People ask me all the time: "What kind of grinder should I use at home?" Most people are familiar with the whirly-bird type coffee grinders and, for the most part, they should be avoided. The whirly-bird design produces an inconsistent grind that will typically have very fine particulates and very coarse bits, all at the same time. This wide range of grind sizes leads to uneven extraction and doesn't offer you the most for your coffee money.
The preferred type of coffee grinder is the burr grinder. Because of their design, these grinders produce even, consistent grind particulates which translates into even extraction and a better tasting cup of coffee.
Grinders have a wide range in prices, and I've tried, tested or used most in the spectrum. From the cheap $35 dull burr grinders at warehouse stores to the pro grade grinders we use at Spro, the variety is wide and deep, as too are the prices. With that in mind, we tried to find the best grinders for home use, without going too crazy in the pocketbook.
Which lead us to the Baratza line of coffee grinders.
Personally speaking, I've been using the Baratza Virtuoso ($250) in my home kitchen since 2007. It's an absolute workhorse with steel conical burrs (meaning that the burrs essentially are seated within each other) and a wide range of grind settings, from espresso fine to coarse for press pots. So, I'm very confident that the Virtuoso is a great selection for home use.
When I won the 2012 AeroPress Championship, one of the prizes was the Baratza Vario ($500), which we ended up using at Spro as our primary brew-to-order cup grinder. For over a year, it sat on the brew bar grinding out thousands of cups of Limu, so I'm pretty sure it's a good grinder for home use. Of course, it is a bit pricier than the rest.
The Baratza Encore is their entry-level grinder ($150) that does a good job of making coffee at home. Good for daily use, it should last you a lifetime.
The build quality and reputation of Baratza are excellent, so we're happy to be able to provide these grinders to you. Without a doubt, they cost a bit more than many of the cheap grinders out there but they perform so much better than the rest. For us, the jump up from Baratza grinders really is into the professional ranks, which range in the thousands of dollars.
For a little more thoughts on how to choose the right grinder for you, visit:
Note: Currently, the Baratza Encore and Vario grinders, as well as the PortaHolder and Esatto Grinding Scale are available in-store at Hampden. We plan on offering the complete Baratza catalog through our web store in the near future.