If you want to start drinking amazing coffee, then your fresh roasted beans must be ‘fresh ground’ too. I hate coffee snobbery, but having your own grinder is coffee basics. It’s the most important piece of equipment in your coffee making setup. A big shiny expensive espresso maker will only be as good as your grinder.
Don’t have a grinder? Ok it’s going to be costly, but having your own is the most effective way of improving the taste of your coffee. The flavors and aromas contained within the beans will quickly fade once they’ve been ground, so buying pre-ground coffee is not a good idea!
Besides the quality aspect, having a grinder allows you to adjust the size of the grind to suit particular brewing methods, for instance espresso coffee needs to be ground much finer than for a cafetiere.
Smokey Barn have sourced a selection of grinders which you can find in the Brewing Equipment shop. As the old saying goes “you pay for what you get” and grinders are no exception. We would recommend spending at least ¼ of your total espresso machine budget on a grinder. So if you buy a £300 espresso machine – spend at least £100 on a grinder to go with it. A good quality coffee grinder should last for many years if looked after properly.
Here is a quick list of things to look for when purchasing a grinder:
Burrs – The components that do the 'grinding'. We only recommend buying a burr grinder. Blade grinders 'chop' at the beans and leave an inconsistent finish which will spoil the brew method. Burrs actually ‘grind’ and have much more even finish. Blade grinders can also burn the coffee because they generate a lot more heat than burrs. Expensive grinders often have high performance burrs, such as being made from ceramic material or having a ‘conical’ shape.
Dosers – Are mostly used for espresso shots in cafes. The ground coffee is fed into a small hopper which has multiple segments in the bottom. When the operator pulls the lever, a measured dose of coffee is dispensed from the hopper (like a revolver). Not really essential unless you're making several drinks at a time.
Hoppers – A large hopper is not really required for home use. They are also not air tight, so storing your beans in the hopper is a bad idea. Keep your Smokey Barn coffee in the sealed bag provided and only use what you need.
Stepless - Most domestic grinders have a certain amount of grind settings, ranging from coarse to fine. A stepless grinder is a turn dial that allows for infinite and minute adjustment.