Grading espresso grinders!

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.

Postby CurtJLeitschuh » Jan 09, 2019, 12:07 am

I'm in need of an espresso grinder and I was looking for a list of espresso grinders that were rated (from industry professionals) from best to worst of all brands... for home users. Google didn't lead me anywhere with this. I couldn't justify, for my budget, spending more than $500-600 unless something a little more is far superior. Does anyone know of a list like this. I want to start some research. I'm not interested in the best of the best but don't want an entry level grinder just to upgrade in a few years. Thanks


Postby andreugv1 » Jan 09, 2019, 12:17 am

At your budget, the Baratza Sette 270 Wi is probably your best option. I have not tried a Niche so I can not speak for it but a lot of people like it. If you want to go manual, your cup will improve on a similar price range. In any case, going higher is not just about better cup quality, it is also about better built parts, longer lasting components, etc...

You might want to look at some comparison videos, like:


Postby tegwj » Jan 09, 2019, 12:19 am

You'll get a huge range of opinions. There are some popular choices at every price point, but that doesn't mean the less popular options are junk. People respond to what they know and have used personally, so the lists you seek are likely to have a fair amount of selection bias built in.

It's hard for most home users to make a purely objective decision on buying a grinder, both because they can't get them all in a row to evaluate simultaneously, and because they don't have the equipment to measure all the indicators (e.g. uniformity of grind particle size for a given setting; temp transfer into the beans during grinding)

So in the end people focus on easily compared data points (burr diameter, motor power & RPM) and look for the typical choices that maximize those parameters. Generally most of the grinders are very good to excellent.

I'm selling a grinder in the buy/sell section right now. Nominally it's worth $895 new but I couldn't tell you if it's better or worse than others in that price range. Its fundamentals are very good, the coffee it produced for me was excellent, and I'm selling it for $650. Does that make it a better value than a new grinder which also costs "only" $650? Maybe, but again it's difficult to say, because I don't know what criteria are important to you now, or will be in 6 months after you have more experience. What I do know is it's not one of the popular options, for various reasons, even though it's nicely made, works very well, and is a great size for a home user.

The nice thing with this hobby is there is a pretty good market for used, quality gear. So even if you decide on product [x] now, and intend to stick with it, if you change your mind it's not a big deal. That's what happened to me, I bought this grinder in August but then decided to go to a single-dose workflow, so I no longer needed something with a bean hopper. If I had space I'd keep it, but I don't, so I sell it for quite a bit less than I paid and move on. Somebody will come out really well on the deal.


Postby HH » Jan 09, 2019, 6:13 am

This is tricky, and as tegwj states, you're going to get a lot of opinions from people with limited experience - including mine!

When I was looking at buying a grinder, I found that a 'good' grinder means different things to different people. Different characteristics can make for a 'good' grinder, however generally you can only pick two out of the following three attributes:

1. It can be cheap
2. It can have a good ease of workflow, build quality and noise levels
3. It can have good grind consistency and quality

For example the Sette has excellent grind quality, is cheap, but is noisy and made of plastic.
The Monoliths also have great grind quality and are built like tanks, but are very expensive.
Hand grinders such as the OE Pharos or Kinu m47 are (relatively) cheap, have excellent grind quality, but I would find them to suffer from a workflow perspective when compared to an electric grinder.

I would identify what 'good' means to you, and focus on a grinder that can do that well.


Postby DeGaulle » Jan 09, 2019, 8:53 am

+1 on the above.

Workflow-wise, if you are making shots just for yourself and your loved one, a manual grinder might do the trick just as well. I have a Kinu M47 and unless I go towards light roasts, I am finding hand grinding for espresso with it not to require too much effort. It was a change in workflow that I got used to fairly quickly. TBH I keep my electric grinder for back-to-back use in case I have guests.