The first step in creating incomparable coffee in your home of office is to grind the coffee beans yourself. Freshly ground coffee has had less of a chance to oxidize, and thus the flavor is preserved. If you've walked past a busy coffee shop, you'll notice the strong aroma of freshly ground and prepared coffee. Nothing beats it, and this freshness contributes to the flavor of the final cup.
Finding a coffee grinder that will prepare the quality beverage you're after is another matter though. It helps to understand the different types of grinders available, as they produce quite varying qualities of brewed coffee.
There are three ways to grind coffee. Blade grinders, which chop up the coffee beans, are the most common in home coffee grinders. They have advantages in that they are longer lasting, and quite cheap to buy compared with other grinder methods. But this trade-off is apparent in the type of ground coffee they produce.
One of the key principles in producing quality coffee grinds is that the size of the grind is even. Unfortunately, blade grinders don't perform well here. They produce both large and small particles of coffee, as well as a type of 'coffee dust' that can clog up sieves in French presses and espresso machines. The coffee they produce is generally poorer in quality because the lack of uniform particle size means that the brewing method selected is unable to work optimally. Some of the coffee beans will be perfect for it, and thus the full flavor will be extracted, but a lot of it won't, as the beans are too large or small.
Whilst the effect of coffee grind particles that are too large may seem obvious, in that flavor is left in the ground, a grind that is too fine will also contribute to poor coffee. Bitter coffee results when the surface area has been exposed to hot water for too long.
By far the best method for most types of coffee is the burr grinder. These grinders are used in coffee shops, and they produce a very even grind. There is a range of settings that can be used, so that espresso, French press, drip coffee, and percolators can be used to make the final cup. Burr grinders have another advantage in that there is less heat to change the taste of the coffee bean. Blade grinders tend to produce more heat.
The third way of grinding coffee is particular to making Turkish coffee. A very finely ground coffee is needed, and only very good quality burr grinders are able to do this. The alternative is the old fashioned mortar and pestle!
The best type of coffee grinder is the conical burr grinder, but these are also the most expensive. What is best for an individual's needs will depend on how much they love their coffee, and their budget.
Founder of Atitlan Network