Coffee grinders are the surest way to ensure that your brew will come out tasting as good as if it came from a coffee shop. Beans that are ground consistently and to the specific need of the machine you’re using is crucial to the coffee brewing process. But can you get a quality grinder that will do the job right for only $50?
The answer is yes, you can.
There are plenty of models out there, electric and hand ones, that have positive reviews and can give you what you need to elevate your coffee drinking experience. Because there are so many grinders on the market, you’ll be sure to find one that fits your needs and your budget.
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Before you get started on your search, the most important thing in a grinder is that you get a burr grinder, as it has the best consistency and durability of any type of grinder.
There are two types of grinders: electric and manual. Which is best for you and your budget?
It’s really your preference when it comes to the two types of grinders. However, if you’re shopping for one that is cheaper than $50, an electric grinder probably isn’t for you.
While electric grinders are convenient and easy to use, they are definitely an appliance that you get what you pay for. Grind accuracy and consistency are both lost in cheap grinders.
If you brew a lot of coffee in the morning, though, or you have a large group of people to entertain, you definitely don’t want to stand at the counter cranking away at a manual grinder. Electric grinders are perfect for those who need a large batch of beans ground in a reasonable amount of time.
A lot of models have clear covers so you can watch the grounds as they appear, so you know exactly how much you’re making. This is useful, so you don’t grind up too many beans and risk waste.
Electric grinders also have more settings, no matter if its a cheaper model or not. Being able to adjust the grind is handy and helpful if you switch between brewing methods from time to time. Some models have as many as 18 settings, so you’ll always be able to play around with the best grind for your machine.
Hand grinders take up less space, which is good if you have limited storage or counters. While it takes more work to get a finer grind, breaking a little sweat isn’t a bad thing, it’s kind of like a mini workout. Because they are so much smaller than electric grinders, hand grinders are easy to take while traveling.
Minimal parts mean you’re not paying for a bunch of stuff that you don’t need, after all, you just need the burr. Hand grinders generate less heat, which can affect the flavor of the beans you’re using.
Another benefit of a hand grinder is the amount of noise. If you bring an electric grinder into the office, you’re sure to attract a lot of attention and cause a distraction. With a manual grinder, you don’t need to worry about noise as much because it is a lot quieter.
Additionally, it is good to know that electric grinders are good for espresso and other brewers that require a super fine grind. Hand grinders are great for French press and Turkish coffee.
If you’re going to be paying money for something in the first place, your best bet is to go with a hand grinder that will perform just as well, if not better, for the same price as its electric counterpart.
While shopping around and checking out reviews, make sure that the grinder you buy has the settings you’ll need for brewing. If you usually just brew one type of coffee at home, it shouldn’t be a problem to find one in a reasonable price range that will have the setting you need.
But if you brew everything from drip coffee to espresso, you’ll want a grinder that can adjust to the setting you need.
Burr grinders are easy to clean (manual grinders even easier). An easy trick is to run uncooked rice through it. The result may look like salt and pepper. But do it until the rice comes out white.
No matter what price the grinder you select will be, it will be a no-hassle appliance to clean. But regular cleaning is important.
Coffee Brewing Methods
STEEPING / FRENCH PRESS
The French Press is an immersion-steeping method of brewing that uses coarse ground coffee that is plunged through hot water to extract the coffee.
Percolator coffee makers come in two varieties. One variety boils water under pressure to force water through coffee grounds, and the other array uses gravity to cycle boiled water through coffee grounds.
POUR OVER / DRIP BREW
Drip Brew Coffee pours hot water over ground coffee, relying on gravity to pull the freshly extracted coffee through a coffee filter.
Vacuum Coffee Makers use variant pressure to create a siphon that pulls boiling water into its upper chamber wherein it steeps coffee grounds. Once heat is removed, the siphon ends and steeped coffee returns to the lower receptacle. This method of brewing was very popular in the 19th Century but is gaining popularity today as an elegant, if retro, method of brewing.
Turkish coffee brewing is a method in which very finely ground coffee is heated in a pot with water, often with sugar added to the water as the coffee is added. The water is heated to boiling, removed from the heat, and then the process is repeated two or three times, resulting in a strong extraction with a thick foam.
Espresso coffee is brewed by forcing near-boiling water through finely ground coffee beans at high pressure. The result is a thick coffee extract with more suspended coffee solids and a foamy crema.
Single Cup coffee is brewed using either pre-measured coffee pods or coffee capsules that are calibrated to produce a single cup of coffee in a coffee maker designed to use the inserts. Coffee pods use a more traditional drip brew method, while such coffee capsules as T-Discs and K-Cups may also use water pressure to enhance brewing.
Cold Brewed coffee extracts coffee gradually at room temperature or below, taking as much as 12 hours to extract coffee. The resultant coffee is lower in acidity and has a mellow, almost cocoa flavor because it does not extract certain coffee elements that hot water brewing extracts.