Being an everyday coffee drinker, you tend to taste and compare the freshness or consistency from your favourite barista. If you ask them for their secret, they would talk about their experience in producing the perfect espresso, the quality ingredients like beans and water, or their process that could be miles apart to each other. However they do have one thing in common, they would all mention the grinder.
The quality of the grind affects extraction. As for making espresso, you really need a very fine and consistent grind. If you don’t, you can’t make good espresso. The reason behind having a very fine grind is, it increases the surface area of the bean, speeding up wetting and diffusion. Being very fine also means they are packed together closer. To simply put it, you get more flavour and a proper consistent flow during extraction.
So what is a good grinder? A burr grinder would be something you want to look into. A burr grinder offers consistent sized particles and generates less heat during grinding. Excessive heat may damage the bean flavour, and may also cause clumping resulting in poor distribution in the basket leading to poor extraction.
Like all good things, it comes with the price. There are two types of grinders available, apart from burr, is the blade. Blade grinders are cheaper and normally sold in department stores. However, what makes these grinders undesirable to baristas? A blade grinder slices up the bean in a high speed-spinning blade, but in most situations it crushes them. This result in a grind with inconsistent sized particle and, like a blender with fast spinning blades, it generates a lot of heat.
If you have been wondering why despite doing everything right in making your next cuppa, and still feels its lacks something. Or you just cannot match the freshly made espresso coffee from your favourite cafe; probably it is time to invest in that new coffee bean grinder.