In every quality cup of coffee or espresso, a lot of steps were taken to produce a great-tasting product. The beans are roasted, ground, and then brewed as soon as possible. Water is heated to the correct temperature while brewing. If it’s espresso, you also need to be concerned about the grind fineness and tamping.
But this whole detailed process starts with grinding. Your grinder is crucial in determining what your drink is going to taste like.
In this post, we’ll be comparing two different common types of grinder: conical burr vs blade grinder.
Conical Burr vs Blade Grinder: What’s the Difference Between Them?
We’ll start by looking at the basic differences between a conical burr and blade grinder.
A conical burr grinder has grinding discs in it called burrs. They’re called conical because of their shape, which resembles a cone with ridges on it. You can see a conical burr in the above image, at the very top of the burr pyramid.
Coffee beans fall onto this cone-shaped grinding disc, and as it spins, they’re pulverized into grounds. This process is excellent for producing bimodal particles, which are coffee granules of various sizes. The flavor resulting from using a conical burr grinder is pleasantly bright and zesty.
A blade grinder is exactly what it sounds like: a grinder that uses spinning blades to slice up beans. Typically, they have a pair of blades on the bottom that kind of resembles a propeller.
Once the beans are in, the blades rotate at high speeds, cutting through the grounds. These grinders tend to not have any fineness settings you can control.
The Benefits of Using Conical Burr or Blade Grinders
If you were to ask an expert barista whether you should use a conical burr grinder or a blade grinder, chances are, they’ll tell you to spring for the conical burrs. Burr grinders are the standard in coffee shops all around the world.
Like with other burr grinders, conical burrs will give you more control over the fineness of the grind. Burrs are also long-lasting, so you can expect to get your money’s worth out of the grinder, as it will work for years.
Furthermore, burr grinders are better at keeping cool during grinding. This is vital to protecting your beans from being burnt and tasting singed.
Blade grinders, on the other hand, are much easier to find and generally much cheaper. That makes them attractive to coffee lovers on a budget.
Additionally, they’re easy to use. Because you don’t have to mess with fineness settings, you essentially just push one button and wait for your coffee grounds.
Drawbacks to Conical Burr and Blade Grinders
With blade grinders, you definitely get what you’re paying for. They may be cheap and easy to find, but they don’t give you control over the grind fineness.
On top of that, they usually heat up a little while they’re in use, which risks burning your beans. If you’ve ever had a coffee that tasted burnt, being overheated during grinding could be the cause of that taste.
Burr grinders are a bit higher end, so you won’t always find them in your average store. They’re also more expensive than blade grinders, so that might deter you from one if you’re on a budget.
If you requested our suggestion between the two grinder types, we’d say it depends on what you want. Those who just want an average cup of black coffee like what you’d get from the office breakroom probably won’t mind using a blade grinder.
But if you want to take your coffee to the next level or even brew your own espresso, the conical burr grinder is the way to go. It will give you total control over the texture of your grind, and will last much longer.
Want to learn more about burrs? You can read our post about conical vs flat burr grinders.
If you’d like to browse for your own future grinder, be sure to take a look at our store. You can reach out to us at 888-978-5224 if you have any questions.