The 5 Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso 2018 with Reviews and Buying Guide

There is nothing better than a good cup of coffee to kick start your morning. The flavorful scent of fresh coffee awakens all your senses and the taste fills your body with a burst of energy to get up and start your day.

Brewing the perfect cup may seem impossible to you as it does to most people. You would be surprised just how easy it is. Besides fresh water, all you need is fresh expertly ground beans and of course a good coffee maker. I will help you with the former.

Picking the right grinder can seem daunting, considering the varying models in the market today.  While some of these grinders are good, you are bound to come across some substandard ones. Buying the wrong grinder will ultimately affect the quality of your coffee as well as lose you money.

I have prepared a list of some of the best espresso coffee grinders to help you decide on which one best suits you. I’ve also put together a buying guide to enlighten you on everything you need to know about coffee grinders.

Table of Contents

Top Coffee Grinders for espresso Comparison Chart

Here is a comparison table for a quick glance at the differences between the 5 coffee grinders that are great for espresso.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro Baratza Sette Burr Grinder Baratza Vario 886 – Coffee Grinder Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Coffee Grinder
Great Build Quality -
Customer Support
Warranty
Easy to Clean -
Burr Material Stainless Steel Stainless Steel Ceramic Stainless Steel Stainless Steel
Grind Settings 60 Grind Settings / Stepless Grinder 31 Grind Settings / Stepped Grinder 230 Grind Settings / Stepless Grinder 16 Grind Settings / Stepless Grinder 55 Grind Settings / Stepped Grinder
Bean Hopper Capacity 18 ounces 10 ounces 8 ounces 20.8 ounces 10.5 ounces
Burr Shape Conical Conical Flat Flat Flat
Price View Price View Price View Price View Price View Price

 

Espresso Coffee Grinder Reviews

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro

Breville The Smart Grinder Pro

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is the third installment of the Breville grinder series after the Smart grinder and the Dose control. It is a versatile grinder designed to suit the requirements of all coffee lovers. It has a beautiful stainless steel body. It is also compact with a grind container that locks into place using magnets ensuring there isn’t much of a mess.

This grinder is fully automated and has a total of 60 grind settings that help you experiment with the type of grinds till you find the one that produces the texture that is perfect for you. You get to make the finest espressos as well as the coarsest French presses. The settings are categorized into four options (percolator, press, espresso ad drip) to help you find the right setting easily.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro uses conical stainless steel burrs to grind your beans. This ensures you get fine even grounds which increase the flavor of your brew. The grinding heat is quite minimal, thanks to the steel made burrs, meaning you get to preserve the essential oils in your beans.

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro also comes packed with some other smart features to enhance efficiency and productivity. These include fantastic programmability options. You can set a grind time in each of the four basic coarseness ranges.

You can also change the number of cups and the grinder will automatically calculate the accurate grind time. The grinder remembers the timing of each range without any reprogramming even if you change ranges and automatically adjusts timing in case you change the number of cups.

It also comes with two types of portafilter holders that are kept in place by magnets to give more balance to the portafilter while you are using it.

This grinder also lets you grind directly into other containers meaning you don’t have to transfer the coffee from the grinder’s container to a different one.

PROS:

  • It is user friendly
  • It grinds fine particles, uniformly sized thanks to its conical burrs
  • It is easy to switch from drip to espresso
  • It is fast, grinding your coffee in seconds thanks to its DC motor and conical burr
  • It is quieter than other grinders meaning you don’t have to wake up any sleeping family members just to grind your coffee
  • It has an electric timer for convenience and consistency
  • It displays all the grinding steps on the LCD screen
  • Has hot buttons that allow you to save time by grinding quickly when needed
  • It has an appealing stainless steel design
  • It has a much larger bean hopper than other grinders
  • It comes with a lot of particularly good extra features which make it ideal for different types of users

CONS:

  • You will need to press down the button continuously to grind manually
  • It is a bit pricey
  • The setting for French Press doesn’t produce consistent coarse grinds. It sometimes leaves some stray particles in your brew.

Breville Smart Grinder Pro – Frequently Asked Questions

How does the Breville Smart Grinder pro differ from other grinders in the Breville series?

The Breville BCG600SIL Dose Control has average capabilities in programming the grinds while the Breville BCG820BKSXL Smart grinder is fine tuned to prepare high end espresso. The Smart Grinder Pro is designed to improve one both. It incorporates more programming options and has more capabilities to produce even more extraordinary espresso. Go for the Smart grinder Pro for great espresso if you have a bottomless filter basket. If you have a pressurized one, then the Smart grinder is your best bet.

How can I maintain the Breville Smart Grinder Pro?

You can remove the hopper and clear any ground residue using the brush that came with the grinder.

Use a damp cloth to wipe the exterior. This should be easy since it is made of plastic and stainless steel.

Cleaning your grinder after every use is great as it enhances performance and durability. However, if you just don’t have the time after each use, clean it weekly. 

Bottom line

The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is without a doubt a force to reckon with when it comes to coffee grinders. From its 60+ grind options to the high quality coffee it produces, this baby wows. It is versatile and convenient.  Although it may be steeply priced, it is worth every penny! Go on, give it a try…you will love it!

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The Baratza Sette 30 AP Conical Burr Grinder

Baratza Sette Conical Burr Grinder 

The Sette 30 AP is an affordable grinder innovatively designed to grind for espresso. This grinder grinds with speed and precision and has no retention. It is suitable for basic and advanced espresso machines.

This powerful grinder runs on AP 40mm steel conical burrs that produce extraordinary espresso grind. 

It has a macro only adjustment for grind size with 31 adjustment steps that allow you to grind your coffee for espresso or finer filter coffee methods like Aeropress or Hario V60.

The revolutionary burr entry system eliminates ground retention and coffee waste – saving you time and money. It also grinds coffee at unbelievable speeds for a low-cost grinder: 3.5g/sec for espresso and 5.5g/sec for filter.

The Sette 30 AP has an adjustable device and portafilter holder for convenient grinding. An LCD screen faces forward, allowing you to dose by time down to 0.01 second.

This grinder is crafted with durable parts and great mechanics making it the perfect home espresso and filter grinder.

Like all other grinders in the Sette Series, the Sette 30 AP has an extensive grinding mechanism that produces game-changing performance.

Key aspects of this ingenious mechanism include:

  1. Straight-thru vertical transports and grinding of the beans (highly efficient and results in minimal residual coffee in the system).
  2. Rotation of the outer ring burr (with twice the surface area of the cone burr) along with proprietary tooth geometry, produces grinding throughput that is two to three times that of others in its class.
  3. Proprietary gear box (planetary + crown gear) that maximizes efficiency of torque transfer, resulting in lower power consumption and much less heat.
  4. Powerful DC motor for maximum starting torque and efficiency, resulting in cooler operation.

PROS:

  • affordable – no other grinder with its abilities is available at this price
  • easy to clean – you don’t need extra tools to remove the burrs for cleaning
  • consistent – always produces fluffy and clump-free grounds thanks to the straight chute design
  • allows you to set grind time
  • grinds faster compared to other grinders in this price range

CONS:

  • it is loud – due to the high grinding speed and straight through chamber design
  • its porta filter doesn’t have a top hook hence you have to hold it if you are grinding directly
  • Can’t grind to French press

Baratza Sette – Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Sette 30 memorize the time setting from my last grind?

Yes. The Sette 30 is built with a “non-volatile memory”, which means that the setting is saved on the display board so that the number will remain in memory regardless of power supply.

The Sette sounds loud, why?

Although grinding coffee is never a quiet affair, the Sette is indeed louder than most home machines. This is in part due to the materials used on this grinder to keep it affordable for the home user, and also it is a side effect of the incredible speed at which the Sette grinds.

My Sette comes with two burr shims, but already has one installed. How many more can I add?

The Sette’s cone burr is shimmed in order to reduce the distance between it and the ring burr. This is done because the Sette, after an initial seasoning period of 8-10 lbs, will grind coarser overall at each setting. Adding a shim under the cone burr moves the grind range back, allowing for fine grinding

Bottom line

Packed with innovative technology and lots of fantastic features, the Baratza Sette 30 AP takes entry-level espresso to a whole new level. This grinder allows you to enjoy consistent, clump-free coffee without spending too much. With the 31 grind settings to choose from, you should have no problem at all dialing in your daily shots. If you are an espresso enthusiast who is looking to start grinding your own beans at home, this grinder is for you.

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Baratza Vario 886 – Flat Ceramic Burr Coffee Grinder (with Portaholder and Bin)

Baratza Vario 886

The Baratza Vario 886 is a compact, professional-grade grinder. You will fall in love with it as soon as you see it, thanks to its slim, elegant design which is bound to enhance the look of your kitchen. It is designed to fit well on your kitchen counter as well as in your office or your local coffee shop.

When it comes to performance, the Vario will wow you! It produces the most consistent coffee fast, thanks to the 54mm ceramic burrs which stay sharp for longer compared to other grinders.

It also has a total of 230 grind settings giving you plenty of flexibility and range. Pick a setting and grind anything from fine espresso grinds to coarse grinds for press pot with ease and style.

This grinder minimizes the quantity of coffee left in the grinder to enhance freshness of your coffee.

It also has a collection bin for collecting all the leftovers which you can later re-use hence reducing wastage.

The control panel has LED display and is both easy and intuitive. The three programmable user buttons which allow you to set grind time within 0.1 second. Hit start and the Vario will deliver the exact dosing, automatically.

The burrs on the Vario are easily removable-no tools required making cleaning super easy.

This grinder also comes with a heavy-duty metal portaholder which allows for hands free grinding into an espresso portafilter, making cleaning easy.

PROS:

  • Easy to use and clean
  • Has a lot of grind settings-230 to be precise. These give you flexibility for different grinds
  • Comes with a portafilter; this conveniently allows you to do other chores while the coffee is grinding
  • Waste-free thanks to the collection bin which allows you to collect leftovers which you can re-grind and re-use later
  • Beautifully designed and enhances the look of any kitchen

CONS:

  • It takes a while to get used to the job and may give you a few clumps the first few times you use it.
  • It is a noisy machine- meaning you will most probably awake everyone in your home just to grind your coffee.
  • It is quite costly
  • The combination of plastic and metal is not the most durable
  • The 230 settings can be overwhelming to new users

Baratza Vario 886 – Frequently Asked Questions

Can you use this grinder to grind beans for coffee only, without having to make espresso?

Yes, you can. With over 230 setting options, you can choose the right one for coffee only.

Is this the best for an espresso flavor?

Yes. In the market today, this is the best coffee grinder if you are looking for a perfect consistency to your espresso coffee, and excellent flavor.

Will I need a lot of time to grind my beans using this grinder?

No you shall not. The grinder works on a very high speed using very little time to grind your beans.

Bottom line

While the price of the Baratza Vario may be a little steep, there is no question that this grinder is worth every penny.  If you won’t have anything other than excellent coffee, then this grinder is your best bet. It is one of the best burr grinders that you can purchase in this price range.

It has a sleek yet heavy duty design. It has numerous features, all that work together to give you perfectly ground coffee with most of the nutrients intact. It is intuitive and easy to use not to mention very efficient. If consistency and reliability are top on your list, try this grinder. You will love it!

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Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder

Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder

The Mazzer Mini Flat Espresso Grinder is a commercial-grade, high quality grinder. It is suitable for small cafes, the office and also for your home if you are looking to give your kitchen that professional edge. It comes with a stainless-steel grind tray. 

Some features that you will especially love about the Mazzer Mini include;

  1. Its consistent grind – this is thanks to its stainless steel 58mm flat burr grinders that are designed to operate at low RPM to ensure your beans are ground at minimal heat hence retaining the vital nutrients. These blades also remove easily to facilitate cleaning.
  2. Its large capacity – has a large sturdy clear plastic bean hopper with finger guard which holds a total of 1.3 pounds of beans and has an integrated trap door that allows you to change beans easily, without emptying.
  3. Its steeples adjustment – simply twist and turn the adjustment pin to move the beans from the hopper into the grinder. You can do this while the grinder is still grinding.
  4. Its adjustable doser gives you total control over measuring between 5-8g per pull.

PROS:

  • Has stepless control allowing you total control over the consistency of your grind
  • Has a really large hopper that holds a whole 1.3 pounds of coffee beans
  • It has removable burrs for easy cleaning
  • It is aesthetically made, enhancing the look of your kitchen

CONS:

  • It has a stepless knob meaning there are no markers to help you remember your grind settings from before
  • It is too robust only ideal if you intend to grind large quantities of beans frequently
  • It is expensive

Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder – Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I clean my Mazzer Mini Espresso Grinder?

Once a week will do. You will notice parts like burrs come out easily to facilitate cleaning.

Bottom line

The Mazzer Mini is a reliable and convenient grinder. It gives you full control over your grinding. It is also beautiful to look at. It is highly priced but worth every dime.

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Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Coffee Grinder

Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder

The Rocky SD is a powerful, first class, doserless coffee grinder that produces quality and consistent coffee for espresso. This grinder lets you have more control over you’re grinding, allowing you to grind what you need right into the porta-filter.

It is durably made, compact and has a solid look that will greatly enhance the décor of your kitchen. It is easy to use and grinds beans easily without any of them sticking on the inside. The Rocky SD has a powerful motor, big, strong burrs and finely adjustable grind settings.

Although originally designed to be an espresso grinder, you can achieve any grind from coarse French press pour to very fine Turkish grind.

If you are a coffee shop owner or home enthusiast not ready to compromise on quality, this is indeed the grinder for you.

PROS:

  • The Rocky SD has a powerful and effective motor
  • It is relatively quiet when grinding
  • It is easy to use
  • Has an eye-catching rugged build
  • It has a really long lifespan
  • Has huge commercial grade burrs that deliver beautifully
  • It has a large 10 ounce tinted hopper which reduces bean damage by light ensuring freshness
  • Is perfect for espresso grind as well as grind for French press

CONS:

  • This grinder is quite pricey
  • Cleaning this grinder is a task because you need a few other tools to open it up
  • It is a bit slow

Rancilio HSD-ROC-SD Rocky – Frequently Asked Questions

What the difference between a Doser vs. a Doserless Coffee Grinder?

A doser is the part of a grinder that dispenses the ground coffee after it is ground. The biggest difference is that with the doserless it will deposit the grinds directly into your portafilter whereas with the doser you will need to pull the lever to deposit the grinds.

The doser is nice if you are going to be pulling multiple shots. You can grind a set amount and use the grounds as needed. The doserless is nice in the fact that if you are just pulling a single shot you are only grinding enough beans for that shot.

What are the best grind setting for a Rancilio Rocky Grinder?

Every Rocky is calibrated a little different. Start at a setting of 8, and then time your shots according to the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule states that your tamp pressure and the amount of ground coffee you use stay the same. The only thing you change is your grind setting. The Golden Rule is a formula that when followed will lead you very quickly to the proper grind setting.

Bottom line

The Rancilio Rocky is hands down one of the best coffee grinders in the market today. It is powerful, it looks really good, it is durable and gives you the exact ground size you are looking for, be it a fine grind for espresso, or a coarse grind for drip coffee. Get this grinder if you are a coffee enthusiast, especially espresso, who is serious about home brewing.

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Here are a few factors you should consider before buying your new grinder.

A good grinder is essential if you are looking for freshness and consistency. Without a good grinder, it doesn’t matter how good a coffee maker you have; your coffee will taste terrible. It is easy to get confused when searching for the best grinder, due to all the innovations in the market today.

Manual or Electric

Before you cross over to either side of the thin line between the manual and the electric burr grinders, ask yourself these three questions;

a)  How much work are you willing to put into your coffee?

b) How much money are you willing to spend on your brewing setup?

c) What type of coffee beverage do you brew most often?

Hand grinding can be both tiresome and time consuming. Be this as it may, manual grinders tend to be more affordable, more compact, quieter and more long lasting. A manual grinder would be ideal if you only plan to grind for a cup or two at once, don’t want to spend too much and you prefer pour-over or other coarse-grind coffee beverages.

 If you are looking to grind for multiple cups at a go, don’t mind spending too much, have enough space in your kitchen and prefer espresso or other fine-grind coffee beverages, you should absolutely go with an electric grinder.

Blade or Burr grinders

Blade grinders are cheaper but make it very difficult to control the coarseness or fineness of the ground. Achieving grind consistency is therefore almost impossible. On the other hand, burr grinders provide more uniform grinds and the texture of the grounds can be customized to give you the kind of brew you want to make.

Stainless Steel or Ceramic Burrs

Though more expensive, ceramic burrs are able to achieve a finer grind and are therefore ideal if you’re looking to make Espresso. On the other hand, stainless steel burrs are best suited for ordinary brew methods. Ceramic burrs typically have a longer lifespan than steel ones. They also do not dull as easy but they are likely to crack in case a foreign object like a stone gets into the grinder.

Whether getting ceramic or stainless ones, ensure that the burrs are replaceable.  Every good electric grinder and even a few manual ones ought to have replaceable burr sets.

Grind Settings/Precision

Many settings on a grinder don’t always mean it has the capability to produce a high-quality consistent grind on both fine and coarse settings.  If you are not sure, I suggest you check what material the burrs are made of.  Ceramic burrs are great if you want more precision.

Some grinders are specifically built for fine grinds for espresso, some are versatile, while others are only meant for medium/coarse grinds for drips or French Presses.  Keep your brewing requirements in mind as this will help you to quickly find your ideal grinder.

Other Factors

There are several other important factors you should take into consideration before selecting a grinder. These include; availability of replacement parts, customer service, warranty, ease of use and cleaning and static build up. You ought to check out the customer reviews for more details since these factors are dependent on the actual make and manufacturer.

Final Thoughts

I hope that I have provided you with enough information to help you make the right decision about the kind of grinder to get. Keep in mind that in matters grinder, the more you spend on one the more you are likely to get from it.

Settling for the cheapest grinder in the market will in most cases mean that you have to compromise on the quality of your coffee. I advise that you check out the reviews left by other customers before purchasing a grinder. This will help you stay away from grinders that are likely to have major shortcomings.

I personally recommend the Breville Smart Grinder Pro especially if you are a first-time buyer. Why? Because this grinder blends superior functionality, grind consistency, and precision to give you perfect ground. It is also one of the quietest grinders on the market today. It will also serve you for a pretty long time. The numerous positive reviews about this grinder on Amazon and various coffee forums make this a really great choice for you.

I wish you all the best as you purchase the best grinder for you and start your home brewing journey!

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