The more common grinder is the propeller grinder, known for its two-sided single blade that spins and chops the beans at the same time. This is the grinder that you typically see for sale at Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and other big box retailers.
After loading the beans into the chamber and grinding, you decide when to stop grinding the beans based on personal experience and through the transparent cover of the grinder. If it is early in the morning and you aren’t paying attention, it is easy to over grind your coffee with a propeller grinder.
Unlike the burr grinder, there is no second chamber into which consistently-ground coffee collects. This requires the user to have a trained eye and experience in “pulsing” the grinder to achieve the desired grind…as you are in full control. Additionally, as the propellers in the grinder get dull, the longer the grind process can take thus resulting in more friction heat added to the beans, which can result in an inferior cup of coffee.
Since the propeller grinder is far more common, the price tends to be lower and depending on your budget this can be an advantage (remember, whole bean coffee ground just before brewing will result in a fresher cup of Grumpy Goat Coffee). While the propeller grinder is faster, our experience hasn’t led us to believe that it is significant enough to consider it an advantage over the burr grinder.
Of everything you might encounter when brewing at home, grinding coffee is arguably one of the most crucial steps, as grind size alone can dramatically change the taste of your cup. Grind size and consistency can be the difference between one of the best cups you’ve ever had and a bitter, undrinkable mess.
Now onto the grind types…