In the heart of every single grinder, there are burrs. Burrs are the grinding discs that pulverize the beans, and different types of burrs lead to different effects and flavors.
The two most common burr types are conical and flat. Their differences in shape result in entirely unique experiences.
In this guide, we’ll be putting conical vs flat burr grinders in a comparison to see which is better to use for espresso. We’ll explain what the differences are between these burr types, and how they impact ever-popular espresso-based drinks.
The Difference Between Conical and Flat Burr Grinders
Before we discuss which one is better for your espresso, it’s important to understand what the difference between flat and burr grinders is. In a nutshell, the difference comes down to shape.
Conical grinders, just like their name, are shaped like cones. If you can imagine a lemon juicer, that’s essentially what they look like. A cone-shaped insert fits in a ring to make up the grinder.
When the grinder is in use, the cone will rotate in the ring, grinding the beans in its ridges. This type of burr specializes in bimodal particles, which means the coffee granules are in differing sizes.
Alternatively, flat burrs are as flat as their name implies. They’re two serrated discs that sit on top of each other, and the beans are ground between them.
Flat burrs are well-known for making uniform particles. In other words, coffee granules from flat burrs are all the same size.
Conical vs Flat Burr Grinders: Which is Better for Espresso?
There’s quite a debate over whether you should use a conical or flat burr grinder for espresso. Truthfully, you could use either one to grind espresso, but there are indeed reasons why you might choose one or the other.
Conical burrs tend to be more affordable. For that reason, you’ll more often find them in inexpensive home grinders than in commercial or high-end ones. Their shape makes them easier for beginners, and they tend to run more quietly than flat burrs.
The flavor they produce is also different. Conical burrs are well-known for creating a brighter, fruitier flavor because of the way they produce bimodal particles.
Flat burrs are usually used in commercial or expensive grinders. The uniform particles they create give baristas unprecedented control over extraction and taste. Rather than having to worry about bitterness, like you might get with the zesty notes of bimodal particles, you can create a deeper, sweeter flavor.
Professionals tend to prefer flat burrs. If you’re looking for a grinder for your coffee shop or you’re a home barista in search of a commercial espresso experience, flat burrs will give you what you need.
However, if all you want is an affordable home grinder, you’ll probably want to look towards conical burrs.
The burrs in the grinder you choose matter. Good coffee and espresso start in the grinder, so make sure you choose a grinder carefully based on your personal preferences.
If you’d like to view our selection of high-quality espresso grinders, you can take a look at them in our store. You can use the chat window in the bottom right side of the screen or call us at 888-978-5224 if you have any questions.