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There are a number of bean grinders out there and some include a feature to set grinding grain (steps between coarse and fine) while others have no such setting and make a finer grind bb grinding longer. The second type is much cheaper.

Is the inclusion of these fancier settings in a coffee grinder (which usually bumps up the price) worth it, as far as getting the right grind level?

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  • Vaguely related, also emphasizing why a burr grinder is preferable: coffee.stackexchange.com/questions/5023/…
    – Stephie
    Apr 3 at 8:27
  • Hi @Ini90, welcome to the Coffee Stack Exchange! Reading your question, I think you might be confused about grinder features. Grind coarseness is not controlled by how long you grind. Are you asking about the importance of grind setting, or are you asking about the importance of a timer or dose-by-weight feature?
    – R Mac
    Apr 3 at 21:37
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    Hi @RMac, thanks! Yes, there were indeed a couple of points that were explained below that I didn't know about, but thankfully things are a lot clearer now. More specifically, the point about homogeneity of the grind. I was initially under the impression that all grinder types were the same, but some were more or less expensive; now I know that different models (and features) achieve different results.
    – Ini90
    Apr 4 at 0:27
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You absolutely want to be able to choose grind size - even if you have a preferred brewing method and beans, you still want to be able to make some adjustments up or down if necessary. Even more so if you are going to experiment with brewing methods, where the required grind size ranges from super fine powder (Turkish Mokka) to coarse grain (cold brew). And it is a good idea to pick a grinder that has its strength at the coarseness you need most - few will actually cover the whole range.

That said, the really important detail is how homogeneous the grind is. If you have a wide range of particle sizes, you will get over and under extracted coffee at the same time and it will be a compromise at best.

That’s why I would strongly recommend that you invest in a burr grinder, that should be the kind where you can set and adjust the grind size. As said before, read a few reviews before selecting the model that matches your needs and budget.

Blade grinders work like food processors, chopping up the beans with a rotating knife and the longer they run, the finer the grind will be - so the time you run them is sort of a grind selector. By design they produce a less homogeneous result (depending on how the blade hits the beans, some particles will be bigger, some smaller), which will sometimes work for coarse grinds, but not for fine ones. They are often cheaper, though, which is why some users pick them over burr grinders. I would not choose one if possible.

There is a reason why some pros recommend to spend equal amounts on your grinder and your espresso machine. If you are brewing with a low-budget method (e.g. pour-over by hand), the grinder will likely be the most expensive piece of equipment - and probably worth the investment.

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  • It's not just consistency that burr grinders bring to the table. The crushing action of burrs also exposes more surface area of the bean (think fracture vs. clean cut, or mortar & pestle vs. knife) and squishes the bean, facilitating and encouraging the release of yummy, flavorful coffee oils. No matter your brew method, burrs will impart a more balanced and more prominent flavor to your coffee, benefits which go hand in hand to the flavor improvements brought by consistent grind. Do note though that burrs by themselves do not by any stretch guarantee a consistent grind.
    – R Mac
    Apr 4 at 0:45
  • @RMac I didn’t want to go into the finer details (pun intended), just give a general description of the main differences between grinder types and help the OP to do more research based on their needs and budget. But thanks for the additional details, much appreciated.
    – Stephie
    Apr 4 at 6:06
  • I know, just adding to the "conversation". :)
    – R Mac
    Apr 4 at 18:25

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