Buying a good coffee grinder can be confusing sometimes and especially when new to the grinding game. We know what most people go through to get a good coffee grinder, and that is why we have prepared this piece. Here we focus on one main consideration of a coffee grinder: steel or ceramic.
But before we jump into the material debate, it is crucial first for you to know what you are buying when it comes to blade and burr coffee grinders. Coffee purists say you shouldn’t settle for blade grinders as they don’t grind the coffee beans to a nice uniform grind size. So if in not ready to sacrifice the flavor of your brew because of uneven grind, buy a burr coffee grinder.
Today most domestic burr grinders are made using ceramic instead of steel. This is because their high-strength blades are especially long-lasting and retain their sharpness almost indefinitely. There is also a claim that ceramic does not conduct heat. That means you don’t have to worry about temperature impacting the oils in your coffee. Unfortunately, there is no evidence to back this up.
Ceramic also does not rust or deteriorate, and this can also explain why burr grinders are made out of ceramic.
When it comes to the flavor profile, ceramics are known for producing that traditional coffee feel and taste. This means you will get coffee that has a distinct mouthfeel. With steel blades, you will likely have a bit of more body than the coffee ground. Just remember that much of your coffee’s flavor comes from the actual beans.
Best used for
Ceramic grinders are best suited for manual grinding because they prevent blades from getting damaged, making them last longer. They are also loved because of handling espresso roasts much better than steel grinders.
- Blades stay sharp longer
- Best for espresso roasts
- Longer lifespan (less warping, blunting)
- Full-body taste and mouthfeel
- Pair with an espresso machine
- More initial cost
- Break more easily
While most purists still swear by ceramic, there are some benefits of owning stainless steel grinders. First, stainless steel is non-corrosive, thanks to the presence of chromium in it. This means your grinders will not rust. However, it is good to note that steel does conduct heat and have a short lifespan because they are more affected by hot environments.
The other advantage is that these blades don’t lose their sharpness faster like the ceramic blade. They start out much sharper than ceramic, hence giving you more precision when grinding. Thus you can expect more consistency with these grinders.
They also don’t normally produce any fines, which can help increase the lifespan of your filters. This also means that your espresso may have a different taste.
With a steel grinder in the house, you can expect to enjoy a brew that tastes and feel clean regardless of the brewing method you use. This is because of the precision the blades guarantee during grinding.
Best used for
Steel grinders, both manual and automatic, work well with brewing methods such as French press and pour-over. They are also an excellent alternative for non-espresso and single-source beans. These grinders are common in commercial settings.
- Blades start sharper
- Good for single-source, non-espresso beans
- Less initial cost
- Clean taste and mouthfeel
- Pair with alternative brewing devices
- More recurring cost
- Not great for warmer environments
As you can see, both grinders do a decent job. But it is good to compare the pros and cons of each before buying. Feel free to also ask for support if you find it tasking to reach a decision.