Burr grinder vs. blade grinder: What's the difference and does it matter?

Grinding your own coffee beans is one of the simplest ways to instantly elevate your homebrew. When it comes to selecting a coffee grinder, most home brewers will choose between one of two types: burr and blade. 

What are the differences between these two grinders? How do they work? And does how you grind your beans really matter?

Read on as we answer these questions, and more, below. 

Why grind at home?

The journey to a perfect cup begins long before hot water touches the beans. In fact, grinding—whether you use a burr grinder vs. blade grinder—plays a pivotal role. 

Why’s that? 

Simply put, learning how to grind coffee beans at home can significantly enhance your coffee brewing experience, offering several advantages that ultimately result in a higher quality cup of coffee. Three, in particular, stand out:

● Control over grind size – With home grinders, you can select the best grind size for espresso or drip, be it coarse, medium, fine, extra fine, or Turkish. The coffee grind size can have a significant impact on the brewing and rates of extraction, particularly with more advanced brewing methods like pour over or French Press. 

● Freshness, taste, and aroma – Instant or pre-ground coffee, while convenient, often lacks the peak freshness and unique flavors that come from knowing how to store coffee beans and grinding them immediately prior to brewing. Moreover, by buying fresh coffee beans and grinding them to the ideal size, you can optimize extraction rates, thereby enhancing the taste of the coffee. 

● Diverse bean selection – Grinding at home opens up a world of possibilities in terms of coffee bean selection. Your choices are no longer constrained by the limited pre-ground coffees at the store. This freedom allows you to explore the vast spectrum of Arabica and Robusta beans and discover different flavors and nuances until you find one that perfectly suits your palette. 

What is a burr grinder? 

This type of coffee grinder uses two revolving abrasive surfaces (known as burrs) to grind coffee beans. They can be adjusted according to desired grind size and consistency to achieve the ideal coffee grounds. 

There are two primary types of burr grinders: 

● Conical burr grinder – The conical burr coffee grinder uses two cone-shaped burrs with ridges—one remains stationary while the other rotates—to grind the coffee beans with a gravity-chute feed system. 

● Flat burr grinders – With a flat burr grinder, two horizontally mounted burrs—one remains stationary while the other rotates—crush the coffee beans, which then fall through the burrs into a collection chamber. 

Pros of a burr grinder

Generally speaking, burr coffee grinders tend to be bigger and more expensive units than blade coffee grinders, making them ideal for the coffee enthusiast who wants precision control and appreciates the nuanced flavors of their coffee. Regardless of the brew method, having a burr grinder will provide the best outcome for whatever beans you put through it. Benefits include: 

● Adjustability – A burr coffee grinder offers complete control over the grind size.  

● Consistency – Burr coffee grinders produce a more consistent grind size, allowing for a more balanced extraction when you brew.

● Flavor preservation – A burr coffee grinder preserves coffee’s flavor and aroma by crushing coffee at its natural breaking point instead of cutting it with a blade and potentially closing some of the cellular structure, making it less soluble.

● Versatility – Burr grinders are suitable for practically any brewing method as long as the grinder was designed with it in mind.

● Durability – Burr grinders are an investment built to last for years.

What is a blade grinder? 

A blade coffee grinder, sometimes referred to as a propeller grinder, operates more like a blender or food processor. The design features one or two blades that spin rapidly, chopping up coffee beans as they come into contact with it. 

The blade method will chop up the coffee beans into pieces, but the chopped grounds probably won’t be uniform; some coffee grounds might end up finely ground while others may still be relatively large, which can result in a less consistent extraction than might occur using a burr grinder.

Pros of a blade grinder

For someone just starting their coffee journey or for those who don't wish to make a significant investment in a grinder, a blade coffee grinder can serve as a suitable entry point into the world of home grinding. Benefits include: 

● Affordability – Because blade grinders are smaller and don’t offer the same level of precision, they tend to be more affordable. 

● Convenience – Blade grinders tend to be more compact and have fewer pieces, making them easier to store and clean. 

● Less maintenance – Blade grinders typically require far less maintenance and upkeep than a more powerful burr grinder. 

● Ease of use – Blade grinders have a slight edge in terms of ease of use; they grind fast, and all that’s required of you is to place your beans in the container and press the start button.

Perfect your home brew with Breville 

So, between burr grinders vs. blade grinders, which is right for you?

For those new to the world of home-brewed coffee, a blade grinder is often a smart choice. They’re efficient, cost-effective, and user-friendly. Yet, as your palate matures and your brewing skills progress, the superior consistency, control, durability, and flavor extraction provided by a burr grinder may be preferable.

That said, whether you choose a burr or blade grinder, you're making a significant stride toward creating a superior home-brewed coffee experience.

At Breville, we've engineered our state-of-the-art burr grinders to empower you, the home barista, with total control over your grind. With 60 precise coffee grind settings, an electronic timer, and a stainless steel conical burr grinder, Breville grinders  and coffee machines aren’t just fancy appliances—they’re your passport to an elevated home brewing experience.


1. Homes & Gardens. Blade vs burr coffee grinder — baristas explain which is best. https://www.homesandgardens.com/shopping/blade-vs-burr-coffee-grinder

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Burr grinder vs. blade grinder: What's the difference and does it matter?