Last Updated: August 2017
When operating your own coffee shop, consistently producing the best cup of Joe is important if you are to continue attracting customers. The ideal cup of coffee begins with the right grind, which means the grinder you choose for commercial purposes will likely be much different than the one you choose for home use. Here are some things you should know before settling on a particular make or model.
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The most important feature to consider when choosing the best commercial coffee grinder is consistency. There is little room for error, which means you must be confident that your grinder will constantly produce the results you desire. Consistency is even more important whenever there is more than one barista on duty, as results can even vary based upon individual usage.
Commercial grinders will allow you to change the settings for a coarser or finer grind, based on the type of beverage you are grinding for. There are two basic types of dials: stepped or stepless. Stepless grinders will give you greater control, and are therefore known to produce the most consistent results.
Conical vs. Flat Blade Grinders
Electric burr grinders are almost always recommended for commercial settings, as they produce a more even consistency with less heat and static buildup. A conical burr grinder is typically preferred over a flat burr grinder because the cone-shaped mechanisms turn slower. This is important since the faster the burrs turn, the more likely beans are to heat up. Beans that are too warm may begin to lose some of their flavor even before the brewing process takes place.
Conical burrs also produce less static, which means you should experience fewer grounds sticking to the container or falling out onto the counter. This means you won’t have to stop as frequently in order to clean up messes, something you’ll find greatly beneficial during your busiest hours.
While conical burrs are known to produce less heat, they can nonetheless become warmer than you would like whenever you grind large quantities of beans. As such, a machine with burrs that are larger than the average size of around 71mm is recommended. Naturally, the more beans you plan to grind at one time, the larger these burrs should be.
There are a few other things you must consider when choosing the best commercial espresso grinder, including:
- Hopper size, as one that is capable of holding at least 1.8kg of beans or more at one time is recommended
- A built-in fan to keep working parts cool and prevent overheating that might cause the unit to seize up
- Manual dosing unit for making espresso
- An airtight hopper for coffee beans to preserve freshness
- Easy-to-calibrate grind and menu settings
Even when choosing the very best grinder, it is important to brew coffee right away in order to enjoy the best possible flavor. Under ideal circumstances, this means using ground beans within 30 to 45 seconds.
Maintenance and Cleaning
The constant grinding of beans will result in particles becoming stuck to several components, including the hopper and burrs. As such, you will need to brush the burrs and wash the hopper on a regular basis to keep your grinder in good working order. Occasionally, you may even need to remove the burrs altogether and wash them in hot, soapy water. Be sure you are comfortable disassembling and re-assembling any model you do choose so you won’t get stuck with a grinder that is too cumbersome or time-consuming to clean. You should be able to quickly remove the entire burr assembly, to include the inner ring which holds it in place.
After some time, your burrs will become worn and will no longer produce the same consistent results you once enjoyed. This means that another consideration should be how easy it is to remove and replace the burrs. Fortunately, this is something that is typically very easy to do even on commercial grinders, eliminating the need to hire a professional maintenance technician.
In addition to these factors, you should also consider durability and price. Talking with other coffee shop owners and reading commercial coffee grinder reviews are two ways to find out which appliances are likely to provide you with the best results for the money.