Your choice of a home coffee machine is not as essential as the choice of your coffee grinder. In fact, your choice of coffee grinder will have a far greater impact on your coffee than the choice of your coffee machine.
I recommend starting your home coffee journey by choosing the type of coffee grinder first, as it will determine the type of home coffee machine you buy.
Type 1: Built-In Coffee Grinder.
Shown Above: The popular Barista Express coffee machine has a coffee grinder built-in.
These automatic coffee grinders appear in popular coffee machines like the Breville Barista Express or Breville Oracle.
They typically feature conical burrs and a user-friendly interface.
Furthermore, they create an artificial ceiling for your coffee-making skills by wedding you to that coffee grinder forever.
Despite these downsides, these coffee grinders are very popular because they’re:
Type 2: Standalone Coffee Grinder.
Shown in photo: close-ups of the Baratza Sette 270 coffee grinder.
The standalone coffee grinder offers a step up from the built-in type. The quality of conical burrs in these grinders tends to be improved and you get much more precise dosing control.
- If you want to get the most out of your espresso machine, the Baratza Sette 270 is one of the best standalone premium coffee grinders in Australia.
Some standalone coffee grinders feature zero grind retention, made possible by their straight-through design.
It means you won’t have 2-3 shots of ground shots of coffee stuck in the neck, or hanging in the hopper, aging and slowly becoming stale.
This saves on wastage, too. Cleaning is easy due to an easily removable burr design.
Standalone coffee grinders cost anywhere between $300 for the basic Breville model to around $800 for a prosumer model like the Baratza Sette 270.
Shown in photo: Breville Smart Grinder Pro is an entry-level coffee grinder. If you’re new to coffee, start with this grinder – and upgrade in a few years.
Type 3: Coffee Grinder At Your Local Cafe.
Ironically enough, this grinder type is also the best.
Coffee shops use commercial-grade grinders that cost north of $1,000, and the consistency of their grind usually surpasses those offered by home grinders.
If you have a top-notch cafe near your home, they’ll happily sell you a bag of their unground coffee beans. Ask the barista to grind them “for espresso” if you plan to use them with your home coffee machine.
- It’s a low-cost, fuss-free option that keeps your kitchen benchtops clutter free and your bank account balance healthy.
Tip. Don’t buy more than 500g of unground coffee beans at a time. Like most foods, coffee goes stale with time. Buy just enough to last you for 1-2 weeks and you’ll always drink fresh coffee.
Which Type Of Coffee Grinder Is Best For Home Use?
The answer to this question is nuanced.
If you’re relatively new to coffee, Breville’s Smart Grinder Pro built-in burr grinder will provide you with the best balance of features for your money.
Shown in photo: Breville Smart Grinder Pro is a user-friendly, stylish addition to your home coffee setup.
It features an easy-to-understand interface and creates a consistent grind size. Conveniently, it’s included at a discount with Breville’s DynamicDuo package.
If you’re the type of person who likes to go down rabbit holes and see yourself obsessing over grind settings to obtain the correct grind size every time, opt for a premium standalone grinder like the Sette 270.
Shown in photo: Baratza Sette 270 coffee grinder – the best coffee grinder for experienced home baristas with 2+ years of coffee experience under their belt. If you’re relatively new to coffee, this is an overkill.
Finally, there’s the unexpectedly smart option – get your local barista to handle the grinding process for you. Neighbourhood cafes have excellent burr grinders that most of us cannot afford and will happily do it for you.