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Spice grinder vs. coffee grinder

Coffee and spice grinders 

Whether you want the freshest cup of coffee or the most fragrant spices, grinding them yourself is the way to go. Of course, this bears the question, do I have to buy separate grinders for each purpose, or can I just use the same one? 

Coffee grinders are purpose-made machines that only do a single thing, but they do it well. Conversely, spice grinders are more of a jack of all trades, but the inconsistent results can be problematic for some applications. 

Coffee grinders

Just like all other food, coffee can go stale. Exposure to air causes oxidation to occur, which means the oils, chemical compounds and acids in it degrade. Those substances are directly related to how your coffee tastes. The more surface area exposed to air, the quicker those substances oxidize. This means the flavor of ground coffee degrades faster than that of whole beans.

Understanding that it is easy to see why grinding beans at home right before brewing them ensures you get the freshest and best tasting cup of coffee.

What you’ll love about a coffee grinder

Not only does having a coffee grinder allow you to get a fresher cup of coffee, but it allows you to tailor the grind to your specific type of coffee maker. For example, French presses require a coarse grind. Drip machines require a medium grind. Espresso makers work best with a fine grind. 

What you should consider before buying a coffee grinder

Blade or burr

The first decision to make when buying a coffee grinder is what type to choose. Blade grinders are usually small and easy to store. They are also more affordable and offer versatility for use on spices and seeds. However, they produce a very inconsistent grind. They also don’t generally have presets, so you cannot choose a coarse or fine grind. Instead you need to periodically check the beans and stop when you think the grind is right.

Burr grinders come in flat and conical options. Both offer more grind consistency than blade grinders, but burr models have a slight edge over conical models. However, conical grinders are slightly quieter and retain fewer grounds within the components, which means less waste.

Manual or electric

Coffee grinders come in both manual and electric models. An electric model is usually the best choice for the average home consumer, especially if your mornings already feel rushed. Those who enjoy the coffee-making process and want to be fully involved in every step may prefer a manual grinder. 

Best coffee grinder

KitchenAid Burr Coffee Grinder

This sleek and stylish model looks great on a countertop and offers 15 grind settings. The burrs rotate at 450 RPM, so there is a minimal buildup of heat that could interfere with the flavor of your coffee.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and KitchenAid 

Best coffee grinder for the money

Cuisinart DBM-8 Supreme Grind

The small footprint of the Supreme Grind makes it ideal for anyone with a small kitchen. Adjusting the grind setting is easy, and you can set it to grind a specific amount of cups automatically.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond

Spice grinders

Grinding your herbs and spices at home is one of the easiest ways to elevate a dish. Spice grinders use a sharp spinning blade to chop and slice whatever you put into them into tiny bits. Those small pieces won’t be uniform, but that doesn’t matter for herbs and spices as it does for coffee.  

What you’ll love about spice grinders

Spice grinders are great because they are small enough to easily store in most kitchens, simple to use, clean and generally quite affordable. They are versatile enough to be used on just about anything that can fit inside them, from coffee to rice to spices.  

What you should consider before buying a spice grinder

Manual or electric

As with coffee grinders, spice grinders are available in manual or electric models. Manual models are more time-consuming and take a bit more effort, but they often have adjustable grind settings, so you don’t have to worry about over-grinding. With electric models, the grinding takes just a few seconds, but you must be careful how long you hold the button down. Otherwise, you may wind up grinding the contents much finer than you meant to. 

Ease of cleaning

It is essential to clean a spice grinder every time you switch from one spice to another. For many people, this is probably quite often, so you’ll want to choose a model that is easy to clean. With a manual grinder, you can usually just rinse the whole thing. However, with electric grinders, you have to be a bit more careful about not getting the interior components wet. Some electric grinders have removable cups, which makes the cleaning process more manageable.

Best spice grinder

LINKChef Electric Coffee, Nut and Spice Grinder

With a stainless steel body, this grinder will match modern kitchen appliances well. It comes with a 250W DC motor, portable container, a removable cup, and double lids.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best spice grinder for the money

Krups F203 Electric Spice and Coffee Grinder

The Krups F203 manages to combine a high capacity with a small footprint. The powerful 200-watt motor makes short work of both hard and soft spices yet is quieter than other less-capable models. 

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and Home Depot

Coffee grinder vs. spice grinder

The decision to buy a coffee or spice grinder comes down to what you plan on using it for and how often. If you aren’t a very discerning coffee drinker but do a lot of cooking, a spice grinder may be all you need. However, anyone serious about their java will undoubtedly need a dedicated coffee grinder.

Brett Dvoretz writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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