Grinding one`s own coffee beans is quickly becoming a part of the American version of the coffee drinking experience. The choices for coffee grinders available for purchase is mind-boggling, so you really do need to know a few things about coffee grinders before you purchase one of your very own.
The earliest version of coffee grinding was done with a bowl and a pestle. The beans were roasted first, then they were placed in a bowl and crushed or ground with a pestle. Then things got mechanized, and changed quickly when coffee grinders that were hand-cranked came into being. If you have ever watched old western movies, there is always a hand-cranked coffee grinder in the local general store.
Then along came electricity, and things just got easier. The first electrified coffee grinders actually operated on the same principle as the hand-cranked version. There were basically two flat plates (one stationary and the other moving) that the coffee beans were crushed between. Things have gotten better since then although the principle remains basically unchanged — only improved upon.
Today, you can buy coffee grinders with blades that simply chop the beans into fine particles. However, these particles are not of identical size. These blade-type coffee grinders can be bought for as little as $20, but they are not the best choice.
The best choice for a coffee grinder is a \”burr\” grinder. The burr coffee grinders operate on the same basic principle as the old hand-cranked coffee grinders in that there are two plates. However, these plates have burrs on them, and the coffee particles of beans that have been ground in a burr grinder are all of identical size. Burr grinders are, of course, more expensive, but they are much better coffee grinders.