How to Use a Coffee Grinder [ Step by Step Guide With Details]

If you are a serious coffee lover, then the chances are that you know how vital the grind size is for an excellent cup of coffee.

The tastes of the coffee vastly depend on grind size. That’s when a coffee grinder comes in. Nowadays, there are a bunch of different coffee grinders out there that can deliver the precise grind sizes.

So in this comprehensive guide, we will go over how to use a coffee grinder step by step. Along with that, we will share some information about the different types of coffee grinders, and at the end of this guide, we will answer some frequently asked questions that will quench your curiosity.

So without further ado, let’s dive right in.

how to use coffee grinder

What is a Coffee Grinder

Basically, coffee grinder is a tool that takes the responsibilities of extracting the authentic flavor from fresh coffee beans by grinding them into small particles. There are generally two types of coffee grinders out there: Automatic/Electric Grinder and Manual Grinder. Automatic grinders can be divided as well into two types, Burr Grinder and Blade Grinder.

Inside of a Blade Grinder, there’s a blade pretty much like a propeller that chops the coffee beans to small particles. This is the primary job of a blade grinder. However, there has been some controversy about the grinding quality of different types of blade grinders.

Most coffee connoisseurs think that Burr Grinders does a great job in delivering uniform-sized particles compared to a Blade Grinder. They crushes the coffee beans using two burrs and is able to deliver desired grind size for various brewing method.

With a manual coffee grinder, you need to provide manual force for grinding coffee beans. There are numerous types of manual coffee grinders out there. As a manual tool, you have to put some effort into grinding. Besides, it takes a longer time to grind compared to the other two types of coffee grinders.

While buying, you need to choose your best grinder for coffee beans as per your need.

Types of Coffee Grinders & Brief Details

As we have said, there are two main types of coffee grinders available at the market: Automatic/Electric and Manual coffee grinder. Automatic or Electric coffee grinders have two variations as well which are Burr grinder and Blade Grinder.

In a manual coffee grinder, you have to provide manual forces by your hands for grinding coffee.  So in this segment of the guide, we will give you a brief details about these three types and how they work.

Blade Coffee Grinder

It’s an inexpensive item for grinding coffee beans. Blade grinder features a propeller-shaped stainless steel blade that usually chops the coffee bean into small particles. Most of the time, the particles’ size is not uniform, which may lead you to a dirty, mucky cup of coffee that tastes bitter.

Therefore, we don’t recommend you to purchase a Blade Grinder over a Burr Grinder just because they can save some extra bucks.

Burr Coffee Grinder

Nowadays, if you are talking about a coffee grinder, most of the folks will assume that you are talking about a Burr Coffee Grinder. To be honest, a Blade Coffee Grinder is not even close to a Burr Coffee Grinder in terms of quality output.

You have to invest quite a hefty amount to get a uniformly sized grind that will deliver excellent cups of coffee. Burr Coffee Grinder has two burrs underneath the bean hopper that crushes the freshly roasted coffee bean into your desired uniform-sized grind.

Manual Coffee Grinder

The manual coffee grinder is the most simple type of coffee grinder. It features a tiny little bean hopper, burrs for grinding the bean, and a chamber for collecting the grind.

You have to put forces with your hands for grinding. Therefore it may take more time compared to the other types. Besides, there’s a limited grind size adjustment option.

You can purchase a pretty handy manual coffee grinder just by spending 20-30 bucks. Some manual grinders can provide consistent grind size, which is excellent at this price point.

Dosing & Non-Dosing grinders

Dosing coffee grinder is a type of grinder where there’s a chamber that collects the ground coffee. You can collect the ground from the chamber to a portafilter by pulling off a handle. While a Non-Dosing grinder will deliver the ground coffee directly to the portafilter or other receptacles.

How to Use A Coffee Grinder

So, you want to grind your coffee beans right before brewing. There’s simply no better way to extract the flavor from the coffee than primary grinding. Folks who are drinking coffee for a longer period declare that this is the best way to enjoy your every sip.

Whether you are making Espresso, Aeropress, cold-brew, or other types of coffee drinks, you need to keep in mind about the grind size. In this section, we will learn how to use coffee grinders in some easy steps.

How to Use a Blade Coffee Grinder

Blade grinder has an effortless, functional mechanism to use. You need to add some freshly roasted coffee beans into the grinder’s hopper and then switch on the button and let the stainless steel blade grind.

FYI, for getting more fine grind, make sure to grind for a bit longer.

In order to make an excellent cup of coffee, you need to put about 20 grams of coffee beans at the bean hopper.

Now, people don’t like the blade grinder as they tend to provide uneven grind sizes. That way, you may find the taste a bit sour or bitter. But don’t worry; we will show you three amazing steps that can improve the size of grind dramatically. Let’s take a look at them.

1. Shaking:

While grinding your fresh coffee bean, don’t just hold down the button and let the blade to spin. It’s crucial to stop the grinder and shake the grounding beans frequently. That way, you will get the more even size.

2. Sieve:

After finishing the Shaking process, you will find some boulder-sized pieces of grindings along with the superfine grindings. To get rid of them, sift the ground coffee with a sieve, and that way, you can eliminate the big bouldering pieces and get some fine pieces for making a coffee cup.

3. Smush:

So, we have taken care of the big-sized grounds. Now, we need to get rid of the super fine pieces. By doing so, you will get uniform pieces that will evenly extract great flavor from the coffee. And the result is an excellent cup of coffee.

So, for doing that, place all of the ground coffee in a paper towel and rub them into the paper. Then simply place them in another bowl. Did you notice something? All the super fine pieces are stuck with the paper towel; thus, you will get all the uniform coffee grounds.

How to Use a Burr Coffee Grinder

Now it’s time to look at how to use a burr grinder. No doubt, this is the best type of coffee grinder for getting the uniform size of particles. That will deliver a great cup of coffee without putting a lot more effort.

With a Burr coffee grinder, you have the flexibility to set the size on your own according to the kind of coffee you are making. Let’s look at some steps for getting a clear concept of using Burr Grinders.

This guide is based on KitchenAid Burr Grinder. You may have a different type of Burr grinder, but the process is pretty much the same. Hope the following steps will help you in understanding the basics.

1. First Time:

For the first time, ensure to clean the bean hopper by using warm soapy water and dry it precisely. Now, place the hopper at the top and turn it clockwise until it’s tight enough. And then place the lower grind jar as well.

2. Grind Size:

It’s time to set up your desired size of grind according to your brew method. With the grinder, set 1-3 by rolling the wheel for getting coarse grind particles that are best for French Press. For Pour Over, Siphon, or Automatic Drip, it is recommended to select the 5-7 range in order to get the medium grind size. For Espresso, choose 8 for a fine grind.

3. Grind:

Next off, fill the bean hopper with the desired amount of coffee beans and place the hopper lid at the top accurately. When you are ready for grinding coffee, simply switch up to begin the grinding. If you got the right amount of grounds for making coffee, just flip the switch down and remove the grinding jar to collect the whole bean particles.

How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder

For the sake of this guide, we are using the Rhino Grinder as it is pretty easy to use. First off, remove the top of the grinder and put your desired amount of freshly roasted coffee beans in the hopper. Now place the top again and adjust the settings by opening the bottom part. Here you will find a burr.

By turning it anti-clockwise, the result will be a coarser grind; on the other hand, you will get a fine grind by turning it clockwise. This is the trick of a manual coffee grinder.

How to Choose The Right Grind Size

If you want to taste different coffee types, then the first thing you have to keep in mind is grind size. There are quite a lot of types of coffee out there. A good grinder will give you consistent grind size over time.

For each type, there’s an ideal grind size. For example, for drip coffee, medium grind is perfect. On the other hand, coarse grind is perfect for French Press. So, grind your coffee beans carefully to make the perfect cup of coffee.

The following chart will give you a clear concept of that.

Grind SizeTypes of Coffee
Extra FineTurkish Coffee
FineEspresso, Aeropress (1 min brew time) and Moka Pot
Medium FineAeropress ( 2-3 minutes brew time), Cone-shaped Pour-Over Brewers
MediumAutomatic Drip Coffee and Manual Drip Coffee makers
Medium CoarsePerfect for Chemex coffee makers
CoarseBest for French Press, Percolator, and Coffee Cupping
Extra CoarseCowboy Coffee and Cold Brew Coffee
Grind Size Chart for Coffee

How Grinders Affect the Coffee

The taste of the brewed coffee widely relies on the grind size. If you read the previous segment of this guide, you should already know about the different types of grind sizes for certain coffee types.

If the particles are too coarse, chances are the grounds are under-extracted, which leads to a sour taste on your coffee. On the other hand, if the particles’ size is extra fine, they may be over-extracted, which can ruin the authentic flavor and deliver you a bitter coffee cup.

So, the primary matter of concern is to make sure the particles are uniformly sized. In that case, we would recommend using a Burr Coffee Grinder rather than a Blade Grinder. You may be wondering why most of the coffee connoisseurs don’t use or recommend blade grinders.

Well, the answer is a blade grinder is not even close to a Burr Grinder in terms of grind size quality. However, we have mentioned three easy steps that can dramatically improve the grind size with a Blade Grinder.

Inside A Coffee Grinder

Let’s take a look at the inside of a Burr Coffee Grinder. A bean hopper placed at the top of the grinder. Underneath the bean hopper, there are two burrs available for doing the grinding job. There’s one that can spin from them, and the other one stays at a stationary phase. These two take responsibility for crushing the beans to deliver well-grounded particles.

Ground coffee access between these two burrs and. The spacing between the two burrs can be adjusted according to your desired grind size. We have already mentioned how to adjust the grind setting on a KitchenAid Burr Grinder for a specific type of brewing method. If you have any other kind of grinder, check the user manual for getting a clear concept. Now, it’s time to get some idea about the burr material, size, and shapes.

  • Shape of Burr:

There are two shapes of burrs, and they are Conical and Flat. Both of them have advantages and disadvantages. If you intend to make Espresso, then a Flat burr grinder would be a bit more preferable to choose as they produce consistent grind size.

On the other hand, if you want to use your coffee grinder for brewing methods like pour-over, then Conical burr grinder should be good to go as they don’t need a super fine grind size.

  • Burr Size:

Burr size is usually measured in millimeters. For home use, a 40mm burr sized burr should be fine. That may cost comparatively low, but it’s pretty capable of doing the job effortlessly. There are also some other options out there for prosumer level and high-end commercial use.

If you are looking for a coffee bean grinder for high-volume commercial use, then 80mm plus burr sized grinder would be perfect.  A larger burr sized grinder means short grinding time and high-quality grind.

  • Burr Material:

There are two most commonly used materials for burr steel and ceramics. They both have advantages in their own area.

Burr made from steel tends to last longer, while ceramics are more susceptible to damage. But, ceramics can retain their sharpness longer compared to a steel burr. With a steel burr grinder, you may get a decent service before any replacement. On the other hand, ceramics may last a bit longer. So, both are pretty good to use. 

  • Grind Size Adjustment:

For adjusting the desired grind size, there are two common types of coffee grinders. One of them is Stepped Grinder, and the other is Stepless.

With a Stepped grinder, you will find some definite stops for specific grind size. Grind setting is very important to make the perfect coffee. Grinders with a stepless adjustment system will let you adjust infinite grind size depending on your needs.

If you are not doing higher-end espresso, you don’t need a stepless grinder. Besides, you will find some of the burr grinders that will allow you to do espresso as well.

On a different note, generally, quality espresso machines come with grinders. Some espresso machines have burr grinders and some of them have blade grinders. Just check which one you want right before buying the espresso machine.

  • Motor Power and Build Quality:

Motor power varies from 100 to 400 or more watts. A more powerful grinder motor will do the job quicker than a low power motor. A high powerful motor will deliver a longer duty cycle than a less powerful one.

There are two primary materials for the grinder body, steel, and plastic. If you pay some more bucks, you will get less plasticky and more steel body material that will definitely last longer.

Maintain Coffee Grinder Longer Period

To keep the grinder running for a long time, it’s crucial to take care of it. In this section, we will learn how to clean a coffee bean grinder so that you can maintain it for a more extended period.

  • Cleaning a Blade Grinder:

For Blade grinder, add about 20 grams of uncooked rice in the bean hopper. Now, start the grinder and let it grind until the rice becomes fine. This process is pretty good for eliminating any unusual smell. After that, remove the fine rice, and you will end up with a fresh blade grinder.

  • Cleaning a Burr Grinder:

For cleaning a Burr grinder, the steps are pretty much the same. To clean it, remove the top bean hopper with its lid and the grinding jar as well. Wash all of them with warm soapy water. After washing, dry them precisely.

Now wipe the body of the grinder with a soft, damp cloth. Do not wash the grinder body with water. Remove the burr by losing the screws on either side of the faceplate. Use a cleaning brush to clean all the dust entirely. Also, clean the motor housing with that brush and then reassemble the whole machine. Do these processes regularly to maintain the grinder for a long time. After a good clean, a used grinder looks like a new one.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Else Can A Coffee Grinder Grind?

Along with grinding coffee, a coffee grinder (Blade Coffee Grinder) can grind spices pretty well. Besides, it can grind bread crumbs, nuts, or even a small amount of flour as well.

Can a Coffee Grinder be used as a Food Processor?

Blade coffee grinders are designed especially for chopping the coffee beans, but you can use it for chopping spices, nuts, and something like that. You actually won’t get a satisfactory result after using it as an alternative to a food processor. A well-constructed knife will deliver a better result than that.

Can Coffee Grinders Grind Spices/Rice/Nuts?

Yes, you can. For that, a decent quality Blade grinder is needed to do the job.

Final Words

Hope this comprehensive guide will help you get a clear concept of using a coffee grinder. We have tried to keep it simple to understand the basics and use them to solve their problems.

If you have any queries regarding this whole guide, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment section below. We would love to hear from you.

Happy Brewing!

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