Whole coffee beans were the most significant impact to my coffee making. I noticed a flavor difference and enjoyed it. I have always been a freshness snob, whether it was a bagel or grocery store meat. When I’m at Walmart I always dig to the back and compare the freshness date.
The other major factor to coffee is water quality but I’ll stick to the beans for this post. Keeping your coffee habit affordable is important to me. It fits my personality and allows me to feel even better about that cup. This video presents a good case but is a bit thin on specifics. For instance what is an expensive grinder and how much is it. I’ll throw out some general numbers here to help.
A blade grinder is cheaper. Expect to pay from $10 at the lowest end upwards to $30. A burr grinder is going to run from $30 to $200 and up. I have a Nesco burr grinder – $30 on Amazon. It’s poorly rated but many of the reviews are for people who are expecting something else. Burr grinders by their nature are a bit fussy and cloggy. If your beans are slightly damper than normal it can get gummed up quickly and if you don’t make the effort to dry and clean it, well it’s kaput. I’m a bit of a fussy fuss pot so I can manage it mainly because I refuse to pay $200 for a grinder. I will say it grinds well and I’m happy with it.
Back to the video, the thing I learned here is when using a blade grinder, pulse it. I recall years ago when I used one I used to do the same thing for the same reason they mentioned, the beans were lumpy and uneven and I just kept looking and mashing the button. Although I did not hear them address the other problem with blade grinders that I have heard in the past. The fact that they heat up your beans. I don’t know how prevalent a problem that is but I would be willing to experiment again if I were in the market for a grinder.
For a while I spent time looking for a hand crank grinder. The idea was don’t heat up the beans and you can control this by slowing the grinder and pausing it. It seemed like a good idea but I was unable to find a reasonably priced model that was large enough to grind and hold a good pot of coffee while being stable and showing a decent rating from other users.
One last mention I’ll share that I really like about the burr grinder. It has both a timer and an on/off switch. This means I can dump in the beans crank the timer and walk away while it grinds. Past grinders, blade and burr, have required I stand by it holding a button for what seems like an eternity. I like handling the water, filter and other preps while the grind is happening. Part of my efficiency bug that keeps me happy.