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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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:
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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What’s the Difference Between a Burr Grinder and a Blade Grinder?
A Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Grinders
Pour Over Coffee Drip Brewing Guide
How to Perfect Your Pour Over