In today’s post, I want to think about the question “Which is the best grinder for a percolator?”
And this question builds on a previous article that I wrote about the types of coffee that you use in a percolator.
Astounding as it might sound, choosing the right coffee grinder is thought by many baristas to be the single most important factor in making great coffee.
- Related Post: What Kind of Coffee Do You Use in a Percolator?
That is hard to get your head around when most caffeine addicts focus much more on the type and blends of coffee bean or on the method of brew than they do on the buying a great coffee grinder.
So let’s find out what is so magical about these devices…
How to Pick the Right Grinder for Percolator
There are three main types of coffee grinders;
- Manual or Hand Grinders
- Electric Blade Grinders
- Burr Grinders
Each one of them has their strengths and weaknesses.
- Related Post: Best Coffee Brand for Percolator
Manual or Hand Grinders
If you have one of these devices, your coffee is ground by hand by turning a handle round and round until your grind is the right size.
There are three different types of manual grinder- wooden, glass and stainless steel.
Advantages of a Hand Coffee Grinder
- Beautifully Design: compared to other types of coffee grinder, hand coffee grinders are pieces of art.
- Quiet: there are no loud motors to make a noise.
- Portable: perfect for campers and adventurers that want fresh coffee wherever they are.
- More Control: because the grinding takes longer you have more control and more opportunities to check the size of the grind
But it is not all a bed of roses. Manual coffee grinders have their disadvantages as well.
Disadvantages of a Hand Coffee Grinder
- Effort: manual grinders require more effort as you provide the power!
- Time:manual grinders take longer to grind.
Who Should Buy One?
Manual grinders are for people who not only love drinking great coffee, but love making it as well.
They are for people who have the time to take that bit longer to create the perfect blend.
These people love detail and have a vast knowledge of all things “coffee”.
My favourite manual coffee grinder
- BUILT-IN ADJUSTABLE GRIND SELECTOR - with over 18 click settings ensures you have 100% precision & control over the coarseness of your coffee beans making for the perfect grind to start your day.
- CONVENIENT & EASY TO USE: Our removable hand crank mechanism consistently eliminates over 90% of the noise that electric grinders produce. No batteries, power, or long plastic cords needed to operate your portable compact manual grinder.
- PATENTED CERAMIC COMBO BURRS - Our signature burr grinder blades are designed and tested through three professional grade inspections to last 5x's longer than stainless steel blades.
- COFFEE IS IN OUR DNA - Each JavaPresse product is designed to liberate and empower you to transform your favorite whole bean coffee ritual into an extraordinary daily experience.
- FREE COFFEE - Every Javapresse grinder comes with an unique code to redeem a free bag of whole bean coffee ($21.99 value).
Electric Blade Grinders
Electric blade grinders are the most commonly used grinders.
The stainless steel blade looks like a small propeller.
It revolves at a very high speed and chops up the beans,
They are powered by electricity.
Advantages of Electric Blade Grinders
I think that those advantages are simple and obvious enough to not need a more in depth explanation.
Disadvantages of Electric Blade Grinders
- Ugly: Most of these grinders are made from plastic. Need I say more?
- Consistent Grind: Electric blade grinders do not create coffee grounds that are a consistent size, because the “fineness” of the grounds depends only on how long your grind for.
- Coarse Grind: Electric blade grinders do not create quality coarse grounds, because of the limited length of “grind time”.
- Burns: The electric blades rotate so quickly that they generate heat and this can burn the grounds.
Who Should Buy One?
Let’s face it, electric blade grinders are not ideal- particularly for use with percolators.
I think that they are tools of necessity.
What do I mean by that?
Electric blade grinders will suit the following types of people;
- first time “grinders”
- people on a budget
- users who don’t have lots of time.
My Favorite Electric Blade Grinder
- ☕ CONSISTENT GRINDS EVERY TIME – Unlike many others on the market, the Mueller HyperGrind gives you perfect consistency & precision control over the coarseness of your Pour Over, Drip, Chemex, Cold Brew, French Press, Percolator, AeroPress, Turkish, Espresso, Keurig K Cup, Herb, or Spices grind EVERY TIME!
- ☕ COMPACT & STYLISH – Takes up minimum counter space and can be easily stored in cupboards and drawers but with its great modern Eurocentric styling, you just might want to leave it out in the open.
- ☕ QUALITY ABOVE ALL ELSE - Crafted with the same essence as traditional German precision machinery, our Mueller HyperGrind Precision Grinder is designed and tested through three professional grade inspections to outlast and outperform the competition!
- ☕ ORDER NOW RISK-FREE! - 100% Money-Back Guarantee, no questions asked! Order today while supplies last.
There are two types of burr grinders- flat and conical.
They are made from either metal or ceramic.
A burr grinder has two abrasive surfaces (or burrs.)
One of the burrs moves, whilst the other is stationary.
The distance between the burrs determines the size of the grounds.
The burrs spin round at high speed, trapping and crushing the beans in between them.
This crushing action is different to the chopping or dicing action of the electric blade grinder.
Crushing is a much better way of producing coffee grounds than chopping- you will have much more flavour and the quality of your cup of coffee will be higher.
However, this quality and consistency comes at a (much) higher price- which comes as no surprise.
But what are the other pros and cons of burr grinders?
Advantages of a Burr Grinder
- Consistent “ground” size: a burr grinder will produce a batch of grounds that are uniform in size.
- Larger batches: Burr grinders tend to be bigger than hand grinders or electric blade grinders and so you can grind larger batches of coffee
Disadvantages of Burr Grinders
- Price: Burr grinders are much more expensive
- Size: They tend to be much larger than hand grinders or electric blade grinders.
Who Should Buy One?
The cost of a burr grinder would put most percolated coffee drinkers off buying one.
But if you love your percolated coffee and money is not an issue then this could be the grinder for you.
Another potential buyer could be a coffee lover that needs to make large batches of ground coffee.
Now, just because you have the perfect grinder for your percolator, doesn’t mean that you will automatically get great tasting coffee.
And if you are struggling to reach the dizzy heights of “coffee perfection” when you use your percolator, you might want to look at changing a few things around a bit.
My Favorite Burr Grinder
- Ariete: the World-famous coffee machine brand, Well known for the design of its products, Certified by the Red Dot In 2007 and Quiet Mark 2012 for the innovation of their products – we always turning "the everyday" into something special. with years of experience, provides you the best on the market coffee grinder for your coffee refreshment.
- ULTRA FINE GRIND: Heavy duty conical burr disc allows for ultra-fine grind and is suitable for Turkish coffee, the unit have quite operation the bean hopper can hold up to 13.33 oz/378 gr of coffee beans the ground coffee container can hold up to 6.5 oz/194 gr of ground coffee Sleek designed, will complement any decor and save lots of counter space, Dimensions 14” high. 9” deep. 5” wide
- REMOVABLE BEAN HOPPER: Automatic locking bean hopper can be removed with beans inside without spilling useful to storage the beans dark and cool location for the freshness of the beans Grinding head assembly can be easily to clean thoroughly. This professional grade burr grinder is very easy to operate.
- CUSTOMIZE YOUR GRIND, with the 15 GRIND SETTINGS you can customize the grind for your percolator, urn, or French Press (coarse), drip coffee (medium), or espresso machine (fine), with the simple push of a button.
- ADJUSTABLE CUP SIZE: After you choose your coffee grind size use the User Manual guide (pg 4) to set the time dial according to the grind size and coffee cups you want, you will find a useful table sheet with clear information to help you choose the right timing, the unit is ETL certified so you can be confident that you’re receiving safe, efficient, high quality appliances.
Percolator Brewing Mistakes
If, when you use your coffee percolator, the taste isn’t quite to your liking, then you are making one of three common mistakes;
- Wrong coffee to water ratio
- Wrong size of grind
- Percolation too long
It is important to note that, if you do follow this trouble shooting guide, that you only change one of these elements at a time.
Don’t change the ratio and the size of coffee grind at the same time because then if you still don’t like the result, you will not be 100% sure why not…
Wrong Coffee to Water Ratio
It is recommended that you use 1 tablespoon of coffee grinds to 1 cup of water.
But don’t make the same mistake as I did when I first started to use a percolator.
1 cup of water in coffee terms means 4 oz of water and not 6 or 8 oz!
Wrong Size of Coffee Grind
The best grind size for percolator is a coarse grain- about the same size as the flakes in kosher salt or sea salt.
If your grounds are too fine, then your coffee might be over extracted (or have too much flavour) and taste bitter and hollow.
The reason for this is that the coffee grounds are so small that the water has absorbed too many of the compounds.
If you grinds are too big then your coffee will be under extracted (with little or no flavour) and it will taste sour or salty.
The reason for this is that the coffee grounds are so big that the water can’t absorb enough of the compounds that give off flavour.
But it is important to note that the general size of the grounds is not the only issue “grind related” issue.
There are two other main issues.
Firstly, very often, batches of coffee grounds are not consistently one size- coarse grounds might also contains some medium size grounds or visa versa.
Batches that contain different sizes of grounds will make “bad” coffee because some of the grounds will be under extracted and some over extracted.
Secondly, if the beans have been ground using electric blade grinders then it might be that the grounds have been burnt in the process.
Many electric blade grinders use very powerful motors (in order to get the job done quickly) but this short burst of power can also create so much heat that the grounds are burnt.
Percolation Too Long
The final common mistake that is often made when coffee is made in a percolator is that the percolation process goes on for too long.
This is a hard part of the process to get right because it will differ from percolator to percolator and because it depends on the other factors discussed above such as the size of your coffee grounds and the coffee to water ratio.
The best thing to do is to record the amount of time that you leave your coffee to percolate or “perk”.
If your coffee tastes too bitter, then next time reduce the “perk” time and if is tastes to sour, increase the “perk” time.
Recommendations for “perk” times vary between 5 and 7 minutes.
Realistically the best coffee grinder for a percolator is a burr grinder because of the superior quality of grounds that they produce.
But burr grinders are just so expensive that everyone but the most die hard percolator fans will faint at the thought of spending so much.
Manual grinders offer the best balance between price and end product.
They are reasonably priced but will produce a top quality coarse grind that is uniform in size.
But, how many of us have seriously got that much time?! And can we be bothered with the effort?
I fear not.
And so what we are left with is a race to the bottom!
Electric blade grinders are cheap and they grind beans in seconds.
But they look so bland and blah, blah…
But if you really must buy an electric blade grinder, do yourself a favour and get the very best!