What is a conical burr grinder and why should you use it for brewing coffee? Learning how to properly grind your coffee beans is a big step toward entering the world of homebrewing.
Stale, improperly ground, or badly roasted beans all result in a lackluster cup. If you’re not a fan of bitter or bland coffee, read on…
What is a Conical Burr Grinder?
Don’t have time to read the entire article? Here’s a quick answer to your question:
A conical burr grinder is a coffee grinder that uses a cone-shaped set of burrs to crush coffee beans. They’re prized for their ability to create a smooth and consistent grind that results in better-tasting (and very complex!) coffee. Uneven coffee grounds interfere with the extraction process and result in cups that taste funny, tart, or bland.
Conical burr grinders are also beloved among brewers for being quieter and cooler than flat burr grinders. On the other hand, they’re a little less consistent than their flat counterparts.
Keep on reading to learn about the conical burr grinder and why you should consider it for your coffee set-up.
What Does Conical Burr Grinder Mean?
A conical burr grinder refers to a coffee grinder that uses a specific type of burr to grind up coffee beans. While old-fashioned coffee grinding techniques use a mortar and pestle, modern coffee brewers have significantly streamlined the process.
Burrs are small pieces of equipment inside the coffee grinder to crush coffee beans. All you do is pour the whole beans into the top of your grinder, twist the knob, and crush away! Conical burrs are named as such for their cone-like shape, boasting ridges that help even out the grind.
You can see for yourself the difference a burr grinder makes: they produce fewer lumps, fewer fines, and a pleasantly smooth texture.
What is the Difference Between Conical and Burr Grinder?
It helps to understand the term ‘burr’ as a catch-all for the coffee grinding rotators inside of a coffee grinder. A conical burr is a type of burr, but not all burrs are conical.
Why is a Conical Burr Grinder Better?
The conical burr grinder is a staple of both commercial and home applications. Conical burrs boast several positives that result in better-tasting cups of coffee...with less work!
Quieter Than Flat Burrs
Do you find yourself wincing every time you start to make coffee in the morning? The high noise level of coffee grinders makes them a difficult purchase for some brewers, especially those with a large family or a busy office.
Conical burrs have a lower noise level, sounding more crunchy than high and irritating. You can further adjust your noise level by choosing a grinder with a more advanced acoustic design such as the Eureka Atom Espresso Grinder. Search for features such as an ‘advanced belt drive’ or ‘sound insulation’.
This is a very subtle detail, but the unique grind of conical burrs means your coffee will taste a touch different. While beginning homebrewers might not notice the difference, experienced parties will no doubt enjoy this feature.
The unique result of conical burrs is due to how the coffee is ground: the rotating burrs technically produce two different grinds. This technically provides you with more flavor, since you’re getting multiple varieties in one spot. To compare, flat burrs produce the most consistent grind possible.
If you’re a fan of coffee that’s complex and changes its personality a little from cup to cup, consider the conical burr grinder. If you prefer the same cup every time, the flat burr grinder is the way to go.
Easy To Clean
Maintenance is important to greatly expand the longevity of your machine. Conical burr grinders are easy to clean: just pop out the burrs and dust them off. You can use a clean, dry toothbrush to get between the ridges and eliminate leftover coffee.
Cooler Coffee Grinding
Did you know coffee grinding produces a lot of heat? This result comes from the friction created by rotating burrs.
Conical burrs produce less heat due to their rounded shape. This is a great feature that keeps the coffee from tasting a little burnt and bitter. The last thing you want to do is cook your coffee grounds before they’ve even touched water!
Flat burrs, on the other hand, have a larger surface area that produces more heat. This can lead coffee to being toasted prematurely.
How Long Do Conical Burr Grinders Last?
Longevity in any coffee equipment usually boils down to materials, usage level, and the brand you’re buying from. Price points are a solid representation of longevity, so you might want to reconsider purchasing the cheapest hand grinder you can find.
Conical burrs come in stainless steel or ceramic varieties.
Ceramic Burr Grinder
Your average ceramic burr grinder will usually last up to seven years if you use it on a daily basis, provided you don’t drop it or mishandle it.
A common mistake new homebrewers make is turning the coffee knob backwards. Try to avoid doing this, as it can stress out the grinder’s inner workings and even break them.
Stainless Steel Burr Grinder
A stainless steel burr should last between five to seven years.
Coffee grinders usually come with a measurement of coffee pounds: basically, how many pounds of coffee you’ll grind before your grinder shows its age. If you drink coffee daily, try to find a grinder that has a cap of 500 to 1,000 pounds.
How Long Do Hand Coffee Grinders Last?
A hand coffee grinder should last at least four to five years if you take good care of it. That means cleaning it semi-regularly, such as taking out the burrs to brush off excess oil and fines.
Should you get an electric grinder or a manual hand grinder? The former is ideal for brewers with packed households or a tight schedule. The latter is a good choice for regular drinkers that like to travel and prefer to make coffee solo.
A conical burr grinder is an ideal addition to your coffee set-up if you want to make better tasting coffee without the noise and with less cleaning.
Need help choosing the right burr grinder for your kitchen or home office? Reach out to our live chat or send us a message: we’re happy to help!