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Brewing Magic at Home Part III- You Really Should Be Grinding At Home.

Many of you know this Coffee Ninja Secret already. If so, read on for validation and revel in your superiority.

Look. If you’re not grinding at home we need to talk. It’s for your own good. You should be grinding your coffee fresh for each pot. Or cup. However you brew. Here’s why:

Roasted coffee is full of volatile flavor compounds. That’s why it smells so good while you grind it. Since ‘volatile flavor compounds’ sounds just a smidge pretentious I’m going to switch to the term “adorable flavor kittens” instead. To put it bluntly, these adorable flavor kittens perish by the basketful as soon as they go through the grinder. Just like real kittens. The only way to rescue these kittens is to brew your coffee immediately after grinding and drink ’em down. You’re a hero!

With that grisly topic behind us, let’s talk about grinders!

Many folks’ first grinder is called a blade grinder. It has one chamber, with a spinning blade that lives inside. You add your beans, warn the entire household, then pulse them with the blade til they’re ground sufficiently. The sound of this type of grinder could make a ceramic figurine jump out of its skin.

These machines are a very good intro to grinding at home. They cost about $30. Many folks use them for years with good results. Lets go through the ups and downs:

Pros:

  • Inexpensive
  • Easy to find
  • Small footprint
  • Simple to Operate

Cons:

  • Inconsistent Grind
  • Hi-speed blades generate a lot of heat
  • Tend to be Messy
  • Small bean capacity
  • Noisy as all-get-out
  • Why is the cord on these things always so short?

Next up is the Burr Grinder. This is the preferred coffee grinding method for a few reasons, which I’ll explain right up front. First and foremost,  you can control the coarseness or fineness of the grind, and it will be far more consistent than what you get with a blade grinder. This is a crucial aspect of optimal coffee wizardry. Each brewing method has its own ideal grind. With a blade grinder you control the grind by guessing how long to hold the grind button down. The burr grinder has a setting you adjust and then leave alone. That is the major advantage to burr grinding, although there are others which I’ll explain after I show you some photos:

A good burr grinder for the home will cost you $80-$125 or so.

If you’re really serious (like we are here at Zeke’s) you can get a burr grinder that costs and weighs as much as a used Geo Metro:

 

Burr Grinder Pros:

  • Consistent Grind
  • Hopper holds a few days’ worth of beans
  • Quietish
  • Less Messy than a blade grinder

Cons:

  • More expensive
  • Needs more counter space

So is a nice burr grinder worth your $120? Let us break it down. If it lasts you 5 years (it should) and you brew six times a week you’re looking at 1560 grinds. That’s just over $.07 per pot. Your coffee will taste better- possibly a LOT better. And $.07 a day can save literally billions of delicious flavor kittens from an untimely death. Their lives are in your hands.

Let me know what you think. This is a topic that bears some discussion. Thanks for reading!