Burr grinder vs. blade grinder: Which is better for whole bean coffee?

Coffee aficionados will go to any length to ensure their brew is the best it can be. And while it's important to have good beans and a good system for brewing coffee, it's easy to overlook the important step of grinding the beans themselves. This is actually one of the most important steps for great coffee (via The Kitchn).

According to the authors of The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee, "any barista will tell you that the single most important piece of gear in the espresso-making chain is the grinder. So buy your grinder first." So, that really justifies just how vital a good grinder is. But to pick a grinder, you really need to know the difference between a blade grinder and a burr grinder.

A blade grinder tends to be an inexpensive and common option. It has a little bowl with a blade in the center of it that whips around when you turn it on. The beans tend to go flying around the grinder's bowl and are chopped up in an irregular way. A burr grinder, on the other hand, looks more like a piece of vintage kitchenware, especially with its crank to grind the beans by hand.

Use a burr grinder for the best cup of coffee

Inside a burr grinder, there are two burrs — abrasive, textured surfaces — that rotate as it grinds. These catch the beans between their surfaces and crush them into the designated size of grind you want. These can provide you with anything from an ultra-fine grind to a coarse grind, and they're very precise every time (via Weaver's Coffee). The reason this is so important is that it gives you control and consistency so all of your beans will come out with a uniform grind, which in turn makes better coffee.

Generally, the finer the grind, the bolder the coffee's flavor will be. If you have an espresso machine and want a smooth pull, a fine grind is best. Those who have a drip coffee maker should aim for a medium grind, according to Weaver's Coffee.

Though you can choose to use a blade grinder, it's true that craft coffee makers, be they professional or simply connoisseurs, use burr grinders to get the perfect, accurate grind day in and day out. So, if your goal is to make the best possible cup of home-brewed coffee, you should definitely go with a burr grinder.