Choosing a coffee grinder: the difference between a blade, burr and roller grinder

Walk down the aisle of a store that sells coffee making supplies, and you’ll quickly see how many different types of coffee grinders are out there. But which style of coffee grinder is right for you?

In this post, we’ll talk about the three basic styles of coffee grinders: blade, burr and roller.

Blade style grinder: The popular choice

This style is often the lowest cost option, and it’s what’s most commonly used at home by coffee drinkers.

Blade grinders, which are almost always electric, cut the beans in the grinder to various sizes and will continue to cut the bean into smaller and smaller pieces until you stop.

The grind that comes out of this style of grinder varies in size based on how long you grind your beans for.

With a blade style grinder, the taste of your coffee will be less consistent, since it’s difficult to get your grounds to be the exact same size every time.

While the coffee brewed from this type of grounds tastes just fine, often a much better cup of coffee comes from the remaining two types.

Burr style grinder: For a consistent grind

Also known as a ‘disc’ style grinder, the burr style grinder has two discs inside the grinder body. One disc is stationary and the other moves.

The distance between the two discs is controllable by a setting on the grinder; that setting determines the coarseness of your ground coffee.

When powered, the two discs tear or shred the bean into smaller pieces, and the grinding stops when the chosen size of the grind is reached.

While each piece isn’t necessarily identical to the next, the overall coarseness or fineness of the grind is consistent from one day to the next, since the beans receive the same grind each time with the setting chosen.

Of course, a consistent cup also depends on the amount of coffee beans and water you use, and some environmental factors as well. Burr style grinders for home use range in price from $25 (for a hand grinder) to $500 or more.

We offer a Javapress manual burr grinder available for purchase in our store. Come by – Or, call to get it from us online!

Roller style grinder: Going big league

The third style of coffee grinder is a Roller style, sometimes known as a “Roller Mill.”

Photo from Modern Process Equipment

In this style, pairs of rollers are set up in a vertical series. Each roller has an etched surface and is positioned with increasingly smaller gaps, reducing the beans to their specific size in stages.

As the beans make their way through each set of rollers, they’re crushed into smaller and smaller granules.

Grinding beans with this type produces relatively uniform shapes of coffee bean pieces. Using this type of grind to brew coffee creates excellent tasting coffee. Since the pieces of ground beans are more even in size, the water is then equally exposed to the ground beans. This allows the hot water and bean to more equally create brewed coffee.

These grinders are more commonly used by larger volume coffee producers due to their cost and capacity for high volume of coffee grinding. These range in price in of $1,000 and much more!

Here at Rubicon Roasting we have a smaller ‘roller style’ grinder since we do grind coffee for restaurants, grocery stores, and other customers who choose to purchase ground coffee in quantity.

It’s always important to remember that the best tasting, freshest coffee is produced by grinding your beans immediately before brewing.

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