We all know that nothing beats a cup of coffee coming from freshly ground coffee beans. Grinding your beans right before you brew them gives you full flavor and an aroma that fills every room in your house.
When it comes to freshly grinding your beans, you usually have two options:
- Buy a grinder and a coffee maker separately
- Or, buy a coffee maker with a built-in grinder.
In this post, we will discuss which of these options should you go for and which coffee makers are the best for each option.
Pros and Cons of Buying a Coffee Maker with Built-in Grinder:
Like everything else, going for a coffee maker with a built-in grinder comes with its own pros and cons, which you have to keep in mind before making your decision.
Pros of a Coffee Maker with Built-in Grinder:
- Space-saving option: you have two appliances in one. If you live in a small space or don’t have counterspace for two appliances, having a coffee maker with the grinder built-in is a total space saver.
- Money-Saver: it is a money saver, too. In most cases, it is less expensive to get a coffee maker with built-in grinder than to buy them separately.
- Quick and Convenient: Using a built-in grinder means that the process of weighing your beans, transferring them from your grinder to the brew basket is eliminated. You only have to set your coffee maker to brew a certain number of cups and it will do everything else.
Cons of a Coffee Maker with Built-in Grinder:
- My least favorite thing about having a two in one appliance is, if one thing breaks, the other thing could be useless. For example, if your coffee maker breaks, the built-in grinder will be useless. Or if the grinder breaks, you’ll have to their get a separate grinder, using pre-ground coffee (if the machine has a bypass for ground coffee) or replace the machine all together.
- Built-in grinders are hard to clean and maintain. The hopper does not come off (in most models) making the cleaning process very tedious.
- Some built-in grinders are of less quality and give inconsistent results, which could affect your coffee brewing results.
- Lastly, having a separate grinder means you can use it to grind for any brewing method, should you choose to use tools other than your drip coffee maker. Having the grinder built-in to the coffee maker means you can use it for that purpose only.
Buying a Coffee Maker with Built-in Grinder:
With all that in mind, let’s have a look at the best rated coffee makers with built-in grinders:
- The Breville Grind Control creates third wave specialty coffee by capturing freshness and essential oils from beans by grinding before you brew with Steep and Release technology; Choose to brew directly into a carafe, tall cup or travel mug for on the go
- PROGRAMMABLE AUTO START: Set the time you'd like your coffee and the Grind Control will start the brewing process automatically; Delivers brew water at the right temperature from the start to the finish of the brewing process
- INTEGRATED AND ADJUSTABLE GRINDER: Adjust the grinder output to suit any bean from anywhere and customize the grind size to suit your taste
- STEEP AND RELEASE TECHNOLOGY: Brew your coffee directly into a large carafe, tall cup or travel mug with equal balance and flavor profile
- LCD DISPLAY: A clear and concise LCD screen shows grind setting, grind time and number of shots or cups you have selected
Breville’s Grind Control coffee maker is the best in terms of consistency and options. When it comes to grinding coffee, you have the option of 8 settings, which also alter the strength of your brew. You can also choose to use pre-ground coffee and skip the grinding part.
The machine can brew up to 12 cups of coffee, and the great part is, you can brew as little as a single-serve cup. Unlike other coffee makers, this machine has a water reservoir that will hold water and dispense only the number of cups you choose. For example, you can fill up the water reservoir at full capacity, brew only a single-serve cup and the remaining water will be stored in the tank for next use. In case you didn’t know, majority of drip coffee makers use up the entire amount you fill in the water tank and have to be refilled at each use.
The LCD display on the top of the Grind Control coffee maker allows you to adjust all settings: grind size (strength), number of cups, timer and more. It comes with a thermal carafe, and it can accommodate a single cup or a travel mug for brewing single-serve coffee.
Machine housing: Stainless steel
Water tank capacity: 60 oz.
The downside of the Grind Control coffee maker is that it needs constant cleaning to avoid clogging. It is recommended that you clean the chute after each use.
- 24-hour fully programmable coffeemaker with auto shutoff, brew-pause feature, and Grind off function
- Double-wall insulated stainless steel thermal carafe with comfort grip handle holds up to 12 cups of coffee
- Built-in automatic burr grinder and 8-ounce bean hopper holds a half pound of beans. Strength selector and grind control fine-tune intensity and volume
- Includes: Charcoal water filter and permanent gold tone filter that ensures only the freshest coffee flavor flows through. Measuring scoop. Instruction book
- Product Built to North American Electrical Standards.Please refer the set up/ troubleshooting details provided in the video under images section and the manual under product description field for the smooth usage of the product
Cuisinart’s Grind and Brew is a popular choice for a coffee maker with built-in grinder. It is not as advanced as Breville’s Grind Control but delivers good results.
It is also a 12-cup coffee maker, but no single-serve option this time. You can brew as little as 4 cups (that’s 5 oz per cup) and up to 12 cups.
Strength wise, you can select from three settings: mild, strong or medium. There’s a grind control setting, however, the grind is adjusted based on the amount of coffee you will be brewing.
The bean hopper can hold up to 8 ounces of coffee. If you don’t want to use the grinder, you have the option of using a bypass chute for pre-ground coffee.
Buying a Coffee Maker and a Grinder Individually:
If you’ve decided against a coffee maker with built-in grinder and prefer to get each appliance individually, we have great options for you.
Let’s start with the grinder, as it’s going to be an important one. First thing to keep in mind is that you’ll need a burr grinder, and you’ll need to stay as far away as possible from blade grinders.
Burr Coffee Grinders, Are They Really Worth It?
Yes, %100. I’m sure you’ve seen this advice everywhere, and there’s a reason coffee-related sites or videos keep recommending them.
The way burr grinders work is by crushing your beans, unlike blades that cut through them. When the beans are crushed rather than cut-through, you get consistent grinds. Consistent grinds get extract evenly, therefore, you get a good brew.
Another thing is, burr grinders are adjustable. You have the ability to make a coarse or fine grind which gives you the freedom to pick and choose between many brewing methods. Using a blade grinder, all you can get is inconsistent coffee ground.
One reason many people choose not to buy a burr grinder is that because they are relatively expensive. Especially when compared to blade grinders which are low cost appliances. But nowadays, there’s a range for reasonably priced burr grinders perfect for all budgets.
As drip coffee (may it be a coffee machine or manual methods) requires medium coarse grind most of the time, you can use a budget-friendly grinder and still get great results. You don’t need a high range of grind settings for drip coffee.
Best Conical Burr Grinders for Drip Coffee:
Here are some burr grinder choices that are best for drip coffee, may it be using a drip coffee machine, manual drip (chemex, kalita, v60) or even French Press coffee. I will list the grinders based on prices, however, please keep in mind that those prices are subject to change by vendors, so always check for the latest price.
Best Grinder for Under $50:
- 18 Custom Grind Settings. Cord length : 24 inches
- Removable Bean Hopper
- Holds up to 1/2 Pound of Coffee Beans
- Removable Grinding Chamber ; Watts: 160
- Cord Storage.Dual safety-locking switches
This is the best budget-friendly grinder to get you started. It has 18 grind settings, good for most drip methods. Although it says it also does super-fine grind for espresso, I wouldn’t recommend this one if that’s what you’ll also need. These 18 grind settings would give you from coarse to medium coarse grinds, which are perfect for a drip coffee maker or manual drippers. French press coffee would work, too. If you also want espresso, moka pot for anything that requires fine grinds, skip this one.
Best Grinder Under $100:
- PRECISION GRINDING: Commercial-grade, solid steel conical burrs with advanced cutting design
- WIDE GRINDING RANGE: From ultrafine Turkish to French Press coarse and everything in between
- PRESERVES AROMA: Gear reduction motor grinds slow with reduced noise and little static build-up
- LARGE CAPACITY: 8.8 ounce bean container and 4 ounce ground coffee container.Watts/Volts/Hertz: 100W/120V/60Hz
- EASY TO CLEAN: Removable upper burr allows access for easy cleaning
The Capresso Infinity gives you 16 adjustable grind settings, from extra fine to coarse. Although less settings than Mr Coffee’s, it does give you better consistent results, especially when doing fine grinds. It has an 8.8 oz bean container and 4 oz ground container. My only issue with this grinder is that the bean hopper is completely see through, meaning that if there’s heat or sun exposure around, if you keep your beans in the hopper they will lose freshness. An easy fix for this would be to not let your beans sit in the hopper and fill in only as much as you need.
The Best Conical Burr Grinder for Drip Coffee, Period!
- SPECIALTY COFFEE ASSOCIATION AWARD WINNING GRINDERS - Baratza grinders are preferred by coffee professionals and backed by Baratza’s world class support.
- GO-TO ENTRY LEVEL GRINDER - Baratza’s best-selling grinder, with its small footprint, is THE choice for brewing coffee at home. Available in White or Black.
- USER FRIENDLY - A convenient, front-mounted pulse button, plus a simple ON/OFF switch make it easy to grind fresh coffee.
- 40 GRIND SETTINGS - Engineered with 40mm commercial-grade conical burrs that help you explore the extensive range of brew methods (espresso, Aeropress, Hario V60, Chemex, French Press, and automatic brewers).
- WARRANTY/QUALITY PARTS - Hardened alloy steel burrs manufactured in Liechtenstein, Europe, plus a powerful DC motor. This combination creates a consistent grind and durability to ensure the longevity users have come to expect from the Baratza brand. The Encore is backed by Baratza’s world class support and a 1 year warranty. 2020 Update has exact same trusted functionality with a sleek new exterior.
I’m a proud owner of this one for several years now. And I can honestly say, it’s one of my best purchases.
The Encore has a range of 40 grind settings. Yet, it’s still not the best to use for espresso. But it’s great for everything else. The hopper holds up to 8 oz of beans, and it is UV-protected, yet it’s see-through enough to see how much coffee beans is left in the hopper.
You can operate the grinder in two ways, either by rotating the knob on the side or by using the pulse button on the front. It is easily cleaned by removing the hopper, brushing or removing the burrs and putting everything back in place is a snap.
One thing to keep in mind is that it is somewhat messy. The grinding produces static causing some ground to fly or cling to the bin. This is a normal part of grinders, but how much static is produced vary depending on the grind settings and type of beans. Using grind settings 20 to 25, has produced a lot of static for me. Personally, it doesn’t bother me as the clean up isn’t that bad at all and it’s quite manageable.
Which Coffee Maker To Buy With Your Grinder?
Now that you’ve looked at burr grinders, here are some recommendations for coffee makers. I always recommend getting a SCA-Certified coffee maker, SCA stands for Specialty Coffee Association. Coffee machines certified by this association work to special standards that guarantee you a great cup of coffee. That includes optimal brewing temperature, brew time and the way the water drips to saturates and extract the coffee.
You can read all about the best SCA certified coffee makers here.