If you want to get your money’s worth out of a prosumer espresso machine, it’s crucial to also invest in a prosumer grinder. Buying a high-end espresso machine and pairing it with a cheap grinder is like buying a Ferrari and putting a Kia motor inside it.
Sure, it still drives, but it drives like a Kia.
With that in mind, here are 9 Ferrari-level grinders that guarantee your espresso machine will be able to deliver its best.
The 9 Best Prosumer Coffee Grinders in 2021
When it comes to making great coffee at home, choosing a grinder is nearly as crucial as selecting a prosumer espresso maker. This is not where you want to scrimp and save money. You want a grinder that can deliver fluffy, uniform, and clump-free ground coffee, and here are 9 that fit the bill.
My overall favorite this year is the Ceado E37S Quick Set, a feature-packed grinder built around a massive set of 83 mm flat stainless steel burrs, capable of grinding 5 g/s with remarkably low retention. As one of the fastest grinders in its class, it could easily work in a small cafe.
In recent years, Ceado has come out with impressive innovations, including the Quick Set gear, which is now standard in the E37S. It uses a heavy-duty brass worm gear for smooth step-less adjustment, making it easier to dial in espresso and make macro adjustments between espresso and filter.
Another new feature is the Steady Lock, which locks in the grind size even if you open the grinding chamber for cleaning.
The E37S is very easy to use thanks to the touchscreen. You can program single or double shot times or grind coffee manually, and the hands-free portafilter holder works with standard and naked portafilters. The display also tracks total doses ground and alerts you to burr wear.
Thanks to isolating motor mounts, this grinder is about 30% quieter than the competition, a remarkable pairing of silence and power.
Not everyone will love the large industrial design of the E37S, but its heft is a testament to its quality. And it’s still short enough to fit under an average upper cupboard.
The runner-up Eureka Atom is another fantastic option. Though still expensive, it comes in at about two-thirds the cost of the Ceado and can match its performance in many ways.
The main difference between the Atom 75 and the Ceado E37S is the size of the burrs, with the Atom’s being slightly smaller at 75 mm. That said, the Atom 75 is nearly on par with the Ceado for speed, churning out espresso grind at 4.5 g/s. The Ceado also has slightly lower grind retention to be a better choice for single dosing.
The Atom uses a digital timer for dosing and includes a hands-free portafilter holder. I particularly like the little LED light illuminating the portafilter as your grind — great for early mornings. Speaking of, the Atom is another super quiet grinder thanks to Eureka’s anti-vibration technology, which reduces grinding noise by about 20 dB.
This grinder features Eureka’s proprietary Anti-Clumping and Electrostaticity (ACE) system, which guarantees consistent fluffy grinds and a clean workspace. It’s an espresso-focused grinder, but the adjustment knob is one of the easiest to use, making it a painless switch to filter.
If you’re just getting into espresso and experimenting with a non-pressurized portafilter for the first time, the Baratza Sette 270 is the perfect entry-level grinder. Of course, it won’t match the pricer options’ performance. But it is the perfect partner for a first prosumer espresso machine — something like the Rancilio Silvia or the ECM Casa V.
Baratza is one of few grinder manufacturers focused on domestic rather than commercial use (1). As such, the Sette 270 is nice and compact. With a 40 mm set of conical burrs, 30 macro settings, and 9 micro-adjustments, it’s designed to grind for any standard brew method. You can even grind directly into your AeroPress. That said, most users find it performs best at a finer grind.
Uniquely, the Baratza Sette has inverted burrs. The top one rotates rather than the bottom. This allows it to grind faster, produce fluffier grounds and means you get virtually zero retention. The retention on this grinder is far less than many double its price.
The main downside to the Sette is its volume. For such a small machine, it can make a real racket. In the past, it had durability issues, now mostly resolved, and a solid warranty backs it. Keeping in mind that it’s an affordable plastic grinder that isn’t built to last decades.
If conical burrs aren’t your thing, the Baratza Vario is a very similar burr coffee grinder with 54 mm flat burrs. You’ll also find the Rancilio Rocky, with 50 mm flat burrs, at a similar price point. The Rocky has fewer grind settings and yields less uniform and fluffy grounds but is more durable and quieter than the Baratza.
If you’re going big with your espresso machine — I’m talking Slayer, La Marzocco, Synesso, and the like — you’re going to need a grinder that can keep up. Enter the Kafatek Monolith. I’ve found it’s one of the few ludicrously expensive grinders that even regular people save up for. It’s that good.
Kafatek coffee grinders are designed and built-in small batches in Seattle (2). The build quality is outstanding, with each one individually tested. The design is durable and straightforward, though not necessarily attractive. The function has taken precedence over form, which is not a bad thing. And despite its somewhat intimidating name, it’s pretty compact, thanks to the lack of a hopper.
It uses titanium nitride-coated Shuriken burrs, a custom design that Kafatek claims improve both the aroma and flavor of your coffee. They’re 75 mm in diameter, but the unique shape gives a cutting surface closer to 83 mm. They’re carefully angled to minimize retention. And the output shute is magnetic, so you can easily remove it to brush out every grind.
This grinder is for single dosing only. Also, it uses step-less grind adjustment from filter to espresso, but this is definitely an espresso-focused grinder. There’s no obvious way to dose for the filter. So you’ll have to move the dial beyond the marked range to really get coarse enough.
It uses a brushless DC motor, and you can easily adjust its speed from 22 and 800 rpm. As it suits your coffee. This slow grinding speed is smart for a single dosing grinder because it limits popcorning. Still, it does make output relatively slow for a grinder at this price.
Prosumer grinders, by their nature, are not small. Most were built for the commercial environment but found their way into homes when prosumer-grade espresso machines took off (3).
If you really don’t have space, consider a top-of-the-line hand grinder. But if you have a little room to maneuver, the Mazzer Mini is one of the most compact options.
Its footprint is 6.8″ x 13.2,” and it’s well under the standard 18″ cupboard clearance. Even with the large 600 g bean hopper! Sure, it weighs a hefty 22 pounds, but that’s a good sign of a sturdy build. It has a pretty sleek look, despite the doser parked on the front. Best of all, it comes in an array of colors to coordinate with the rest of your coffee bar.
It grinds with a pair of 58 mm flat steel burrs and uses a step-less adjustment, so you can perfectly dial in your espresso. It’s capable of filter grind, but it’s not the most versatile coffee grinder out there. I’d suggest this one for primarily espresso drinkers.
The most notable feature of the Mini is the doser, which speaks to its past commercial use. You can set it to dose between 5.5 g and 9 g with each pull of the lever. The main advantages of a doser for home users are less mess and better consistency. The Mazzer Mini is also available in a doserless version, and you can read more about the difference in the Buyer’s Guide.
If you’re looking for a compact grinder and prefer the single dosing workflow, the Niche Zero is another great option.
Eureka’s Mignon series of grinders is a common entry point for the prosumer grinder market. They’re reasonably priced, quiet, have great burr sets, and are easy to use. Each model in the line-up has its selling point, but I’m partial to the Specialita.
It’s a bit higher-end than some others, with a larger 55 mm burr set for fast grinding. It also has remarkably low retention, so it’s suitable for single dosing. The touchscreen display is effortless to use, even before you’ve had your first coffee of the day.
The entire Mignon series shares a similar aesthetic, with a boxy modern design. For example, the Specialita is available in various colors, including exotic things like pink-gold and lime green. Mignon grinders are the quietest on the market because Eureka uses a sound-insulated thick metal casing and dampening rubber.
If quiet is really a priority, you might prefer the Mignon Silenzio, which has a lesser burr set but was designed with silence in mind. Silenzio is the Italian word for silence.
The Specialita uses the same patented step-less micrometric adjustment as the more expensive Atom, so it’s easy to transition from espresso to filter. And like the Atom, you can take it apart for cleaning without having to recalibrate.
The Niche Zero got its start through crowdfunding in 2017. It has quickly become one of the trendiest grinders on the market. Fortunately, it largely lives up to the hype.
The Niche is a single dosing grinder built with the goal of zero retention. This it achieves by using conical burrs, a unique straight-through grind pathway, and some innovative slippery materials. The Mazzer Kony burrs alone make this grinder worth the hype, as they’re usually found in machines twice the price (4).
It has a distinct style, taht’s for sure!
A combination of smooth curves and warm wood accents that make it stand out from the industrial look of most prosumer grinders. This was a grinder built for home rather than coffee shop use. A home design is evident in its small size and lightweight, making it more approachable. It lacks a portafilter holder, but the cleverly designed dosing cup is easy to invert into a standard-size filter basket.
A lot of the Niche’s popularity stems from the fact that it grinds well at both the fine and coarse ends of the spectrum and switches quickly between the two. Something you’d expect from a much more expensive grinder. It has a relatively slow output of 1 to 2 g/s, but this reduced speed avoids popcorning and keeps the Niche nice and quiet.
The only potential pitfall of the Niche coffee grinder is its durability. It remains untested as Niche is such a new product. Also, some worry that its lightweight and low price indicate poor quality. Though, after three years, this has yet to be an issue.
In all honesty, it’s the rare home user who will benefit from the lightning-fast grind of the Mahlkonig EK-43S, especially since it comes with a hefty price tag on par with the Monolith. In all honesty, it’s the rare home user who will benefit from the lightning-fast grind of the Mahlkonig EK-43S, especially since it comes with a hefty price tag on par with the Monolith.
This was a machine built for commercial use. So you’re going to get the best bang for your buck if you’re using it to grind full bags of beans at a time.
That said, Mahlkonig came out with the EK-43S. It’s the short version of the EK-43 because the EK-43 was growing in popularity with home users. If you roast your own beans, own a catering business or espresso cart, or just love its iconic style, take a hard look at this grinder (5).
Former World Barista Champion and coffee expert James Hoffmann had this to say about it:
I think it’s safe to say that this is probably the most influential piece of coffee equipment in the last ten years.
Its grinding speed can be credited to its whopping 98 mm hardened steel burr set, which translates to an output of 25 g/s. Its speed makes it a loud grinder, but it’s over very quickly. The burrs are mounted vertically, a smart design for lowering retention. Designers topped it with an extra-large 800 g bean hopper. The trade-off for these features is size. The “short” EK-43S is still nearly 27″ tall and over 60 pounds, so plan your space accordingly.
As you’d expect at this price point and from a commercial grinder, it grinds uniformly. And it does so across the grinding spectrum, quickly adjusting from coarse to fine. As a commercial machine, it lacks some of the pleasantries of a home model. It doesn’t come with any accessories, and it takes a bit of work to get inside for cleaning.
I love the Fiorenzato F4E V2 for a great value pick, which nicely balances price with function. It’s not the cheapest grinder on the list, but it delivers beyond what its price would suggest.
The 58 mm flat steel burrs deliver uniform, fluffy grounds, and the micrometric collar adjustment gives you the kind of control typically found on far more expensive grinders. It has the low retention of a more expensive grinder and gives it the versatility for single dosing.
Though it has a wide range of grind settings, it’s best if you used it as a dedicated espresso grinder. The step-less adjustment is quite stiff, requiring some muscle to move, and it doesn’t have an arrow to mark your place.
It has a friendly style, sleek lines, multiple color options, and a narrow frame that suits domestic use. It’s topped with a 500 g hopper but will still fit under standard cupboards, and the large stainless steel catch tray keeps any mess under control. The aluminum body has been designed for noise dampening, so it’s one of the quieter coffee grinders for the price.
You operate the latest version of the Fiorenzato F4E with a light-up color touchscreen, where you can choose a single shot, double shot, or manual timing. The portafilter locks in for a hands-free operation.
You’ll find the Rocket Faustino flat burr coffee grinder around the same price point, which looks great next to Rocket espresso machines. But I’d venture that the much bigger burr set in the F4E makes it a better value.
How to Choose the Best Prosumer Coffee Grinder
You might be surprised to learn that choosing a grinder can be just as complicated as selecting an espresso machine. Many factors can influence the grind quality, workflow efficiency, and price. This detailed buyers guide is here to walk you through all of them.
|Ceado E37S Quick Set||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Eureka Atom 75||Click to Check Price|
|Baratza Sette 270||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Kafatek Monolith||Click to Check Price|
|Mazzer Mini||Click to Check Price|
|Eureka Mignon Specialita||Click to Check Price|
|Niche Zero||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Mahlkonig EK-43S||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
|Fiorenzato F4E V2||CLICK TO CHECK PRICE|
It’s All About The Burrs.
The burrs are the heart of your coffee grinder. Their size, shape, and material largely dictate the quality of your ground coffee.
There are two main burr shapes, flat and conical, and the debate rages as to which is better. Flat burrs sit atop one another horizontally, and the distance between them determines grind size. Conical burrs grind vertically, with one sitting inside the other (6).
The geometry of flat burrs makes them easier to align correctly, which leads to greater consistency. But the trade-off is that they can heat up more with heavy use, though home users have little to fear.
Conical burrs usually offer lower grind retention, and they can grind at lower rpm because gravity is working in their favor. That means quieter operation and less popcorning. Like David Schomer of Seattle’s Espresso Vivace, some experts also prefer a conical burr set for a richer shot of espresso (7).
I favor conical burrs because they produce micro-particles that add flavor and body to the shot compared to flat burrs.
Some coffee connoisseurs insist that there is a taste difference between the burr shapes. A conical burr set is better for brighter coffees, whereas flat burrs enhance darker chocolate notes. But there is little evidence to support this.
The main impact of the burr material is on durability and longevity. Most grinders have hardened steel burrs at the prosumer level, whereas lower-end burr coffee grinders favor ceramic.
At the more expensive end, you’ll find titanium burrs or titanium nitride-coated burrs. These materials don’t affect grind quality, but they should last much longer.
Finally, let’s talk size. Though it’s easy to be persuaded that bigger is always better. This is not necessarily true. Bigger burrs grind faster, which is useful in a commercial environment. But in a home setting, the alignment of the burrs has a much greater impact on quality than the size.
What Do You Like to Brew?
When we talk about prosumer coffee grinders, we’re talking about something suitable for use with prosumer espresso machines. But if you often enjoy filter coffee, you should either look for a grinder versatile enough for any brew method or budget for two grinders.
Most coffee grinders at the prosumer level can achieve filter or espresso grind, but some are difficult to switch between the two settings.
Single Dosing or a Bean Hopper
With a single dosing grinder, you weigh out exactly the beans you need for your brew, add them to the grinder, and grind until they’re done. The advantages are obvious, especially if you don’t drink a ton of coffee.
Dosing by weight is more accurate than dosing by time. You don’t have beans going stale, and the design is more compact without a hopper.
They’re also great if you regularly change coffees, and they tend to be low retention.
But a hopper has pros too.
The beans’ weight in the hopper provides a steady pressure feeding the beans into the burrs, eliminating popcorning and producing a move-even grind (8). And not having to weigh out your beans saves time in your morning routine.
Does Grind Retention Matter?
Grind retention refers to two possible issues within the grinder. Either the weight of beans you put in doesn’t match the weight of grounds you get out. Or the weight matches, but some of what comes out is stale grounds trapped during the last use. Neither is ideal for brewing consistent coffee, so the best coffee grinders for home use tend to be low retention.
Stepped or Step-less Grind Adjustment?
Most high-end espresso grinders offer step-less adjustment because you need a sufficient level of control to dial in espresso. That is not to say that a stepped model can’t make good espresso, but you run the risk of that perfect extraction being trapped between two settings. If you only make espresso, especially if you often switch coffees, a step-less adjustment is a way to go.
On the other hand, if you regularly switch from filter to espresso, a stepped grinder will make it easier to return to your place.
Do I Need a Doser?
Dosing grinders are more common in commercial settings than the home, but there are a few reasons you might want one. They work by grinding the coffee into a dosing chamber, and then a lever is pulled to dose a specific amount into the portafilter. This is a quick, practical, and mess-free option that eliminates some concerns about grind retention.
However, since the doser only operates when it’s full, you run the risk of grinding more than you need and letting some go stale. Dosing grinders are also less flexible, as they’re primarily used for espresso.
Lately, with improvements in grind retention, home users more often opt for single dosing grinders rather than dosers.
Just like your choice of the espresso machine, your choice of grinder will have a big effect on your coffee.
For an excellent all-around grinder, I love the Ceado E37S. It’s fast, quiet, versatile, and easy to use. If you don’t have the budget for the Ceado, the runner-up Eureka Atom 75 is nearly as impressive at two-thirds the cost.
Steel burrs don’t heat up more than ceramic burrs during grinding. This is a common myth. The truth is that steel burrs have higher thermal conductivity, but this transfers heat away from the coffee beans (9).
A faster motor grinds coffee more quickly, so the beans don’t have as much time to heat up — not to mention you’ll get your coffee faster. However, higher rpm also leads to more popcorning and likely a louder grinder.
Yes, you can use a hand grinder with a prosumer espresso machine. Indeed, something like the manual 1Zpresso JX Pro is a far better budget choice than opting for an electric blade grinder. Just remember that the finer the grind, the more work it will be. So if you drink a lot of good espressos, you’ll need strong arms!
- Bauder, B. (2016, May 11). Interview: How is the Baratza Sette Revolutionizing Grinder Technology? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2016/05/interview-how-is-the-baratza-sette-revolutionizing-grinder-technology/
- Bryman, H. (2016, October 14). Behold, the Monoliths: Commercial-Caliber Single-Dose Grinders for the Home. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2016/10/14/behold-the-monoliths-commercial-caliber-single-dose-grinders-for-the-home/
- Berson, A. (2013, October 1). Let’s Visit A Coffee Factory: Mazzer Grinders of Gardigiano, Italy. Retrieved from https://sprudge.com/mazzer-factory-tour-44860.html
- Barista Magazine. (2019, November 14). Test Drive – The Niche Zero Grinder. Retrieved from https://www.baristamagazine.com/test-drive-the-niche-zero-grinder/
- Mahlkonig grinds the perfect cup. (2018, January 3). Global Coffee Report. Retrieved from https://gcrmag.com/mahlkoenig-grinds-the-perfect-cup/
- Petrich, I.L. (2020, May 12). Conical vs Flat Burr Coffee Grinders: What’s the Difference? Retrieved from https://perfectdailygrind.com/2020/05/conical-vs-flat-burr-coffee-grinders-whats-the-difference/
- Schomer, D. (2019, August 30). A Call to Action on Espresso Grinders. Retrieved from https://dailycoffeenews.com/2019/08/30/a-call-to-action-on-espresso-grinders-by-david-schomer/
- Gagne, J. (2019, April 12). Grind Quality and the Popcorning Effect. Retrieved from https://coffeeadastra.com/2019/04/12/grind-quality-and-the-popcorning-effect/
- Guerrero, X. (2012, September 17). Steel vs Ceramic burrs and heat generation – the lowdown. Retrieved from https://baratza.com/steel-vs-ceramic-burrs-and-heat-generation-the-lowdown/