There are two different types of grinders. There's the blade grinder and then there are the burr grinders. There are actually two types of burr grinders. There's a flat burr and the conical burr. But let's talk about the blade grinder first, and let's let look at the Krups Fast Touch grinder
Basically, a blade grinder employs a blade that spins at high speed. You put your coffee beans into the top, you close the lid, and hit go. It starts to chop the beans. And doing so, it kind of burnishes where it hits. If you've ever taken an axe into wood, you might be able to picture it. It actually smooths the wood, making it nonporous where water can't penetrate very easily, and it also increases the heat. So in one like the Krups Blade Grinder
, it does a really quick job, and it's an inexpensive grinder, but it also increases the heat, changing the flavor of the coffee, and it burnishes part of the bean where it's less water soluble, meaning when you brew your coffee, you're going to get less flavor out of it.
There is also the Capresso Cool Grind
. This actually spins at less RPM's than most blade grinders, so it doesn't increase the heat from friction, so you aren't going to get the change in the flavor from the heat build-up and changing the flavor of the oils in the bean.
A drawback to blade grinders is the fact that you're not going to get an even grind. Basically, it's going to chop just by the laws of physics. The finer particles are going to fall to the bottom and the larger to the top, so you get a variety of grind that's not going to be even, which is why you wouldn't use this for, say, espresso because you want a very even grind and a very fine grind. So these are just good enough; these work very well for say, auto-drip. It works very fine for that.Flat Burr Grinder
Your flat burr grinder is basically two opposing burrs - the coffee goes through these burrs and you can adjust how close or how far away the burrs are to one another, which will either make the grindings small or large. The further away the burrs are, the bigger pieces you get. The closer they are together, the smaller the grind. You can use a burr grinder and get a consistent grind because it has to be a certain size before it will actually go through the burrs. The consistent grind means you can can use this for just about any kind of coffee making. You're going to get the grinds you want; it's consistent. Each piece of coffee is going to be brewed to the same amount. So you can use it for any kind of coffee as well as espresso. The other benefit of the burr grinders is the fact that it doesn't chop - it cracks like a nutcracker will. So it actually opens up the facets of the coffee bean to more readily absorb the water so you are going to get a lot more flavor out of your coffee than with a blade grinder, and it's going to be more of an even brew.Conical Burr Grinder
Now when you get into the conical burr grinder, this basically breaks down the bean - the whole bean - finer and finer until it's as fine as you want it. So these are much more precise. They are going to be much more even, less chance of having even the slightest difference in the grind. They are much more consistent and that's actually what the professionals use; they use a conical burr grinder. So that's kind of the top-of-the-line.Summary
So there's a regular grinder, a burr grinder, and a conical burr grinder. And each of the burr grinders includes a simple timer. If you want to use it for an auto-drip, you can actually set it for eight cups and it will grind that much coffee, which is quite nice. And then it contains the coffee so you can just dump it into your machine.Beans & Grinds
Different kinds of beans are going to grind at different rates. Our darker roasted beans, they actually become hollow and have more oils on the outside, but they are also easier to grind because they are less dense than other beans. You'll have to grind more to get the same amount as other beans. But you can grind quite a bit of a dark roasted coffee very quickly versus something that is a lighter roast or strictly hard bean which takes longer to grind. A good way to ensure you grind enough coffee is instead of just taking the time or volume measurements from the machine, you can use a coffee spoon, which is level to one tablespoon or seven grams if you want to get that technical. Use that to spoon out the grinds; that way you if scoop eight spoonfuls and still have leftover grinds, you'll actually be measuring correctly with the spoon.