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A Cheap Grind

Most coffee aficionados (like me) insist that whole bean coffee should be ground in a conical burr grinder. Never use a blade grinder. The typical reason is that a burr grinder creates a more even grind at a lower speed, as opposed to a blade grinder’s uneven grind at a high speed.  An uneven grind makes for an unpredictable brew, and the high speed of the blade grinding process can heat up the beans, thereby altering the flavor a bit.

However, where the generally despised Krups blade grinder [B00004SPEU] is under $20, a good conical burr grinder can be expensive.  And while the burr grinder advice is important for folks grinding espresso, it isn’t quite as important if you’re grinding coffee for a coffee press or paper cone filter.

Most people associate blade grinders with the Krups grinder.  The Krups is avoided by coffee fanatics due some notable flaws:

  • You must manually hold the grind button, and hope you get the total grind time right without “cooking” the beans
  • You have to turn the thing upside-down to get the ground coffee out of the container
  • Static electricity makes the coffee stick to the sides of the container
  • There are no options for setting the grind size

But not all blade grinders are like the Krups. In fact, the Ueshima Coffee Company in Hawaii uses a giant custom-made machine called the “Crackulater” which is in essence a high-quality, high-consistency blade grinder.

I needed a new grinder, and found that Mr. Coffee, of all companies, makes a surprisingly good blade grinder [B000BRLXUI] for the same price as the Krups ($20).  And it solves all of the problems associated with the Krups.  The Mr. Coffee Grinder has settings for the grind size and amount, which sets the speed and duration of the grind.  You just hold the button down on the top of the grinder, and it will stop automatically when the grinding is complete.  You then detach the container (right-side up), give the top a couple of twists, and the static-free ground coffee is free to pour into the filter or coffee press.  Simple, effective, and consistent.  What’s not to like about that?

I’m sure I’ll pick up a nice burr grinder at some point, but for twenty bucks, the Mr. Coffee Grinder is a steal.  And nothing beats freshly ground coffee.

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