Everyone loves a good deal.
Deals let many people purchase the things they might otherwise be unable to afford. Fortunately, just as there are deals on many other products, there are also affordable high-quality espresso grinders.
Our objective in this guide is to show you the best espresso grinders under $500.
This is what we’ll cover:
- Features of grinders and what they mean
- Considerations to make before purchasing a grinder
- Our choices for the best espresso grinders under $500
Let’s dive in.
If there was an Espresso Grinder 101 class, one of the first things it would teach is burrs.
Burrs are what actually crushes the coffee beans in a grinder. They come in two main categories: conical and flat.
These categories are named after the shapes of the burrs. For instance, flat burrs are flat and rest on top of each other.
Conical burrs, like their name, have a cone shape.
What does this mean for you?
Surprisingly, the type of burr has an effect on the taste of the coffee or espresso at the end.
Flat burrs are known for producing extremely uniform coffee particles, leading to a deep chocolatey taste. Conical burrs, on the flip side, create particles of different sizes that end up with brighter, fruity flavors.
Because of the difference in flavor, burr type is worth thinking about when you purchase a grinder.
Just like the shape can have an impact on your coffee beans, so can the size of burrs.
If you’ve ever tasted a cup of coffee or a shot of espresso that left a burnt taste on your tongue, it probably had something to do with the grinder.
Grinders generate heat while they work, especially during heavy use. This heat can burn coffee beans, so most grinders use designs that combat rising temperatures.
One such design is larger burrs. Larger burrs don’t have to turn as much to grind a specific amount of beans, leading to less friction and heat generation.
Another great thing about larger burrs is their sizes allows them to grind more beans faster.
So if you’re looking for a grinder that can grind a lot of coffee quickly, whether for home or your business, pay attention to the burr size.
How you’ll dial in the grind on your machine is also vital.
The fineness or coarseness of your grind can have an influence on the resulting flavor of your drink. You’ll want to examine how your grinder allows you to make tweaks to the fineness level.
This is called grind adjustment, and most grinders use either stepped or stepless grind adjustment.
In a stepped grind adjustment system, you’re able to adjust your fineness using manufactured choices on the grinder. While this makes it easier to learn, it does mean you have a little less flexibility because you’re restricted to whichever settings are available.
Stepless grind adjustment systems are significantly more flexible. Instead of using manufactured settings, you’re able to choose anything at all between the finest and coarsest ends of the spectrum.
The main downside to this design is that it can take some time to figure out which settings you need.
If you’re going to be grinding a lot of espresso or coffee, it’s crucial that your grinder can handle the heat – literally and figuratively.
A grinder that can’t regulate its temperature during heavy-duty grinding is practically useless. It would only burn your beans and leave your coffee with a singed flavor that neither you nor your customers would enjoy.
Many grinders fight heat generation with systems such as fans or larger burrs. If you foresee yourself heavily using your grinder, make sure to examine its cooling methods.
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE YOU BUY A GRINDER
When most people consider investing in a new appliance, the first thing on their list is price.
Although price is important, you should also make sure you’re not being blinded by it. Carefully weigh your own needs against the benefits the features of each grinder can offer to you.
Are you planning on using the grinder in a busier commercial setting, like a coffee shop or café? These situations require a heavier duty cooling system, especially if you’re going to use the grinder continuously.
Businesses that sell a lot of coffee and espresso will also want to take the size of the grinder’s burrs into consideration. Larger burrs generally mean speedier and cooler grinding.
Home users won’t need to be as preoccupied with massive burrs or heavy-duty cooling systems unless they’ll be using their grinder nonstop. But they may be more focused on the size of the grinder to figure out how it will fit in on their countertops.
Flavor could be another item on your list of priorities. Think about what types of tastes you or your customers seem to prefer more.
For instance, if you see a trend of light roasts selling more often, a conical burr grinder would be an excellent selection to highlight the inherent flavors of light roasts. But if you seem to sell sweet drinks like mochas most often, a flat burr grinder will enhance the sweetness of your beans.
This same thought could be given to those looking for a home grinder. If you like sweet tastes, you may prefer a flat burr grinder, whereas a conical burr grinder will bring out zesty flavors for you if that’s your preference.
BEST ESPRESSO GRINDERS UNDER $500
Compact and powerful, the Baratza Sette 270 Coffee and Espresso Grinder would be a great addition for anyone looking to add a grinder to their home coffee routine.
It combines the best of both stepped and stepless adjustment systems with its 30-step macro adjustment function or stepless micro adjustment function. This puts the convenience of stepped fineness settings in your hands if you’re a beginner, but leaves you the choice of virtually endless fineness settings if you’re an expert.
The Sette 270’s convertible device holder makes this a flexible grinder. You can grind right into portafilters for shots of espresso, or brewing devices if you’re using your coffee beans for other drinks such as French press.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $399
- Burr Type: Conical
- Burr size: 40mm
- Grind Adjustment: Stepped macro adjustment and stepless micro adjustment
- Hopper Capacity: 350 grams
- Best Application: Home use, although businesses that don’t sell a lot of espresso or coffee such as small offices may find it suitable.
- Swing Out Portafilter Holder: Easily grind right into containers for a variety of brewing methods, from espresso to French press. You’ll be able to step away or relax while your grinder holds just about any brewing container for you.
- Slow-Turning DC Motor: Since the motor in this grinder turns so slowly, your coffee beans will be protected from heat.
- Programmable Settings: Ensure your drinks are consistent every time by programming the correct dose into the grinder and using the programmed options down the line.
- Shut-Off Hopper: Instantly stop the flow of beans with a lever located behind the hopper. This allows you to remove the hopper to change bean type without making a mess.
Affordability and longevity come together in the Baratza Encore Coffee and Espresso Grinder.
Its hardened steel conical burrs will both last a long time and aid you in producing consistently delicious drinks. The DC motor within this grinder works coolly to protect the integrity of your beans, so that all your favorite coffees will taste as best as they can.
Affordability doesn’t mean a drop in quality or your number of options, either. With the 40 adjustment steps in the Encore, you’ll have the power to grind from espresso-fine to press pot coarse.
- Majesty Coffee Price: $159
- Burr Type: Conical
- Burr Size: 40mm
- Grind Adjustment: Stepped
- Hopper Capacity: 8 oz
- Best Application: Home use
- Low RPM: A jaw-dropping low RPM of 450 safeguards your beans from burns and reduces the noise level of this grinder.
- Manufacturer Calibration: This grinder comes calibrated already by the manufacturer to guarantee a precise grind range. However, you can still calibrate it yourself if you feel it’s necessary.
- DC Motor: Another measure that keeps your beans nice and cool during long periods of use by turning slower than many other motors.