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Best Espresso Grinder

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Last updated: December 27, 2023

You’ll often hear people say that your espresso grinder makes more of a difference to your espresso’s taste than your machine.

Combine this “common wisdom” with the fact that espresso grinders can range from $100 – $1,000+ and picking the best espresso grinder (without just splurging a grand to guarantee you won’t get something crap) can be challenging. 

I’ve researched and tested over 20 espresso grinders and found that the best five are:

As well as telling you why I recommend these five grinders, I’m also going to shed light on some espresso grinders that I think you should avoid (spoiler warning: higher-end Baratza grinders feature heavily here) and explain why I don’t recommend these.

Let’s get started.

What Does an Espresso Grinder Need to Have?

Not all coffee grinders are suited to grinding for espresso. An espresso grinder needs to have three characteristics to be able to grind espresso.

1. The Ability to Grind Consistently

Your grinder needs to have conical or flat burrs to achieve the grind consistency needed for espresso.

If your coffee is ground inconsistently – with some grounds larger than others, then your espresso is near guaranteed to channel. Channeled espresso tastes horrible. 

To grind consistently enough for espresso you need a conical burr or flat burr grinder. 

A blade grinder is fine for non-espresso brewing (despite what coffee snobs might say), but won’t work for espresso.

Because of this, I’d avoid any espresso grinder under $100. This includes popular “burr” grinders made by Delonghi, Krups, Cuisinart, and Mr Coffee.

These are “wheel-burr” grinders (they’ve intentionally kept their terminology confusing – they’re not the same as burr grinders) and won’t grind uniformly enough for espresso.

2. The Ability to Grind Very Finely

Coffee grinders that aren’t explicitly designed for espresso won’t grind finely enough for espresso brewing.

Coffee needs to be ground to a consistency somewhere between fine sand and flour. 

If it’s coarser than this then the gaps between each grind will be so large that your brewing water will run water too quickly for proper extraction to occur.

Underextracted espresso tastes unpleasantly sour. 

Most grinders do not grind finely enough for espresso. It’s expensive to manufacture motors with the torque needed to grind coffee this finely, so grinders tend to either be built for espresso or drip coffee.

It’s not always clear which grinders are better suited to which brew style, so here is a list of popular grinders that I’d recommend avoiding for espresso because they cannot grind finely enough:

  • Any Fellow coffee grinder 
  • Any Wilfa coffee grinder 

3. The Ability to Make Tiny Adjustments Between Grind Size

Grinders that have large differences between each grind setting won’t give you enough control over your espresso brewing. Ideally, you want a stepless grinder. The largest acceptable difference in grind size between settings is 20 microns.

This is best exemplified in the video below of someone testing the Baratza Encore. Notice how changing the grind setting by one nearly increases brew time by 50% (watch from 5:34 – 6:35).

The window for espresso grind size is generally 200-400 microns, which gives you a window of 0.2 millimeters to play with.

Ideally, you want a stepless grinder – this means that you adjust grind size by turning a fluid wheel, giving you an infinite amount of possible grind sizes.

My cheapest recommendation – the Baratza Encore ESP, has 18 microns between its grind sizes. This is the absolute maximum step size I’d recommend on an espresso grinder.

Espresso grinders that I’d recommend avoiding given the lack of grind size control are:

  • Baratza Encore (the base model, not the ESP)
  • Baratza Vario (its grind settings are the same as the ESP but this is unacceptably large given its price tag)
  • Breville Smart Grinder Pro & Breville Dose Control

Since espresso grinders are expensive, I’m also intentionally not including grinders that are known to break down after less than five years of consistent use **cough cough Baratza Sette 270 cough cough**.

Best Espresso Grinder: Top Picks

Best espresso grinder with a hopper
  • Grinds to the nearest 0.1 seconds
  • Phenomenal build quality
  • Flat burrs for better grind uniformity
Best budget espresso grinder ​
  • Can often be found at under $200
  • 20 micro grind settings
  • 9 microns between each micro grind setting
Best single dose espresso grinder
  • Quietest electric grinder on the market
  • Small elegant design
  • Good for both espresso and drip coffee
Best single dose if the Niche Zero is not available
  • Typically under $500
  • High modification potential
  • Flat burrs (unlike the Niche Zero)
Best manual grinder for espresso
  • 450 grind settings
  • 8.8 microns between each grind setting
  • Easier to grind than most manual grinders

Best Espresso Grinder with a Hopper: Eureka Mignon Specialita

Best Espresso Grinder with a Hopper
Eureka Mignon Specialita
$699.00

The Eureka Mignon Specialita’s timed grinder and product longevity make it the best espresso grinder if you don’t want to weigh out your beans before every shot.

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02/28/2024 07:24 am GMT
Eureka Mignon Specialita
Description
Espresso grinder with hopper, timer and touch screen
Burr type
55 mm hardened steel flat burrs
Stepped/stepless
Stepless (infinite grind settings)
Outer body material
Stainless steel
Dimensions
4.8″ W x 5.5″ D x 13.9″ H
Price point
Premium

Grind Performance

The Eureka Mignon Specialita produces the most consistent and least clumpy grinds of all grinders under $1,000. You’ll have to give it a slap after you grind, however, because of its high retention.

The Eureka Mignon outputs such evenly distributed grounds that you can go straight from grinding to tamping your puck without any distribution. 

It’s the only coffee grinder featured here that I can say that about.

It does however have relatively high retention. It’s not uncommon for 1-1.5 grams of coffee grinds to get stuck in its chute. 

You’ll have to give its thwacker a slap every time you grind and there will be times when the chute gets blocked completely and you’ll have to stick a brush in there to unclog it (a brush comes with the grinder). 

Both annoying and a waste of coffee.

Grind Performance Rating: 8/10

User Friendliness

The Eureka Mignon Specialita grinds by time meaning that you can get repeatable doses without weighing out your beans before each shot.

This gives the Eureka the easiest daily workflow of all the grinders featured here by miles. It’s ideal if you want a grinder that your less espresso-geeky family and friends can use too.

The timer is controlled by a touch screen and you can save two automatic grind times, one for a single shot and one for a double shot. These can then be accessed with one button press.

While dosing is easy, getting the right grind size with the Specialita is hard

Its grind size dial is small, meaning that the tiniest nudge can significantly change your grind settings.

This is why I don’t recommend the machine to people who are going to experiment a lot with different roast profiles – it’s just too much work dialing back and forth between beans.

If you’re just going to stick with one roast type, load her up, and grind away, then it’s perfect.

User Friendliness: 9/10

Design and Build Quality

The Eureka Mignon Specialita is a buy-it-for-life grinder. You shouldn’t even have to ever replace any of its parts (including its burrs).

The Specialita’s exterior is made out of steel. You won’t ever have to worry about the grinder being scratched or scuffed, even if dropped.

Its burrs are more durable than the vast majority of grinders’. 

It uses Eureka’s patented Diamond Inside burrs. This means that the grinder can get through at least 1300 kgs of coffee beans before they start to wear. 

That’s 65,000 espresso shots, at a conservative estimate.

The only obvious point of failure I see with the machine is its display screen. I haven’t seen any reports online of this breaking down, however.

The Eureka Mignon Specialita’s only design flaw is its ground coffee chute (where your grounds exit the grinder). 

It’s at quite an acute angle so coffee can get stuck here more easily than with other coffee grinders.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 10/10

Value For Money

The Eureka Mignon Specialita delivers great value for money if you see it as a long-term investment.

Sure, there are similar-priced grinders that have a similar grind performance, and even cheaper grinders that don’t have the Specialita’s annoying retention issue, but none of these have the Specialita’s proven durability.

If you know you are going to be brewing a lot of espressos and will do so for years to come, then it’s a fantastic investment.

Value for Money Rating: 9/10

Eureka Mignon Specialita Pros

  • Doses by time so no need to weigh out every dose before grinding.
  • Its interior and exterior are both incredibly durable making it a potential buy it for life machine
  • Its grinds are so uniform and unclumpy that you can tamp without distributing first.

Eureka Mignon Specialita Cons

  • Relatively high retention
  • Its output chute is prone to clogging up

Best Budget Espresso Grinder: Baratza Encore ESP

Best Budget Espresso Grinder
Baratza Encore Esp
$199.95
The Baratza Encore ESP is the electric grinder with the most precise grind settings in the $200 range.
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02/27/2024 06:15 pm GMT
Baratza Encore ESP
Description
Espresso and filter coffee grinder with hopper
Burr type
40mm stainless steel conical burr grinder
Stepped/stepless
Stepped – 20 espresso settings
Outer body material
Plastic
Dimensions
5.1″ W x 5.9″ D x 13.4″ H
Price point
Affordable

Grind Performance

The Baratza Encore ESP cannot give you the grind precision of more expensive grinders on his list. Its grind size preciseness is the bottom end of acceptable for espresso brewing.

The Baratza Encore ESP is a stepped grinder, so it does not quite have the fine adjustments of more expensive, stepless grinders on this list.

The grinder has 20 espresso grind settings, each of which changes your grind size by 18 microns. 

Other places online say that the machine has 9 microns between each espresso step, but they’re wrong. Each step moves each of your two burrs 9 microns. This results in an 18-micron difference in grind size.

Testing suggests that one change in the grind setting can affect your espresso’s brew time by +/-3 seconds. Your ideal shot time window is about 8 seconds, so +/-3 seconds is a frustratingly large change for just one grind setting.

The ESP’s grinds are even, but clumpy. 

You’ll definitely need to do a fair bit of distribution before you tamp.

Its retention isn’t as bad as the Eureka Mignon Specialista, rarely retaining more than 0.5 grams of ground coffee.

Grind Performance Rating: 5/10

User Friendliness

The Baratza Encore ESP’s combination of a large hopper and a lack of a timer gives it a bit of an annoying workflow when you’re making espresso.

A lack of a built-in timer means that you’ll need to single dose to get consistent shots with the grinder. 

This makes its large hopper cumbersome and unnecessary – adding to parts of the machine that require cleaning and looking after without improving its performance.

You can get a single dose attachment with bellows that can replace its hopper for around $40. I’d strongly suggest getting this if you’re going to use the Encore ESP as a dedicated espresso grinder.

I do like that the Encore ESP’s dosing cup has attachments that can fit flush with 54 and 58-mm portafilters. This means that you can dose up your portafilter without making a mess regardless of the espresso machine you’re using.

User Friendliness: 6/10

Design and Build Quality

The Baratza Encore ESP has a decent internal build quality but poor external build quality.

Baratza has not skimped on their burrs or motor. You’re unlikely to suffer wear or motor burnout even after several years of regular use.

Baratza clearly cut costs with the Encore ESP’s external build.

Its outside is made entirely out of plastic, and its plastic hopper sits directly on its metal grinder meaning that the hopper rattles as it grinds.

So, in short, the grinder is cheap looking and feeling, but very reliable given its price tag.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 6/10

Value for Money

The Baratza Encore ESP is the cheapest electric espresso-worthy grinder on the market.

Unless you become an espresso hobbyist, it will likely do the job for you for the next 5+ years.

For around $200, that’s pretty incredible.

Value for Money Rating: 9/10

Baratza Encore ESP Pros

  • Cheapest electric espresso capable grinder on the market.
  • Reliable, especially considering its low cost.
  • Easy to dial in because it’s stepped.

Baratza Encore ESP Cons

  • Its grind size control is the bottom end of acceptable for espresso.
  • Has a plastic exterior.

Best Single Dose: Niche Zero

Best Single-Dose Espresso Grinder
Niche Zero

The Niche Zero’s elegant design, quiet grinding, and low retention make it the best single-dose espresso grinder on the market.

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Niche Zero
Description
Electric single dose coffee grinder
Burr type
63mm hardened steel conical burrs
Stepped/stepless
Stepless
Outer body material
Aluminium and wood
Dimensions
4.8″ W x 8.3″ D x 12.2″ H
Price point
Premium

Grind Performance

The Niche Zero has a slightly lower grind uniformity but much lower retention than the Eureka Mignon Specialista.

I’d say that for the majority of people, the Niche Zero will make consistently tastier espresso than the Eureka Mignon Specialista.

While its slightly lower grind uniformity can be noticeable if you have a really refined palette (something you can only get after years of actively tasting and studying espresso), having stale grinds in your espresso dose (due to the Specialita’s retention) can be noticeable to anyone.

So if I pulled 100 shots with the Niche Zero and 100 with the Specialista, I think that the vast majority of you would prefer more of the Niche Zero’s shots than the Specialista.

However, if you have been brewing drinking espresso for years, experimented with different roast profiles, and learned how to distinguish between their nuances, then you might find the shots with the Niche Zero underwhelming.

Grind Performance Rating: 9/10

User Friendliness

The Niche Zero is an absolute joy to use if you’re a single doser.

This fantastic workflow is because:

  • Its large and well-spaced-out grind-size dial makes it as easy to dial in as a stepless grinder can be.
  • It’s the quietest espresso grinder in this article.
  • You don’t need to hold its grind basket in place as you grind (unlike the DF64 for example).

Every aspect of the Niche Zero’s workflow has been well thought through, however, if you find weighing out your beans a chore then it’s inevitably going to be more annoying to use than the Eureka Mignon.

User Friendliness Rating: 9/10

Design and Build Quality

The Niche Zero is stylish, which isn’t something you can say about many grinders.

In addition to looks, I struggled to find many complaints about the Niche Zero having reliability issues online.

I’m not sure if the Niche Zero has the level of durability as the Specialita, but I think that the grinder should last you well over five years.

Add that to how ergonomic the Niche Zero is, and it’s very hard to find a flaw in its design and build.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 10/10

Value for Money

The Niche Zero is expensive, especially given that it has fewer features and (probably) less longevity than the Specialita.

This is in part due to the fact that if you’re not based in the UK you’re going to have to pay 10-15+% for shipping.

The Niche Zero’s price also seems to have risen over the years, largely due to its popularity among coffee influencers online. The product hasn’t significantly changed despite this increase in price.

That being said, the reasons behind its popularity are obvious.

Value for Money Rating: 7/10

Niche Zero Pros

  • Very quiet for an espresso grinder.
  • Low retention and good cup holder means you’re unlikely to ever spill coffee grounds.
  • The most ergonomic single dose espresso grinder by far.
  • Easy to dial in by stepless grinder standards.

Niche Zero Cons

  • Expensive, especially when you factor in shipping costs.
  • Not always in stock.

Best Single Dose Grinder if You Can’t Get the Niche Zero: DF64

Best Value Single-Dose Espresso Grinder
MiiCoffee DF64
$399.00

The DF64 is a single-dose grinder that punches well above its price point in terms of grind performance. It does require a bit of modding to get the best out of it, however.

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02/28/2024 08:18 am GMT
DF64
Description
Electric single dose coffee grinder
Burr type
64mm stainless steel flat burrs
Stepped/stepless
Stepless
Outer body material
Aluminium
Dimensions
5.1″ W x 8.8″ D x 12.0″ H
Price point
Mid range

(Quick note: the DF64 is called the MiiCoffee DF64 on Amazon, the Turin D464 by other retailers in the US, and the Turin or G-Iota DF64 in Europe. They all refer to the same grinder).

Grind Performance

The DF64 only produces very uniform grinds if you remove its de-clumper. Once you do that its grinds are uniform but clumpy, so you will need to distribute them before tamping.

Clumpiness aside, the DF64’s grind quality allows you to make as good an espresso as the Specialita or Niche Zero. Impressive considering it’s about ⅔ the price of each of these grinders.

The grinder’s poorly designed de-clumper is a problem. It’s hard to explain concisely in words so watch this video from 5:05 – 6:28 to see what the problem is.


With the de-clumper in, a significant amount of your coffee will be ground more than once, resulting in unevenness. 

I’d recommend removing the de-clumper entirely and just accepting that you’ll have to distribute your puck before tamping.

Once you remove the DF64’s de-clumper it has very low retention, comparable to the Niche Zero.

Grind Performance: 8/10

User Friendliness

The DF64 is not the most user-friendly machine. It’s tricky to dial in and you have to hold your dosing cup in place as it grinds).

Although the grinder has a large grind dial, and a large espresso range within that, only half of this range actually gets you to below 400 microns, the coarsest grind needed for espresso.

The DF64 also has no indicator arrow on its grind dial which makes it hard to change and change back settings – it’s near impossible to tell where you started from when you change its settings.

I’d recommend adding a dial indicator to the machine, you can get them on Etsy.

The DF64’s grind basket also rattles around as it grinds, mainly due to the fact that its basket forks are poorly designed. You have to hold the basket in place to guarantee that it won’t fall out and make a mess.

So yeah…workflow-wise it’s quite a big step down from the Niche Zero.

User Friendliness Rating: 5/10

Design and Build Quality

The DF64 is sturdily built and reliable. It has a few silly design flaws but overall gives you a solid base to modify from.

The grinder is far more durable than the similarly priced Baratza Sette 270 for example.

The grinder is generally well suited for modifying, in large part thanks to the fact that it uses 64mm burrs, a commonly designed size, and has a thriving modding community around it.

Although it does have some baffling design flaws (namely its terrible de-clumper and lack of grind dial) you can find upgrades and replacements for these on Etsy. 

It’s a very solid grinder at its core.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 7/10

Value for Money

The DF64 allows you to pull the best shots of any single-dose grinder under $500.

So long as you’re willing to open the machine and remove or cut a hole in its de-clumper, it far outperforms its price tag.

The main difference you’re paying between the DF64 and the Niche Zero is user experience. If all you care about is grinding performance then the DF64 is a far better deal.

Value for Money Rating: 9/10

DF64 Pros

  • Its grind performance far exceeds its price tag.
  • Has a lot of compatible parts and a big modding community.
  • No shipping fees if you’re based in North America (unlike the Niche Zero).

DF64 Cons

  • You need to remove its de-clumper if you want a uniform grind size.
  • Hard to change grind settings due not having an indicator arrow on its grind dial.

Best Manual Espresso Grinder: 1ZPresso JMAX

Best Manual Espresso Grinder
1ZPresso JMAX
$199.00

The 1ZPresso JMAX’s 450 grind settings make it by far the most precise manual coffee grinder.

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02/28/2024 08:22 am GMT
1Presso JMax
Description
Manual espresso-first grinder
Burr type
48mm titanium conical burrs
Stepped/stepless
Stepped (8.8 microns between each step)
Outer body material
Aluminium body, wooden handle and silicone grip
Dimensions
Body: 2.2” W x 7.7” H; 5.5” handle
Price point
Affordable

Grind Performance

The 1ZPresso J Max gives you close to limitless control over your espresso grind size.

Although the grinder has steps, it has 8.8 microns between each step. This roughly equates to ± 1 second of brewing time if all other conditions are the same.

No manual grinder comes close to giving you this level of control over your grind size.

About 30 of the J Max’s settings (that’s a 90-degree rotation of its dial) are espresso-suitable. Most users say that the grinder’s espresso range is between 110 and 140 clicks.

It has some retention, but the grinder comes with a little hand pump which you can use to blow out and coffee that gets stuck in the grinder.

Grind Performance Rating: 8/10

User Friendliness

While the 1ZPresso J MAX is easy to dial in, and as easy to grind as a manual espresso grinder can get, its grinds container is poorly designed and can easily fly off the grinder, throwing ground coffee everywhere.

The J Max is obviously going to have a more arduous workflow than an electric grinder purely by virtue of the fact that you need to create the force needed to grind its beans.

Grinding coffee beans like this is fairly strenuous, but not super tough – you need to grind consistently for about 40 seconds for a double espresso dose. 

I think if you don’t have any strength or mobility issues in either of your hands or arms you won’t find it too hard. Its main drawback compared to electric grinders is the tedium of having to grind for 40 seconds every morning.

The J Max is the easiest of all grinders featured here to dial in. Even though it has tiny adjustments, the click between each setting is noticeable, and you have an arrow showing you exactly where you are on its grinder.

The most annoying thing about this grinder by far is its dosing cup. Its held to the grinder’s body by a magnet, and the force required to break this magnetic attraction often leads you to accidentally throw your ground coffee out of your grinder.

You’ll inevitably do this at least once if you get the J Max…

You also need to be careful where you grip your grinder as you grind. If you hold it too low then you can pull off its grinds bin, if you hold it too high then you can accidentally change its grind settings – read a Reddit thread about this here.

User Friendliness Rating: 5/10 (8/10 by manual grinder standards)

Design and Build Quality

The J Max is incredibly sturdy and well-built. It has high buy-it-for-life potential, especially as it does not rely on a motor.

The entire grinder can be easily taken apart and put back together, allowing you to deep clean any blockages or replace worn burrs.

It also comes in a good-quality travel back with a dedicated compartment for all of the grinder’s removable parts. 1ZPresso has shown excellent attention to detail here.

Design and Build Quality Rating: 10/10

Value for Money

If you can be bothered hand grinding for espresso, then this is the espresso grinder with the best price/performance ratio on the market.

However, if you don’t want to go through the tedium of grinding beans for 40 seconds every morning then it’s a non-starter.

Value for Money: 10/10 (for the right person)

1ZPresso J Max Pros

  • Unparalleled grind quality for $200.
  • Very easy to dial in.
  • Portable, especially because it comes with a travel bag.
  • Easier to grind with than most manual espresso grinders.

1ZPresso J Max Cons

  • You need to manually grind your beans which is tedious if you’re a daily espresso drinker.
  • Its grinds cup is a bit finickity to pull off without spilling your grounds (you’ll need to learn how to do it by feel.

Two Espresso Grinders to Avoid: Baratza Sette 270 and Baratza Sette 270Wi

I recommend avoiding the Baratza Sette 270 because its motor is known to have reliability issues, often causing the grinder to change settings as it grinds or to just die completely. You can find reports of this here and here.

I recommend avoiding the Baratza Sette 270Wi because its dose-by-weight system (which you pay a huge premium for) doesn’t really work. It relies on your portafilter being held completely straight, which is pretty much impossible given the way that its portafilter forks are designed.

With both grinders, Baratza has tried to cram in too many features for too low a price tag. The result is that the design, build, and execution of these features are really poor.

What to Ask Yourself When Buying an Espresso Grinder?

Here are the key things to ask yourself when shopping around for an espresso grinder.

What is My Budget?

Here are your best espresso grinder options at each price point.

<$200: Just Use Pre Ground Coffee

You’re not going to get a good espresso grinder for less than $150. Grinding for espresso with a grinder under $150 is a waste of coffee beans.

A decent set of conical burrs cost around $50. And then you need to pay for the grinding mechanism (and a manufacturer’s margin) on top of that. It’s just not happening.

You can still make a decent espresso with pre-ground coffee. You just need to make sure that:

  • You’re buying your coffee from a specialty roaster who gives you the option to grind for espresso.
  • You brew within three weeks after roasting (all specialty roasters should put a roast date on their bag of coffee).

~$200: 1ZPresso J Max or Baratza Encore ESP

For around $200 you can either get 1ZPresso J Max manual grinder or a Baratza Encore ESP electric grinder.

The 1ZPresso Manual Grinder will give you more control over your grind size but is obviously much more work to use than the Baratza Encore.

I think unless you’re already a seasoned espresso drinker with a developed palette (and no, watching a few James Hoffmann videos doesn’t give you a developed palette) then I’d go with the Baratza Encore ESP with this budget.

<$500: DF64

For under $500, you have quite a few options, and I’d go for the DF64.

At around the $500 mark, you can get:

  • DF64
  • Eureka Mignon Silenzio
  • Baratza Sette 270

I’d recommend the DF64 over the Eureka Mignon Silenzio and Baratza Sette 270 because:

  • Eureka Mignon Silenzio: The DF64 retains less coffee between grinds than the Silenzio. Less retention is better because you don’t want stale coffee from a previous grind mixed with fresh coffee. While all grinders have some retention, the DF64 typically retains 0.1 grams less than the Silenzio, which is a significant difference.
  • Baratza Sette 270: The DF64 is far more reliable than the Baratza Sette 270. The DF64 will last you longer so it’s a better value purchase in the long run.

<$800: Eureka Mignon Specialita or Niche Zero

I’d recommend the Eureka Mignon Specialita if you want the option of keeping your beans in the hopper and the Niche Zero if you will single dose.

The Eureka Mignon Specialita has a timed doser, that times to the nearest 0.1 of a second, so once you have your grind size sorted you can get repeatable doses just by pressing a button.

The Niche Zero doesn’t have a hopper so you’ll need to weigh out your beans every time you brew. Its lack of a hopper makes it a lot more compact and quieter when grinding, however.

Personally, I think that if you’re going to spend over $500 on a grinder (and presumably something similar on an espresso machine) then you owe it to yourself to store your beans in an airtight container to keep them at their best.

But I understand that hoppers are convenient, especially if several of you are going to use the grinder and you might not all want to weigh your beans before every espresso.

Do I Want the Option of Keeping My Beans in the Hopper?

Some grinders don’t have a grind timer so you’ll need to dose your beans for every shot you pull.

Most people who are “into” espresso prefer dosing each shot individually as your beans degrade when kept in a hopper because they are exposed to oxygen.

Even if your hopper has an airtight seal at the top, air will still get in through the bypass chute at its bottom.

Still, hoppers are convenient and make your grinder more user-friendly, especially if you’ll be sharing it with someone who doesn’t care as much about the fine details of espresso brewing as you do.

The table below shows whether the machines featured in this article have a hopper or are single doses. 

Timed grind or single dose
Eureka Mignon Specialita (best timed dose)
Timed Grind
DF64 (best value for money)
Single Dose
1ZPresso J Max (best manual)
Single Dose
Niche Zero (best single dose)
Single Dose
Baratza Encore ESP (cheapest that does the job)
Timed Grind

What is My Fiddliness to Espresso Quality Tolerance (Conical vs Flat Burrs)?

Go for a flat burr grinder if you’re willing to pay extra and tinker around more for slight flavor gains. If not then go for a conical burr grinder.

The table below shows how flat burr grinders and conical burr grinders differ in terms of price, performance, and ease of use:

Conical Burr Flat Burr
Flavor
Slightly worse (to most palettes
Slightly better (to most palettes)
Ease of dialing in
Slightly easier
Slightly more finickity
Price
Generally cheaper
Generally more expensive

Notice that I’m using the word “slightly” a lot here. 

I’m doing so for a reason.

The average espresso drinker, or even many experienced ones, won’t be able to tell the difference between coffee grounds by a flat or conical burr grinder.

They do, however, affect a grinder’s price. A grinder with a flat burr will generally have fewer features or a lower build quality than an equivalent-priced one with a conical burr.

If you choose a flat burr grinder then bear in mind that you’re putting all your money into your espresso’s quality ceiling, rather than in usability and longevity.

A flat burr grinder that still has a good overall build quality and advanced features will be expensive (the Specialita, for example).

The table below shows whether the grinders featured in this article have flat or conical burrs:

Flat or conical burr grinder
Eureka Mignon Specialita (best overall)
Flat burr
DF64 (best value for money)
Flat burr
1ZPresso J Max (best manual)
Conical burr
Niche Zero (best single dose)
Conical burr
Baratza Encore ESP (cheapest that does the job)
Conical burr

The Retention Issue

Retention, while undesirable, is hard to measure, so I wouldn’t focus too much on it.

If you’ve been researching espresso grinders, you’ll often see people talking about retention. This refers to the amount of ground coffee left in the grinder after grinding.

While some grinders (such as the Eureka Mignon Specialista) retain so much coffee that you literally need to knock it out after grinding, every single grinder will retain at least some coffee in their burrs.

You can’t knock this coffee out because it’s stuck in its burrs.

This means that even grinders that claim to have ultra-low or no retention (the Niche Zero for example) will still be putting some stale coffee grounds into your portafilter every time you grind.

The take-home here is not to get too hung up on retention, and especially not to get too suckered into grinders that claim to have zero retention.

Overhyped Features to Ignore (Or At Least Not Pay More For)

Here is a couple of grinder features that I see people talk about a lot of coffee forums that I don’t actually think are that important (for a home espresso grinder anyway).

Burr Size

You see a lot of manufacturers bragging that their grinders have bigger burrs.

I think the logic here is that because commercial machines have big burrs (100 mm typically) then the closer you can get to that the better.

In reality, bigger burrs just mean that your grinder can grind an equivalent mass of beans faster. 

While this is useful in a coffee shop, do you actually want to pay more money to save one second every morning?

Speed and Power

There’s no concrete evidence that greater or lower speed (RPM) or power (wattage) affects your grinder’s quality.

While a minimum amount of torque is necessary to grind beans, all the grinders listed here reach this threshold.

Best Espresso Grinder: Final Verdict

The best espresso grinder is the Eureka Mignon Specialita

Best Espresso Grinder with a Hopper
Eureka Mignon Specialita
$699.00

The Eureka Mignon Specialita’s timed grinder and product longevity make it the best espresso grinder if you don’t want to weigh out your beans before every shot.

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02/28/2024 07:24 am GMT

It grinds well, is extremely durable, and doesn’t require you to weigh out your beans before every shot.

Now that you’ve picked out a grinder, it’s time to pick an espresso machine. Take a look at our roundup of the best espresso machines under $1,000.

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