The difference between burr and blade coffee grinders

January 16, 2017

burr and blade coffee grinders

Just as there are more than one way to skin a cat, there's more than one way to grind coffee. You basically have two options when it comes to preparing beans for the perfect brew. And if perfection, or at least a better tasting cup of coffee is your goal, you have one clear choice.

n this article I will cover the basic differences of blade and burr type grinders as well as which one should should have a place in your kitchen.

Blade coffee grinders

Unless you're Wesley Snipes and you find yourself in a den of seething vampires, blades will not be your best weapon of choice for the task.

Blade coffee grinders look just like they sound. There are typically two opposing blades centered and attached to the bottom of a small bean hopper. The process is simple enough, just pile in some beans and hit blend. The blades whir to life and begin pulverizing the heck out of the beans.

It does an adequate job, but there are some issues.

The problem with blade grinders is that the resulting grind can be inconsistent in size. This creates irregular surface areas in the coffee grounds which can result in an inconsistent flavor from one brew to the next. If you like surprises, this method is for you.

The other issue is that the blades move pretty damn fast creating a small amount of heat which can also alter the taste of the coffee. Remember, the beans have already been put to the fire. There's no need to roast them a second time.

Burr coffee grinders

Burr coffee grinders are more medieval in nature as they pull, trap, squash and cut all at the same time, which is pretty cool.

At the bottom of a burr-style coffee hopper you will typically find two burred plates designed to crush or cut (or sometimes both) the coffee bean into finer and finer pieces. Burr coffee grinders are favored for their ability to deliver a finer level of control over the final dimensions of the grind giving you more flexibility as to what style of coffee you wish to brew.

Another reason why burr grinders create a better cup of coffee is that the ground coffee is more uniform in size  resulting in a more consistent cup of coffee.

Burr grinders do tend to cost a little more than blade grinders. If you have a blade grinder and you can afford an upgrade, do yourself a favor and purchase a reputable electric or hand operated burr grinder.

If you can't afford an upgrade at the moment, please continue enjoying your less than average cup of joe. Any cup of joe is better than no cup at all, I always say.

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