Although there are many coffee grinders available in the market, there are a few crucial things to consider when purchasing one for espresso. Standard grinders that cannot produce a fine and consistent grind are unsuitable for espresso. To obtain the full-bodied flavor from your beans for espresso, you would need a grinder that allows you to adjust several variables. When you are purchasing an espresso coffee grinder, these are the things you need to consider.
Electric Or Manual
The choice between an electric or manual grinder boils down to how convenient you want coffee grinding to be. A manual grinder would take you 30 seconds to 1 minute to grind for a single shot, while all you need to do is press a button on an electric grinder. An electric grinder will save you a lot of effort if you take multiple shots. Electric grinders also come with extra features. However, hand grinders are incredibly portable. They don't require electricity so are great for traveling with.
Type of Burr
The most significant element in your grinder is a 'gear'-like device known as the burr. This part grinds the beans by crushing them into a fine powder, good enough for espressos. You may find grinders in typical kitchen equipment stores with a blade grinder. These grinders use blades to slice the coffee beans. Due to the less controlled and aggressive nature of the blades, they do not give you a consistent grind that allows you to extract the full flavor of the coffee.
Another thing to note is that burr grinders come in two types - Conical and Flat burrs. Grinders with conical burrs are cheaper, and you will recognize their cone shape. Flat burrs have rings that sit flat on the ground. Both do an excellent job of grinding your beans, although there is much debate about which will provide a better grind.
Grind Settings and Control
For coffee lovers who love experimenting and exploring different beans, roasts, and origins, getting a grinder that allows you to adjust settings such as grind size, grind time, shot size, and shot quantity will ensure you consistently get a good cup of coffee. Manual grinders allow the adjustment of grind size, and that's all. Electric ones come with more settings, so you have more control over the fineness of the coffee. Be it a manual or electric grinder, remember to read reviews and the manufacturer's description to ensure the grinder grinds fine enough for espresso.
The rule of thumb in grinders is buying something that costs as much as your coffee machine. Although manual grinders are cheaper than electric ones, you would still have to pay about US$50 to US$250 for one. With more convenience and features, electric grinders would cost upwards of US$180. Of course, the more you are willing to spend, the more features you can expect to have. Alternatively, second-hand options are available online. However, brand new sets are less likely to be faulty, and they come with warranties. In this sense, they can last you a long time.