How To Choose Your Coffee Grinder?

How To Choose Your Coffee Grinder?

Buying your coffee beans and grinding it at home means enjoying good fresh coffee at all times. Indeed, when you buy your coffee at a roaster or in a coffee shop and you ask to grind it on site, we advise you to consume it very quickly, usually within two weeks. Why ? When a coffee is ground, it oxidizes faster because the contact area between air and coffee is greater than for coffee beans. The aromas fly so much faster, which is a shame when choosing a quality coffee! To grind your coffee as you eat it is therefore ideal to preserve the freshness of its aromas. It remains to be seen now which coffee grinder to choose to fulfill this mission.

A good mill must deliver a sufficiently precise grind for the extraction method chosen and sufficiently homogeneous with each use. Indeed, if your grind is not the right size or has too many particles of different sizes, your coffee will not be properly infused. That said, the perfect mill with 100% homogenous grinding does not exist, but many models on the market are still good options for those who want to enjoy a good cup of home ground coffee. But then, which mill to choose?

Then there is not even a match: always prefer a grinder mill. We explain why. 

The grinder mill of your grandmother is pretty, but it has two major drawbacks: 
  • It does not make it possible to adjust the size of the grind in a precise way: the idea is that the more you grind a long time, the more the grind refines but you navigate entirely by sight. And vagueness has never given a good coffee.
  • The milling lacks homogeneity: the blades slice the coffee beans into several parts resulting in uneven particle distribution, some being very small and others much larger.
The blade mill will therefore make it difficult for you to vary the extraction methods and you will end up with an irregular grind, sometimes fine in places, sometimes more coarse. The result ? An unevenly brewed and super bitter coffee.

The choice of a grinding wheel is therefore a first real criterion to take into account. After that, there is no need to worry too much about the type of wheels - flat or conical - and the material in which they are made - steel or ceramic - both are suitable for use in the home. But for the most curious of you, we quickly explain the specificities of each. 

As opposed to the blade mills, there are mills with grinding wheels, one fixed and the other active connected to a motor. Rather than slicing the coffee beans as a blade mill would, the grinder crushes them: the force is not concentrated on a specific point, the grinding tends to be more regular. You will always find finer particles than others but the general homogeneity will remain largely superior to the milling obtained with a mill with blades. Grinding mills may be equipped with flat grinding wheels or conical grinding wheels. But what is the difference?

Advantages  : homogeneity and freshness of the grind because little ground coffee remains stuck in the grinder, speed, quieter 

Disadvantages  : These mills are usually more bulky and a little more expensive

Advantages  : good milling quality thanks to a slower wheel rotation than for flat grinding wheels, which has the advantage of avoiding overheating of grinding, affordable price, compact mill 

Disadvantages  : these mills are a little noisier and slower. Also beware of the freshness of the grind that remains stuck in the grinder, well think about expelling if the mill is not used in the next ten minutes. 

These two types of grinding wheel have each their strengths, but know that for domestic use, both will be just as suitable. And if you want to push a little further, we can also compare the two types of materials in which are made grinding wheels: steel and ceramics.

The main difference is related to the thermal conductivity. Steel is a good thermal conductor, which means grinding wheels will heat up and cool down faster, an important criterion for industry professionals. Ceramic grinding wheels have lower thermal conductivity; they will need more time to warm up but also to cool down.

In contrast, ceramic grinding wheels are almost indestructible but they are also more expensive and more fragile. That said for home use, their greater fragility will not be a problem unless you send something else in your hopper than coffee beans (like a big stone for example, but it is unlikely that it happens). And to be perfectly honest, the choice of one or the other material will not affect the taste of your coffee.

Thus, the choices between the types of grinding wheel or material concern mainly professionals with large flow, for which the conductivity or the risk of breakage are important criteria. For your home mill however, no need to dig the cabbage to compare these elements because the result will be the same. By cons, the real question to ask you rather about the type of mill: manual coffee grinder or electric coffee grinder?

When we talk about the manual coffee grinder, we immediately think of the Peugeot coffee grinder that we regularly find on the flea markets. Launched in 1840 before the company started to sell cars, these cubic-shaped wooden mills quickly gained notoriety and became the symbol of the domestic coffee grinder. Since then, many improved models have emerged with several advantages: 

Advantages : 

It's economical :  no need to sell a kidney to buy a manual coffee grinder whose prices start at around thirty euros for a plastic model.

It is practical : light and relatively small, a manual coffee grinder is easy to use and is carried everywhere with you, in weekend at the sea as in hiking. 

This is ideal for making filter coffee : the manual coffee grinder is suitable for all filtering techniques, from Bialetti to French Press. 


Not suitable for espresso : the manual coffee grinder does not allow to obtain a sufficiently fine grind to obtain a good espresso.

Limitation in the amount of coffee that can be grinded : this depends of course on the models but the receptacle of a manual coffee grinder does not grind a very large amount of coffee unlike electric mills with a large reservoir .
Our favorite manual coffee grinder at Belleville: 

How To Choose Your Coffee Grinder?

The Hario Slim manual grinder is ideal for making filter coffee at home, whatever the method, and will even allow you to work your arms: grinding a dose of coffee will take you between one and two minutes. And two minutes of sport while making coffee is always won. 

The plus: no need for balance with the mill Hario Slim, fill it to 2cm from the edge and you will get about 30g of coffee (left photo). Any battery for a Chemex or a 500ml Kalita. And for 15g, pour coffee to the edge of the arches (photo right).

How To Choose Your Coffee Grinder?

The electric coffee grinder was born almost a century after the manual mill, the spirit of Jean Mantelet, future founder of ... Moulinex. The electric coffee grinder has two main advantages over the manual coffee grinder:

Advantages :

It allows a greater accuracy of grinding : the electric coffee grinders offer a greater amplitude in the fineness of the grind. Some models have adjustment "notches", others offer a continuous calibration system with cipher marks, allowing even more precision in the degree of finesse.

It preserves your biceps : as the name suggests, the electric coffee grinder is ... electric. Ideal for those who do not have the time in the morning, and for the slackers.


The price: the purchase of an electric coffee grinder represents a greater investment than the purchase of a manual coffee grinder.

The noise : the humming of an electric mill is likely to wake up your half in the morning (especially if you start your day at 6am). But unless you want to grind coffee for a regiment, the sound of the engine will not wait more than ten seconds.

All electric mills do not make espresso, at least a good espresso. Indeed, some mills do not offer sufficient amplitude to obtain a sufficiently fine grind. So be sure to check this point if you plan to buy a mill to make espresso at home.

Our favorite electric coffee grinders at Belleville:

How To Choose Your Coffee Grinder?

The Encore Baratza Electric Mill is a good option. Its entry-level conical wheels offer 40 different adjustment steps with a graduation system that will allow you to adapt your grinding size to all filter methods. However, it is not advisable to make espresso because the degree of finesse leaves something to be desired, unless you have a pressurized filter (with a single exit hole unlike the conventional filter).

How To Choose Your Coffee Grinder?

The Barazza Sette 270 Electric Mill represents the range above: approaching a professional mill, it offers a more efficient engine and a more precise and homogeneous grind, allowing you to enjoy a good espresso and n any filter method. Thanks to its control panel, it also allows you to program different weights according to the methods you use: a welcome time saving in case of a busy morning!

So, to choose your home coffee grinder:
  • Flee the windmill
  • Do not dwell on the comparison between the types of wheels (shape or material)
  • Choose a manual coffee grinder if you only make filter coffee, have a limited budget and want to make coffee everywhere, even in the mountains.
  • Choose an electric coffee grinder if you make espresso, if you do not want to waste time in the morning or if you want a super precise grind (and your wallet allows you).
Great, you are now ready to make some fresh coffee at home! But by the way, do you know that the water you use is also an important criterion? .

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