The process of making great coffee really only takes three steps: the right amount of delicious coffee beans, a brew method of your preference, and a damn good grinder. Choosing the right grinder might not be as flashy as, say, perusing the omnibus of wonderful coffee beans, or perfecting your favorite brew method, but it is absolutely a matter of equal importance.
The right grinder is the like the 375 pound Pro Bowl starting left tackle who takes you to the Super Bowl, or the 5-tool third baseman who bats .315 and knows how to draw a walk, or the clutch NHL goaltender who gets hot come playoff time. It's your shut-down corner, your assist wizard point guard, and your brick wall centre-back with field vision and breathtaking vertical ability on corner kicks. A great grinder is the coffee equivalent of John Stockton, John Terry, Wade Boggs, or Christie Rampone. The right grinder matters.
One thing's for certain: don't buy blade grinders this year! Gifting someone a blade grinder for coffee is like buying them a crock pot for sous vid-ing. Do yourself (or someone you love) a favor by giving yourself (or someone else) the gift of a quality burr coffee grinder this holiday season. Blade grinders do a lousy job of grinding up the beans evenly, which messes up the extraction process when hot water hits your coffee grounds. Burr grinders help distribute your coffee evenly, like a Magic Johnson triple-double.
Here's 10 we think are great, for use at home, on the go, or in the pop-up cafe of your dreams.
Hario Mini Mill $36.99 For those who prefer ceramic burr sets. The perfect entry-level burr grinder. It's inexpensive, works well, and easy to adjust. This small grinder will only hold up to forty grams of coffee, and it's also a delightful light of upper-body workout. Shop for Hario hand grinders.
Porlex Hand Grinder $68 For the coffee drinker who travels. Great for throwing in your carry-on for mid-flight manual brews. When the rubber fitting is removed it fits snugly in an Aeropress, which makes it perfect for backpacking. The stainless steel housing feels rugged and oh-so butch. Shop for Porlex hand grinders.
Zassenhaus Guatemala hand grinder $115 For the design-conscious hands-on type. This new Zassenhaus is a Bauhaus-inspired show stopper with rare wenge wood housing. The German brand offers heirloom quality grinders with twenty-five year warranties. Shop for Zassenhaus Guatemala hand grinders.
Electric Home Grinders
Capresso Infinity Grinder $100 For the enthusiast on a budget. For those who don't want to spend 3-4 minutes grinding twenty grams of coffee, an electric home grinder is a wise choice. Like the Hario Mini Mill, the Capresso Infinity a perfect entry-level electric grinder. The Capresso will adequately grind for all of your non-espresso brewed coffee needs. Shop for Capresso Infinity grinders.
Baratza Preciso Grinder $300 For the perfect brew. With its micro-adjust mechanism and precise mechanics, this electric home grinder is pretty much perfect for your at-home coffee brewing needs (it's what we use in our kitchens). Features a consistent, fast grind. Shop for Baratza Preciso grinders.
Baratza Vario-W Grinder $575 The sports car of home grinders. Great for brewed coffee as well as home espresso. The Vario W features numerous innovations: featuring a Mahlkonig ceramic flatt-burr set, memory settings for time, preset grind weight, and much more. Shop for Baratza Vario-W grinders.
Mazzer Mini Grinder $639 For the home barista. Take espresso craft at home to the next level with a Mazzer Mini grinder. Home barista enthusiasts sing its praises for the Mazzer Mini's consistent grind and professional-level performance. Shop for Mazzer mini grinders.
HG-One Grinder $750 For the eco-friendly coffee gourmand. We featured this grinder at our Cupping California event, and its distinctive design was right at home at SFMoMA. This hand-crank grinder will serve you well for your bicycle farmer's market pop-up, your LEED-certified uber loft, and your gracefully curated home ephemera boutique. It is also guaranteed to survive impending Mayan Calendar zombie apocalypse. Shop for HG one grinders -now available for pre-order!
Versalab M3 Grinder $2253 For the single origin espresso lab. This boutique grinder hails from Denver, where Versalab made a name for itself with its hi-fi turntable equipment. Now strictly in coffee, their grinder is used at top shops like San Francisco's Four Barrel Coffee, and you'll find them in roasting labs worldwide. Stepless adjustments, clumpless, and virtually waste-free. Shop for Versalab M3 grinders.
Mahlkoenig Guatemala Grinder $2,495 For the pop-up coffee retailer. This beefy coffee grinder will last the pro consumer coffee enthusiast a lifetime. Host private cupping parties in your garage with this handsome piece of German craftsmanship. Featuring a sturdy frame, a butch 1100 watt motor, and peerless consistency. Shop for Mahlkoenig Guatemala grinders.