Alex has never been professionally involved into the world of coffee, however he knows much more than any average barista. Being an avid coffee lover, Alex is constantly searching for new tips, tools, and techniques to make his morning cup of java even more perfect.
Mary has been dealing with coffee almost all her life long: in her teenage years, she worked as a barista in a number of well-known coffeehouses, later developing her knowledge and skills while studying at the university as well. Several years after graduation, she managed to open her own small coffee bar.
Last updated: June 11, 2021
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There are a lot of great coffee grinders out there but if you want to find the best coffee grinder for espresso, you’ve come to the right place. We know it’s not easy to figure out which of these products is the right one for you which is why we’re here to help you choose with this review.
We researched 37 different coffee grinders to find out which ones are ideal for espresso. The Baratza Virtuoso+ was the clear winner, which is why we made it our Editor’s Choice. It’s an award-winning machine that delivers fast, reliable, and accurate results every time. If you’re looking for something more specific, like which of these products is best for your home or office, don’t worry. We found those, too.
When we were choosing items for this review, we considered some of the most important features of a grinder. Hopper capacity is important because it directly determines how often you will need to stop and refill the beans. The burrs are what actually does the grinding so, to make sure they stay working in tip-top shape, choose durable burrs that won’t rust over time. Warranty information is essential, especially with a product like this that can easily break if something gets stuck. If you have limited space, pay close attention to the dimensions. Some of these grinders have compact footprints and are great for small spaces. Finally, we took the number of grind settings into consideration so if you ever want to use a French Press or make drip coffee, you can still use fresh ground coffee. The first thing you’ll come to in this review is a table where you see an overview of our best progress. Next up are in-depth reviews of each product followed by a handy buying guide to help you figure out which machine is the right one for you.
The Baratza Virtuoso+ Editor’s Choice and a Specialty Coffee Association award-winning grinder. This high-performance machine has a lot of great features that make it a favorite of coffee professionals everywhere.
The hopper holds up to eight ounces of whole beans that are ground directly into the included grounds bin of a portafilter. To make sure you get accurate and consistent results every time, this grinder has a 40-second digital timer that’s adjustable to a tenth of a second using a simple dial on the front of the machine.
There are 40 different grind settings and conical alloy steel burrs that give you the perfect texture for espresso, automatic brewers, French Press, and more. The powerful motor and reliable construction are exceptionally durable and covered by a 1-year warranty. That’s not all, this grinder looks great on your countertop, too. The sleek black and silver design matches your stainless steel appliances plus it’s compact and fits underneath most kitchen cabinets.
There weren’t a lot of complaints about this machine though some people mentioned that the instructions were a little difficult to understand. Other commenters felt that this grinder was a bit messy and that it jammed occasionally. Another thing that came up a few times was that, although it produces great tasting beans, the grinder is a little slow.
If you’re looking for a commercial-grade grinder, take a look at the Breville The Smart Grinder Pro. It’s specially designed with conical burrs that reduce heat during grinding to protect the essential oils and preserve the flavor of the beans.
This is a great choice if you’re looking for something with a lot of options. There are 60 different grind settings, ranging from very fine for espresso to the coarse grounds needed for a French Press. The electric timer allows for precise adjustments for consistency so you get the same dose every time. Everything is adjusted using the easy-to-read LCD screen.
One of the reasons that this grinder is so good for commercial use is because it holds up to 18 ounces of coffee beans at once. You can grind directly into the grounds container, a portafilter, gold-tone filter basket, or even a paper filter.
This grinder also includes some great accessories, including a large and small portafilter, an air-tight grounds container, and a cleaning brush.
Most people really like this grinder but there are a few complaints, one being that it can be a little messy. Several users commented that this could be avoided by cleaning the machine thoroughly after every use, which can be a bit time-consuming.
Why is it special?
Special design reduces heat during grinding to preserve bean flavor
60 grind settings
Easy-to-use LCD screen
Holds up to 18 ounces of beans
Includes two portafilters, sealable grounds container, and cleaning brush
What are the flaws?
Requires cleaning after every use for best results
The Rancilio Rocky works great for an office because it’s built tough and can stand up to frequent use. Commercial-grade grinding burrs and 166-watt motor can grind up to 7.7 pounds of beans every hour while operating at a reasonable volume. Plus, it’s really durable in the long run. One commenter even claimed to use the same one for 17 years!
This grinder has a dosing chamber to hold the fresh grounds and can automatically dispense them directly into a portafilter. That means you get a consistent dose every time without having to measure anything yourself. You can also adjust the machine to get a fine powder or course grounds depending on the type of coffee you’re making. Changing the settings is simple and each grinder is tested before leaving the factory.
Some people commented that it was louder than expected while others felt it was relatively quiet for a coffee grinder so this really boils down to personal preference. A few people also mentioned that the doser wasn’t accurate unless you are grinding a large number of beans. Cleaning can be a bit of a chore but that’s not uncommon with most grinders.
Why is it special?
Grinds up to 7.7 pounds of beans in an hour
Automatically dispenses grounds into a portafilter
The best home coffee grinder for espresso is the Delonghi Ariete Grinder Pro. It features a heavy-duty conical burr grinding disc that can create an ultra-fine grind, suitable for espresso and even Turkish Coffee. There are 15 settings in all so you can use the grounds with a percolator, French Press, or espresso machine. Plus, you can choose the cup size so you don’t have to worry about accuracy.
This grinder can hold up to about 13 ounces of beans and the grounds container can hold up to 6.5 ounces. The bean hopper automatically locks for easy storage.
The simple, sleek design fits in with any decor and is fairly compact, saving counter space and being able to fit under most cabinetry. It works fast, too. In about 10 seconds, you can have about eight tablespoons of ground coffee ready to go.
Some people commented that the grounds container fit a little too tight but got used to it in time. Another thing to note is that the instructions indicate that the grinder should not run for more than 90 seconds at a time. Any longer and the unit might get a little hot which may affect the flavor of the coffee.
What makes it special?
15 grind settings, including ultra-fine for Turkish coffee
Adjustable cup size
Holds 13 ounces of beans and 6.5 ounces of grounds
Simple, sleek design
Grinds up to 8 tablespoons of beans in as little as 10 seconds
The best manual coffee grinder for espresso is the Fumao Hand Coffee Grinder. One of the best things about this grinder is that the burrs don’t produce heat which means you don’t have to worry about it altering the flavor of the coffee. Plus, they’re made of cast iron which means they’ll never rust.
You can adjust the coarseness of the beans by simply adjusting a screw under the grinder base. The crank is ergonomically designed for comfortable use and is extremely quiet when in use. It holds up to three ounces at a time but is very easy to refill.
This solid-wood grinder is easy to take apart for thorough cleaning and compact for easy storage and travel. It’s ideal for hiking, camping, or backpacking. Because it doesn’t need a battery or power supply, you can use it anywhere. It’s also versatile enough to use for chopping nuts, herbs, and spices.
There aren’t many complaints about this one but a few people mentioned that it can be difficult to clean. Plus, since it’s hand-powered, it takes a lot longer than electric models. This one is covered by a limited lifetime warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try it out at no risk.
A great choice if you’re on a budget is the Capresso 560.01 Infinity. It uses commercial-grade, solid steel burrs that were specially designed for a wide range of grinding. Plus, the gear reduction motor grinds slowly and produces less heat which helps to maintain the quality of the beans. There are 16 settings in all so, whether you want to prepare Turkish coffee or use a French Press, this design delivers.
This grinder has a built-in timer that you can set between five and 60 seconds so you don’t have to hold down a button constantly for it to keep working. The upper burr removes easily for thorough cleaning and the heavy-duty zinc die-cast housing can be easily wiped down with a damp cloth. They include a cleaning brush and there’s a safety lock so the grinder won’t turn on without the bean container in place.
Most people love this grinder but admit that the grind options are a little off and the machine may need to be recalibrated when you first get it. The hopper itself determines the coarseness of the ground and, since you remove it for cleaning, there may be some inconsistencies with its performance. A few people also noted that the timer doesn’t always work as it should.
There’s nothing like espresso made from fresh grounds but it’s not always easy to determine which is the right machine for the job. In this guide, we’ll tell you what features to look for to help you determine which is the right one for you.
What should a grinder for espresso be?
To make espresso, you need a coffee grinder that is capable of making precise, fine grounds. Generally, automatic grinders are pretty reliable when it comes to this but there are some great manual options, too, like the Fumao Hand Coffee Grinder.
Burrs and blades: a simple choice
There are two types of grinders, those that use burrs and those that use blades.
Blade grinders are somewhat similar to blenders. They have a center blade that chops up the beans while moving in a circular motion. This type of grinder is generally more powerful and can be significantly faster than a burr grinder but it isn’t nearly as consistent. What that means is you’ll get uneven grounds which leads to bad quality coffee. Since fine grounds are so important when making espresso, blade grinders are not the best option which is why all of our picks use burr grinders.
Rather than chopping up the beans, a burr grinder uses two abrasive surfaces. One is stationary and the other moves in a circular motion to grind the beans between them. There are two types of burr grinders, flat and conical. Both are pretty consistent. Conical burrs are used at a slower speed which reduces heat buildup. This means that the oils in the beans are less affected which produces a better-tasting cup of coffee or espresso. Flat burrs are better than blade grinders but not quite as effective as conical burrs.
The best coffee grinder for espresso can be found by the following features
Now that you know a little more about the basics, let’s take a look at the key things you need to look for when choosing a coffee grinder for espresso.
Grind the price
The automatic grinders on our list run anywhere from $90 to $380. While they’re all great at produced beans suitable for espresso, higher-end models have some features that can take the flavor up a notch. Some are designed to produce minimal heat while others give you a lot of options for how fine you want the beans ground. They usually have a larger bean hopper, too, which means you don’t have to refill it as often.
Manual grinders are much less expensive and cost in the ballpark of $40. They’re often not as consistent and reliable as automatic grinders but they’re effective and have the benefit of being portable. You can even take one with your camping for a delicious way to start a day of hiking or backpacking.
There are different things to consider if you’re planning to use your grinder in a commercial setting as opposed to in your home. Grinders that are used in coffee shops or in a busy office get a lot more use than one in your kitchen. It’s important to choose a grinder that was designed for heavy use, like the Breville The Smart Grinder Pro. Other models will work fine for a little while but aren’t made to be used dozens of times a day or more so they won’t last nearly as long as they should.
That said, there’s nothing wrong with using a commercial-grade grinder in your home. It will likely last a lot longer than a home model would but probably isn’t necessary unless you plan to use it a few times a day.
Dimensions of the device
Dimensions are important to make sure you have enough counter space to use your grinder, especially if you plan to leave it out when not in use. If you have a specific place in your kitchen in mind – say, underneath your kitchen cabinet – make sure that the grinder isn’t too tall or wide to fit properly.
The automatic grinders that we chose all have steel or stainless-steel burrs. Steel is very strong but the one thing that stainless steel has over it is that stainless steel doesn’t rust. Grinders should be cleaned regularly so there is a chance that steel will rust in time.
The manual grinder we chose has cast-iron burrs. While this material is extremely durable, it can also rust if not properly cared for.
A lot of people might complain about how loud these grinders are but you have to be realistic. These machines are pulverizing coffee beans, some noise is to be expected. That said, there are some designs that are quieter than others, including the Rancilio Rocky. This is important to keep in mind in an office setting where a grinder has the potential to be very disruptive if it operates too loudly.
Precision is important because good espresso requires consistency. Remember, blade grinders are not ideal for espresso specifically because they aren’t precise. It’s important to choose a burr grinder that can deliver precise results over and over again.
The hopper is where the coffee beans are stored while they’re waiting to be ground. The larger the hopper, the less often you will need to refill it. This might not be such a big deal for a grinder you’re using at home but in a commercial or office setting, the beans are used much faster. If you have a small hopper and a lot of espresso drinkers, refilling the beans ends up being an annoyingly frequent task.
Heating prevention is mostly accomplished by the speed of the grinder and how long it’s running. Keeping the heat down is one of the best ways to maintain the oils in the beans and to make sure your espresso tastes as good as possible.
Grinding speed needs a delicate balance. You want to find something that’s slow enough to prevent heat but not so slow that you have to wait forever for it to be done. All of the options we chose offer a nice balance.
Accessories you need
To make espresso, you will need a portafilter. Some of our picks include one and you should also have one with your espresso machine. The other must-have accessory is a good cleaning brush. Keeping coffee grinders clean is very important as too much buildup can jam the burrs and cause damage to the machine.
Quick guide for an espresso grinding
If you’re new to grinding your own espresso beans, here’s an excellent video to help you with the process:
There are a few ways to clean a grinder. Some models are easy to take apart so you can wash all the pieces pretty easily. If not, try this: fill the grinder with white rice and grind under pulverized. The rice soaks up any leftover oils from the coffee beans. Dump out the rice and wipe the inside clean. You should also use a cleaning brush so you know that you’ve removed everything.
It depends on the machine but, generally, coffee beans should be ground for 30 seconds to make espresso. In contrast, grounds for drip coffee only need to be ground for about 15 seconds.
Our Editor’s Choice is the Baratza Virtuoso+, an award-winning grinder with accurate and consistent results. It features 40 different coarseness settings and alloy steel burrs to create the ideal texture for espresso. This machine looks great in your kitchen and is built to last for a long time.
The Breville The Smart Grinder Pro is our pick for the best commercial grinder. It holds up to 18 ounces of beans and features 60 different grind settings. The LCD screen makes it really easy to use and ensures consistency and accuracy. It includes a few great accessories, too, including portafilters and a cleaning brush.
Finally, we recommend the Rancilio Rocky, especially if you’re looking for the best coffee grinder for espresso for the office. It uses commercial-grade burrs and a fast motor that grinds up to 7.7 pounds of beans in an hour. Making adjustments is simple and it can dispense the grounds directly into a portafilter.