Grinding Your Coffee This Way Is a Big Mistake, According to an Expert
Jul 13, 2023
Plus what he thinks you should use instead.
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So here's the thing: Taking on a new task in the kitchen can be tricky. From making the perfect cup of coffee to crafting the perfect pizza at home, we’re enlisting help from experts and professional chefs, in our new series, ‘Here's the Thing,’ and asking them what products they think are essential.
A good cup of coffee in the morning trumps everything, and that often boils down to picking the right tools. To help you optimize your set up, we asked a coffee expert for some tips. One of the biggest things he sees is people using the wrong grinder.
"Grinding coffee fresh is important," says Maciej Kasperowicz. He's the director of coffee (what a job title!) at Trade Coffee, a leading online marketplace for fresh coffee from roasters across the country. "It tastes livelier, less stale, and more aromatic." But, he adds, "It really matters what grinder you use."
Kasperowicz explains the goal of grinding coffee is to hit a "sweet spot" of even grind size. Blade grinders, like this one, he adds, make this "really hard to achieve."
"As the coffee particles whirr around hitting the blades, some particles come into contact with the blades often while others don't, so while you’ll definitely be left with finer grinds the longer your blade spins, they won't be particularly even," Kasperowicz explains. The end result is too much water extraction from smaller particles, and a cup of coffee that is both sour and bitter at the same time.
In fact, Kasperowicz went as far as saying he’d recommend buying pre-ground coffee from a roaster or coffee shop over using a blade grinder at home.
But if you want that fresh flavor, there's one tool Kasperowicz recommends, and that's a burr grinder. His top pick is the Baratza Encore. He describes it as a mid-priced home grinder that does a great job, and is sturdier than lower-priced grinders.
To buy: Baratza Encore, $150 at amazon.com
"In a burr grinder, coffee gets fed through two sharp cones or disks with sharp blades on them, and the distance between those burrs determines particle size. That more even grind size will help you get a cup that's much smoother, no matter what kind of coffee you enjoy," says Kasperowicz.
However, if the price point is a little high, there's one more option: "For a little less, the OXO grinder works really well too," Kasperowicz says. We also named it our value pick in our best coffee grinder guide, thanks to how easy it is to use. During testing, we loved that it wasn't too loud and that it always produced beans at the right grind, without breaking the bank.
To buy: OXO Burr Coffee Grinder, $100 at amazon.com
Whether you decide to buy a Baratza, OXO, or another Food & Wine Fave, for goodness sake, don't use a blade grinder. Please. To buy: To buy: