Why You Need a Grinder: Part Two
Hey folks, hope you were able to check out part one of our Why You Need a Grinder post, where we talked about why fresh ground coffee matters. Today, we're going to profile a few grinders for you, and explain just what makes a good grinder.
What makes a good grinder?
Not all grinders are created equal. I'm sure many of you have seen, and may even own a blade grinder. These little guys can be found anywhere from Kroger to Home Depot - but they're not really quality - there are a few problems with blade grinders. We'll talk about two issues in particular: those pesky blades and heat dissipation.
First of all, think about what the word "grind" actually means. Traditionally, coffee was ground on a large, flat stone with something like a stone rolling pin. When I visited a coffee cooperative in Guatemala, I actually ground fresh roasted coffee in this way. It's difficult and time consuming - but it does get the job done. It grinds the coffee into smaller and smaller particles. A blade grinder, however, chops the beans up in much the same way that you chop vegetables. The individual pieces of coffee are of wildly inconsistent size: and consistency of particle size is essential for even, full extraction of flavor.
Secondly, those whirring blades create a lot of friction and heat as they're hacking away at your precious beans. This heat acts to further "roast" the coffee, adding a charred or acrid flavor to an otherwise exceptional cup of coffee.
The alternative to a blade grinder is a burr grinder - what we use here at Rohs Street Cafe, and what we use in our home coffee setups. Burr grinders use stone, metal, or ceramic burrs to actually grind the coffee into smaller pieces. The alternative shape of the assembly (typically conical) and the alternative materials used (ceramic or stone) allow for greater dissipation of heat - insuring that your coffee doesn't get roasted any further than perfection.
There are a few grinders that we can recommend to you to fit any budget - and we can order any of them for you right here at Rohs Street Cafe.
Hario Skerton Mini-mill
This small, portable hand grinder features ceramic conical burrs, and is perfect to tuck in your backpack for those long nights at DAAP or CCM. With a 24-gram capacity, it's really only for single cup brewing, but you'll be grateful for its portability and ease of use.
This simple, yet effective home grinder served me well for many a year (and still serves me well on many a road trip and early mornin'). The ceramic burrs have excellent consistency for a hand grinder, and it's easily adjustable for different grind sizes. Perfect for pour overs or french presses - and it's dishwasher safe!
The Baratza Encore is an excellent electric burr grinder, and carries an extremely affordable price tag. It's adjustable on a precise level: there are over 30 settings, changeable with just a turn of the hopper. Did we mention it's god a hopper to hold your beans? And it grinds quickly and evenly - no matter what setting you're using.
No matter what grinder you chose to use, you can elevate your coffee game exponentially by grinding fresh before you brew. We'll be happy to provide fresh beans and expertise - and to get you any grinder you need.