You can make barista-style coffee with our value pick for under $20!
Once you've had a great cup of coffee, it's hard to go back. Many factors contribute to taste, including how it's made and the temperature it's served at, but the freshness of the beans is among the most important. Most coffee is sold in a UV-blocking, vacuum-sealed container, but once you open it, the flavor starts to fade, especially if it's already ground.
Whole coffee beans retain their flavor much longer than ground. For comparison, think of how freshly minced garlic smells versus the unnoticeable scent of a whole clove. The longer you let it sit once it's cut up, the more its scent will dissipate. The same thing happens with coffee beans — once they're ground and exposed to more air, they start to lose flavor. Grinding your own beans before each batch ensures the freshest flavor. It also allows you to control the grind size, a key selling-point for those who prefer using a French press or making cold brew.
To determine which coffee grinders to recommend, we, in the Good Housekeeping Kitchen Appliance Lab, tested 20 different grinders from trusted brands and best-sellers on Amazon. They included a variety of blade and burr grinders, three of which were manual. We evaluated the grinders on how easy they were to set up and use, and more importantly, how well they performed. The highest scoring grinders were able to produce even grounds for all types of coffee, including fine for espresso, medium for drip, and coarse for cold brew and French press. They grounds were also easy to pour into a coffee filter from the container, while making a minimal mess. Our favorites were also relatively quiet. Here are the top rated coffee grinders from our test:
Best Overall Coffee Grinder: OXO BREW Conical Burr Grinder
Best Value Coffee Grinder: Hamilton Beach Fresh Grind Electric Coffee Grinder
Best Coffee Grinder for Espresso and Pour Over: Breville The Smart Grinder Pro
Best Coffee Grinder for Cold Brew and French Press: Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill
Quietest Burr Grinder: KRUPS Silent Vortex Electric Grinder
Quietest Blade Grinder: Capresso Infinity Plus Conical Burr Grinder
Best Manual Coffee Grinder: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
If you'd like to grind your own coffee at home, a coffee grinder is a must. Food processors, mini choppers, and blenders are not reliable. While blade grinders resemble food processors and mini choppers, they actually have blunted edges that don't beat up the beans more than they have to. Their container is also smaller, which allows for a smaller amount to be processed better and more evenly. Most importantly, when coffee beans are ground, they release oils that often stain and linger in the container. No matter how many times you clean your food processor, mini chopper, or blender, chances are it will still smell like coffee.
There are two main ways to grind coffee; you can use a blade grinder or a burr grinder.
When grinding coffee, it's important to achieve the most evenly ground coffee to extract the most flavor during brewing. As with cooking, different sized pieces require different brewing times; coarser ground coffee requires a longer steeping time than finer and vice versa. Unevenly ground coffee can result in a weaker cup than you'd expect.
Here are the ideal grind sizes for different types of coffee. Remember: The finer the coffee, the stronger the taste, and the longer (and more gentle) the brew time, the coarser the grind.