Here at Dear Green, we’re often asked for our top tips and tricks on how you can up your at-home brewing game and make those delicious speciality coffee beans taste their absolute best. And who wouldn’t want to make the most of their brew? It's a no brainer.
Our number one piece of advice? Grind your beans freshly for every cup!
Just like most food and drink products, coffee is best enjoyed when it is freshly prepared. This is because as soon as coffee beans are ground the coffee’s natural oils and aromatics are released, giving us a super fresh brew - however coffee also begins to stale and degrade as soon as it’s exposed to oxygen which dries out those grounds and diminishes those fresh aromas and delicious flavours.
Here at the roastery, we go to great lengths to source and roast speciality beans with unique aromas and flavour profiles - and grinding freshly allows you to enjoy these complex flavours and aromas at their optimum point! The Specialty Coffee Association recommends that coffee should be ground just prior to brewing.
So, now that you’re ready to up your brewing game by grinding freshly we have prepared a guide to coffee grinders! But first, here’s a list of features to consider:
It’s important to understand what parts of a grinder control how a coffee will taste and as a result will have an impact on the quality of a brew. The coffee burrs (the internal parts that grind the coffee beans) will have a direct effect on the quality of your grind depending on their size, shape and the material they are made from.
Flat Vs Conical Burrs
When it comes to grinder burrs there are two main types; flat burrs and conical burrs. Both have advantages and disadvantages. It is generally agreed that conical burrs with their larger surface area give a brew a fuller body and texture along with a more even particle distribution, making it easier to ‘dial in’ coffees to a consistently good standard. Meanwhile flat burrs can help achieve a greater clarity of flavour due to their tighter particle distribution curve. Some manufacturers have experimented with different cutting teeth geometry and coatings to change how the resulting grind will impact flavour perception and basic tastes. To some coffee aficionados these are must-have features but they do come at a higher cost.
Stainless Steel Vs Ceramic Burrs
Conical and flat burrs are both made from ceramic which are more resilient to dulling and rust but aren’t as sharp as stainless steel. Typically, ceramic burrs are more susceptible to damage if a rock or foreign object gets into the grinding chamber but they are a great entry level option.
Stainless steel burrs will produce a much more consistent, even grind size distribution but are more susceptible to dulling over time.
There are a whole plethora of burr coatings that can come as standard or that can also be applied. The advantages can be anything from increasing grind speed and giving higher perception of flavour clarity to increasing the life of the burrs by up to 4 times.
Manual Hand Grinders
If you don't mind a little workout in the morning before your brew, a manual hand grinder is just for you. One of the major benefits of hand grinders is that you can take them with you, and grind off the grid wherever you may be. Plus, they don’t require any electricity, which makes them the perfect companion for brewing with portable brewers like the AeroPress. In fact, the Aergrind by Knock even fits inside! It’s a flexible and reliable option - anytime, anywhere!
When it comes to the quality of your brew, some argue that manual coffee grinders can produce slightly better-tasting coffee as this type of grinder doesn’t heat your beans up when grinding - unlike automatic grinders which operate at high speeds with higher friction. However, this difference can be difficult to distinguish - even by coffee aficionados!
Delicious coffee shouldn’t have to cost the earth, and hand grinders are a great way to improve your brew quality, even for those on a budget. High-end manual grinders can be much cheaper and better than an automatic alternative, plus they’ll take up less space on your countertop or brewing station.
In general, automatic grinders are more convenient in terms of speed and coffee volume. They require much less effort from the brewer, so you can simply select your grind settings, tap a button and sit back and relax as your beans grind in seconds.
Automatic coffee grinders typically have a vast variety of grind settings, meaning you can tailor your brew, just how you like it. Having an array of settings provides the option to make micro-adjustments to “dial in” your grind size. The pre-programmed grind sizes that come with automatic coffee grinders can also result in a high level of brew consistency. A consistent grind size = consistently good brews!
Just like most products on the market, increased convenience and control come at a slightly higher price point. Whilst automatic grinders run a little higher than hand grinders, there is no doubt that automatic grinders produce a more consistent brew - in a fraction of the time it takes to grind your beans by hand. Automatic grinders are also especially great for those looking to grind a higher volume of coffee.
Check out some of our grinder recommendations:
With a smooth grinding motion, quality materials, and a convenient 1.5 oz capacity, the Rhino Hand Grinder is a perfect choice for manually grinding your favourite coffee beans. Stored in a convenient and protective carry bag, this fantastic grinder features conical ceramic burrs ensuring a clean grind each time.
- Burr: Ceramic / Conical
- Capacity: 42g
- Grind adjustment: Internal adjustment on the burr.
- Other features: Compact size
- Price: £40
The Varia Brewer is the world's most versatile coffee brewer, offering the option to brew coffee from various methods on one brewer. Now it has the perfect accompaniment, the Varia Hand Grinder, with stainless steel burrs. Featuring a lightweight aluminium body, 24 Point Precision Grind Adjustment per 360° rotation and a 28g capacity the Varia hand grinder is a sleek and functional grinder for use on the go! It even comes in a perfectly formed travel case, the ultimate grinder for travelling.
- Burr: Stainless Steel / Conical / 38mm
- Capacity: 28g
- Grind adjustment: 24 adjustment steps every 360 rotation. A total of 110 steps.
- Other features:Lightweight aluminium body.
- Price: £110
AERGRIND Hand Grinder - 2022 Edition
- Burr:Titanium-nitrided / Conical / 38mm
- Capacity: 25g
- Grind adjustment: stepless which means that you have unlimited options on where to set your grind
- Other features: Plastic free
- Price: £145 + free 250g bag of coffee!
Ode Brew Grinder by Fellow
A great way to level up your home coffee, Ode was designed to perfect your daily brewed coffee—AeroPress®, pour-over, cafetière, cold brew, and more. The beautifully designed and engineered Gen 1 model has a knocker to prevent grind retention, single dose loading and reduced grind noise so as not to wake up sleepy housemates.
With 64 mm professional-grade flat burrs, 31 grind settings, unique single dose loading for maximum bean freshness and a smart speed motor to ensure every bean is exposed to the same amount of force, Ode will bring a professional quality to your daily brew.
- Burr: Stainless Steel / Flat / 64mm
- Capacity: 80g
- Grind adjustment: 31 grind settings
- Other features:Quiet. Powerful.100 micron finer grinding.
- Price:£290 + free 250g bag of coffee!