Manual Vs Electric Coffee Grinding
If you have a tendency of buying pre-ground coffee, you will notice that it tends to lose its flavour after a few days sitting in the pantry. Due to such inconveniences, you really should consider buying a coffee grinder. With a coffee grinder, you need only buy coffee beans, which remain fresher for a longer period. You can then grind the amount that you wish, to brew a consistent and fresh cup of coffee, saving wasted coffee and wasted money on pre-ground coffee that you never use!
When it comes to buying a coffee grinder, many people get confused on whether to buy a manual grinder or an electric one. Each type comes with advantages and disadvantages. Apart from that, it usually depends on individual tastes and other preferences. It’s worth grinding out the details (ahem..) of your possible choices before you settle on your preferred grinder to ensure it will match your needs.
What Are You Looking For?
Before exploring the differences, pros and cons of manual versus electric coffee grinders, it’s always advisable to ask yourself a few questions. How much are you willing to spend on the coffee grinder, the time and energy considerations, and what type of brew you’re preparing most regularly. As you answer these three considerations, you will have a clear mind on the type of grinder that is perfect for you. Check out our coffee grinding guide if you’re unsure about the type of grinder needed for your brewer.
Elbow Grease Required
Manual Burr Grinders
Just like it sounds, a manual or hand burr grinder uses manual energy. In a manual burr grinder, you crank the swivel arm continuously thus providing the necessary power required to rotate the burrs and crush the beans. The texture of coffee obtained mainly depends on the amount of energy or effort that you put in combined with your grinder settings. A coarse grind will come out quickly and will require less energy. On the other hand, if you want a fine grind, then you will spend more time grinding the beans to the desired level.
Manual burr grinders produce uniform-sized grounds, which is essential to the consistency of coffee. They can produce consistent grind sizes from espresso to French press. However, not all of these grinders have a multitude of grind-size settings or adjustments. You will also notice that manual coffee grinders tend to be small and the more grind settings or features, the larger the price.
Most are held with one hand, while the other hand is used to crank. If portability is one of your main considerations when looking for a coffee grinder, then you will fall in love with the manual models. They are ergonomically designed, making prolonged grinding quite manageable. You will also realise that manual grinders feel more durable than some of the electric grinders on the market, so think of them as a long term investment into your morning routine, as they are sure to last for many years.
A manual coffee grinder is essentially a basic tiny machine, composed of a tiny hopper for storing beans, a set of burrs for grinding the coffee beans, and a collection chamber beneath, for collecting the ground coffee. Every part is connected via a single rod, which connects the handle and turns the burrs.
You might come across complex manual grinders when exploring our manual grinding collection. However, even those feature a simple construction, as compared to the multiple parts, circuits and gears found in electric coffee grinders. The simple design of manual coffee grinders makes cleaning them fast and easy. Due to the basic construction and small size, they are significantly cheaper than the electric grinders. For a price of around $30, you can obtain a reliable and excellent manual grinder, which will provide you with fresh coffee for many years.
On the contrary, manual coffee grinders don’t use a power source. This means that they fully rely on your energy, to grind the coffee. Although it is not a hard task, you cannot compare it to pressing a button. Grinding coffee for a single cup is easy. The problem arises when you want to prepare coffee for a group of people. The grinding process can be very tiring.
Electric Coffee Grinders
One of the main benefits of using electric coffee grinders is convenience. They are simple and fast to use. You just fill the hopper with the coffee beans, select the preferred grind size, and then press the switch. Within a few seconds, you will have freshly ground coffee, which is ready to be brewed. One of the main disadvantages of electric coffee grinders, is they are quite expensive. In fact, you will achieve better grinds using a manual grinder, than an electric one less than $100.
Low-end electric grinders are mostly fitted with false burrs. Therefore, they don’t produce the uniform coffee grounds that you would expect from a device with such a price tag. Flimsy parts, poor wiring and failing constantly are some of the problems that you will be dealing with if you choose an electric grinder that goes for less than $100. However, when they are properly designed and solidly built, they can be very efficient and convenient when it comes to getting the job done fast. In fact, some electric coffee grinding models can grind according to the preferred weight, saving you the time and effort of weighing the beans.
This high level of convenience and consistency comes at a price. If you are just getting started into the world of speciality coffee, chances are very high that you won’t be willing to pay $150 for a coffee grinder. In fact, it is advisable to go for the less expensive options on the market, especially the manual models.
High-end electric coffee grinders have more than 40 grind settings, ranging from French press to espresso. With so many settings, you can have your preferred cup of coffee, just the way you like it. These machines are better suited to speciality coffee shops, which serve hundreds of customers every day, with different tastes and preferences. On the flip side, most electric coffee grinders make a lot of noise, which is not ideal for a family setting.
Which Is Right for You?
Budget is one of the main considerations when choosing between an electric coffee grinder versus a manual one. If your budget exceeds a few hundred dollars, then you should go for an electric one. However, if you are facing budget limitations and you are not willing to spend more than $100, then chose a manual grinder. On the other hand, if you are looking for variety and different consistency, then you are better off buying an electric one. If you prefer espresso, then an electric grinder is preferred due to consistency.
When it comes to choosing the right coffee grinder, there are no simple choices. Finding the perfect coffee gear for you is usually a matter of personal choice and benefits. Weigh your options carefully before buying one.