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Blade grinders vs. burrs: a comparison

Blade grinders vs. burrs: a comparison

Whether you are preparing your morning espresso, French press, drip filter or Aeropress - grinding your own beans makes all the difference to your morning coffee for next level enjoyment. But how does the type of grinding affect the flavour of the coffee and what are the technical differences?

Firstly, a comparison of the common techniques: as a rule, the perfect coffee flavour can only be achieved with accurately freshly ground coffee. For household use, most retailers offer either inexpensive blade grinders or premium burr grinders. The blade grinder breaks the beans rather randomly and unevenly with spinning blades, whereas with a burr grinder the beans are ground more evenly. This is because burr grinders consist of two accurately cut burrs at their core, one stationary and one rotating. The distance between the burrs determines the coarseness of the ground coffee and can be adjusted accordingly. The burrs inside are either made from steel or ceramic and come in two shapes, flat or conical - in which a male conical burr sits inside the centre of a female, instead of the two flat burrs.

How much does the grinding method determine the quality of the ground coffee?

A first-class coffee experience demands, among other things, that the aromas are extracted as uniformly as possible during the brewing process. Ideally, this consistency should be reproducible over many brews. Blade grinders smash the coffee beans, very effectively but rather randomly and with an inconsistent result. In this process, the coffee grinds consist of unevenly sized, large and small particles plus fines, which can never be accurately reproduced.
Burrs, on the other hand, achieve uniform particle distribution and thus significantly better flavour extraction time and time again. By this method, even the most elaborately roasted speciality coffee recipes can easily be implemented and refined.

What are the advantages of a blade grinder and how can the price difference be explained?

Blade grinders are almost identical in their design to food blenders, which are easily produced in large quantities. The adoption of basic components reduces development and manufacturing costs, so that blade grinders can be offered at low entry-level prices. The technical heart of these grinders is therefore not specifically developed for coffee grinding and thus not ideal for this area of application, especially with regard to grinding speciality coffees.

What are the advantages of a coffee grinder with burrs?

In high-quality coffee grinders, the burrs are specifically designed for grinding coffee beans: the material, geometry and surfaces are designed to ensure consistency and excellent grinding results. This is further helped by the provision of temperature-stable motors and precise dosing mechanisms. Since the burrs are generally made from high-quality steel, they should not need to be replaced for several years, especially when used in a household setting. If new burrs are required, specialised manufacturers such as Mahlkönig offer replacement burrs and spare parts so that your grinder can be used for many years to bring you a first-class taste experience.

Discover our X54 Allround Home Grinder

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