If you're here, you know that great coffee starts with your grinder. This guide is going to answer all your questions to help you find the best commercial espresso grinder for your business, office or home.
Here's what you're going to learn:
- What types of commercial grinders you can buy and how they operate.
- How to assess your options for your professional needs.
- Why different grinders are best for different business types.
- Our picks for the top commercial espresso grinders and what they offer.
Let's dive in...
Knowing Your Commercial Espresso Grinder Options
Conical Burr Grinders
This video provides a great overview on different burr types
Crafting a superior espresso, latte or drip coffee requires a precision grinder. If your grinder isn't good quality, the coffee flavor isn't going to shine. Worse, it will taste muddy and generally bad.
Burr grinders are the standard over blade grinders for commercial use, offering more controlled grinding for crisp flavor and even extraction. Culinary artists have chef knives, and baristas have burr grinders.
There are two types to be familiar with, one of which is the conical burr grinder. This type has many loyal fans in both the professional and home enthusiast realms, delivering a precise, clean grind at a low speed.
With a cone-shaped mechanism, it processes the coffee beans using gravity to its advantage for minimal energy usage. The beans travel down to the burrs more or less vertically and are ground while one burr rotates at a slower speed.
The coffee particles are ground into differing sizes, which can be beneficial for standard espresso as the smaller particles will keep the water from filtering through the coffee bed too quickly.
Though this allows for greater extraction from the larger particles, the smaller particles can potentially over-extract.
One thing that people love about conical burr grinders is that they're meant to emphasize brighter notes in the coffee. That being said, every palate may detect something different.
Some of the biggest pros about conical burr grinders are:
- Emphasized brightness and thick body in the espresso
- Fewer setting adjustments needed
- Quiet while running
- Cool grinding from low speed
And here are some of the biggest cons:
- Risk of imbalanced extraction due to bimodal particle size
- Less room to customize the espresso
Owning a conical grinder really comes down to a matter of preference and taste. If you generally stick to bright coffees and don't think you'll be experimenting much with your espresso, the conical burr grinder may be for you.
Flat Burr Grinders
You'll find flat burr grinders in a wide variety of settings, from specialty coffee shops to home kitchens.
The design of this grinder type comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. But before we get into that, let's go over how the flat burr grinder works.
Instead of dropping into the grinding mechanism vertically, the beans are crushed via centrifugal force between two horizontal discs before dropping down. These grinders typically have a higher RPM than the conical burr grinders.
Because higher RPM equates to greater heat generation, sophisticated flat burr grinders incorporate a design strategy that allows for instant cooling. A cool environment prevents the coffee from taking on a bitter or burned flavor due to overheating.
The best part about flat burr grinders is that the coffee particles they produce are incredibly uniform. Evenly sized particles make for balanced extraction, bringing out the sweeter flavors and various subtleties of the coffee.
If conical burr grinders emphasize brightness, flat burr grinders showcase the depth of the coffee. They're thought to meld flavors together and enhance rich chocolaty and nutty undertones.
Flat burr grinders also give you the chance to experiment more with the espresso, which many professionals gravitate to.
Let's review the pros of the flat burr grinder:
- High particle consistency
- Even extraction
- Depth of flavor with excellent balance
- Greater customization of the espresso
Now for the cons:
- Higher speed means greater need for heat control
- Often louder than conical grinders
- Requires finer adjustment
Remember that heat generation should be accounted for and counteracted in the design of a quality flat burr grinder.
Those who choose flat burr grinders will have more room to change their espresso recipes and get creative, but they'll need to be mindful of their adjustments.
Doser grinders (and all of the following grinder types) may be built with flat or conical burrs.
Typically, doser grinders have a container that collects the ground coffee. The grounds are portioned out into compartments to help evenly distribute the coffee when the barista pulls the lever to fill the portafilter.
Many dosers are electronic and have no reservoirs for the grounds. These machines will accurately dose the coffee with easy electronic programming.
Why would you want a doser grinder? Let's look at the pros:
- Highly accurate dosing that equates to brew consistency
- Capable of serving high-volume establishments
Doser grinders are often selected for the busiest of coffee shops and restaurants for their ability to deliver consistent coffee grounds at a quick pace.
With a doser reservoir, coffee can be ground in large quantities for anticipation of long lines of drink orders.
So what are the cons?
- Doser containers come with the possibility of compromising coffee freshness
- Doser containers require more cleaning maintenance
- Container-less models may cause overfilling
Regarding freshness, if you're making coffee in a fast-paced environment, you're probably going to go through it too quickly to let it get stale in the grounds container. And if you're using a container-less doser grinder, freshness is always guaranteed.
There is a potential for some overage with the container-less models, but many business owners determine that the speed and efficiency are worth the trade-off.
Overall, a doser grinder can save you a lot of time and energy when you're making drink after drink.
Doserless grinders place the ground coffee directly into the portafilter, skipping the reservoir for the coffee grounds.
These grinders usually provide an on/off switch that allows you to determine how much espresso is ground into the portafilter by sight. Some manufacturers also make them with electronically timed dosing.
They're flexible grinders for the trained barista.
If you're thinking about getting a doserless grinder, here's what you can expect for pros:
- Maximum control of dispensing
- Super fresh coffee
- Low waste point
A doserless grinder will ensure that coffee is ground fresh for best flavor and that it isn't wasted from pre-grinding too much.
On the other hand, doserless grinders have their cons:
- May require more barista know-how and attention
- Messier without the doser container (when coffee grounds escape the portafilter)
If you need a grinder users of any skill level can operate, look for a grinder (whether it's called a doser or a doserless) with programmed dosing.
Bottom line about dosers: Because doser and doserless grinders can have unique combinations of aspects and functions, it's necessary to check out the specific features of every model to see what its benefits and drawbacks are.
If you need fast, easy adjustability of the grind, a stepped grinder is probably in your best interest.
Stepped grinders have notched grind increments from coarser to finer that will click into place as you select them.
This can be a huge advantage when you need to quickly find your grind setting without getting lost fiddling with the dial. For this reason, stepped grinders are versatile and very user-friendly for all skill levels.
Here are some of the major pros of a stepped grinder:
- Fast grind setting selection with fewer adjustments necessary
- Multipurpose for different brew options
- Accessible to novices
Because the notched settings are clear and easy to operate, a stepped grinder can easily be designed for various coffee preparations outside of espresso, including drip coffee, pour-overs and beyond.
On the flip side, stepped adjustment leaves gaps between settings, which is its greatest con:
- Lower grind flexibility
You'll have less room to define the perfect grind for each type of coffee. This can be a big issue for finicky espresso.
However, many stepped grinders can be adjusted in such small increments as to largely eradicate this problem. It really depends on how much fine tuning you need to do.
Many professionals and prosumers choose stepless grinders because they allow you dial in the coffee with maximum control.
Whereas stepped grinders have preset notches that determine the grind, stepless grinders have infinite adjustment capacity for sharp focusing.
When you find the exact setting that matches each coffee profile, you guard against producing flavors that are sour or muddy from the grind's effect on extraction. The more accurate the grind, the better the coffee will taste.
The pros of the stepless grinder include:
- Ability to find precise grind settings for any coffee type
- Facilitates ideal extraction
- Allows you to experiment more with the espresso
Like stepped grinders, many stepless grinders afford the opportunity to grind for different coffee preparations. But if they do, it will be more difficult to find the right grind for each with speed and consistency.
This leads us to this grinder type's biggest con:
- Harder to replicate an exact grind setting
While it's true that you will have unlimited access to finding the grind sweet spot, you'll also need to have more patience when dialing in the grind as there are no notches to guide you back to that perfect setting.
It's a definite trade-off, but the stepless function is still considered highly desirable by anyone who wants to find the best grind possible for the coffee.
Keep in mind that in general, it's usually best to consider stepless grinders for singular uses, like for espresso and not for espresso and filter coffee.
Now that you know about the basic types of commercial espresso grinders, your next step is to evaluate exactly what you need your grinder to do.
To make this a little easier, we've listed some of the key considerations you should factor into your assessment:
- Your business type
- Your personal preference
- Business volume
Your Business Type
There's no one-size-fits-all solution when you're looking for the right grinder for your business.
But the type of business you operate can give you a good idea when narrowing down your selection, especially when it comes to doser/doserless and stepped/stepless options.
If you run a coffee shop or cafe that serves coffee and espresso beverages as a staple, a doser grinder can be time-saving and help you get through rushes with greater fluidity.
But if you're an individual shopping for a commercial espresso grinder to get the best quality, a grinder with a dosing chamber that holds large quantities of ground espresso is probably not going to benefit you much.
On the other hand, many boutique coffee shops go for doserless grinders because they want super-fresh coffee and full dispensing control. Doserless grinders are also perfect for offices and restaurants where espresso shots are fewer and farther between.
Stepped and stepless options tend to follow a similar outline, with coffee shops and coffee-centric establishments maximizing the potential of stepless grinders and individuals, restaurants and offices getting excellent use out of stepped versions.
Of course, individuals who have honed their craft or are working toward expert status may opt for the stepless grinder.
Remember that these option categories—doser, doserless, stepped and stepless adjustment—are not exclusive in espresso grinders, meaning you can find combinations to get the most of your investment.
Maybe a stepless grinder with a doser is what you need for your busy coffee bar, but a stepless grinder without a doser is better for a cafe that serves fewer espressos but still wants that ultimate precision.
No matter what kind of business you own, it's important to consider all the angles as well as the kind of functionality you can get from specific feature combinations.
How many functions do you need your grinder to perform? Many coffee shops have multiple grinders dedicated to specific brew functions, but for some establishments a variety of grinders would be overkill.
Generally speaking, coffee shops that make a lot of espresso drinks will have a dedicated espresso grinder. This type of grinder should be made specially for espresso—it should have lots of fine grind options to choose from.
The good thing about having an espresso grinder that doesn't do anything but grind espresso is that you won't need to share it for tasks that need to be done simultaneously.
When you have a line of drinks to make, the last thing you want to do is stop, switch the hopper out with different coffee beans and grind for drip coffee while your espresso line grows and your customers become irritated by the long wait.
(This is strictly hypothetical—most coffee shops have dedicated espresso grinders to avoid this scenario and others like it.)
However, there are plenty of cafes that will utilize a grinder that can accommodate various brew methods.
Especially if you offer an assortment of coffee drinks from drip coffee to espresso, but only in addition to your main product, a multipurpose grinder can be more suitable.
This applies to cafes, restaurants, hotels and even individuals who make different coffee preparations, but not on a continuous basis like busy coffee shops.
Multipurpose grinders will have a wide array of grind settings from coarse to espresso-fine and perhaps even Turkish-fine. This way, you can switch between drip coffee, French press and espresso with ease.
There are pros and cons to both types of grinders, but the pros should outweigh the cons by a significant margin for the applications you'll be needing a grinder for.
Consider also if you need a grinder for retail purposes. Do you sell whole beans, or do you plan to sell them at some point in the future?
If so, you'll want to provide your customers with on-site grinding. This means that you'll need a grinder that can grind from coarse to fine and hold retail bags with a bag clamp so that you don't waste time holding it in place.
At the end of the day, you may be surprised to learn that you need a grinder with more functions than you thought you needed, or you may need one or two grinders with focused functions.
Remember: If you're a business owner buying a grinder specifically for your espresso machine to make drinks for customers, the single-application espresso grinder is likely going to be your best match.
How many customers are coming through your doors on a daily, seasonal and annual basis? How many of those customers are ordering espresso drinks?
If you find that you have frequent rushes where you're whipping through espresso at lightening speed, you definitely need a grinder that's big enough and has enough power to support your business.
Broadly speaking, machine size can contribute to your assessment. As you might imagine, larger grinders are typically equipped for faster-paced settings. They have bigger hoppers that can hold more coffee beans, larger burrs and more powerful motors.
But some small grinders actually have powerful motors that can quickly process large amounts of coffee, making them convenient options for busy shops that have little counter space for another piece of equipment.
About burr size—larger burrs tend to be able to handle more coffee volume without breaking a sweat. They also grind quickly without needing to spin faster thanks to a larger surface area.
From a flavor perspective, this is desirable because faster spinning would generate excess heat and damage the beans. Lower-speed grinders, which can have conical or flat burrs, are a quality standard in commercial espresso machines for this reason.
Faster grinding is not only better for high-volume shops, it also makes for less static cling that could cause the ground coffee to clump and distribute unevenly.
One more thing to think about is the option of two grinders in one. Grinders with two separate hoppers and grinding mechanisms let you switch between caffeinated and decaffeinated beans, keep one hopper full and the other one empty, and so on.
That's a lot to think about, we know. But if you just remember that machine size, burr size, grinding speed and motor power all translate to business volume, you'll be able to narrow down which grinder is the right one for you.
Your Personal Espresso Grinder Preference
Here is where we're going to discuss flat and conical burr grinders as they pertain to you on an individual level, in case you were wondering how to decide between them.
When it comes to choosing between flat and conical burrs, there are big differences to some people, and no noticeable differences to others.
Among people who do notice differences between the coffees produced by conical and flat burrs, some have no preference for one over the other. That being said, in the industry, most do have a preference.
Because conical burrs are reputed to enhance the bright, zesty notes of the coffee, a conical burr grinder might be a great option if you love citrus-forward or light, fruity coffees for your espresso blends.
Just bear in mind that you'll also probably get some bitterness from the extraction of the smaller coffee particles.
If you like the deeper notes like nuttiness and chocolate and caramel tones to be accentuated in your espresso, flat burrs can help.
They're also excellent for delicate coffee blends or single-origin espressos whose flavors are otherwise easily lost.
Again, there's no right or wrong burr type, only what you like best in your coffee.
Best Commercial Espresso Grinders
The Mahlkonig Peak Espresso Grinder is a top-of-the-line flat burr grinder with large burrs, greatly reduced RPM and high-volume capacity.
This grinder is suitable for many different settings, including medium to large coffee shops, restaurants and offices.
- Flat Burrs - 80 mm cast steel flat burrs grind large amounts of coffee evenly and consistently.
- Low RPM - Between 900 and 1,100 RPM for super cool grinding.
- Stepless Grind Adjustment - You can dial in the grind more precisely for best extraction with every coffee profile.
- Programmable Dosing - Programmable dosing adjustments can be made in .01-second increments for greater accuracy.
- Large Hopper - 3.3-pound hopper is large enough to sustain the morning or afternoon rushes.
- OLED Display - User-friendly menu with temperature monitoring and adjustable lighting in the spout area to provide excellent visibility.
Learn More: Mahlkonig Peak Espresso Grinder Review
These on-demand flat burr espresso grinders come in three different configurations for home, office and busy coffee shop use.
There's the standard K30 Vario Single, the K30 Vario Air Single with built-in cooling fans for heavy-duty use, and the Mahlkonig K30 Twin with dual hoppers for two coffee bean types.
Mahlkonig's K30 models are excellent options for professional use or for anyone who wants to make lattes like a professional at home.
- Flat Burrs - 65 mm flat burrs grind up to 4.8 grams of espresso per second with even particle size for high extraction.
- Programmable Dosing - Creates repeatable results that are more accurate and prevent product wastage.
- Hands-Free Operation - The grinder starts automatically when the portafilter is set in place.
- Large Hopper - 3.3-pound hopper capacity won't slow baristas down by emptying frequently (and in the middle of a rush).
- Stepless Grind Adjustment - Baristas can adjust the grind to the smallest of increments for maximum impact.
Learn More: Mahlkonig K30 Espresso Grinder Review
Nuova Simonelli Mythos
High-volume coffee shops, restaurants and hotels will love the high-tech features on the Nuova Simonelli Mythos Espresso Grinder.
This model comes in three configurations: the Basic, Plus and Clima Pro. Each has increasingly advanced features, like the Clima Pro's unique temperature control system and LED-illuminated work space.
- Flat Burrs - 75 mm flat burrs produce excellent flavor and extraction quality from uniform particles.
- Stepless Grind Adjustment - Make micrometric grind adjustments to find the perfect setting for any type of coffee.
- Portafilter Holder - Because the Mythos holds the portafilter while dosing, baristas can operate other equipment and multitask.
- Clump Crusher - Distributes light, fluffy ground coffee in the portafilter and ensures minimal ground waste.
- Multi-Function LCD Display - Allows baristas to easily adjust dose settings, change barista modes and lock the grinder settings.
Learn More: Nuova Simonelli Mythos Espresso Grinder Review
Mahlkonig's EK43 and EK43S retail grinders are both capable of grinding filter coffee and espresso, making them versatile options for stores with retail spaces and combination needs.
The biggest difference between the two models is size. The EK43S is smaller, saving up to 12 inches of space with a shorter base.
- Flat Burrs - Extra large 98 mm flat burrs grind evenly and efficiently at a low temperature to preserve the quality of the beans.
- Multiple Grind Settings - You can grind for many different coffee preparations, including drip coffee, espresso, French press and Turkish coffee.
- Bag Clamp - Holds retail bags in place so that you can walk away and accomplish other tasks while you wait for the grinding to complete.
- Fine Tuned Grind Adjustment - 16 different settings on one easy dial, plus a screw for additional adjustments at smaller increments.
- High Grinding Capacity - Grinds large amounts of coffee—25 grams per second.
Nuova Simonelli G60
Small coffee shops, home espresso enthusiasts and offices will get a lot out of the Nuova Simonelli G60.
This espresso grinder has great potential for home espresso or for specialty blends in a high-end coffee bar.
- Flat Burrs - 60 mm flat burrs are made of stainless steel for a long life and ability to grind 1,000 pounds of coffee before needing replacement.
- On Demand Grinding - Like most of the grinders on this list, this model grinds directly into the portafilter to retain maximum freshness.
- Stepless Grind Adjustment - The ultimate control of grind adjustment.
- Commercial Grade Electric Motor - Powerful motor limits heat generation and allows small shops to work quickly.
- Portafilter Holder - Holds the portafilter while the machine grinds so that you can work on other equpiment simultaneously.
Learn More: Nuova Simonelli G60 Espresso Grinder Review
Mazzer Super Jolly Doser
The Super Jolly Doser Espresso Grinder is a great choice for small to medium cafes as well as for home use. This Mazzer espresso grinder comes in two configurations, the Super Jolly and the Super Jolly E.
The Super Jolly has the traditional reservoir that catches the coffee grounds before distributing the coffee into the portafilter.
The Super Jolly E is an electronic version without the reservoir, which gives it on-demand grinding.
- Flat Burrs - 64 mm flat burrs for grind consistency that will create perfectly balanced extraction.
- Doser - Dispenses coffee in precise measurements.
- Stepless Grind Adjustment - The user can choose any grind setting for any coffee profile.
- Low Blade Speed - Low 1,600 RPM blade speed keeps the coffee cool and the flavors intact.
- Large Hopper - 2.7-pound hopper helps baristas prepare for rushes so that they don't get stuck needing to replenish the beans.
Learn More: Mazzer Super Jolly Doser Espresso Grinder Review
The Tanzania Filter Coffee Grinder from Mahlkonig is a hard-working piece of equipment that will sustain small to medium cafes, restaurants and even offices.
It's designed to grind from coarse to fine with detailed adjustment settings that professionals will admire.
- Flat Burrs - 80 mm flat burrs enhance the flavor of your coffee with balanced extraction from an even grind.
- Multiple Grind Settings - Choose grind settings from French press to espresso and give your customers a wide range of grind options for retail bags.
- Bag Clamp - Allows you to focus on other activities while the the coffee grinds into retail bags.
- Stepless Grind Adjustment - Get the most out of your grind settings with infinite adjustability.
- Fast Grinding - Grinds up to two pounds of coffee in one minute for fast customer service.
Learn More: Mahlkonig Tanzania Filter Coffee Grinder Review
The Mahlkonig Guatemala Filter Coffee Grinder can grind retail bags in large quantities with settings from coarse to fine.
Shops that need to prep espresso in advance can grind for espresso on this machine while also using it for retail bags and drip coffee.
- Flat Burrs - 71 mm flat grinding discs are vertically mounted to crush the coffee into evenly sized particles with minimal residue and temperature control.
- Multiple Grind Settings - 20 individual grind settings from coarse to fine so that you can switch between filter coffee and espresso.
- Bag Clamp - Holds retail bags to free you up to multitask.
- Fast Grinding - Powerful motor generates grinding speed of up to two pounds of coffee in one minute.
- Customizable - Can come with various options for coffee labs, self-service and other applications.
Learn More: Mahlkonig Guatemala Filter Coffee Grinder Review