The efficiency of a coffee maker depends on the design of the grinder and its capabilities. Less expensive blade grinders are often the choice of the average household. They can grind coffee beans adequately and, like little windmills, they keep on spinning and grinding until they get turned off. The always-late-out-the-door types who only get that ‘one big gulp’ before dashing off to work usually see no need for elaborate grinders when they live off the brewed coffee at work.
In both cost and performance, burr grinders would be considered an upgrade from residential blade grinders because of the heavier-duty mechanisms and precision operation. Burr grinders also last longer, often because they only grind the coffee once (and do it right) before dropping it into the storage hopper. Unlike the constant contact a blade grinder experiences with the entire quantity of coffee beans being ground, any wear on a burr grinder happens during the relatively brief grinding session on the small amount of beans allowed between the burrs at one time.
Conical burr grinders provide the highest consistency grind, and one that many dedicated coffee consumers insist on for their ‘perfect cup’. While cost is an issue, few smart consumers would compromise here. The undisputed choice for a durable coffee grinder is a burr grinder.
The cost of a mid-priced blade grinder averages $20-$49, while burr grinder prices start high and end higher. Burr grinders may have flat or conical burrs, with conical burrs being preferred because the RPM speed is variable and can be lowered to retain the bean flavor without burning, making the grinding precise, quieter, and cleaner. The low speed keeps down the heat from grinding friction that can steal the taste and aroma of the coffee.