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What Are Conical Burrs in a Commercial Coffee Grinder?

When you’re preparing to open your new coffee shop, chances are that you’re interested in finding the best equipment to withstand the test of time and provide top-quality results. Although a commercial espresso machine is probably at the forefront of your mind, an industrial coffee grinder is just as important. A high-quality grinder is critical in preserving the flavor of the beans and ensuring a consistent grind, but not just any grinder can weather the demands of a busy coffee bar. 

As you begin your search for the best grinder for your shop, you’ll come across two different types of burrs: flat and conical. Wondering which is right for your needs? Here, we share more about conical burrs so you can determine if this style is your preference: 

What’s the Difference Between Flat and Conical? 

In both commercial and home settings, the consensus among coffee connoisseurs is that a burr grinder is always superior to a blade grinder. This is because burrs utilize pressure to grind the beans more uniformly, rather than chopping the beans into uneven particles. When you've determined  that burrs are the way to go for your café, you’ll need to decide which shape is ideal. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer; it comes down to preference and purpose. 

Flat burrs feature a simple design consisting of two rings that lie flat, one on top of the other. The horizontally aligned rings have angled teeth, and the distance between the rings determines the grind size. 

Conical burrs, on the other hand, have a different shape. Grinders with conical burrs function by grinding vertically, and one ring sits inside the other. The outer burr is a circular hollow ring with angled teeth, and the inner burr has a larger base. When viewed aerially, conical burrs appear flower or star-shaped. 

Does Burr Shape Affect Grind Quality? 

Because of the way flat burrs are constructed, it’s easier for this type of burr to achieve a supremely fine grind with even consistency. However, flat burrs have a reputation for retaining heat because of how quickly they rotate. Heat can impact the flavor of the coffee beans, but many flat-burr commercial coffee grinders have cooling systems built in to protect the flavor profile.

Although conical burrs rotate more slowly than their flat counterparts, this type of burr is capable of higher productivity levels than flat burrs of the same diameter. They also produce less heat buildup, which is helpful when the barista needs to preserve the roasting profile. Because conical burrs retain less heat and rotate more slowly, a conical burr coffee grinder often requires less maintenance. 

Choosing the equipment for your coffee bar is quite the task, and we understand that the many options can feel overwhelming. When determining which coffee grinder will best complement your commercial espresso machine, be sure to evaluate the volume of your shop and the types of beans that you’re working with. It’s not uncommon for cafés to have more than one bulk coffee grinder–one with each style of burr, since they each have different strengths. If you have any questions about finding the perfect tools of the trade, we’re here to help. Feel free to contact our team for a consultation.


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