinders.
Working in coffee shops, the superiority of a burr grinder gets drilled into you constantly. But blade grinders still exist, so there must be something to them, right?
Well the short answer is YES, blade grinder do have their place. So let’s explore the differences between these two types of grinders and see which one might be the best fit for you.
Looking for more info about coffee grinder? Check out my article on best coffee grinders for french press
Before we delve into the details, here are some key takeaways:
- Blade and burr grinders grind the coffee in completely different ways.
- The conical burr coffee grinder is the most popular type of grinder in the world.
- Flat burrs are better for a finer blend.
- Blade coffee grinders can save you money and offer convenience.
- Conical burr grinders are more versatile, which is why they are highly recommended.
Blade VS Burr Grinder – How Do They Differ?
Burr grinders use metal or ceramic ‘burrs’ (curved pieces of metal) which revolve and grind the coffee. Blade grinders, on the other hand, use a sharp spinning blade to shred the coffee into tiny pieces.
Since the blades on the blade grinders struggle to achieve the same consistency as burrs do, it is inevitable that the burr grinders are more consistent in their grind.
I would suggest using a burr grinder over a blade grinder. They offer more control over the grind, are more durable, and produce a better taste. However, blade grinders are easier to use, more affordable, and faster.
Table of Comparison
Check out this table of comparison for a quick overview of the pros and cons of the two variants.
|Aroma and Taste
|Ease of Use
|Control over Grind
Blade VS Burr Grinder Types
When it comes to burr grinders there are three main types; Conical, Flat and Blade. So let’s explore each one and see what sets it apart.
Conical Burr Grinder
In a conical burr grinder, there are two “burrs”. One of them is shaped like a cone and sits on the inside of the grinder. It spins around against a stationary outside burr to create the grind.
Conical burrs are a fantastic entry-level coffee grinder because they’re well priced and they’re very versatile in terms of the types of coffee drinks they’re suited to grinding.
Flat Burr Grinder
A flat burr coffee grinder has a single flat burr on the inside. The burr itself has a number of teeth that are used to grind the beans as the grinder turns.
This type of grinder can be more expensive and a little harder to maintain or clean. But the key selling point is that it ( arguably) grinds finer, which benefits drinks like espresso.
Different blade coffee grinder models don’t differ as burr coffee grinders. Although different companies make different models of blade grinders, they are all quite similar in the way they work.
As mentioned previously the blades result in a more inconsistent grind which can lead to variation in the final quality of your coffee. Not as big a deal for you french pressers as for espresso geeks but something to think about nonetheless.
That’s why blade grinders are more suited to those who aren’t so particular about the grind of their coffee and are willing to sacrifice some of the taste and aroma for simplicity and affordability.
Which Grinder is Best for Which Type of Coffee?
Different types of coffee require different grind consistencies.
For example, a French press requires a coarser grind, which can be achieved with a blade grinder.
However, for espresso or Turkish coffee, which require a finer grind, a burr grinder would be the best choice.
For French press, a coarse grind is required. This can be achieved with a blade grinder, but the inconsistency of the grind can lead to a less than perfect cup of coffee.
Burr grinders, on the other hand, provide a consistent grind, enhancing the flavor of your French press coffee.
Here I would say that the blade grinder holds its ground fairly well but the burr grinder takes the win.
When it comes to pour-over coffee, a medium-coarse grind is usually preferred. A burr grinder is ideal for this as it provides a consistent grind, which is crucial for the extraction process during pour-over brewing.
A blade grinder could be used, but the inconsistency in the grind may result in a less balanced cup.
Go for a burr grinder here as well.
Espresso requires a very fine grind. A blade grinder will struggle to achieve this and the grind may not be consistent, which can affect the quality of the espresso.
Burr grinders are generally recommended for espresso as they produce a consistent fine grind, which is crucial for the rich flavor and crema of espresso.
After reading this you might be thinking to yourself; “why would I ever buy a blade grinder then?”.
That’s a fair question… The burr grinder is the better choice… Until you have to pay for the thing and realize that you can save some serious cash by going for the blade grinder.
At the end of the day, both blade and burr grinders have their pros and cons. Your choice will depend on your coffee preferences, your budget, and how much you value convenience versus consistency.
The most important thing is that you get a grinder that works so that you can start getting experience and improve your skills.
Why is a Burr Grinder Better Than a Blade Grinder?
Burr grinders are better than blade grinders because they produce a more consistent grind size. This consistency allows for better extraction of flavors when brewing, leading to a better tasting cup of coffee.
Why Not Use a Blade Grinder With Coffee?
While blade grinders can be used for coffee, they produce an inconsistent grind size. This inconsistency can lead to uneven extraction during brewing, which can negatively affect the taste of your coffee.
Doesn’t mean they are useless, just means that the result will not be as good as burr grinders.
Can You Use a Blade Grinder for Coffee?
Yes, you can use a blade grinder for coffee. However, it’s important to note that blade grinders produce an inconsistent grind, which can affect the taste of your coffee. For the best flavor, a burr grinder is recommended.