How to Use a Coffee Grinder: Tips, Tricks, and Hacks

By Harry •  Updated: 05/15/22 •  13 min read

It can be challenging to find the right kind of coffee grinder for your needs, especially if you’re new to the coffee-making process.

But with a little research and some practice, you’ll be able to find the perfect grinder for your home brewing setup. Here are a few tips, tricks, and hacks to help you get the most out of your coffee grinder.

What Are Coffee Grinders?

Coffee grinders are devices that pulverize whole coffee beans into smaller pieces or grounds. The size of the grounds can be customized depending on your brewing method and personal preference.

They can be electric or manual, and the best type of grinder for you will depend on your budget, lifestyle, and coffee-drinking habits.

Does a Coffee Grinder Make A Difference?

In short, yes! A coffee grinder allows you to create a more consistent grind, which leads to improved flavor and aroma in your cup of coffee.

Having a coffee grinder will help you with:

It also gives you the ability to customize the flavor of your coffee, which can be helpful if you’re using a pour-over brewing method or want to experiment with different brewing methods in the future.

How to Use A Coffee Grinder

Now that you know a little bit more about coffee grinders, let’s go over how to use one. Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Choose Your Beans.

The first step is to choose the type of coffee beans you want to use. You can experiment with different beans to find a flavor that you like.

If you want to grind coffee beans to make espresso, you’ll need to use a dark roast coffee bean. For drip coffee, you can use a light or medium roast coffee bean.

TIP: Always buy fresh coffee beans. Coffee beans that have been sitting on a shelf for months will not taste as good as freshly roasted beans.

Step 2: Measure the Beans.

Once you’ve chosen your beans, it’s time to measure them. This will be different depending on the type of coffee you’re making.

So, for example, if you’re making a cup of AeroPress coffee the coffee to water ratio is 1:16. This means you’ll need to use 1 gram of coffee for every 16 grams of water.

TIP: You can download our free grind size cheat sheet to help you measure the beans.

Step 3: Grind the Beans.

Now it’s time to grind the beans. Place them in the grinder and choose the setting you want.

If you’re making espresso, you’ll want to use a fine grind setting. For drip coffee, you can use a medium or coarse grind setting.

TIP: If you’re not sure what grind setting to use, start with a medium setting and adjust from there.

Step 4: Clean The Grinder.

Once you’re done grinding the beans, it’s important to clean the grinder. Coffee grinds can build up and cause problems with the blades.

To clean the grinder, simply remove the bean hopper and brush out any grinds that are stuck in there. You can also use a vacuum cleaner with the hose attachment to suck up any grinds that are stuck in the blades.

TIP: It’s a good idea to clean the grinder after every use. Forgetting to clean it can cause the blades to get dull and make it difficult to grind the beans.

Burr Grinders vs Blade Grinders

There are two main types of grinders: the blade grinder and the burr grinder.

1. Blade Grinders

The basic idea behind a blade grinder is that it uses blades to cut up your coffee beans. Your coffee beans need to be relatively whole and uniformly shaped for this type of grinder to get the best results.

The only problem is that some bean types are harder to grind than others. For example, you will have difficulty getting any consistency out of oily beans or smaller beans like flaxseeds.

2. Burr Grinders

On the other hand, a burr grinder uses two revolving abrasive surfaces to grind the beans instead of blades cutting them up. This type is known for producing a more even and consistent grind with less noise.

The main complaint from customers is that it can be difficult to clean the burrs. However, this is a necessary step to ensure that the coffee has a rich aroma and flavor when it’s brewed.

No matter what type of grinder you use, make sure that it’s easy to clean. Otherwise, it won’t be easy to figure out how to use a coffee grinder.

Burr grinders come in two types: flat and conical burr grinders.

Flat burrs resemble the blades of a food processor, and they are quite similar to blade grinders. However, they can create heat buildup and are less durable than their counterparts.

Conical burrs resemble screws, which rotate against each other to grind your beans. They are considered the best option for grinding coffee as they produce less heat and noise than other grinders.

No matter what type of grinder you use, make sure that it’s easy to clean. Otherwise, it won’t be easy to figure out how to use a coffee grinder.

Pulse, and automatic are both good options for grinding. 

The greatest coffee grinders do not even have to get all the lights and gadgets; the most crucial feature is a good burr setting. However, if you grind regularly, many times per day, several extra features might help you ease your routine.

The Pulse Option

The majority of the alternatives have a ‘pulse.’ When you press the button, your coffee will grind. If you release the button, your coffee will not ground. Basic and easy for everyone.

The Automatic Option

 Many grinders offer an “automatic” feature that allows you to grind without pressing a button. Whilst you waiting, twist the lever, and the coffee grinds for a bit.

General Burr Grinders Cost

The majority of coffee grinders range in price from $40 to $70. The average cost of a good burr grinder for home brewing is roughly $60.

Some of the more expensive models can cost upwards of $200, but these are generally designed for commercial use.

If you’re just starting, I recommend choosing a mid-range grinder in the $40 to $60 range. This will give you a good-quality grinder without breaking the bank.

The Lifespan of A Burr Grinder

When you’re using a burr coffee grinder on a routine basis, it survives around 7-10 years. The average lifespan varies widely based on the quality of the grinder, how often you use it, how well you take care of it, and other factors.

If you are looking for a quality burr coffee grinder that will last a long time, it is important to find one made with durable materials.

Some of the best burr grinders on the market are made with stainless steel. This material is not only durable but also easy to clean.

The Electric Coffee Grinders

Most electric burr grinders offer a variety of quantitative size options, allowing you to grind beans thin enough for a Moka pot coffee maker or espresso machine to thick enough for cool drip coffee or French press coffee.

Electric blade grinders are not as versatile, but they are faster and easier to use.

The Manual Coffee Grinders

The main advantage of a manual coffee grinder is that they are small and easy to take with you when you travel. You will never have to worry about an electrical outlet or finding batteries. Plus, they’re much quieter than electric grinders.

Manual grinders also give you more control over the size of your grounds. This is helpful if you want to experiment with different brewing methods.

Some people prefer manual grinders because they feel like they get a better cup of coffee. It’s a matter of personal preference, but if you’re looking for the best possible cup of coffee, you might want to invest in a quality manual burr grinder.

Tips and Tricks When Using a Coffee Grinder

There are a few things you should keep in mind when using a coffee grinder. Here are some tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your grinder:

1. Keep Your Grinder Clean.

The first and most important thing to remember is to keep your grinder clean. This will help ensure that your coffee tastes fresh and doesn’t have any residue from previous grinds.

Leaving ground coffee in your grinder can lead to bitterness and a stale taste. Make sure to brush out the grinds after each use and give your grinder a good cleaning every few weeks.

2. Don’t Overload Your Grinder.

Another common mistake is overloading your grinder. This can lead to uneven grinding and poor coffee flavor.

Only grind as much coffee as you need for each batch. Too much coffee in the grinder will result in a mess and wasted beans.

3. Choose the Right Grind Setting.

Using the wrong grind setting can also ruin your coffee. Depending on the brewing method you’re using, you’ll need to adjust the grind accordingly.

The general rule of thumb is to use a finer grind for espresso and a coarser grind for drip coffee. But, many variables can affect the grind, so it’s best to experiment until you find what works for you.

4. Use Freshly Ground Coffee beans.

Coffee beans start to lose their flavor soon after they’re ground. For the best cup of coffee, it’s always best to use freshly ground beans.

This means grinding your beans right before you brew. Or, if you’re making coffee for a large group, you might want to grind the beans ahead of time and store them in an airtight container.

5. Buy Whole Bean Coffee and Grind as Needed.

And this is where it all starts… with whole coffee beans. It’s always best to buy whole beans and grind them fresh, but that’s not always possible (or convenient).

If you have to buy pre-ground coffee, make sure it’s fresh and stored properly. Coffee that’s been sitting on a grocery store shelf for months is not going to taste good, no matter how good your grinder is.

How Coffee Grinders Affect Your Coffee

Freshly ground coffee always tastes better than pre-ground coffee that’s been sitting on a store shelf. But why is that?

It all has to do with surface area. When coffee beans are ground, their surface area increases dramatically. This exposed surface area is where all the flavor resides. The more surface area, the more flavor that can be extracted.

That’s why freshly ground coffee always tastes better than pre-ground coffee – the beans have more flavor.

But, there’s another factor that affects the flavor of your coffee: oxidation.

Oxidation is a chemical reaction that happens when coffee is exposed to air. This reaction causes the coffee to lose its flavor and aroma. The longer coffee is ground, the more time it has to oxidize and the worse it will taste.

That’s why it’s always best to grind your beans right before you brew. If you have to grind them ahead of time, make sure to store them in an airtight container so they don’t oxidize.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Use A Coffee Grinder for French Press?

If you’re a fan of French press coffee, then you know that having a good grinder is essential. The key to making great French press coffee is to grind your coffee beans coarse.

This allows the water to evenly extract the flavor from the beans without over-extracting, which can lead to bitterness.

A lot of grinders can produce a coarse grind, but if you’re not sure, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and go for a slightly coarser grind than you think you need.

Once you’ve ground your beans, simply add them to your French press with hot water and let them steep for the desired amount of time. Then press down on the plunger and enjoy!

How to Use A Coffee Grinder for Espresso?

If you’re grinding your coffee beans for espresso, you’ll want to use a coffee grinder to grind them fine.

There are a few different types of grinders, but the best type for espresso is a burr grinder.

Burr grinders grind the beans more evenly, which results in a more consistent cup of coffee. The grind size is also important – you’ll want to grind your beans fine, but not too fine.

If they’re too fine, the water will have a hard time extracting the flavor from the beans. If they’re not fine enough, the water will flow through the grounds too quickly and won’t extract all of the flavors.

The best grind size for espresso is somewhere around the consistency of sand. Once you’ve ground your beans, you’re ready to make some delicious espresso!

Do Burr Grinders Become Dull Over Time? 

Yes, burr grinders can become dull over time. This is because the burrs are slowly worn down by the coffee beans as they are ground.

The best way to prevent this from happening is to regularly clean and maintain your grinder. This will help to extend its lifespan and keep it performing at its best.

How to Use A Coffee Grinder in Store?

Many stores have the option to grind your coffee beans for you. This can be a great way to get freshly ground beans without having to do it yourself.

Simply tell the store clerk how many beans you need and what grind size you want. They’ll then grind the beans for you and package them up.

If you’re not sure what grind size you need, the store clerk will be able to help you choose the right one for your needs.

Final Thoughts

So there you have it – everything you need to know about coffee grinders. Whether you’re just starting and looking for a basic guide, or are a more experienced coffee lover looking to up your game, I hope this article has been helpful.

And don’t forget – if you want to get the most out of your grinder, download our free grind size cheat sheet! It includes all the information in this article plus a few bonus tips and tricks. Happy grinding!

Harry

Harry is the founder of The Coffee Wave. He is an expert at grinding coffee and he drinks at least 5 cups of coffee a day! His mission is to make coffee grinding easy for everyone and each year he helps thousands of readers with grind size, types of grinders, and more.