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A top recommendation for getting the best out of coffee is to use freshly ground beans. This allows coffee to be more flavorful and delicious. However, using a separate grinder may not be an attractive option.
Some Points to Buy Coffee Maker with Grinder
A better idea is the integration of the coffee maker and grinder, so rather than two appliances, consumers have to deal with just one. There’s also increased convenience, with coffee grounds heading straight to the filter without user intervention.
If buying a coffee maker with an integrated grinder is on your mind, here are some pointers that will make it easier for coffee maker with grinder.
Consider The Serving Size And Machine Dimensions
Counter space holds the key to your coffee maker purchase. The integration of a coffee maker and grinder saves space, but it must be enough to fit in your kitchen. Rather than taking rough measurements, the smarter play is to have a clear idea of where you’re going to place the coffee maker with grinder.
Go beyond dimensions and keep in mind that you’ll need easy access to the water reservoir as well as the grinder. Keeping the coffee maker under a cabinet is fine – as long as there’s enough vertical space to access the grinder.
Serving size is another factor. Coffee machines offer several brew-size options, so it makes sense to be more careful with your pick. If you’re going for drip coffee, choosing something like a 4-cup coffee maker or higher makes sense for a family or office setting.
However, a single person might find a grind and brew single serve coffee machine to be more appropriate. These small-sized machines are great for small servings. Then again, higher quality grinding and brewing might be available on machines that offer four cups or more. Many of these coffee makers also have the option of brewing a single cup.
Choosing The Grinder: The Defining Factors
Burr Or Blade Grinder?
A blade grinder is the conventional grinder that’s available in practically every household. You put the coffee beans and the grinder does its job.
Burr grinders don’t have blades and instead rely on revolving abrasive surfaces (burrs) for grinding. These are usually more expensive than blade grinders but are preferred for grinding coffee.
Burr grinders ensure that the coffee grounds have a similar consistency throughout. That way, the flavor extraction is optimized and the behavior of the coffee becomes more predictable. Blade grinders don’t provide a dependable consistency in the grind. Some quantity will be fine grounds, and there will also be a chance of larger coffee bean particles (boulders).
The lack of consistent sizing can make coffee extraction less predictable and affect flavor negatively.
If you’re in a pinch, it is possible to get coffee grounds without using a grinder. The best techniques here are manual and take a lot of effort, and the results may not be as pleasing.
Given the superiority of burr grinders, they are the most commonly available option for coffee grinding. Single-serve grind & brew coffee makers are an exception because they tend to use blade grinders. This is a cost-saving measure to keep the machine within a good price range.
Steel Or Ceramic Burrs?
Steel and ceramic are the most popular materials for creating burrs for a grinder. The choice of either material is dependent on the cost and intended use of the grinder.
Ceramic burrs are comparatively lower cost and are very popular for use in most consumer-oriented models. The downside to ceramic burrs is their lower life cycle and the threat of the material chipping and finding its way into the coffee.
Steel burrs are superior. They can be long-lasting, rugged, and without the threat of chipping. The downside here is the cost – steel burr grinders tend to be far more expensive as compared to ceramic burrs.
It’s worth noting that these are both excellent materials for grind and brew coffee makers. The comparison and differences are unlikely to affect use by the conventional consumer. But, it is useful for the consumer to know these aspects.
Drip Coffee Or Espresso Machines – The Grind Size
Fresh coffee grind is relevant to all machine types, including drip and espresso. Both types of machines have different requirements from their grinder. Drip coffee machines usually prefer medium to coarse grind. Meanwhile, espresso coffee makers prefer a fine grind.
The grind size doesn’t have to be fixed and grinders that allow users to fine-tune the grind size are better than fixed-size options. They’re available on espresso machines as well as drip coffee machines.
As for the machines themselves, they’re dependent on user preferences. If all you want is a decent cup of coffee, the drip coffee maker will likely be a great pick. They don’t need much maintenance and can often brew a large carafe in a single go. Plus, you’re likely to have options like programmable auto-brewing at fixed times.
Espresso machines brew espressos and can work with related beverages too (latte, cappuccino, etc.) These are more complex machines and tend to be more expensive. They are also likely to need more maintenance and attention from the consumer.