Home coffee purists, though, will often tell you that they get much better results by manually grinding the beans and using the ground coffee immediately in the machine. Before we go any further, the term ‘manually’ is a little misleading depending on who you talk to.
There are manual coffee grinders which require you to put the effort in yourself to break the beans down, but there are also electric versions too that take the elbow grease out of the bean preparation. Truth be told, it’s not exactly back breaking work, but it’s worth pointing out that the electronic coffee grinders exist too, and often that’s what people who talk about manually grinding coffee beans are really meaning. We’ll cover both below, but wanted to be clear up front that manual doesn’t really mean manual to everyone. It just refers to putting ground coffee into the machine (or cafetière [or whatever!]).
Most bean to cup options do offer you the choice of whether to use whole beans or ground coffee, but don’t be surprised to see a huge expanse of space in the bean hopper while the ground coffee chute in tiny in comparison. That’s nothing more than a reflection of the fact that you would want to grind beans down immediately before making the coffee, so there’s no point in providing space to store it in the machine as you would with the whole coffee beans – they’d just dry out, go stale and produce much lower quality coffee as a result.
The Best Grinders 2020
Choosing a good grinder is relatively easy if you don’t know much about them – we’ll show you Amazon’s top picks in a moment as a guide. Choosing the perfect grinder is something entirely different, as it will come down to personal choice. In other words, we can point you in the direction of something good and worth buying if you want to try manually grinding the beans before you brew your coffee, but if you’re already an expert then stick to what you know because you’re unlikely to be the sort of person we’ve written this article for.
Manual Coffee Grinders
First, we’ll look at manual coffee grinders, to keep the pure coffee purists we were talking about earlier happy.
KitchenCraft Le'Xpress Adjustable Manual Coffee Grinder, 8 x 18 cm
Hario, Transparent Black Mini Mill Plus | Compact & Adjustable Hand Coffee Grinder with Ceramic Burrs, Plastic
Manual Coffee Bean Grinder | Adjustable Coarseness Ceramic Mill | Hand Held Coffee Mill | Compact Crank For Home, Office & Travelling | M&W
Hantehon Manual Coffee Grinder Vintage Coffee Grinder Portable Hand Crank Coffeemaker Hand Grinder Grinder Machine with 2X Brush Ideal for Home, Office and Travelling
Henry Charles Manual Coffee Grinder Stainless Steel with Adjustable Ceramic Conical Burr, Hand Crank Mill, Compact Size Perfect for Your Home, Office or Travelling
Electric Coffee Grinders
Now, here’s the electric alternatives, which you might also hear referred to as automatic grinders.
Electric Coffee Grinder, Ikich Coffee Bean Grinder Electric Mill Spice Grinder, Stainless Steel Blade, 60g Capacity, Cord Storage, Portable & Compact for Spices, Pepper, Herbs, Nuts, Seeds, Grains
Coffee Grinder with Brush, UUOUU 200W Washable Bowl Spice Grinder with Stainless Steel Blade for Seed Bean Nut Herb Pepper & Grain, Lid Activated Safety Switch, Brown, CG-8320
SHARDOR Coffee Grinder Electric with Removable Stainless Steel Bowl,Grinder for Grain, Coffee Bean, Nuts Safe 304 Stainless Steel Blades, 24000rpm Powerful Grinder Motor,70ml
Muzili Coffee Grinder, Electric Coffee Grinder for Coffee Beans Nuts and Grains Grinder with 304 Stainless Steel Blades 22000rpm Powerful Motor, 60dB Low Noise, 50ml Capacity, Free Cleaning Brush
DE'LONGHI, Coffee grinder KG79, Black
As you can see, the grinder selection above isn’t limited to the big brands that you would associate with the coffee machines we review, although there is definitely some overlap in the market, especially with companies like Sage.
The Last Word
Buying a bean to cup coffee machine is something that the majority of people (myself included!) do to get great coffee at home, rather than having to drink instant, or buy ground coffee to put in a cafetière. If you have plenty of time, and think you’ll notice a big enough difference from grinding the beans yourself before letting the machine at them, then that’s a logical route to choose.
Perhaps I just don’t have a refined enough palate, but for me, the quality isn’t significantly different so doesn’t justify the extra effort required and additional spend on the coffee grinder over and above that offered by a good bean to cup machine.