Best Grinder for Espresso: Top 7 of the Finest Coffee Grinders Today

Clint Doerfler
Clint Doerfler
Updated: July 30, 2022
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Dellicious, fluffy espresso grounds being ground directly into a portafilter with one of the best espresso grinders on the market

Making a great cup of espresso requires more than just coffee beans and hot water. You need a quality coffee grinder with the ability to deliver consistent, fluffy fine grinds.

There are plenty of great espresso coffee grinders on the market, but which one is right for you?

In this blog post, we discuss the best grinder for espresso in 2022 for your needs. We look at some budget-friendly options and compare them to some higher-end models, so you get the best coffee grinder for espresso you can afford.

What Is the Best Grinder for Espresso?

All things considered, the Rancilio Rocky is the best overall grinder for espresso.

Best Overall: Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder

Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder
  • Built Like a Tank
  • Will Outlast Other Grinders
  • 50mm Commercial-Grade Burrs
  • Powerful, Quiet Motor

With its simple operation, high-quality components, and powerful, quiet motor, the Rancilio Rocky is ready to serve up some serious espresso.

➔  Click To Check Price

The Rancilio Rocky Espresso grinder is a great all-rounder that ticks all the important boxes we discuss below.

The Rocky features:

  • 50mm commercial-grade flat burrs
  • Wide grind range capability
  • High-quality grinding that will last for many years to come.

Continue reading to see how we reached this conclusion…

Top 7 Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso

Category Product Link Price
Best Overall Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder Price Meter - 2 Stars
Best Coffee Grinder Under $1000 Eureka Mignon Specialita Price Meter - 4 Stars
Best Cheap Espresso Grinder Breville Smart Grinder Pro Price Meter - 1 Star
Best Prosumer Coffee Grinder Eureka Atom (65mm) Espresso Grinder Price Meter - 5 Stars
Amazing Middle-of-the-Road Grinder Eureka Mignon Silenzio Price Meter - 3 Stars
Baratza's Espresso Grinder Baratza Sette 270Wi Price Meter - 4 Stars
Best Manual Espresso Grinder 1ZPresso JX-Pro Price Meter - 1 Star

Best Burr Grinders for Espresso — Electric

We’ve done our best to present a grinder that will accommodate just about anybody’s needs based on performance, reliability, and budget.

These picks are based on factors such as features & benefits, pros/cons of each model, etc.

We’ve researched and/or tested many of these grinders and each one delivers excellent espresso grinds.

Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder

1. Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder - Best Overall

"The quality-to-price ratio on the Rocky is the reason we’ve crowned it the best coffee grinder for espresso for home use."

  • Burrs: 50mm commercial-grade flat burrs
  • Motor: 166 watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 294.75 grams / 10.4 ounces
  • Grind Adjustment: Stepped
  • Weight: 17 lbs (7.7kg)
Rocky doserless espresso grinder - front view

Built like a tank, the Rancilio Rocky will last you for years to come.

The Rocky doserless espresso coffee grinder is perfect for the at-home barista who wants to get away from the daily trip to the coffee shop.

Profile of the Rancilio Rocky doserless grinder. The chute feeds directly into your portafilter.
Profile of the Rancilio Rocky doserless grinder. The chute feeds directly into your portafilter.
It's a stepped grinder with 50mm flat burrs that can grind coffee for espresso, drip coffee, all the way to French press. The Rocky has a timer so you can dial in your perfect grind time for consistent doses every time.

The Rocky is also available with a doser, which means it will drop your fresh grounds into a chambered container below the grinder that allows you to disperse the grounds into your portafilter in small increments until you achieve your dose.
Rocky doserless espresso grinder - highly recommended
You're paying for quality with the Rancilio Rocky Espresso Grinder.
It features quality components inside a rugged metal case, meaning you’re paying for a quality build (weighing twice as much as other coffee grinders in this price range). Because of this quality, this burr grinder will last you a very long time.

Although it’s light on features compared to the other best coffee grinders on this list, the Rocky makes up for it with quality.

This quality-to-price ratio is the reason we’ve crowned the Rocky as the best coffee grinder for espresso for home use.

When paired with a high-quality espresso machine, this coffee grinder will easily pay for itself in the long run by producing consistent café quality drinks (sometimes better than a café) at home.
The Good
  • Very sturdy construction
  • Extremely low retention
  • Minimal clumping
  • Will pay for itself over time
The Could Be Better
  • It's a stepped grinder
  • Not the quietest grinder, but not the loudest either
Eureka Mignon Specialita Espresso Grinder (Black)

2. Eureka Mignon Specialita Espresso Grinder (Black) - Best Value

"The Specialita is a versatile masterpiece that can grind anything from Espresso to French press."
  • Burrs: 55mm flat hardened steel
  • Motor: 310 watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 300 grams / 10.5 ounces
  • Grind Adjustment: Stepless
  • Weight: 14.26 lbs (6.47kg)
Adjustable and removable portafilter hook
Adjustable / removable portafilter hook
The Eureka Mignon Specialita Espresso Grinder is one of the top-of-the-line solutions for home espresso enthusiasts looking for a dedicated grinder for espresso, although it also works well up to grinds for French press.

The new line of these Mignon grinders is extremely quiet compared to the older lineup. Eureka revisited its design and integrated better sound-insulating properties in the casing and chute to keep noise levels way down.
The Specialita features a touchscreen display
The touchscreen display on the Specialita
In fact, the Mignon Specialita is one of the quietest burr grinders on the market, with only the Eureka Silenzio being a little quieter. This makes it a splendid choice if you’re looking for a grinder that won’t wake everybody up when you’re itching for your fix.

It has fairly large 55mm flat hardened steel burrs for fast grinding, and touchscreen controls with a backlit display for ease of use.

The Specialita’s time-based dosing function is also very reliable and comes with three programmable settings
  • Single shot
  • Double shot
  • Continuous
Its low retention rate means you’re not wasting your precious coffee beans, while also ensuring you get fresh, fluffy grounds every time. You also get minimal clumping thanks to the new wider chute design and Eureka's anti-clumping technology.
The Specialita is designed for easy maintenance. With the bottom-adjusted burr, you can easily disassemble for cleaning without worrying about losing your grind settings.
The tiny size and sleek appearance will complement any countertop nicely. It has a high-end look and feel thanks to its heavy weight and modern design. This is truly a great-looking grinder.

A couple of gripes:
  • The grind adjustment dial may difficult for some users to read
  • It's a little cumbersome adjusting the grind for other brew methods. For example, you'll have to turn the knob about 7 times to go from the finest to the coarsest setting.
Overall, the Specialita is a great choice for those looking for a top-of-the-line home espresso grinder that performs extremely well. It’s easy to use and maintain and built to last.
The Good
  • Extremely quiet
  • Near zero retention
  • Maintains setting during cleaning
The Could Be Better
  • Smaller grind adjustment dial
  • More expensive
Breville Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel, BCG820BSS, 2.3

3. Breville Smart Grinder Pro - Best Budget Pick

"While not a dedicated or cheap espresso grinder, the Breville Smart Grinder Pro can still grind for decent shots."
  • Burrs: 40mm conical Burrs
  • Motor: 165 watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 510.25 grams / 18 ounces
  • Weight: 6.4 lbs (2.9kg)
Front view of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro is an excellent entry-level grinder that's capable of grinding for espresso
The Breville Smart Grinder Pro will serve as a great all-purpose coffee grinder for those who need a grinder for both coffee and espresso.

It has 60 precise grind settings for the finest Espresso to the coarsest French press grind and a precision electronic timer that allows you to adjust your grind time in 0.2-second increments for a consistent dose every time.
Portafilter cradles for both small (50-54 mm) and large (58 mm) portafilters
Accessories that come with the Breville
The hopper holds 18-ounces of coffee beans and has a locking system for easy removal, storage, and of your beans.

The portafilter cradle holds both small (50-54 mm) and large (58 mm) portafilters.

A clear and concise LCD screen quickly shows you your grind setting, grind time, and the number of shots or cups selected.

Overall, this is an affordable and versatile grinder that is perfect for those who are looking for a quality espresso burr grinder without breaking the bank.
The Good
  • Quite affordable
  • All-purpose grinder
  • Low noise levels
  • Cleaning the burrs is a breeze
The Could Be Better
  • Small burrs (slower)
  • Can't fine tune for espresso like a dedicated espresso grinder
Eureka Atom 75mm Espresso Grinder, Short Hopper, Black

4. Eureka Atom Specialty 65 Espresso Grinder - Best High End

"This grinder is a step up from the original Atom grinder that had 60mm burrs."
  • Burrs: 65mm Flat Hardened Steel
  • Motor: 510 watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 1.1 lbs (499 grams) or 2.5 lbs (1134 grams) depending on where you purchase
  • Grind Adjustment: Stepless
  • Weight: 20.94 lbs (9.5kg)
Push button display on the Eureka Atom Specialty 65
Push button display on the Eureka Atom Specialty 65
The Eureka Atom Specialty 65 is a top-of-the-line espresso coffee grinder that is precision engineered for the home barista or small cafe. Its powerful 510-watt motor is super quiet and purrs like a kitten—one of the quietest coffee grinders in its class.

The stepless adjustment knob makes it very easy to dial in your grind size, while its static-free grinding chamber ensures even distribution of consistent, fluffy grounds into your portafilter.
The 65mm Flat Hardened Steel burrs effortlessly grind through your coffee beans
The 65mm flat hardened steel burrs effortlessly grind through your coffee beans
Grind times for both single and double shots are programmable to 1/10 of a second, or you can use the manual dosing feature for those times when you want more control over your grind or need a little extra.

The Eureka Atom also has the pause feature that lets you even out your coffee grounds as you fill the portafilter.

Its sleek black finish (also available in chrome and white finishes) is sure to complement any kitchen countertop.

A potential downside is that it's difficult to adjust the grind if you are frequently switching between different brew methods.

Also, you’ll want to keep the hopper somewhat full of coffee beans because of some “popcorning” of the remaining beans off of the impeller if you’re trying to single dose.

Overall, the Eureka Atom is a brilliant choice for anyone looking for a high-quality espresso grinder that’s very fast, easy to use, produces beautifully consistent results, and is extremely quiet. The Eureka Atom 65 is an investment that will surely pay off in the long run.
The Good
  • Quietest grinder in its class
  • Amazing grind quality with no clumping or static
  • Powerful 510 watt motor
  • Italian craftsmanship
The Could Be Better
  • More work if frequently changing brew methods
  • Can't single-dose without purchasing additional items
Eureka Mignon Silenzio Espresso Grinder, Black/Chrome

5. Eureka Mignon Silenzio Espresso Grinder (Black)

"Precision grinding and quality craftmanship make the Silenzio a great entry-level grinder for espresso lovers."
  • Burrs: 50mm flat steel
  • Motor: 310 watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 340 grams / 12 ounces
  • Grind Adjustment: Stepless
  • Weight: 14 lbs (6.35kg)
The Silenzio's sound-insulated case lends itself to how quiet this grinder is
The Silenzio's sound-insulated case lends itself to how quiet this grinder is
The Eureka Mignon Silenzio is a beautifully designed espresso grinder that boasts a one-piece aluminum housing that comes available in a wide variety of colors to match any kitchen.

The sound-insulated case lends itself to how quiet this grinder is. Now you can enjoy your morning ritual without waking up the entire household.
The Mignon Silenzio in chrome - stylish and modern
Stylish and modern, the Silenzio looks amazing on any kitchen counter
It features stepless micro burr adjustment, perfect for dialing in the ultimate espresso.

The 50mm flat burrs are made from resilient, hardened stainless steel, and because the bottom burr moves when you adjust your grind, you can remove the top burr for cleaning without losing the grind setting you finally got dialed in.

Dispense the grounds manually or via the analog timer (anywhere from 2.5 to 20 seconds). This timed dosing feature is great for getting a consistent dose.

The Silenzio can grind out a basket of espresso in around 10 seconds, a little slower than some grinders in the same price range, but you're also paying for quality craftsmanship.

Also, the redesigned chute is wider, sound insulated, and features Eureka's ACE system, their very own anti-clumping and anti-static technology for the perfect, fluffy grounds.

On the flip side, a drawback for some might be the Silenzio’s slower speed due to the smaller motor and 50mm burrs.

Still, it's a great choice for those who want a high-quality grinder that looks great on their countertop.

If you’re looking for a top-notch grinder that won’t break the bank, the Eureka Mignon Silenzio is a great option to consider. Its precision grinding and easy-to-use features make it a great choice for both beginners and experienced espresso lovers alike.
The Good
  • Stepless micro burr grind adjustment
  • Same anti-clumping and anti-static properties as pricier Eureka grinders
  • Great looking grinder available in many colors
The Could Be Better
  • Slower than other grinders
  • No grinds tray
Baratza Sette 270Wi-Grind by Weight Conical Burr Grinder

6. Baratza Sette 270Wi Conical Burr Grinder - A "Smart" Grinder

"The 270Wi boasts intelligent weight-based dosing with its integrated Acaia scale."
  • Burrs: 40mm conical steel
  • Motor: 290 watts
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 283.5 grams / 10 ounces
  • Weight: 7.1 lbs (3.2kg)
"Sette", or "Seven" in Italian
"Sette", or "Seven" in Italian, comprises this Baratza grinder's unique shape
The Baratza Sette 270wi is an intelligent grinder (hence the ‘i’ in ‘270wi’) that incorporates a bit of ‘machine-learning’.

It learns by measuring the difference between the actual dose and your preferred dose each time you use it and compensates for the difference the next time you use it.
The 270wi has a stepped macro ring and a stepless micro ring for getting to the perfect grind size
This way, it can make automatic adjustments for the specific traits of your current coffee beans, giving you a more accurate dose each time you use it.

The 270wi has a stepped macro ring and a stepless micro ring for getting to the perfect grind size.

The dosing is weight-based (the ‘w’ in ‘270wi’) with the integrated Acaia scale. When it reaches your preferred weight, the grinder shuts off automatically.

If for some reason you change your mind or need to adjust your dose weight, you can use the pulse feature on the Sette to get your dose just right. Enter pulse mode by holding down the "play" button for a few seconds.
The Baratza Sette 270Wi
The Baratza Sette 270Wi
Some downsides of the Baratza Sette 270Wi grinder include being constructed of more plastic and being a little louder and more expensive than other models in its price range.

If you want to save a couple of hundred dollars, the Sette 270 is the same machine without the integrated Acaia scale or the intelligent features.

All in all, the Sette 270Wi is a great burr grinder for those looking for a precision grinder that only gets better with time.
The Good
  • Learns your preferred dose and automatically adjusts to achieve it
  • Fast grinder considering burr and motor size
  • Can grind for other brew methods
The Could Be Better
  • Conical burrs
  • More plastic and louder than other high-end grinders

Best Coffee Grinders for Espresso — Manual

Just because you don't plug it in, doesn't mean it can't provide a great espresso grind.

One of the things we love most about manual coffee grinders is that they're portable — perfect for grinding on the go.

They're also typically cheaper than electric grinders, making them a great entry-level option.
1Zpresso J Manual Coffee Grinder Silver Capacity 35g with Assembly Stainless Steel Conical Burr - Numerical Internal Adjustable Setting

7. 1ZPresso JX-Pro Manual Coffee Grinder - Best Manual Hand Grinder

"With a little elbow grease, you can have a quality espresso grind on the go, and for an affordable price."
  • Burrs: 48mm Steel
  • Bean Hopper Capacity: 35g / 1.23 ounces
  • Grind Adjustment: Stepped
  • Weight: 1.7 lbs (0.77 kg)
Dialing in an espresso grind with the JX-Pro by 1zpresso
Dialing in an espresso grind via the top adjustment dial on the JX-Pro
Undoubtedly the smallest grinder on the list, the 1Zpresso JX-PRO Manual Coffee Grinder is a great option for those who want to have better control over their espresso grinding.

With its 48mm stainless steel conical burrs, extreme speed, and grind adjustments with audible clicks, this grinder allows users to fine-tune their grinds for espresso according to their needs with ease.
Disassemble the JX-Pro easily to thoroughly clean the burrs
The JX-Pro comes apart easily so you can thoroughly clean the burrs
Because of its dual ball-bearing shaft design, this grinder produces a very consistent grind particle size (essential for espresso brewing). This results in virtually no burr wobble and lends itself to the uniform grind particles.

However, do note that the size of the grounds is still a bit too fine for cold brew. If you’re looking to use this grinder for cold brews, you’ll likely be disappointed.

All in all, the 1Zpresso JX-PRO Manual Coffee Grinder is a great choice for those who want an extremely fast and adjustable hand espresso grinder. It’s well built, consistent, and easy to use, making it a great option for both beginner and experienced baristas alike.
The Good
  • Large burrs for a hand grinder (speed)
  • Uniform grinds thanks to dual bearing design
  • Solid construction
The Could Be Better
  • Still too fine for coarser grinds like cold brew
  • A little costly for a hand grinder

What Do I Need to Consider When Looking for the Best Coffee Grinders For Espresso?

The main thing to keep in mind when shopping for an espresso grinder is that the best coffee grinder not only produces consistent, uniform grinds (vital to ANY brew method, but especially espresso) but also excels at finer grinds.

Espresso is a finicky beverage, and even the slightest change in grind size will affect the timing, and therefore, the extraction of your shot.

There are a few things to consider when purchasing a grinder for espresso, such as:
  • Grind size (rest assured, all the grinders in this roundup grind fine enough for espresso)
  • Grind consistency
  • Burr type (flat or conical)
  • Build quality (plastic or metal)
  • Price
The grinders we've assembled in this list are some of the best home espresso grinders on the market to date. These grinders are sure to produce a cup of espresso that’ll have your taste buds dancing the night away.

Even still, consider the following when shopping...

Burr Grinder vs. Blade Grinder—What’s the Difference?

With coffee grinders, there are two main types: burr grinders and blade grinders. So, which one makes the best coffee grinder for espresso?

Blade grinders work via a fast-spinning blade that chops up the coffee beans. While they’re relatively inexpensive, blade grinders produce very inconsistent, uneven grinds that produce a pretty terrible cup of espresso.

Burr grinders use two abrasive surfaces (called burrs) to crush and grind the coffee beans. This results in a superior, consistent grind ideal for espresso (or any other brew method).

Also, the ability to control the size of your grounds is one of the most important advantages of burr grinders. If you’re serious about making great espresso at home, you’ll need a quality burr grinder.

Burr Type: Flat vs Conical Burrs

Of these burr grinders, there are two common types of burrs: flat burr grinders and conical burr.

Flat burrs are, well, flat, while conical burrs are cone-shaped. They look a bit like a thin disc with serrated edges. Both types of burrs will get the job done well, but many espresso aficionados prefer flat burrs for their ability to produce a more uniform grind at finer grind settings.

Some folks find conical burrs produce less heat (important for preserving coffee’s delicate flavor compounds), are often easier to clean, and are less expensive than flat burrs.

Conical burrs are also better for coarser grind coffee, such as that used in the French press and cold brew. So if you’re leaning toward more of an all-purpose burr grinder, conical burrs will be your better bet.

Ceramic Burrs Vs. Stainless Steel

Manufacturers typically make burrs from either ceramic or stainless steel. Ceramic burrs tend to stay sharper longer than their stainless steel counterparts, but they’re also more fragile and can be more difficult (and expensive) to replace if damaged.

Stainless steel burrs are more durable and sharper to begin with but will dull quicker than ceramic burrs. I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on the material of your burrs, as both will produce excellent results.

Grind Size Adjustment

The first and most important thing to consider is grind adjustment. The ability to make small, precise adjustments to your grind size is crucial when brewing espresso.

Any coffee grinder worth its salt will have some sort of adjustment for this, but not all grinders are created equal.

Some espresso grinders, like the Baratza Sette 270, feature a stepless grind adjustment. This means that you can make infinite adjustments to your grind size (within the range that the grinder can ground), allowing for maximum precision.

Other espresso grinders, like the Breville Smart Grinder Pro, have a stepped grind adjustment. This means that the coffee grinder has pre-defined settings to choose from. If the grind size that you’re after falls between one of these settings, you’re out of luck.

As stated before, you can’t control grind size with a blade grinder. So, if you’re using one of these to make espresso, you won’t be happy.

Grind Consistency

The second major factor to consider is grind-size consistency. This is the ability of the coffee grinder to produce uniform grinds (free of other grounds that are too coarse or too fine).

Uniform grinds are important for any brewing method, as inconsistent grinds can lead to over-extraction or under-extraction.

Espresso is especially sensitive to grind consistency, as even the slightest variation can lead to a subpar shot.

When testing for grind size consistency, we use a tool called the Kruve Sifter. This allows us to measure the percentage of coffee beans that fall within our desired grind size range.

For espresso, we’re looking for a grind that is between 200 and 400 microns (fine to extra fine).

Using a Hand (Manual Grinder) vs Electric Coffee Grinder For Espresso

“Grind is fine, but electric’s quicker.”

Can a hand grinder (manual grinder) grind for espresso? Absolutely. Certain quality hand grinders like the 1Zpresso JX-Pro (featured in this post) are plenty capable of grinding for espresso.

Also, hand grinders, a.k.a., manual grinders, are typically more affordable than electric grinders, they’re quieter, and they’re great for travel.

But, you’ll have to sacrifice some convenience. Grinding by hand takes longer than using an electric grinder and can be more difficult to achieve a consistent grind, depending on the model.

So if you’re looking for consistency AND speed, an electric coffee grinder is still going to win out every time.

The Burr Size to Grind Speed Relationship

The relationship between burr size and grind speed is important to understand when choosing a grinder for espresso.

The larger the burr size, the faster the grind speed in most cases. The reason for this is that larger burrs have more surface area, which means they can grind coffee beans faster.

This also largely depends on the RPM of the burrs.

There are also some other caveats to be aware of. First, the type of bean you’re grinding makes a difference. Harder coffee beans will create more friction, which can slow down the grind speed.

Second, the grind setting also plays a role. A finer grind will require more time to achieve than a coarser grind.

That said, with everything else being equal (like motor size), a grinder with larger burrs will be faster than one with smaller burrs.

Doser Grinders vs. Doserless Grinders

Doser espresso grinders have a small chamber that collects the ground coffee, which is then dispensed into your portafilter upon pulling a lever. Alternatively, doserless coffee grinders dispense the ground coffee directly into your portafilter (or grounds bin).
So. Doser or doserless? The answer lies within how you'll use the grinder. Some people prefer the convenience of a doser, while others find that a doserless coffee grinder is less messy and easier to use.

For home use, it usually makes sense to go with a doserless coffee grinder and only grind as much coffee as you need at one time.

What’s a Stepped Grinder vs. a Stepless Grinder?

The fundamental difference between a stepped grinder and a stepless grinder is the grind adjustment. Stepped coffee grinders have pre-set grind settings you can choose from, while stepless coffee grinders allow for infinite adjustability between settings.

So, which is better? For espresso, most agree that a stepless grinder is the way to go. This is because espresso requires a very specific size of grind, and having the ability to make minor adjustments is crucial.

With a stepped grinder, it might be difficult to get the grounds just right. And if it’s even a little off, it can have a big impact on the quality of your espresso.

How To Dial In Your Espresso Grinder Settings

There are a few factors that will affect the output and quality of your espresso. Below is a quick guide on how to dial in your grinder to get the best results.

How Much Coffee For Espresso? Measuring the Correct Quantity of Grounds

There are two ways to measure the amount of coffee you’ll need for espresso. The first method is time-based, and the second is weight-based.

1. Time-Based Dosing

Most grinders will have programmable presets for single dosing (single shot), dosing for a double shot, and manually controlling the dose (via a switch that’s typically activated by the portafilter or a separate button).

Start by setting it to dispense the amount of coffee you desire in your portafilter. For a double shot, 18 grams of coffee is typical. If using a single basket (for a single shot), 7 grams is ideal.

2. Weight-Based Dosing

If your grinder has an integrated scale, you can weigh your coffee while it’s being ground. The same weights specified above will apply; 7g for a single shot, 18g for a double shot, and 20g for a triple basket if you’re feeling frisky.

Strive for Equal, Even Distribution of Your Grounds

Once you’ve weighed out your dose, it’s time to disperse the grounds evenly in the espresso basket.

To do this, hold your portafilter on its side and give it a few good taps against the counter or your hand. Check to see if the grounds have settled evenly across the entire surface area of the basket. If there are any clumps, use a small probe (i.e., a toothpick) to loosen the grounds and help them settle evenly.

Tamping Your Espresso Grounds

Tamping is the process of packing down the coffee in the basket. This is important because it creates the amount of resistance (back pressure) needed to extract evenly (and allows the portafilter/coffee to fit under your machine).

If the coffee is too loose, the water will flow through too quickly and produce a weak shot. If it’s too tight, the water will have trouble flowing at all and you’ll get an over-extracted espresso with bitter notes.

The ideal tamp pressure is between 20-30 lbs. of downward pressure.

Timing Is Everything With Espresso

The total time it takes for your espresso to be extracted will serve as your guide in dialing in the exact grind size you need to achieve the perfect shot (therefore, having an espresso grinder that excels at fine grinds is important).

The rule of thumb is that your espresso shot(s) should take between 26-32 seconds to extract.

Once you have your dose, distribution, and tamp dialed in, it’s important to start the shot timer as soon as you hear the pump on your espresso machine.

If your extraction is taking less than 26 seconds, the grind is too coarse and needs to be finer (water passing through too quickly). If it takes longer than 32 seconds, the grind is too fine and needs to be ground coarser (water hardly able to get through the grounds).

Just know that you will not get your shot dialed in on the first try. It will take some trial and error before getting it just right.

By gradually making slight adjustments and keeping track of the total shot time, you’ll find that “sweet spot” that will have you pumping out consistently good espresso shots.
Clint Doerfler
From a very young "growth-stunting" age, Clint Doerfler has had a deep-rooted love for coffee. As a result, he founded Coffee Gear Gurus® to share his passion for incredible home brewed coffee with others. When he's not watching true crime shows with family or playing music, he's devoted to helping fellow coffee feins make amazing coffee at home - regardless of their experience.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Best Coffee Grinder For Espresso

Is the OXO Brew Conical Burr Coffee Grinder good for espresso?

Unfortunately, the OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder won’t be the best espresso coffee grinder for most coffee beans. In my experience, it’s not able to grind them finely enough to produce a quality shot of espresso. Of course, this largely depends on many variables like the bean origin, dosage, distribution, basket, and the espresso machine itself.

But if you’re looking for a grinder that will make it easy to produce a great shot of espresso, we recommend going with a grinder that’s designed specifically for espresso and saving the OXO Brew Conical Burr Grinder for the rest of your brew methods.

Can I get away with using a blade grinder for espresso?

Would you cut your hair with a baseball bat? No.

You won’t be happy with the results of using a blade grinder with any brew method, let alone espresso.

While you could technically use a blade grinder, you won’t even come close to the quality of espresso you’ll get from a good burr grinder.

What is the best grind size for espresso?

A fine to extra fine grind is best for espresso. This will produce a perfectly extracted shot that’s rich and full-flavored. If the grind is too coarse, your espresso will be watery, sour, and weak.

What burr type should I choose for espresso? Flat or conical?

If you’re looking for a coffee grinder intended specifically for espresso, we recommend a flat burr grinder. This type of burr is more efficient at producing consistent grounds, which is crucial for espresso.

However, if you’re looking for a more versatile coffee grinder that can produce grounds for both espresso and other brewing methods such as drip coffee, a conical burr grinder is a good option. Just keep in mind you will not get the same quality of grind with an all-purpose grinder.

How much should I spend on an espresso coffee grinder?

You can expect to pay between $200 and $600 for a good home espresso grinder. However, if you’re on a budget, you might find some tolerable options for under $200.

What is the difference between an espresso grinder and a coffee grinder?

Manufacturers specifically design espresso grinders to produce fine, consistent grounds, whereas an all-purpose coffee grinder can grind more coarse for a variety of other brew methods, including French press, Chemex, Hario v60, cold brew, etc.

Typically, an espresso grinder will have flat burrs as opposed to conical burrs, as these excel at finer grinds. Also, they are a bit more expensive than your average coffee grinder. This is because they need to withstand the wear and tear of constantly grinding coffee beans into fine coffee grounds.

Grinders for espresso serve a specific purpose, whereas standard coffee grinders handle a wider spectrum of brew methods. If you’re looking to make quality espresso at home, we highly recommend investing in a good espresso grinder. However, if you’re looking for a grinder that can do it all, a standard coffee grinder might be a better option for you.
This article was last updated: July 30, 2022

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