Now that you have purchased your coffee machine, you’ll need to invest in a good quality coffee grinder. Grinding your own beans just prior to making a good cup of coffee helps retain the flavour of the coffee, rather than using pre-ground beans. Pre-ground and commercial coffee looses its taste fairly quickly after being ground as the oils released during grinding can turn rancid quickly if not stored correctly.
Choosing the correct grinder is as important as picking the right coffee machine. Without the right grind, you will never perfect the art of coffee-making, or become a great barista. The only grinder you should consider (for espresso grade grind) is an electric one - as pretty as the manual ones are, they will not grind consistently enough for an espresso machine.
When buying a coffee grinder, it’s important to note the purpose of use. If it’s for plunger coffee, then a variety of different grinders will suit your purpose, as the grind is still suitable if it is coarse. If you are grinding coffee specifically for an espresso machine, you will need to look for a grinder that is able to grind the beans fine enough to make a good coffee with a thick crema, not just muddy water.
What features should you look for?
Your grinder should dispense the correct amount of coffee per grind. The correct amount of coffee is 7 grams per 30ml shot of espresso. Correctly tamped, this should produce a flavourful shot of espresso with a thick crema.
The grind needs to be fine enough to work with a domestic machine and not all grinders can grind the beans fine enough. Check with the manufacturer if this is the case.
The grinder should be easy to use and the seals between the bean hopper, the grinding mechanism and the dispenser/chamber should allow for no mess when grinding the beans.
What brand should you look for?
However, if you purchase a cheaper grinder, you may find you need to grind the beans twice in order to get a fine enough grind for an espresso machine.
Tips for storing your coffee
Grind only as much coffee as you need at a time — ground coffee deteriorates quickly. If you do have ground coffee left over, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry and dark place. Don’t store it in the fridge or freeze it — Unless the container is absolutely airtight, the ground coffee will attract moisture that’ll make it go stale quicker in the fridge, and it’ll absorb odours from other food.
Coffee needs to be at room temperature so it won’t cool the water as it flows through the grind. Don’t keep beans in the grinder, store them in an airtight container. Clean the bean container and ground coffee chamber regularly to remove any residual oils that can go rancid.