Three tips for choosing your coffee grinder
This is Not a purchase guide or review, just want to share some thoughts about coffee grinder, from my point of view.
1. Before you do anything, set a budget range first.
Take your income situation and expenses into consideration, and set a budget that you feel comfortable with, then you can start looking on the grinders within your budget. You get what you pay for, but spend over budget is not a good habit.
2. Hand grinder or electric grinder?
If you are a person who like getting up very early to make coffee while your whole family is still sleeping / like to make coffee in different places / don't like spending too much time to clean your grinder, then hand grinder fits you pretty well. My personal experience is at the same price range, hand grinders usually have better performance compare to electric grinders because hand grinders don't have the cost on motor and other electronic components, they can spend more money on the burr design and quality. However, we can't always keep at the same speed and hold the grinder in the same position when we are using hand grinder, and that does affect the grinding consistency. From this perspective, I prefer electric grinders.
3. Conical burr, flat burr or ghost burr?
If you already decided to get a hand grinder, you will have very limited choice since most of the hand grinders are using conical burr. Good grinders produce more consistency grind, no matter which burr it is, but these three burrs have their own "style". Coffee ground produced by flat burr is thinner, more like a "piece"; while coffee ground produced by conical burr is more like a "polyhedron". My personal experience is coffee from flat burr has cleaner flavours, easier to rise extraction rate and emphasize both good taste and bad taste; coffee from conical burr has more flavour complexity. The third type is called “ghost burr”. It is actually very similar to flat burr since the position of two burrs are paralleled. Just the pattern on the burr is like teeth instead of blade in flat burr. The shape of coffee ground produced by ghost burr is more complex than conical burr. Coffee from ghost burr has very rounded flavours (means very balanced) with outstanding body.
One more thing on the burr topic, once you have a grinding action, it creates fines, no matter how well your grinder is. The amount of fines mainly effected by the pattern, size, and rotation speed of the burr. These years I played with some different grinders, and in here I provide a very personal experience just for your reference. The burr that tend to produce more fines from left to right: Large conical burr (63mm and above) > Small flat burr (54mm and under) > Small conical burr (around 44mm) > Ghost burr (around 70mm) > Large flat burr (75mm and above).