Glossary of Coffee Terminology: Grinders
Coffee Glossary Table of Contents
To assist you in making intelligent decisions when purchasing coffee and espresso grinders, we have provided a quick guide to some of the most important grinder terms.
- Burr Type:
- Flat: Burr that is flat in shape, also referred to as “Disk Burrs” can range in size of diameter.
- Conical: Cone shaped burrs that fit inside one another, gravity fed orientation.
- Burr Size: The diameter in millimeters of the burrs themselves.
- Cooling Fans: Fans inside the body of the grinder that cool the motor while it is in use. Typically found in high volume espresso grinders.
- Manual: On/off switch to dose espresso, the barista is responsible for grinding, weighing, and dosing espresso manually. Some models also have a dosing chamber that holds ground espresso prior to dispensing.
- Electronic Dosing: Timed espresso dispensing function. The barista has the ability to program multiple doses of espresso from the grinder usually on a digital screen. The espresso is ground and dosed by time. Allows for relative accuracy in dosing.
- By Weight: Espresso is dispensed and dosed by weight after it is already ground. This is the most precise and accurate method. The barista can program a volume of ground espresso for various volumes for example, one shot or two shots.
- Grind Range: Range of grind size for a given grinder. This will vary based on burr size and fineness.
- Hopper Size: The capacity of the whole bean hopper above the espresso grinder. Usually in kilograms or pounds.
- Noise Level: Level of noise made to grind an espresso shot. Some espresso grinders have baffling to dampen the loudness of the grinding motor.
- Power Requirements (Amps, Voltage and Watts): Measured in volts, typically 110v to 120v however some larger industrial grinders can have much larger wattage requirements leading to higher power consumption.
- Prosumer Grinder: Espresso grinder with commercial features but meant to be used in a home environment.
- RPM Range: Rotations per minute of the grinding burrs or discs. High wattage low rpm grinding is typically used for cold brew applications.
- Retention: The amount of grounds left in the grinding chamber and on the burrs of an espresso grinder, the lower the retention the more efficient the espresso grinder.
- Screen Type: Refers to the interface for programming and operating the espresso grinder. Some units have a digital screen, touchscreen, or a simple digital display.
- Stepped Grind Adjustment: Grinding range adjustment that is made by not directly manipulating the burrs. This adjustment is usually made either electronically or using a worm gear on the side of the espresso grinder. Generally this is a much easier way to adjust grind size.
- Uniformity: Refers to the shape of the grounds themselves. High quality espresso grinders usually use larger burrs that provide more even or uniform grounds.
- Volume Capacity / Doses per Hour: Recommended amount of espresso shots that an espresso grinder can produce per hour. This may also be expressed as a total volume amount of whole beans in either grams, kilograms, or pounds.