• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

john b

Budget Burr Grinders

41 posts in this topic

We're not serious coffee drinkers, but occasionally we buy whole beans. We're currently using a small blade grinder. Will a burr grinder make a difference or should we stick with the blade? Is it possible to find a decent burr grinder on a budget in the $50 range?


John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't know of a worthwhile burr grinder in the $50 range, but it may not be important anyway. If you are brewing in a drip coffee maker, you are about as well off using your blade grinder. If you are using a French Press, then a good quality burr grinder makes sense.

Anyone else know of a good burr grinder at that price point?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know of a worthwhile burr grinder in the $50 range, but it may not be important anyway. If you are brewing in a drip coffee maker, you are about as well off using your blade grinder. If you are using a French Press, then a good quality burr grinder makes sense.

Anyone else know of a good burr grinder at that price point?

We have a drip and a French press.


John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Capresso Infinity is a bit above that price (~$80), but I've been pleased with mine.

Held up well for a few years now.

Pleased with it for drip and aeropress.


---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know of a worthwhile burr grinder in the $50 range, but it may not be important anyway. If you are brewing in a drip coffee maker, you are about as well off using your blade grinder. If you are using a French Press, then a good quality burr grinder makes sense.

Anyone else know of a good burr grinder at that price point?

The grinder is the single most important thing for quality coffee. The difference between burrs and blades is that blades pulverize, while burrs cut. Pulverizing coffee results a wider range of grind sizes. Large particles result in underextraction, and lack of body. Fines give tons of body, but will result in overextraction and bitter flavours. All grinders have a range of particle sizes, which are important to the brewing process, but the blades just have no control.

I don't know of anything suitable in the $50 range, but I'd suggest adding the Baratza Mastro ($110), to your wishlist.


Barrett Jones - 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters

Dwell Time - my coffee and photography site

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There are some Krups grinders Here. I mention the Krups because I have two Krups models (one like the F203), both about 25 years old (maybe a little more) and both have given me great service. These grinders are in the price range you've asked about.


Edited by Shel_B (log)

 ... Shel

"... ya can't please everyone, so ya got to please yourself "

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We bought the Baratza Maestro, directly from the manufacturer. The first one was DOA right out of the box. Customer service couldn't have been more apologetic, and the Maestro is quite satisfactory as a grinder--it is easy to use, and the hopper holds enough for many shots of espresso or a big pot of filter/drip coffee.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just bought the Capresso Infinity burr grinder for about $80. I use a French press, and I cannot believe the difference the burr grinder has made in the quality of my coffee. It astounded me - if I knew this would be the case I would have bought a burr grinder years ago. Worth every penny!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're not serious coffee drinkers, but occasionally we buy whole beans.  We're currently using a small blade grinder.  Will a burr grinder make a difference or should we stick with the blade?  Is it possible to find a decent burr grinder on a budget in the $50 range?

We're on the edge of our seats (laptops, whatever) -- what did you end up getting, or have you decided?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll chime in with another vote of support for the Capresso Infinity (in black for $90). I have one and have bought a few as gifts over the years. It's a great grinder for anyone who is not going to make espresso. Your french press and drip coffees will definitely improve relative to using your blade grinder (don't throw out the blade grinder - use if to grind spices).

One extra note: if you are going to invest in a burr grinder, you should also follow other steps to making good coffee. Use fresh beans. Store your beans in an airtight container, away from light. Most importantly: use the proper amount of grounds - 2.5 tablespoons per 8oz cup.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Baratza is selling refurbed Maestro Plus grinders (normally $140) for $63.

click!

I just pulled the trigger. Based on my 2 minutes of research it's a good machine, with typically Italian quality control quirks, even though it's not really Italian. They seem to have excellent customer support though, and for $63 I won't scream too loud if it isn't perfect.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
We're not serious coffee drinkers, but occasionally we buy whole beans.  We're currently using a small blade grinder.  Will a burr grinder make a difference or should we stick with the blade?  Is it possible to find a decent burr grinder on a budget in the $50 range?

We're on the edge of our seats (laptops, whatever) -- what did you end up getting, or have you decided?

Sorry, we've been too busy grinding coffee. :raz: We got the Capresso Infinity. So far so good. Now if I can find some good whole beans close to home...


John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sorry, we've been too busy grinding coffee.  :raz:   We got the Capresso Infinity.  So far so good.  Now if I can find some good whole beans close to home...

If you're near Philly, you might want to give Chestnut Hill Coffee a try. They are serious about good coffee.

Thanks! Philly is not far at all.

What's the general consensus on La Colombe? I think I can get their stuff on my side of the river.


John

"I can't believe a roasted dead animal could look so appealing."--my 10 year old upon seeing Peking Duck for the first time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't know of a worthwhile burr grinder in the $50 range, but it may not be important anyway. If you are brewing in a drip coffee maker, you are about as well off using your blade grinder. If you are using a French Press, then a good quality burr grinder makes sense.

Anyone else know of a good burr grinder at that price point?

The grinder is the single most important thing for quality coffee. The difference between burrs and blades is that blades pulverize, while burrs cut. Pulverizing coffee results a wider range of grind sizes. Large particles result in underextraction, and lack of body. Fines give tons of body, but will result in overextraction and bitter flavours. All grinders have a range of particle sizes, which are important to the brewing process, but the blades just have no control.

I don't know of anything suitable in the $50 range, but I'd suggest adding the Baratza Mastro ($110), to your wishlist.

Baratza is selling refurbed Maestro Plus grinders (normally $140) for $63.

click!

I just pulled the trigger. Based on my 2 minutes of research it's a good machine, with typically Italian quality control quirks, even though it's not really Italian. They seem to have excellent customer support though, and for $63 I won't scream too loud if it isn't perfect.

I've had a Maestro for about 6 months and the difference between the coffee ground in it vs. the $50ish burr grinder we'd been using prior was HUGE. The grind is quite consistent and fewer fines means French press coffee has little to no sediment in the cup. The flavors seem brighter too.

The Maestro is fully capable of correctly grinding for espresso as well.


Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
The Maestro is fully capable of correctly grinding for espresso as well.

Not necessarily...if I used my Maestro + to grind espresso for Silvia, she wouldn't be a happy camper.

True that but if you have that level of espresso equipment then surely your grinder budget was larger than the OP's.

Which burr grinder to use is often "discussed" with fanatical fervor with the $300-$500 grinders usually the predominant choice among home espresso lovers.

That being said I do feel that the Maestro is a step in the right direction and provides a great opportunity to have a far better grind for a slight upprice.

Espresso is fine, after dialing in the correct grind, using that grinder on my (admittedly) low end Estro Vapore ($25 @ a garage sale).


Edited by 6ppc (log)

Jon

--formerly known as 6ppc--

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My Krups GVX2 burr grinder died a sad death yesterday -- thermal fuse, we think (common and stupid problem). The cost of repair, all-in, is about the same as the cost of buying another one, and I'm inclined to do neither.

What should I replace it with?

We do a couple of pots of drip coffee (Capresso MT500) a day, and Aeropressed pseudo-latte a couple of times a week. The Aeropress works best with a smooth fine grind, but... we don't have a fancy home espresso rig and aren't likely to go that way anytime soon. I can't see spending more than $100 on a grinder given our needs, and even that is probably overkill.

I'd like something that will last longer than a year, though -- I'm tired of plastic landfill-fodder appliances generally. Is a refurb Baratza Maestro the best way to go? How durable are they?


John Rosevear

"Brown food tastes better." - Chris Schlesinger

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd like something that will last longer than a year, though -- I'm tired of plastic landfill-fodder appliances generally. Is a refurb Baratza Maestro the best way to go? How durable are they?

I'm not able to say how durable the Baratza Maestro is, because I had mine for only two months when a stone in my beans jammed the burrs. What I can say is that the customer service I got from the Canadian distributor in repairing it after the incident has been outstanding. My understanding is that the working parts in it are mostly metal (apparently the drive gear used to be plastic, but they're using metal in the newer units now), so it's really just the housing that's plastic. And I've been very happy with the grind quality, though I use it mostly for French press and espresso for my Saeco Aroma (Classico in the US), which is a fairly different coffee routine from what you're talking about. Hope that helps.


Matthew Kayahara

Kayahara.ca

@mtkayahara

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is a refurb Baratza Maestro the best way to go? How durable are they?

I've had a Maestro Plus for about five years now, I use it pretty much every day, no problems, though it's getting about time to replace the burrs (Baratza sells replacement parts). For drip and french press it works very well. My only complaint is that it is a bit of a pain to clean out, but I think that is generally a problem with grinders.


"I think it's a matter of principle that one should always try to avoid eating one's friends."--Doctor Dolittle

blog: The Institute for Impure Science

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks! Philly is not far at all.

What's the general consensus on La Colombe? I think I can get their stuff on my side of the river.

I think La Colombe beans are excellent. Not as much variety as you see in other purveyors/roasters but that shouldn't stop you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have the Capresso Infinity--in brushed stainless steel finish. Got it cheap ($69?) at Costco. I've used it daily for over a year with no problems. It's adjustable and works very well for both coarser french press grind as well as for finer espresso grind. To my knowledge, it's the only sub-$100 grinder that can yield a consistent espresso grind. It uses large burrs that are nearly as big as the ones in my Rancilio MD-40 (seriously expensive commercial unit). The only downsides I've noticed are (1) static electric charge builds up and makes it a bit of a challenge to dump out the last bits of ground coffee and (2) it needs regular cleaning because grinds collect in the corners. On the whole, I'm very pleased with this unit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Krupps burr grinder that I think cost $50 -- we received it free at Macy's through a promotion.

Meh.

I have to grind with both hands on the grinder -- that way I can shake some beans into the works when it makes it's "high-pitched squeal of displeasure."

It's still better than a whirly-blade grinder. But a pain nonetheless. A better grinder is in my future. But not my immediate future.


Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Has anyone used both the Capresso Infinity and the Baratza Maestro? I think I'm going to be in the market shortly, and I'd love to hear the pros and cons of one versus the other.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.