If you’re anything like me, coffee is important. Far more than just dark brown, bitter wake-me-up-juice, deeper appreciation of coffee is a deeeeeep rabbit hole to fall down: there are nuances in the type of beans, how dark they are roasted, how fine they are ground… the variables are numerous and can be overwhelming!
However most coffee aficionados would agree on a single point - it’s better grind your own beans fresh rather than rely on pre-ground coffee that has been sitting around for a long time before it gets to you. So the coffee-nuts at Kagoo have looked at the best coffee grinders to step up your morning brew!
While we're on the subject of grinding coffee, be sure to check out our article on improving your espresso making, based on cutting-edge coffee science!
Let’s start with my personal grinder - I’ve been using the De’Longhi KG79 for several years, so can vouch for its quality when it comes to grinding coffee beans evenly and efficiently. A simple knob on the side allows you to change between 20 different sizes of grind, good for every type of coffee you may want to brew. The price is modest and it’s a compact machine, one that can easily slide into a corner of your kitchen next to the kettle (that’s where I keep mine).
However the KG79 isn’t at all perfect - the grind capacity (120g) is the smallest of the 4 reviewed here, and the plastic hopper has a nasty tendency to spray coffee everywhere unless you’re very careful when emptying it. Also the design is functional, but doesn’t exactly pop - it’s a simple black box. That said, it is a cheap and powerful grinder that will serve you well for many years.
Staying with De’Longhi (an excellent Italian company known for their high-quality coffee makers), the KG521.M is a substantial step up from the KG79 in every way. It is larger machine, with a grind capacity of 350g, and has a wonderful stainless steel design that mirrors De’Longhi’s famous EC685 coffee machines. The KG521 will look beautiful in your kitchen!
Away from the design, the KG521 is an excellent coffee grinder - it has 18 different grind levels to cover all types of coffee grind, and an LCD screen on the top to show the current grind level and how much coffee is left to grind. It is also compatible with a standard coffee handle, and can be set to dispense a single ‘dose’ directly into the handle, meaning you can then plug it directly into the coffee machine. Efficiency! Finally the included glass hopper has an anti-spill lid, which is a welcome addition!
The KG521 is a massive step up from the KG79, and that includes the price. This machine is more than 3 times the price of it’s little brother, but the design and the larger capacity make it a winner for serious home baristas!
Krups GVC231 is an excellent mid-level coffee grinder - it has many of the same features as the KG79, but a larger grind capacity (225g vs 120g). It has 17 different grind settings, which is fewer than the rest of the grinders reviewed here, but still enough to satisfy the needs of most coffee makers.
The price is also extremely competitive - a fraction cheaper than the KG79, and far far cheaper than the other two grinders reviewed here. The larger grind capacity places it above the KG79, but you can’t go wrong with either product! However note that the GVX231 doesn’t have any support for dispensing single doses directly into coffee handles - the grinds are deposited directly into the plastic hopper, and you can dish them out from there.
Finally, let’s take a look at a real beast of a machine - Sage’s ‘Smart Grinder Pro’ is an expensive grinder that brings a lot of high-tech wizardry to a crowd that rarely sees anything more complicated than a small LCD screen.
The Smart Grinder Pro allows digital control (rather than manually twiddling a knob, as with the other grinders we’ve reviewed) of the grind size and grind time, meaning you can achieve an extraordinary level of precision. The Smart Grinder has 60 levels of grind size and gives you the ability to save presets of individual grind settings - meaning no more experimentation to rediscover that perfect grind you had last week!
It has the ability to dispense directly into a coffee handle, and even supports multiple sizes of coffee handle (50-54mm or 58mm handle sizes).
As you would expect, all this comes at a cost - the Smart Grinder Pro is very expensive, especially considering many of the nice extras (such as a grind container) have to be bought separately. Also the design is less eye-catching than the De’Longhi KG521 - this is a commercial machine, and has the design of one. That said, the smart features and larger hopper make it the best choice for home baristas serious about bringing their coffee making to the next level - this is a seriously professional piece of gear.