If you talk to any coffee aficionado the one thing they will all agree on is the best way of improving the coffee you make at home is to freshly grind whole beans. But this doesn’t mean you need to spend around £1,000 on a bells and whistles professional coffee machine, you can still spend a reasonable amount on a grinder and keep that cheap and cheerful cafetiere.
When it comes to coffee grinders they are not all created equal, with even the type of grinder making a big difference. Burr grinders, instead of grinding the beans with a spinning blade, use two abrasive surfaces rotating and crushing the beans between them.
The pervading wisdom is that burr grinders are the best to use, providing a more uniform grind as well as not creating as much heat and potentially burning your coffee before it even hits the water. Unfortunately, burr grinders tend to be a little more expensive, although it’s still possible to pick them up for a reasonable price.
Krups GVX242 Expert Combi Grinder – Best reasonably priced grinder
This grinder from Krups is a superb compact little grinder. As well as giving you control over the size of the grind (with 17 different settings from espresso to french press) you also have a number of cups selector which will automatically cut off the grinder when it has produced enough coffee. This means you can set it running and do something else, speeding up your morning routine and taking the guess work out of how long you should be grinding.
The airtight bean hopper isn’t huge so it’s very much a personal and family grinder rather than anything more professional, but if you’re keen to keep your beans fresh in the fridge or freezer you will want to top it up each time you use it anyway. The coffee collects in a canister that you can easily remove and comes with a lid keeping all the ground coffee in the right place and avoiding mess. The grinder includes a safety setting so it won’t start grinding unless the canister is in securely, stopping you potentially getting coffee grounds everywhere. The only concern we had was we found the canister a bit of an awkward shape for tipping the coffee out of and had to resort to using the supplied brush to get it all out.
The coffee collects in a canister that you can easily remove and comes with a lid keeping all the ground coffee in the right place and avoiding mess. The grinder includes a safety setting so it won’t start grinding unless the canister is in securely, stopping you potentially getting coffee grounds everywhere. The only concern we had was we found the canister a bit of an awkward shape for tipping the coffee out of and had to resort to using the supplied brush to get it all out.
De’Longhi KG79 Professional Burr Grinder – Best budget coffee grinder
This De’Longhi is a very similar model to the Krups, although with a more appealing price tag. Once again it’s a neat compact design with a fineness selector and auto-off feature for choosing the right amount of cups.
The main difference between the two models comes when you want to grind at the finest setting for espressos. Unfortunately, the De’Longhi isn’t able to grind as fine as the Krups and may be a little too coarse for getting the best espressos. There are some suggestions online as to how you can hack it to get a finer grind, but whether you want to go to this trouble – likely voiding any warranty in the process – is up to you.
It also has a slightly smaller bean hopper than the Krups, but not in a way that would be a problem for most families.
Overall it’s a great grinder especially if you make your coffee in a cafetiere or similar, but if you are a big espresso fan there are probably better options.
VonShef Premium Burr Coffee Grinder – Best cheap professional grinder
If you’re in the market for a more professional looking machine that can hold a few more beans at the same time the VonShef grinder fits the bill well. It takes up a bit more space than some others on our list but does have that coffee shop chic.
Like the others you can select the level of grind as well as the number of cups, although it’s worth noting that we found they underestimated the amount of coffee you need. The 4 cup setting seemed only to provide enough for 1-2 cups, although once you get an idea of how much each setting puts out you can adjust accordingly
The coffee container is detachable and the grinder also comes with a coffee scoop so it’s easy to transfer the grounds to whatever you will be brewing your coffee with.
Sage by Heston Blumenthal the Smart Grinder Pro – Best premium coffee grinder
As proof that there’s no upper limit to how much you can spend on your coffee equipment, there’s the Sage grinder. With an RRP of around £200 it’s in a different league to the others on our list and whether you will notice that difference when it comes to drinking your coffee is questionable, but there’s no shortage of people that swear by this type of grinder.
With a staggering 60 different grind settings you have unrivalled control over the level of grind including unfeasibly fine for espressos. The grinder uses what Sage calls Dosing IQ technology to adjust the grind based on your selection and delivers an exceptionally consistent grind each time. You have the option to deliver the grounds straight into an espresso filter or a container for transferring to a cafetiere or similar. With an airtight 450g bean hopper it is big enough to handle a lot of coffee at once. It’s hard to find any bad points apart from the price of the unit. It really is an excellent grinder but one very much for the aficionados.
With an airtight 450g bean hopper it is big enough to handle a lot of coffee at once. It’s hard to find any bad points apart from the price of the unit. It really is an excellent grinder but one very much for the aficionados.