Burr v Blade

Burr v Blade

Buying your coffee as beans and then grinding them at home is the best way to get the freshest coffee you can. Put simply if you buy ground coffee it will not be as fresh as the whole bean. So if you are committed to that concept and have decided to buy a grinder you will be faced with a choice, a burr grinder or a blade grinder.

Blade grinder v burr grinder, which is best? Most baristas we know always say buy a burr grinder. But this does work out more expensive, so is a burr grinder worth the extra money. Let’s start with how they both work and examine the differences between them.

How A Blade Grinder Works

When you put your coffee beans into a blade grinder the blades literally chop up the beans into grains. The blades spin and chop until you get the right thickness of grain. Essentially it is quite a crude chopping process. For this reason many baristas don’t feel that a blade grinder actually grinds at all. As there is dust created many people also feel that it can make the coffee taste quite bitter.

How A Burr Grinder Works

When you put coffee beans into a burr grinder and switch it on beans are squeezed between two revolving abrasive surfaces known as burrs. The effect, rather than the chopping of the blade grinder, is more of a grinding process. You can adjust the distance between the two surfaces to change the thickness of the grind. You can buy a flat burr and a conical burr, but they basically work in the same way.

Differences Between The Two Grinders

Uniform Grind

A uniform grind ensures that you get a maximum flavour from the ground coffee. A blade grinder will not produce as good a uniform grind as a burr grinder. A blade grinder can still produce grains that differ in size which, when you pass water through, will affect the end flavour.


When you use a blade grinder a certain amount of heat is produced by the spinning action of the blades hitting the hard surface of the bean. A burr grinder will not produce the same amount of heat. This can reduce the flavour of the bean.


This can be a personal thing but many will say that you get a better taste with a burr grind. This is probably due to the uniformity of grain produced. Taste however can vary from one person to another.


We looked today and you can easily pick up a cheap electric blade grinder for as little as £10. Some that cost around £20 are also useful kitchen appliances as they also will chop nuts and spices. A burr grinder, which can either be bought as a manual or electric, will cost more. Some start at £50 and go up into the hundreds of pounds. For your money however you get that uniformity of grind and the more expensive models will also measure out the correct amount of coffee for you for that perfect shot of espresso. Also, you may want to consider a burr grinder as an integrated part of your espresso machine.


In summary if you can afford it we would recommend buying a burr grinder. This will ensure that you get a uniform grind, less heat produced and the best taste you can get from your coffee beans. I guess we would say that because we love our coffee but it is worth considering the whole issue of money for a minute. So a really good grinder say at £400 that comes with a warranty could go on for years grinding superb coffee for you every day. When you think of that investment over the course of a number of years we think it represents great value for money as opposed to a cheaper blade variety that is unlikely to give you that longevity.


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