Chances are you’re stuck at home at the moment, or at the very least reluctant to be spending any more time outside than you really need to. For those of us who’s favourite coffee spot is closer to work than home, it might be a bit tricky to experience a great coffee before logging into work.
One of the solutions is to support your local café. These are hard times for everyone, and hospitality venues are taking more than their fair share of the brunt. Another solution is upgrading or creating a coffee setup at home, and if you tried to buy any domestic equipment last year, you’ll know that this was a popular option. It’s either a lack of supply or surging prices.
If you read our recent write-up about coffee ageing, then you’ll understand that coffee storage is super important for keeping your coffee tasting its best for as long as possible.
So what is the next step to amazing coffee?
Grinding! Grinding! Grinding!
Why is a grinder important?
Once coffee is ground, the amount of surface area exposed to the elements is increased by an extremely large amount. The gasses that we mentioned in the last write-up will escape a lot more quickly, and air can cause oxidisation more quickly. If you buy pre-ground coffee, the biggest improvement you can make to your at home coffee, is to buy a suitable grinder.
Grinding is your bread and butter of coffee making, and arguably a lot more important than your coffee machine. An amazing and expensive espresso machine can’t improve upon the wrong grinder. The right grinder however, combined with a good espresso recipe can help make great coffee on even the most basic equipment.
What to look for in a grinder:
Unfortunately, a lot of marketing for domestic coffee equipment is useless or wrong information (in my experience), so what should you look for if you’re looking to buy a grinder?
1. Grind adjustments: Stepless adjustments are better than stepped. The more step options you have are better than less. If a grinder comes with only 8 grind options, you won’t have a lot of control. If it comes with 60 grind options, then that is a huge improvement;
2. Easy to clean and service: The best grinder is a clean grinder. So, being able to get inside the bur chamber and anywhere ground coffee builds up is really important. A cheap, plastic grinder might not withstand being pulled apart all the time. Make sure replacement burs are easily available;
3. Fit for purpose: If you’re on a budget, a great way to save money is avoid espresso altogether. Saving money by buying an Aeropress or pour over equipment can allow you to spend more money on a better grinder and better coffee;
4. Electric or nah unnecessary: Hand grinders can be a great alternative to electric grinders. You can get better quality burs at a lower price, they are much easier to clean and are a whole lot quieter than an electric grinder.
I recently did a review on 3 domestic grinders and found these results:
Baratza Forte (semi commercial)
This great little grinder with 2 grind modes, weight or time option and yes it has a built in scales!! The Positives - There are 3 pre-sets, plus a manual mode. Grind by weight only works with the small container supplied and not the portafilter holder espresso option. With 54mm flat ceramic burrs, it even comes with a spare set of blades! The hopper has a safety cut off feature. The Negatives - Static energy makes coffee go everywhere, it’s not steeples in grind setting and there is a very limited supply available. They RRP for $1,300.
Niche Zero (Holy Macaroni!)
This thing is like a mini EK43. We actually use these in some of the cafes we supply coffee to. Unbelievable little beauty. With 63mm conical blades, stepless grind setting, safety switch cover, super quiet and fast. It is a very manual style grinder, no pre-sets, you just grind or not grind! With this direct grind path, there is no residual coffee left in the grinder. There is a dosing cup that fits perfectly into a portafilter. Awesome for the advanced or the obsessive type. Almost impossible to find due to demand/supply + they RRP for $1,815.
Anfim BEST On Demand
On Demand – Definitely, THE BEST. A commercial brand of grinder built to last. If you want a set and forget style grinder to sit next to your espresso machine, then this is it! The dose across 50 consecutive shots showed only a 4% variance. That is super impressive. With 54mm steel flat blades, 2 programable timers, a small footprint, it’s quiet, automatic start/stop activation switch (hands free grinding), stepless grind adjustment and super strong (I accidentally dropped mine whilst it was in the box and it was totally fine!) I like these so much that we have decided to stock them on our website.
We are selling them for $949 delivered to your door with a free 1 kilogram bag of coffee! SHOP NOW!
You might have noticed that I haven’t mentioned anything about timers, scales, touch screens or anything like that. Built-in scales on a grinder are great but expensive. Any other extra settings and features might make your life slightly more convenient, however they are more likely unnecessary or confusing. I still recommend getting a good set of scales that are accurate to at least one decimal place. Good scales are a must have for good coffee.
We’ll talk more about more about how to use our equipment more in a future email.
For now… Happy grinding!