Best Coffee Grinders for Pour Over

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Coffee Grinder Buying Guide

Putting the time and effort into brewing pour-over coffee is a waste if you’re not using fresh-ground beans. We’ve picked out some of our favorite home coffee grinders and reviewed them below. If you’re ready to embark on manual brewing, you’ll definitely want to have one of these handy devices in your kitchen.

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This hand-powered JavaPresse Coffee Grinder is compact, portable, and requires no electricity to operate. That makes it both a great choice for travelers and ideal for small spaces with limited counter space. Its ceramic burr grinders are durable and long-lasting, with 18 precision-tooled grind levels for the perfect cup every time you brew.

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The Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder is our top choice in electric grinders for both quality and convenience. Its innovative motor is quieter than most electric grinders and also prevents friction from heating the burrs. This maintains the aroma and flavor of the ground coffee better, especially when grinding fine for Turkish or espresso brewing. We also appreciate the relatively small counter space footprint and the hands-free option you get thanks to the 5-60 second timer.

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This compact grinder from Krups has a slim 7-inch profile that’s easy to find room for on even crowded counters. Its 12 grind settings run the gamut from French press to espresso, so it can accommodate any grind style. We also love how easy it is to clean and maintain, thanks to the removable hopper and top burr. The automatic timer takes the guesswork out of dosing, letting you grind the ideal amount for the number of cups you’re brewing.

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The quality of craftsmanship is the main advantage of this Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder. This starts with the precise tooling on the conical steel burrs, which can be easily adjusted by turning the hopper. Its motor is sophisticated, as well, and designed to hold up to years of use. The glass grind catcher is a nice touch, as well, both easier to clean and generating less static cling than plastic containers.

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Those who want the most precise control over their grind level will love the Baratza Encore. It has the same commercial-grade burrs and fine grind adjustment settings you’ll find on café grinders, letting you brew like a barista. Using it is still easy for non-experts, with a front-mounted pulse button and a simple power switch on the side. The included user manual makes it easy to find the right grind level for your brewing style, too.

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Speed is the main advantage of a blade grinder, like this electric grinder from Shardor. Its high-powered motor can give you fine-ground coffee in just 15 seconds. While it’s not the best option if you’re looking for precision, its small size and easy operation make it a very convenient, versatile choice.

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The hopper design on this Oxo Brew Conical Burr Grinder is its most innovative attribute. It has a mess-free seal so you can remove it without spilling all your beans. The tinted plastic lets you see your bean level while still limiting UV rays that make the coffee go stale. We also like that you get micro-adjustment options between the 15 major settings, giving you more control over your grind level.

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If you want the most precise and powerful home grinder, the Baratza Virtuoso+ is a perfect choice. You can adjust the timer down to a tenth of a second for more accurate dosing. The 40mm steel burrs have a range of 40 adjustment levels, letting you dial in the ideal grind size for any style of brewing. It’s also faster than many burr grinders, producing enough for a French press or pour over in 30 seconds or less.

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This automatic grinder from Mr. Coffee gives you more control and precision than most blade grinders. Select your brew size and grind level using the buttons on the side and it grinds the coffee for you, no need to hold down on the lid. The Chamber Maid sweeping system is a neat feature, too, helping to keep the grinds contained to the chamber.

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This manual burr grinder from Vevok Chef is perfect for brewing a single cup quietly or on the go. Its grinding chamber has a capacity of about 20 grams, just enough for a double espresso or pour-over. Since everything is self-contained and it weighs less than 2 pounds, it’s a great choice for hikers and travelers, too. It’ll fit easily in a backpack or briefcase and you can use it anywhere.  

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The ceramic burrs on the Hario Skerton Plus stay cool while you’re grinding and retain their edge longer than metal. For durability and coffee flavor, this grinder is a great choice. Since it’s manual, it’s also a good option for traveling, especially since you can store your grounds in the chamber, thanks to the screw-on lid. Our only warning is that it’s tricky to adjust the grind level. Because of that, we’d recommend this model primarily for experienced users and baristas on the go.

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The main complaints against electric burr grinders are the noise they make and the heat they generate. Sboly overcomes both problems by using a motor with fewer revolutions per minute. While it’s still louder than manual grinders, it’s quieter than most electrics and does a great job maintaining the aroma and flavor of the grinds. It also gives excellent grind consistency at all fineness levels, with a large capacity so you can brew up entire carafes quickly and easily.

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Everything about this LHS Manual Coffee Grinder makes it easy to brew a flavorful cup. It uses ceramic burrs for lower friction, with a knob for adjusting the grind level. The 4-cup capacity is perfect for 1-2 people, with a slim, lightweight design that’s great for travelers. We also like that the whole thing can be quickly disassembled, making clean-up a breeze.

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Those looking for a large-batch home grinder will love the Mueller Ultra-Grind. The large grounds container is removable and has a lid to maintain the freshness of your grounds. It has an equally large tinted hopper for holding your beans. As to the grind itself, it’s consistent and precise, with the adjustment options you need for either espresso or manual brewing.

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The Types of Coffee Grinders

One problem when you’re shopping for a coffee grinder is that there are so many types out there. If you’re not a trained barista, it can be tricky to figure out which one is the best for your needs—or even what the differences are between them.

Some grinders are targeted at specific styles of brewing, while others are multi-purpose. The main differences come down to the level of automation, the method of grinding, and the range of grind sizes they offer.

For pour-over brewing, the best option is a conical burr grinder. Most professionals prefer ceramic burrs because they don’t generate as much heat, but steel burrs can also work well.

Beyond that, a lot of the choice of which grinder to get comes down to personal preference. Let’s take a quick look through the different styles out there so you can better determine which one is right for you.

 

Blade Grinders

Blade grinders have a chamber with spinning blades inside, similar to the design of a blender or food processor. When you turn it on, the blades spin and chop through whatever is inside.

The problem with this for coffee is that you can’t precisely control the grind level. Running the blades longer generally makes the coffee particles smaller, but these particles won’t be a uniform size (we’ll get into why this is important a bit later).

That said, blade grinders do have their advantages. They’re faster and more compact than burr grinders, and are more versatile, too, since they can also be used to grind spices. This makes them a good choice for those who rarely grind their own beans, or those more interested in speed and convenience than maximizing flavor.

 

Flat Burr Grinders

Inside a flat burr grinder, you’ll find two ridged plates. These are the burrs, and when the grinder turns on the beans are crushed between them. Adjusting the grind level changes the distance between the burrs, and thereby alters the size of the grinds produced.

Flat burrs are more consistent with finer grinds, like those used for espresso or Turkish coffee. Because of this, they’re most often seen used as dedicated espresso grinders in coffee shops.

Within the broad category of flat burr grinders, you’ll find a few variations, including:

  • Dosing grinders. These grinders collect the ground coffee into a chamber with a lever. When you pull the lever, a specific amount of coffee is dispensed, usually right into the portafilter of an espresso machine. This allows you to better regulate how much coffee you’re using and is a popular design for high-volume cafes since it eliminates the need to weigh each portafilter before brewing.
  • Non-dosing grinders. In a non-dosing grinder, the ground coffee flows down a chute straight into your receptacle. It’s up to the barista to control the dose of the coffee, either by eyeballing it or using a scale. Non-dosing grinders offer more flexibility to change the amount of coffee you use with each brew, but can make it harder to control the coffee-to-water ratio.
  • Stepped grinders. These grinders have pre-set settings, or “steps”. When you turn the adjustment, the grinder clicks in to the next step. The advantage of stepped grinders is they won’t change once they’re locked in, so it’s easier to keep your settings consistent from brew to brew.
  • Stepless grinders. Stepless grinders don’t have pre-set spots to hold the burrs in place. This allows for an infinite number of adjustment levels and micro-adjustments, giving the barista full control over the size of the grind. Conversely, they’re more difficult to dial in and more prone to accidental changes during use.

 

You may see some of these terms used for conical burr grinders, as well, but they’re features most often associated with flat burr grinders.

 

Conical Burr Grinders

Conical burr grinders are the style most professionals prefer for manual brewing methods. These models still have 2 burrs, but they’re shaped differently than the flat burrs above. A ridged, cone-shaped burr fits into a convex burr, with the distance between them determining the grind size.

Conical burr grinders give the most precision over grind size and consistency at medium to coarse grind levels. By default, you can assume a conical burr grinder uses stepped adjustment since stepless conical burr grinders are exceptionally rare.

There are a few different styles you’ll see within this broad category as well, however, including:

  • Steel burr grinders. Steel burrs cost less to produce than ceramic burrs and are the most common material in both home and commercial grinders. The disadvantage is they can heat up from prolonged use, which can affect the taste of your coffee. This tends to be more of an issue in high-volume coffee shops than during home use.
  • Ceramic burr grinders. Ceramic burrs retain their edge better than steel, so they’ll last longer before needing to be replaced. They also stay cooler even during extended use, better maintaining the aroma and flavor of the coffee.
  • Coffee mills. Also called “manual grinders”, coffee mills are hand-powered rather than electronic. After you choose your grind setting, just turn the crank to spin the gears. You’ll see mills that use both steel and ceramic burrs. Coffee mills are more labor-intensive but they’re also quieter, more compact, and don’t require electricity.
  • High-speed grinders. Grinders with a high-speed motor offer good consistency and control over the grind size, as well as a relatively quick grind. Since they pass the grinds through quickly, there’s less time for the heat of the burrs to affect the coffee. The downside is these motors tend to be the loudest when they’re operating, and they can still generate too much heat for some beans.
  • Gear reduction grinders. These models use a high-speed motor with gears, similar to what you’ll see on a bike. These reduce the speed of the burrs without as much wear and tear on the motor. These models have a longer average lifespan than high-speed motors, and are also slightly quieter and generate less heat.
  • Low-speed grinders. The slower motor in low-speed grinders reduces the amount of static and friction formed between the burrs. They’re also quieter and less likely to clog, though they do grind more slowly than high-speed motors.
  • Direct drive grinders. These high-end grinders can be pricey, but they’re one of the best options for both home and commercial use. A low-speed motor connects directly to the burrs, keeping everything spinning at the same speed. They’re the quietest of electric burr grinders, with the lowest heat and static generation.

Why Coffee Grind Size Matters

The finer the coffee is ground, the more surface area it has. This means more total space for the water to interact with the beans and extract the flavor compounds and aromatics held inside. In turn, those flavors will extract more quickly.

The more time the water will spend in contact with the coffee, the larger the grind you should use. In brewing methods like French press and cold brew, the water maintains full contact with the grounds the entire brew. This necessitates a coarse ground.

On the other end of the spectrum is espresso. Since the water is only in contact with the grounds for 20-30 seconds, you’ll need a very fine grind to get the full coffee flavor. Pour-over is right in the middle, with the water maintaining contact with the coffee for about a minute before flowing into the cup.

Along with the flavor of the coffee, the grind size controls the rate at which water flows through it. Water will flow through pebbles faster than it flows through sand because there’s more air and space between the pebbles where the water can go to. On a smaller scale, this same concept applies to coffee grounds.

Both these aspects are important in pour-over. If the grind is too coarse, the water will flow through the filter before it can fully extract the flavor, resulting in a weak, under-extracted cup. Too fine, and it will hold the water too well, resulting in over-extraction and unpleasant bitter notes.

How to Clean a Coffee Grinder

The easiest way to clean a burr or blade grinder is by using a grinder cleaner, such as Grindz tablets. These will clear away oily residue without damaging the inner workings or affecting the flavor of future brews.

To use grinder cleaning tablets, you simply put them into the hopper like you would with beans then grind them through and dispose of them.

If you need to do a deeper clean of your burr grinder, the process can be a bit more time-consuming. Here are the basic steps:

  1. Empty the hopper of beans, then turn on the grinder to remove any remaining beans from between the burrs.
  2. Remove the hopper and handwash it with soap and water.
  3. Unplug the grinder then remove the top burr. The process is different depending on your grinder, so you should consult your repair manual if you’re having difficulty doing this.
  4. Use a bristle brush to wipe away any coffee particles from the lower burr. A toothpick can be helpful for removing coffee particles stuck in crevices.
  5. Wipe down both burr surfaces with a slightly damp towel and allow the pieces to air dry.
  6. Clean out the chute leading from the burrs with a cotton swab.
  7. Reassemble the pieces and grind a small amount of coffee through to make sure the burrs are correctly in place.

The Benefits of Pour Over Coffee

Ask professional baristas their favorite brewing method and many will answer pour-over. What makes it so appealing to coffee lovers? The main advantages of pour-over compared to other styles are:

  •         More control of your brew. Every aspect of the brewing process is adjustable with pour-over, from the fineness of the grind to the coffee-to-water ratio to the brewing temperature. This gives you full control to bring out the flavors you want from the bean.
  •         Subtle flavor notes are more pronounced. Pour-over brewing is gentle and controlled, and that allows you to bring out the full flavor potential from coffee beans.
  •         You can do it anywhere. With a manual grinder and stovetop kettle, you can brew pour-over without using a watt of electricity. You can even brew up gourmet coffee at a campsite if you want to. The individual components required are lightweight and portable enough to take with you on the road.

Everything You Need to Know to Brew Great Pour Over Coffee

Pour-over brewing has a mystique about it that can make it seem too complex for beginners. Its main advantage is also what makes it seem so inaccessible—namely that you’re in control of every aspect of the process. That’s great if you know what you’re doing but makes it hard to brew a tasty cup for those with less experience.

Before we get into the step-by-step of the brewing method, let’s take a second to go over the equipment you’ll need to brew a great cup.

Goose-neck kettle

Like other manual brewing methods, you’ll need to heat your own water for pour-over. Not just any kettle will do here, though. You specifically want a goose-neck kettle, which has a long, curved spout that controls the flow of water.

Electric goose-neck kettles with temperature control are the best option for pour-over. This way, you can guarantee your water is in the 195°-205°F range that’s ideal for coffee brewing. If you use a stove-top kettle, you’ll want to let the water sit for a little while after boiling so it’s not too hot when you start to pour.

Brewing device

The most common brewer for pour-over is a cone-shaped dripper, such as the Hario V60. These drippers sit directly on top of your mug and can be made of plastic, ceramic, or glass. Generally, plastic models are the most durable, while ceramic are the best for heat retention.

Some pour-over drippers are integrated into a carafe for serving. Chemex brewers are the most common iteration of this style. They function in the same basic way during pouring but can allow for larger batches rather than single-cup preparation.

Filter

Most pour-over drippers use a #4 cone-shaped paper filter. The thickness of the paper determines how many of the oils will be removed from the coffee during preparation. Thicker paper yields a smoother cup, while thinner materials allow for a richer, fuller body.

You can also get re-usable cloth filters for pour-over drippers. These are more cost-effective and generate less waste than paper filters. The down-side is they take longer to clean and can retain oils and flavors over time that affect the flavor of future brews.

Grinder

For the ideal pour-over brewing, you want a grinder with precise adjustment control in the medium to medium-fine range. Micro-adjustments let you fine-tune the grind to match your beans. Generally, a conical burr grinder is the best choice.

Beans

You can brew any style or roast level of bean on pour-over. That said, medium- to light-roasts tend to be the best in this method. Dark roasts can end up tasting overly dark or burnt, and won’t have the same delicate notes and flavors you get from a lighter roast.

More important than the style of bean is the quality level. Ideally, you should use coffee within 2 weeks of its roasting date that’s been ground within 15 minutes of brewing.

A Beginner’s Guide to Pour Over Coffee Brewing

It takes time and practice to master the rhythm of pour-over brewing, but the process itself isn’t difficult to learn. The trick is to start by using a timer to precisely pulse your pours. Once you get the feel of it, you can ditch the timer and go more freestyle with your brewing.

  1. Put at least 20 ounces of water in your kettle and start it heating.
  2. Grind 25-30 grams of coffee to a medium setting.
  3.  Insert your filter in your dripper. Use a bit of hot water to rinse the filter. This helps seal the filter to the dripper and heats it in preparation for brewing.
  4. Put the ground coffee into your filter and shake it gently to level it, then put the dripper on top of your mug or carafe.
  5. Start the kitchen timer as you begin to pour your coffee. Use a slow, steady stream, starting at the outer rim of the grounds and spiraling in toward the center. Pour for 15 seconds then stop. This first pour is known as the “bloom”, when the trapped carbon dioxide is released from the beans, causing the grounds to bubble and expand.
  6. After 30 seconds (when the timer reads :45), start your second pour. Again, pour for about 15 seconds in a spiral pattern, moving from the outside to the center. At the 1:00 mark, stop pouring and wait 15 seconds for the water to flow through the grounds.
  7. Repeat the process of pouring for 15 seconds then pausing for 15 seconds until you’ve reached a total brew time of 2:30 to 3:00, or until your cup is full.

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