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The Right Grinder Improves Your Coffee

Posted: Friday August 8, 2008

By Eric J. Slarkowski

As with any food item, coffee beans oxidize when exposed to air. Since coffee grounds have a larger surface area, they are exposed to even more air and, therefore, can become stale much faster. Grinding your beans at home is the best way to drink coffee made from the freshest grounds, as long as you only grind as much as you need for one pot.

Of course, grinding is an extra step to take in the morning, when you might not be feeling the most coordinated. But, if you value quality coffee, choose the best grinder you can afford. There are three main types of grinder: the burr, the blade and the crusher.

The crusher is really just a mashing device. It is often much like the mortar and pestle, an ancient device. This kind of grinder crushes the beans which is a laborious process that produces a irregularly shaped ground. Avoid this method if you can.

The blade grinders chop rather than really grind. The blade whirls, slicing the bean into tinier and tinier portions until you have a ground. The downside of this method is that it produces grains that are too large and too inconsistent to make tasty coffee in your home cappuccino makers.

When the surface areas of the grounds vary, different amounts of flavor oils are released during the brewing process. Slicing also produces excess heat from the fast-spinning blades which diffuses the aroma before you even start brewing coffee.

Burr grinders represent the best technology available. These have two motor driven plates each with teeth shaped like pyramids. They grind together to create a consistent, perfectly-sized granule. The best models allow you to adjust the speed along with the size of the grain.

Playing with the size is crucial to establish the ideal brew. Speed control helps prevent over-heating.

The conical burr grinder is preferred by discerning coffee aficionados. These rotate as slowly as 500 rpm. Other more inexpensive burr grinders start at 10,000 rpm or higher. Low speed allows you to control the grind while minimizing the heat. This fine grind is crucial if you want to brew Turkish coffee.

When purchasing a grinder for the home, you will want to find a product made from solid materials that cleans easily and does not make too much noise. Upper burrs that can be removed are important, as is a cleaning brush.

Finding a grinder that can be timed to start and shut off by itself in the morning is a nice convenience. So too is the ability to see the beans as they grind, as this can help you evaluate your grinder's performance. Tinted plastic or glass may look nice, but it obstructs your view. As you become experienced, you will be able to tell how fine the grinds are by paying attention to their color.

Read plenty of consumer reviews and plan invest in a quality product, and you will enjoy the results every day.

Eric Slarkowski's publications are published on many web sites tied to information on cappuccino coffee machine and the perfect cappuccino maker. His observations on cappuccino makers can be encountered on

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