Is a conical or flat burr coffee grinder better?


QUESTION:


Hi:

I'm looking to purchase a new grinder. The one I have now is NOISY, and does create more powder than I want. I really want no powder when I grind for the French pot.

I see grinders come in flat and conical. What's the difference and which is best?

Which of the flat or conical is less noisy?

Thanks,

Ralph


ANSWER:

Ralph, hi

If you are getting a lot of powder, I’m guessing you are using a blade grinder right now. The upgrade to a burr grinder is a great idea. You’ll get a much more even and consistent grind.

When it comes to choosing between flat plates and conical plates, the conical grinders win my vote for a couple of reasons.

First, they are a little less noisy, which I think you will appreciate.

Second, the speed at which the plate rotates is usually slower than with a flat plate grinder. This means, in addition to less noise, you also get less friction and heat being produced. And this reduces loss of flavor through the coffee’s oils being vaporized.

You can read more about burr grinders on our burr coffee grinder page.

Comments for Is a conical or flat burr coffee grinder better?

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Mar 17, 2010
Flat vs. Conical
by: Eric

This may well depend upon the grinder's intended use, as well as the overall quality of the individual grinder. Nearly all professional quality espresso grinders use flat burrs. I'm not talking about the cheap kind of flat burr grinders like you may find at department stores, but machines like those made by Mazzer or Rancilio. The vast majorit of conical burr grinders are adjusted by turning a ring to which the bean hopper is often attached, or a dial. However, the adjustment is limited by this design. Manufacturers can make the increments between grind levels finer, but if the grinder is suitable for french press, then it likely will not grind fine enough for espresso. Flatt burr grinders, however, can be made to have an infinite number of settings, and can be adjusted to the point just before the burrs touch, creating a fine powder. So if you want a grinder for espresso, you are best off buying a good quality flatt burr grinder. But, if your main method of coffee brewing is drip, press, and/or moka pot, you will be happy with a conical burr grinder. The less expensive flat burr grinders, like those you can find for around fifty or sixty dollars make absolutely no sense, as you can buy a good concical burr grinder for only a little more money.

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