Which is the Best Burr Coffee Grinder Under $100 2013?

If you are running out of ideas to buy for the espresso lover this Christmas, maybe you can think about a burr coffee grinder. Believe it or not, having a great coffee grinder is oftentimes more critical than having the best espresso machine itself. The more uniformed the grind size, the more contact surface there is between water and coffee ground – better extraction and more flavor in your drink.

It’s not always easy to shop for a burr grinder though. Unlike a blade grinder, a burr grinder has a much more complex mechanism and more parts involved in the grinding process. Let’s take a closer look at how it works:

A burr grinder crushes coffee beans between two revolving surfaces of burrs.  The distance of the two surfaces can be adjusted by the user, the larger the surface, the coarser the ground and the opposite is true. There are two types of burrs with one being flat and the other conical (shaped like a cone). There has been an age-old debate about which shape is better among coffee enthusiasts, but I’ll skip it for now for the sake of saving time.

Why a Burr Grinder?

There are several advantages a burr grinder has over a blade-type:

  1. It’s driven by a motor with slow RPMs (revolution per minute) that reduces heat to a minimal. The less heat it generates, the less oxidization in the coffee beans, thus more aroma and flavor are retained.
  2. The user has the ability to control the grind size by adjusting the settings to meet the needs of different brewing methods. For example, if you are into brewing espresso, the size of the grind is crucial in how the shot is going to be turned out. If the size is too fine, you may get overextracted shots that are bitter and taste burnt. If too coarse, the shots are under-extracted with a sour note. The burr grinder allows the user to fine tune the size until the perfect shot is pulled.
  3. The outcome you’d expect from a quality burr grinder is the consistent and uniformed coffee grounds that are penetrated by hot water for optimal extraction.
  4. The other benefit is less friction and less static so you won’t have flying beans and coffee dust all over the counter.

What Should You be Looking for in a Burr Grinder?

  • Grinding: This includes things such as the material used in the burrs, the diameter, motor power and other features. Typically the burrs are made of either stainless steel or ceramic. Stainless steel is a very common material thanks to its non-reactive property to acidity and other elements and it’s cheaper to manufacture. Ceramic is a more superior material due to durability and causes less heat and static. It costs more to produce and therefore the consumers will end up paying more.

    The diameter size influences the contact surface area between the burrs and coffee beans. The bigger the area, the better it is.  If the size is 50mm or bigger, it’s considered as “commercial-sized”. Speaking of motor, the important part of the motor is the RPMs. Many high-end burr grinders are equipped with a gear reduction box to reduce the RPMs for less friction and less noise.

  • Hopper Size and Material: This refers to the capacity of how much coffee you may grind in one sitting. To me, this is not a do-or-die factor as you shouldn’t be grinding a large amount of beans anyway. The typical hopper size ranges from 4 ounces to 16 ounces. ABS plastic is often used as the bean hopper material. Some are tinted to prevent from UV ray damage and others are designed with anti-static feature.
  • Controls: Here you’ll be paying attention to the number of settings and ease of making an adjustment. The higher the number of settings, the more versatile for using different brewing methods. The two extreme from coarse to fine are: Turkish coffee (power-like consistency) to French press (coarser than Drip Coffee).

    Of course, most people buy a burr grinder because of their love for espresso. Espresso grounds should be anywhere between Turkish and Dripped Coffee. Each manufacturer or model has its own quirks and it’s up to the user to refine the dial on the setting. How easy to adjust the grind size should not be overlooked either. All the grinders I’ve reviewed are pretty much adjustable by turning the bean hopper from side to side while the motor is running.

  • How to Dispense Coffee Ground:  There are models that dispense ground to a built-in container or doser, to a portafilter basket directly with or without holding on with a hand or to another filter or container. The tricky part is to see if the coffee grounds are dispensed easily vs. being stuck in the chute. If latter occurs, more grounds will become stale and wasted and more work to clean them out.
  • Speed: How fast does the grinder get the job done? This is measured in second/or minute per gram/ounce. The faster, the better.
  • Other Features: Is there a timer? How is the volume controlled or not? Are there rubber feet under the unit to prevent sliding and to reduce noise level?
  • Care and Maintenance: You may ask questions such as: Do you need to take the burrs apart to clean? Can you remove the bean hopper for easy access to the burrs? How often do you have to clean and what cleaning products to use?
  • Dimensions, Weight and Warranty: The size of the grinder will determine how much counter space you’d have to dedicate. Most of the manufacturers offer a one-year warranty on defective parts or poor workmanship. There are some exceptions that may offer different terms. Find out who is responsible for S & H charges if repair is needed.

Burr Coffee Grinders Under $100

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

1. Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind Automatic Burr Mill

Pros

  • Very affordable for an entry-level burr grinder
  • Clean and modern in style
  • 18 grind settings to service different brewing needs
  • Removable 8-ounce bean hopper for easy cleaning and switching from one type of coffee to another
  • Electric timer that shuts off when grinding is complete; no need to hold down to a button or switch or watch over the grinder

Cons

  • Inconsistent quality as reported by some customers that either the unit died due to the motor or the On/Off switch.
  • Quite a bit static and coffee dust

Customer Ratings

  • 3.1 /691 reviews

Price

  • Under $50

price

Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder

2. Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder

Pros

  • Consistent grind size with 16 different settings
  • The use of a gear reduction box slows down the motion resulting in less heat, static and noise.
  • Removable coffee receptacle for dosing directly to a portafilter to save time and less mess to clean up
  • Two color choices in black and brushed silver
  • Compact for easy transport and won’t take much counter space

Cons

  • The bean hopper is not removable that makes changing coffee a bit challenging. You’ll have to lift the entire unit to dump the coffee out.
  • No built-in doser so you’ll have to hold a portafilter basket under the dispensing sprout

Customer Ratings

  • 4.1 /1680 reviews

Price

  • Under $100

price

Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder

3. Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder

Pros

  • Five beautiful color options (red, white, orange, green and black) to satisfy the designer in you
  • 14 grind settings suitable for drip, pour-over and French press
  • Much quieter comparing to other competing products
  • Easy to operate with only two buttons to press
  • Timed dispensing so no need to hold down the button when grinding
  • A cable hideaway to keep the counter neat

Cons

  • Grind size is not fine enough for serious espresso brewers, but it’s acceptable for less picky ones.
  • There is a five-minute recovery time between grinding cycles. It can be a pain if hosting a big party. The solution is to grind enough prior to the occasion.
  • The diameter of the burrs is quite small, 40mm which means the grinding  surface is smaller and it may take longer.

Customer Ratings

  • 4.1 /728 reviews

Price

  • Under $100

price

Saeco CA6804/47 Coffee Grinder Accessory, Black

4. Saeco CA6804/47 Coffee Grinder Accessory, Black

Pros

  • 17 grind settings for your brewing preference
  • Consistent and quality grind for good espresso shots with crema
  • Easy to use and clean

Cons

  • Poorly-written User Manual that lacks a lot of key information such as the bean hopper capacity, motor power, etc.
  • Incompetent customer service representatives who didn’t have a clue to my questions and I was on hold for 20 minutes.
  • Cheaply-made

Customer Ratings

  • 3.4 /35 reviews

Price

  • Under $60

price

 

Which One Should You Buy?

So you might be asking which one I would choose. I’d opt for the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder even though it’s the most expensive one in the list. A well-made grinder should last for a long time. I don’t want the hassle to be sending back the unit to the repair shop constantly just to save a little bit money. In the long run, the difference in price is not that material to me.

Comments are closed.

line

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This