How Does a Burr Grinder Work?

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Coffee lovers know that having a good quality cup of coffee is a special kind of pleasure. There’s nothing quite like it.

However, getting that great cup of coffee doesn’t just happen on its own. Unless you’ve got a barista at your beck and call, you’re going to have to make yourself that cup of Joe.

Grinding your own coffee beans is not only very satisfactory, but it also gives you stronger, better coffee, which is what every coffee lover wants.

What is a Burr Grinder?

If you want to preserve all the delicious and wonderful flavors that are inside coffee beans, you should grind them just before brewing your coffee, if possible.

That’s where burr grinders come in. Ground coffee can go stale due to exposure to oxygen, so going fresh is the best option. This can be achieved with a burr grinder.

Burr grinders are tools used by coffee lovers and baristas for that perfectly fresh taste. When you use this kind of grinder, you will get an even consistency that will result in a perfect amount of flavor extraction. The biggest difference you will notice between blade grinders and burr grinders is the grind quality of your beans.

Burr grinders are usually preferred over blade grinders because of the improved consistency they offer. Blade grinders tend to result in more ‘boulders’, or big pieces of grind.

Types of burr grinders

There are two types of burr grinders: conical burr grinders and flat burr grinders.

Flat burr grinder

These guys grind coffee between two flat rings (that’s where the name comes from) that have serrations. These rings face each other and rotate in opposite directions, grinding the beans. You throw your beans in at the top. After the rings have done their job, you’ll find your ground coffee at the bottom.

Conical burr grinder

Conical grinders work in the same way as flat grinders but have cone-shaped burrs. Again, the coffee goes in at the top and comes out ground at the bottom.

How Does a Burr Grinder Work 1

Difference in taste

Not everyone realizes that the way coffee is ground affects its taste. When you use a conical burr grinder, you’ll get an imbalance in the flavor because of the inconsistent ground sizes you get from it.

Conical burr grinders are generally considered to be ideal for use with coffee beans with bright and individual flavors, such as African beans.

Flat burr grinders give a much finer ground, which is what is desired for espresso makers and lovers. In addition, flat burr grinders typically retain more grounds, which is a big plus when it comes to how many beans you’ll end up buying.

Flat burr grinders are considered best suited to stronger, nuttier beans, like those from in Central and South America.

How does a burr grinder work?

By now, you know that burr grinders pulverize beans until they are finely ground. Typically, burr grinders have bean hoppers, a switch on the automatic grinder, and a hand crank on the manual grinder.

The coffee beans are ground into smaller and smaller pieces between the burrs until they are finely ground, giving you ground coffee.

The sharp cutting ability of burr grinders is what allows them to give consistent results, which delivers a more consistent taste.

How to grind beans in a burr grinder

Using a burr grinder is pretty simple and straightforward. First, you feed your coffee beans into the top of your grinder.

Two burrs placed opposite each other will go about chopping the beans up into smaller pieces. This will continue until the beans have been chopped into ground coffee. The spurs let the coffee beans get ‘stuck’, which forces them to be chopped and broken.

Burrs can be made from ceramic or steel. Manual hand grinders will normally be made of ceramic, while automatic grinders typically use steel burrs.

The steel variants do not last as long as their ceramic counterparts but are cheaper and can be found more easily.


Burr grinders are very popular with coffee lovers who take the taste of their coffee seriously. Thanks to the burrs inside these grinders, coffee beans can easily be cut into smaller pieces until they are ground up finely. Once the beans have been ground, you can brew your coffee to taste.

There are two types of burr grinder: conical and flat. The most popular choice is flat because of its improved consistency in grounding the beans.

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