weaver.jack
7
Nov 1, 2017
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I've been using an electric grinder for beans I buy from a shop nearby (fresh roast dates, <3-5 days). I then use either a Chemex or do a Pour over (single cup).
Some co-workers suggest using a hand grinder, because "its better". I'm confused on the logic here. How is a hand grinder for this better than an electric one? Before I consider buying a hand grinder, I'd love to know the reasoning behind using it.
Thanks!
Nov 1, 2017
Dr.McCoy
344
Nov 2, 2017
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Which electric grinder? If it's a blade grinder, then yes. If it's a burr grinder then it'll depend.
Nov 2, 2017
jkiemele
222
Nov 3, 2017
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The only potential difference I could see heat transfer to beans while grinding. Hand grinding may create less friction heat versus a higher powered electric grinder. With that being said, I have both electric and manual grinding methods and only use my manual method when traveling. As others have said, a manual burr grinder will grind beans more consistently than an electric blade grinder; however, a quality electric burr grinder is great for consistency, ease, and duplication of grind.
If you are looking for an excellent electric burr, go for a Baratza.
Nov 3, 2017
Dr.McCoy
344
Nov 3, 2017
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I've yet to see any evidence that the burr materials matter in a home situation. If you're doing a whole bag of coffee at a time (probably shouldn't) that may pose a heating risk but I'd be skeptical.
Nov 3, 2017
jkiemele
222
Nov 3, 2017
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I agree. I don't see it being a problem in the home setting either. I've heard it mentioned once or twice, but have given no credence to it being adverse.
Nov 3, 2017
JaayW
7
Nov 5, 2017
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It depends on what kind of grinder you're using. The mid to high range grinders are generally considered better than a hand grinder, esp if you consider time, energy and space of an electric vs hand grinder.
Some of the burr hand grinders such as the ROK have infinite step-less grind control which can produce grinds as good as some mid to high range grinders. Only "issue" is that you have to expend the physical energy to adjust and grind the beans which can take a while especially if you're using brewing methods that require more grinds than your typical espresso.
So yeah, it's better if you consider it money wise - but most people will opt for an electric grinder for its versatility, functionality and convenience. Hope that helps!
Nov 5, 2017
bowerz42
0
Feb 6, 2019
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Take a 0.2 micron filter and shake the ground coffee from each grinder type over it for maybe five minutes. You'll see waaayyyy more fines with a blade grinder. Way more coarses too I don't really have a way to point that out other than by just looking at it. Maybe a filter slightly bigger than your target grind size so your grind size goes through but the coarses don't? Idunno. End result is a burr grinder totally makes a difference at home. You can maybe get close to the same effect if you sit and shake up a blade grinder as you use it so there's more even distribution but at that point I'd just spring for the burr grinder.
Feb 6, 2019
bowerz42
0
Feb 6, 2019
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As others have mentioned, it's important to compare apples to apples here. Blade grinders make use of a sharp swinging metal blade that chops the beans over and over again. Grind size is very hard to control and there's no guarantee the beans will see even exposure to the blade. It'll produce a lot of unevenly sized grounds that will extract at different rates during brewing and yield an unbalanced cup. A burr grinder is much better at grinding your beans consistently to the target grind size. They accomplish this by literally grinding the beans between two metal burrs and the grind size is controlled by setting the distance between these burrs. Gravity forces the beans down through the burrs and there is little opportunity for the beans to be too fine or course. That said, not all burrs are created equal but it you go with a reputable brand (Baratza and Wilfa come to mine), you can have reasonable confidence even in their cheaper models. Now comparing manual to electric blade grinders really depends on your application. Electric grinders will outperform manual grinders on both scales but the degree to which they do so diminishes as you scale down. In a retail setting, baristas are able to keep a full hopper the entire day because they'll go through the beans at such a rate that they don't need to worry about degassing or oxidizing their beans too rapidly. The weight of a full hopper will push the beans through the electric grinder more consistently, no room for stray beans to fly around, and you'll see far fewer fines. As you scale down in volume, that weight diminishes and you lose more of that consistency to the point where it you're brewing a single cup at a time, you won't notice a huge difference in the final product. Also relating to volume is ease it use. It's far easier to toss your beans into an electric grinder and just let them go but it you're doing a single dose of 15-35 grams then the time and effort you'll spend on a manual grinder really won't be that bad. If you're brewing for six people, you might be grinding for tens of minutes. And because others have mentioned it, the heat coming from friction in an electric grinder will make absolutely no difference at all. The amount of energy generated is insignificant and I won't come close to the temperatures needed to catalyze any reactions in the grounds; you don't need to worry about it.
Feb 6, 2019
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