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Should I buy a manual or electric coffee grinder?

Updated: Feb 27, 2023

Let us set the scene: you’ve just signed up for a Local Coffee Club subscription and your beans are arriving soon. However, this is your first foray into the often-overcomplicated world of ‘proper’ coffee and you’re wondering how to get the most out of your purchase. Read on if you want some advice on choosing the right grinder!

If you're fairly new to the coffee game, we think you should consider buying a manual burr grinder. As the name suggests, these little devices use good old elbow grease to operate (think of a fancy pepper grinder). It’ll take you a minute or two to grind your beans but they’re small, fairly inexpensive and give you the ability to adjust your grind size to suit any brewing method. Remember to only grind right before you start brewing if you want to get the best flavour! Hario is a reliable brand that should be available from your local coffee accessory shop.

If you don’t have the time, strength or willpower to manually grind your beans, an electric grinder should be top of your shopping list (think of a little plug in blender). These grind your coffee automatically and generally come in two varieties: blade or burr. While electric blade grinders tend to be cheaper than their burr counterparts, you can end up paying a price in the quality of the coffee they produce (the grind size is often inconsistent, meaning the flavour is extracted sub-optimally when you start brewing). For this reason, if you can afford one we’d suggest forking out on an electric burr grinder. These machines work by essentially crushing your coffee between two steel burrs. They can be easily adjusted to give you the desired coarseness for your chosen brewing method and should produce a consistent sized coffee ground. Sage and Krups are both good brands that you’ll be able to pick up on the high street, while the Niche Zero is definitely worth it if you can afford to fork out a bit more!

So there you have it: a quick overview of the benefits of manual vs electric grinders. We hope this helps you find one that suits your needs!


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