Coffeeble is reader-supported. When you buy via the links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you. Learn more.

What Is A Burr Coffee Grinder – Burr Grinders Vs Blade Grinders

Do you buy ground coffee from the store and wonder why you can never make great tasting coffee? When you buy pre-ground coffee from the store, it is usually already oxidized and loses much of its flavor and aroma. Additionally, grocery store coffee often comes in a coarse or inconsistent grind, which can result in under or over-extraction when brewing. Making a tasty espresso with supermarket coffee is close to impossible as the grounds are not suitable for making espresso.

The easy fix? A burr grinder. Grinding your beans right before brewing can significantly enhance the taste of your coffee.. The consistent grind size allows for even extraction, resulting in a more balanced and flavorful brew. It also allows you to adjust the grind settings according to your preferred brewing method, whether you use an espresso machine or a coffee maker, both of which requires a different grinding process.

This article will introduce you to burr coffee grinders and explain how they transform whole beans into consistent grounds for optimal flavor extraction

Key Takeaways

  • A burr coffee grinder is a type of grinder that uses two abrasive plates, called burrs, to crush coffee beans into consistent and uniform particles for optimal flavor extraction.
  • Unlike blade grinders, which chop the beans unevenly, burr grinders produce a more precise and even particle size.
  • The adjustable settings on a burr grinder allow you to customize the size of your grind according to your preferred brewing method, whether it’s fine for espresso or coarse for French press.

Types of Coffee Grinders – Which Kind Of Coffee Grinder Is Better?

There are two main types of coffee grinders: burr and blade. These can be both manual coffee mills, whereby you need to operate the grinder by hand, or electric, where the work is done for you.

Burr Grinders

A burr grinder is a type of coffee grinder that uses two revolving abrasive surfaces, known as burrs, to grind the coffee beans. These burrs can be made of steel, ceramic, or other materials and are designed to crush the beans into consistent and uniform particles.

Compared to blade grinders, which chop the beans into uneven pieces, burr grinders offer more control over the size of the coffee grounds. This is important because different brewers, such as an espresso machine, moka pot or V60, require different coarseness levels.

Burrs are essential for making a high quality cup of coffee

Using a burr grinder allows you to adjust the grind size to achieve the desired extraction and flavor profile. It also allows for a more consistent grind, which can result in a better-tasting cup of coffee. Additionally, burr grinders tend to produce less heat, which can preserve the flavors and aromas of the coffee. 

Inside every burr grinder, two plates rotate against each other to crush and tear coffee beans into consistently sized particles instead of chopping them arbitrarily like blade grinders do.

This unique approach to grinding provides a uniform texture, resulting in better extraction and flavor balance during brewing. Whether manual or electric, all burr grinders allow you to control grind’s size—making it possible to easily switch between fine grinds for espresso and coarser ones for cold brew, pour overs or AeroPress.

From flat disc-shaped burrs perfect for high-volume settings to conical versions favoured by home baristas—the equipment variety caters to every taste on the coffee spectrum.

Conical Burr Grinder Vs Flat Burr Grinders

There are two types of commonly used burr sets: conical burrs and flat burrs. Neither grinder is better – both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so it ultimately comes down to personal preference to get the best from them.

Conical Burr Grinders:

  • Consistent Grind: Conical burrs are known for producing a more consistent particle size. This means that the coffee grounds are more uniform in size, leading to a better extraction and a more balanced flavor profile.
  • Less Heat: They also generate less heat during the grinding process. Heat can affect the flavor of the coffee, so this is a desirable feature.
  • Quieter Operation: Conical burrs tend to be quieter than flat burrs. 
  • More Expensive: Conical burrs are generally more expensive than flat burrs. However, the price difference might be worth it for those seeking the benefits mentioned above.

Flat Burrs

  • Faster Grinding: Flat burr grinders are known for their fast and efficient grinding. 
  • Uniform Extraction: Some argue that flat burr shapes provide a more uniform extraction by exposing the coffee particles to the water in a more even manner.
  • More Affordable: Flat burr sets generally come at a lower price point

For anybody that likes to get into the finer details, Lance Hedrick does a fantastic job of explaining the difference between flat and conical burrs in the video below.

Blade Coffee Grinders

Blade grinders are a popular choice due to their affordability and simplicity. Unlike burrs, which crush the coffee beans, blade grinders rely on a spinning blade that chops the beans into smaller pieces.

However, this grinding method can result in an inconsistent grind, meaning that some grounds may be too coarse while others are too fine. This can affect the overall flavor extraction when you make coffee.

While blade grinders get the job done, they may not produce the uniformity needed for achieving optimal coffee flavor. The unevenness of the grind can lead to over-extraction or under-extraction during brewing, resulting in a less balanced cup of coffee.

How a Burr Coffee Grinder Works

Burr coffee grinders are designed with two burrs that work together to grind your coffee beans. These burrs, also known as plates, have sharp edges that crush the beans into consistent and uniform particles.

As you pour the beans into the hopper and start grinding, they are pulled between these burrs, which rotate at different speeds. This action crushes the coffee beans rather than chopping them like a blade grinder would.

Burrs come in many different shapes and sizes

The gap between the burrs can be adjusted to control the size of the grind, allowing you to achieve anything from fine espresso grounds to coarse grounds for French press brewing. Unlike blade grinders, which chop coffee beans unevenly, burr grinders provide a more precise and even grind.

This means better extraction of flavors and aromas in your brewed coffee. Whether you prefer a manual or electric burr grinder, this type of grinder is durable and built to last.

Adjustable grind size

Whether you’re making espresso, pour-over, or French press, having control over the grind size ensures that you can extract the optimal flavor from your beans regardless of the kind of coffee you’re brewing.

With adjustable settings, you can achieve a consistent grind every time. This is important because different brewing methods require different particle sizes. For example, Turkish coffee requires finer grounds while pour overs need coarser grounds.

By adjusting the grind size, you can ensure that your coffee extraction is just right and avoid over-extraction or under-extraction.

Having this level of control over the coffee grounds also means that you have more flexibility in experimenting with different flavors. You can try a slightly coarser grind for a brighter and fruitier taste, or a finer one for a bolder and richer flavor profile.

Advantages of Burr Grinders

Burr grinders are the industry standard and offer a range of advantages over blade grinders, from the consistency in particle size to the flavor in the final cup. The main advantages are:

  • Uniform particle size, regardless of the amount of coffee
  • Better tasting coffee due to the improved extraction
  • Different settings for different brew methods enable you to “dial in” your beans
  • Can quickly grind large batches of coffee
  • Better build quality 

Durable and long-lasting

Burr grinders are known for their durability and longevity, making them a great investment for any coffee lover. Unlike blade grinders that have sharp blades that can wear down over time, burrs tend to last longer.

This means that the grinder will last for years without losing its effectiveness. Whether you opt for a manual or electric burr grinder, you can trust that it will withstand regular use and continue to deliver excellent results in grinding your coffee beans.

Say No To Blade Grinders

So what is a burr grinder? It’s simply a type of grinder that uses serrated burrs to crush coffee beans into uniform particle sizes. A good burr grinder is an essential tool for any serious coffee drinker who makes their own coffee at home. 

The best coffee grinders use burrs, but whether you go electric or manual, or conical or flat doesn’t make a huge difference. So long as you can get consistent fines for your preferred brewing method, the type of burr grinder doesn’t matter. Just make sure to avoid blade grinders as these are a waste of time and money and won’t help you to make better coffee.


What is a burr coffee grinder?

A burr coffee grinder is a type of coffee grinder that uses two rotating abrasive surfaces, called burrs, to grind the coffee beans consistently and evenly. This method produces a uniform grind size, which is essential for brewing high-quality coffee.

What is the difference between a burr grinder and a regular grinder?

A burr grinder and a regular grinder differ in their grinding mechanism. A burr grinder uses two revolving abrasive surfaces, known as burrs, to grind the beans evenly and consistently. A regular grinder, on the other hand, uses blades to chop the beans, resulting in an inconsistent grind size. 

What is the advantage of a burr coffee grinder?

The advantage of a burr coffee grinder is that it ensures a consistent grind size. This is important for getting the most from your coffee beans, as it allows for optimal extraction during the brewing process and puts the most flavor into the final cup.

Do I really need a burr coffee grinder?

If you truly appreciate the taste and aroma of freshly brewed coffee, then yes, a burr coffee grinder is essential. Unlike blade grinders, burr grinders produce a consistent particle size, resulting in a more uniform extraction and a better-tasting cup of coffee. 

Does a burr grinder have blades?

No, a burr grinder does not have blades. It uses two revolving abrasive surfaces called burrs, one fixed and one rotating, to grind coffee beans. The burrs crush the beans into consistently-sized particles, resulting in a more even and controlled grind compared to blade grinders. 

What is the difference between a blade grinder and a burr grinder?

A blade grinder chops coffee beans with a spinning metal blade, resulting in inconsistent grind size and heat buildup that can alter the flavor. On the other hand, a burr grinder uses two abrasive burrs to crush the beans into evenly sized particles. Burrs make much better coffee.

What is the difference between a burr grinder and a conical burr grinder?

The main difference between a burr grinder and a conical burr grinder lies in the shape of the burrs. In a burr grinder, the burrs are typically flat, whereas in a conical burr grinder, the burrs have a cone-like shape. This difference in shape affects the grinding process, resulting in different grind sizes and flavors in the coffee.

How does a burr grinder work?

A burr grinder works by using two revolving abrasive surfaces, aka burrs, to grind coffee beans. The beans are fed into the grinder through a hopper. As they pass between the burrs, they are crushed into particles. The distance between these burrs can be adjusted to grind for different brews. 

What are the two types of grinder burr?

The two types of grinder burr are conical burr and flat burr. Conical burr grinders have a cone-shaped grinding burr that rotates against another stationary burr. On the other hand, flat burr grinders have two flat burrs that rub against each other.

What else can you use a burr grinder for?

In addition to grinding coffee beans, a burr grinder can be used for for grinding spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and cloves. You can also use it to grind flaxseeds, chia seeds, or other seeds. Some even find it useful for grinding herbs and nuts to create homemade spreads or pastes. 

What happens if you put ground coffee in a burr grinder?

If you put ground coffee in a burr grinder, it may cause the grinder to get clogged or jammed. This can damage the grinder’s burrs and make it less effective in grinding whole beans. Additionally, the ground coffee may not be evenly ground, resulting in a subpar taste and extraction during brewing.

Do burr grinders get dull?

 Burr grinders can become dull over time due to normal wear and tear. The burrs, which are used to crush and grind coffee beans, can lose their sharpness and begin to produce uneven and inconsistent grounds. Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prolong the life of the burrs.

Is a cheap burr grinder worth it?

Whether a cheap burr grinder is worth it depends on individual needs and preferences. For serious coffee drinkers or those who prioritize quality, investing in a higher-quality, more expensive burr grinder is a better long-term choice. 


Coffee expert and industry insider, I’ve dedicated years to mastering the art and science of coffee making. From scrutinizing particle fineness to evaluating burr shapes, I delve into the minutiae that elevate coffee from good to exceptional. Whether it’s a complex pour-over or a robust espresso, my insights cater to those who don’t just drink coffee, but experience it.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap