Does the equipment make a difference to the coffee?
The short answer is "Yes". Making great coffee at home is not overly difficult if you have the right tools. Naturally, starting with fresh whole bean coffee is important. After that you need a quality burr grinder.
Aren't all coffee grinders basically getting the job done?
The short answer is "No". This is because the job of a coffee grinder is to grind, or cut, the beans into uniformly-sized particles with as little powder possible. Uneven grounds and powder become over-extracted during brewing and are culprits to a bitter and sour brew.
How do I find a quality grinder and how much?
First consider you're probably going to drink coffee your whole life. That's a long time! Why not think of it as investing in a grinding tool that is designed to perform for decades? Here's a few choices:
- Baratza Virtuoso - $230 - Built to last, replaceable burrs, consistent grind from coarse to fine, handles oily dark roasts well.
- Baratza Encore - $140 - A nice entry option, replaceable burrs, a bit less consistent at the extremes of coarse/fine, tends to not handle oily beans as well.
- Capresso 560 Infinity - $100 - A budget option, non-replaceable burrs, better consistency at fine settings, less-so at coarse.
The next time someone asks you what you want for your birthday or Christmas you'll be ready!