Looking for a coffee grinder to grind your coffee beans? Get expert advice from olive’s coffee expert, Celeste Wong. She has tried and tested all the below coffee grinders to get the lowdown on which is best for grinding your beans at home. Make sure you get the best coffee beans to grind at home, with Celeste’s pick here.
Along with top-quality coffee, an excellent coffee grinder can transform your at-home coffee making, boosting the taste and quality of your finished cup. A good grinder not only gets the most out of your coffee, but should be functional, easy to use, clean and nice to look at. For the best coffee results, grinds should be consistent and grinders should be versatile for multiple styles of brewing.
What are the benefits of grinding your own coffee?
Coffee beans stay fresher for longer than ground coffee, and so your coffee should taste better too. As soon as green coffee beans are roasted, they start to release CO2, which affects the taste. They will oxidise and slowly start to go ‘stale’ and have a flat taste. When coffee is ground, there is a higher surface area which is exposed to oxygen and that will cause them to lose their freshness faster, so it’s best to keep coffee in its whole form as close to drinking it as possible.
What type of coffee grinders are there?
There are two main types of grinders – electric and manual. It’s also important to look at the difference between the functionality: grinders can be blade or burr operated. Burrs, whether conical or flat, are usually steel or ceramic.
Blade grinders tend to chop the coffee with less uniformity or consistency which will affect the taste of your coffee, through a more uneven extraction. But they are more affordable, so if you’re on a budget then this is definitely still an option.
Burr grinders either have flat burrs or conical burrs. Flat burrs are often what is used in commercial cafe grinders. They have “teeth” that lay on top of each other and grind the coffee between them to produce more consistent, even grinds. Though if grinding through a lot of coffee, it can cause heat which can also affect the taste of coffee. That’s why you might hear an internal fan in some grinders. This partly contributes to these type of flat burr grinders being more expensive than conical burr grinders.
Conical burrs are where two cone-shaped burrs are placed one inside of the other to grind the coffee. This uses gravity to pull the coffee through as well as grinding more quietly. Conical burrs may be less consistent, but are usually cheaper.
Ceramic burrs are often found in domestic grinders because they don’t conduct heat as much and don’t blunt easily, so therefore last quite well.
Steel burrs are more hardy than ceramic, and start out very sharp and so will give more consistent grinds.
What to look for in a coffee grinder?
There are several factors to consider when buying a coffee grinder:
Price – how much are you willing to spend?
Size – do you want a countertop staple, or a model you can move in and out the cupboard?
Coffee style – some models are best for espresso, whereas others producer coarser grinders best for French press or pour-over brewing.
Design – materials should feel high quality, sturdy and safe to use, as well as aesthetically pleasing.
Grind style – as mentioned above, consider the style of grinder best suited to your coffee preferences and budget, whether you want a hands-on manual experience or sleek electric model.
Grind guide for different coffee brew methods
Extra fine – Turkish (consistency of cocoa powder or cornstarch)
Fine – Espresso/moka pot (finer than table salt, fine sand)
Fine to medium – Aeropress/manual pour-overs/V60 etc (similar consistency to table salt)
Medium – pour-over/siphon/most auto & drip coffee makers (normal sand)
Coarse – French press/cold brew (like sea salt)
Extra coarse – can be used for cold brew steeping for many hours, though I would still probably opt for medium to coarse personally (with a texture like peppercorns)
Best coffee grinders at a glance
- Salter grinder, £39.99
- Bodum bistro electric coffee grinder, £29.56
- Kilner hand grinder, £31
- Calibra grinder, £104.99
- Cuisinart professional burr mill, £53.95
- Smeg coffee grinder, £199
- Eagle 1 Prima by Victoria Arduino, £517
- Fiorenzato All Ground, £790
Best coffee grinders to buy 2021
The Salter coffee grinder is a compact burr grinder, with a streamlined upside-down teardrop design. It’s light (mostly made from plastic) so easy to move in and out of storage. The small footprint makes it perfect for a kitchen with little bench space or low hanging cupboards.
Although loud when on, the grinder was very easy to use. A very simple instruction guide is included, but it is intuitive to put together even for a novice. The on-off button is camouflaged in the centre of the top dose dial, with an extra grind dial on the side for adjusting the grind. There are a generous 18 options to choose from for maximum customising your cup. As a safety feature, the grinder won’t engage when the hopper is off.
The capacity of the grinder is 220g – a suitable amount considering retail coffee is often sold in 200-250g bags. Despite the 18 grind settings, I found there isn’t a huge difference between the marked ‘drip coffee/cafetière’ and the coarsest setting. Towards the coarser end of the dial, settings are also marked ‘French press & percolator’, which are two brew methods that should actually use different grinds. The espresso is very fine, but not fine enough to use in a more robust home espresso machine for an optimal extraction.
The grinder is easy to take apart for cleaning (the guide recommends cleaning after every use), with a tiny hard bristled brush included to clean the burrs. Overall, a simple, compact grinder best suited for pour-over and cafetière coffee brewing.
I really like the look of this Bodum grinder. With a modern, simple design, it comes in practical colours to suit different kitchens and is a very compact model.
For such a small footprint, and considering some plastic elements, the grinder still feels sturdy in use, and is not too loud. It is extremely easy to use, simply press down the main button to operate the blades and continue to hold to grind. There are no specific settings on this model – the finer you want the coffee, the longer you keep pressing down to grind. Coarse coffee takes just a few seconds, whilst finer coffee will take a few pulses. The blade design means medium ground coffee is likely to have a variety of coffee grinds in, as smaller grinds will fall to the bottom whilst larger chunks continue to be chopped. The model capacity is 60g, enough to make up to three coffees. Due to the small size, I’d recommend putting in no more than 40g at a time, to ensure the most even grind.
This simple model would be great to have on hand as a spare grinder or one to pack when going away.
For a hands-on approach to making a coffee, a manual grinder lets you get fully involved in the process. This Kilner model has a very simple, almost old school look and feel to it, with the rustic mason jar-like base. Having a metal grind body is sensible because it is separated from the glass jar base often to get the coffee out, so if it drops or rolls off the table it won’t break. It has a small footprint (making storage easy), but still has a generous 500ml jar storage, which comes with an extra lid so you can grind more than you need for the day and store the coffee. The mason jar base is sturdy, although you need to be careful with the glass elements.
Despite being fully manual, this is very easy and intuitive to use. To change the grind setting, you need to undo the top bolt to take off the handle and bracket. Turning the cog up and down the thread will allow the burrs to go closer (for finer grind) or further apart for more coarse grinds. It’s worth noting this is the quietest of all the grinders I tested – almost therapeutic listening to the beans go through the burrs! The texture of the grinds were good, with the ceramic burrs operating well for both very coarse and fine grinds.
For easy cleaning, this manual model can be just rinsed under the tap. The burrs are white ceramic so they do get marked with coffee colour quickly, but a scrub with a kitchen brush removes most of this.
I would usually take a hand grinder away travelling with me, however because this model is largely glass, it wouldn’t be suitable. However, it would be a great back up grinder to have if something happened to an electric grinder. I would recommend everyone own one hand grinder.
This tall grinder may not be the smallest, but it’s streamlined shape means it still feels compact, especially considering it’s large 375g coffee bean capacity. The black and chrome design is a smart addition to a kitchen, with some plastic elements due to the lower price point of this grinder.
The main functions that make this quite different to other grinders in this list is that it has a built-in digital scale with an LCD control panel and you can control the grind dose by weight, cups or time. You can also take the container out and grind directly into any pour-over cone (there’s a good height to it) or a portafilter, which is very convenient. The hopper also has helpful and accurate guides for where to set the grinder for different brew types.
This grinder has steel conical burrs which generally allow the grinder to be a little quieter over flat burrs, and also produce less heat which means it’s less likely to clog up. There are a vast 39 grind settings to choose from, and there is a satisfying click when adjusting the hopper to select each one. Lots of domestic grinders claim to produce fine coffee for espresso, but reality doesn’t always match up: not the case with this Melitta. There is a huge, noticeable difference between the coarsest setting and the finest, producing grinds for all brew methods from French press to espresso. The grinder is also easy to clean, with the hopper being easy to remove and a small brush included to clean the removable burrs.
If you’re into your coffee and like to experiment with different brew methods, then this is the most reasonably priced grinder: it’s convenient, versatile and offers barista-style processes that deliver accurate, quality results for many brewing methods.
There’s no wasting time with this grinder: it is ready assembled in the box, with the hopper attached and ready to go. The user manual was the best we saw, with a clear layout and helpful diagrams and tips. The grinder has a very boxy look and seems to command some space on the countertop. It is short and square – useful for kitchens with low cupboards.
The mill has a sliding button to turn it on and is measured in four to 18 cups – essentially meaning it is grinding for longer to grind more coffee. The hopper has a generous 250g capacity.
There are 18 grind settings: I wouldn’t recommend using this for espresso, as the finest setting is best used for a pour-over or Chemex coffee. The medium and coarser settings would be suitable for French press and cafetière coffee. To adjust the grind you just turn the hopper left or right, assisted by a twist handle on the lid. The grinds were not super uniform, although the finer settings were more consistent than coarse. The grinder was definitely noisy compared to others, which added to the feeling that it took quite a long time to grind.
Smeg is known for it’s retro 1950s aesthetic, and this grinder is no exception. Along with the distinctive design, the materials themselves stood out, feeling high quality and sturdy. It’s certainly a solid model, so definitely a countertop staple rather than a grinder to be moved in and out of storage.
The Smeg was incredibly easy to use: all the functions are very intuitive. The start on/off button is obvious, and it can be set to manual where it will keep grinding until you tell it to stop, or you can choose cup numbers, which goes up in increments of time to grind more coffee and stop grinding on its own. There is a handle to twist and change the grind size, where you can take your pick from 30 grind options. In comparing the finest setting to medium to the coarsest setting, there was a good noticeable difference and all grind levels produced consistent results and was not too loud in use. Despite the many options, I didn’t find this ground quite fine enough for espresso, so this is best suited for pour-overs, filter coffees or French press coffee.
There is also the ability to remove the grind container and place a portafilter underneath. As an extra useful addition, the coffee container has a small rubber patch that seals the container if you want to pre-grind your coffee and store.
This grinder is really easy to clean. Everything slides out or twist and clicks smoothly. The Smeg has steel conical burrs which are easily detached to be cleaned with the brush provided.
Overall if you’re a fan of classic Smeg design, the results of this grinder won’t let it down: substance matches style.
I really like this grinder. It’s simple yet unusual in that the hopper is a different shape. This brand seems to think slightly outside the box when it comes to its grinders, which is why you’ll see many of their other models in top cafes. If you have a good espresso machine at home, this is something you should definitely look into investing in.
This grinder has 50mm steel alloy burrs which help to give a uniform grind and the motor has the power to drive it too! There is a fork that holds the portafilter in place while grinding and to activate the grinder, the portafilter pushes on a discrete button.
This grinder is very easy to use. It is primarily designed to be used for espresso coffee. If you prefer filter coffee only, this might be a little more sophisticated than what you need it for and you wouldn’t be using this grinder’s full potential. The dial have small and accurate increments to set the grind: just the smallest tweaks and adjustments with a tiny discrete dial make a change in the grind size and this is really great when making espresso, producing extremely fine and consistent grinds. Sound-dampening technology in this model help eliminate vibrations, making this one of the quieter models we tested. The hopper holds 500g which is bigger than most home grinders and is quite deceptive, largely due to its unique shape.
If you’re a keen espresso drinker, this is the model to go for, with seriously impressive results.
If you’re looking to invest in a coffee grinder, this Fiorenzato is a luxurious semi-professional grade model. The design is really sleek and comes in a large assortment of colours to suit many kitchen aesthetics – I really like the white body with wooden panel around the touch screen. The design and functionality are so similar to the professional version of this grinder, but this is more compact and simplified in all the right ways. You won’t want to be shifting this grinder much as it is very heavy and sturdy (9kg), supporting a powerful inner motor.
This grinder is super easy and intuitive to use. You don’t need to have too much knowledge of coffee or grinding. It really takes the stress out of coffee making for you. There is a main on/off dial on the side. As you turn the dial to change the grind, you can hear clicks to indicate a change, which is also shown on the digital touch screen. You engage the grinder by pressing the screen. There is a shutter in the grinder to stop beans from entering the chamber if you want to change beans conveniently, and the container that catches the coffee seals well around the chute to capture all the coffee and chaff, but also comes with a lid if you want to pre-grind some extra coffee. When you take it away your portafilter will sit under the chute perfectly unaided to catch the coffee, which leaves you hands-free.
The three main settings from most coarse to fine are Filter, Moka, Espresso. Within these three sections are many options to grind. The most coarse setting in the Filter section is where you’d grind for cafetiere or cold brew. The micro changes in espresso are fantastic to get very accurate, smooth results. What I love most about this grinder though, is that nothing requires strength or muscle of any kind, which you might expect from such a robust piece of machinery. When you engage in grinding within the Filter section, it will grind until you command it to stop. Within the Espresso section you have three options: single cup, double cup or manual grind. Single and double cup can be set to your preference. It is incredibly easy to switch between different grinds straight away. For such a sophisticated grinder, it’s also very quiet in use. Several safety devices are incorporated into the design, including a motor thermal protector and anti-intrusion devices inside the hopper and chamber.
This grinder is surprisingly easy to clean, for a semi-professional grade grinder. You just take the hopper off, press a button to release the revolving ring nut and twist it off. The burrs are made of M340 steel, 64mm diameter and are coated in titanium which make them really easy to clean and very robust.
Overall, if you’re looking for a grinder that can truly do it all, while producing consistently strong results, your investment will pay off in this model.
Buy the Fiorenzato grinder from Fiorenzato Home
How we tested the coffee grinders
We reviewed the coffee grinders based on a range of criteria, including product design, the quality of coffee produced and ease-of-use factors likely to affect the experience of domestic users. Criteria included: design and aesthetics, how large is it’s footprint, how noisy is it in use, how many grind settings are there, the range between different grind settings, quality of the finished results and value for money.
All grinders were tested at their finest setting on the new Victoria Arduino Eagle 1 Prima home espresso machine, recently released. It was great to try the beans on a semi-professional machine for home so that I could test them at their optimum. Read more about the Victoria Arduino here.