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When you’re buying a coffee grinder, look to a burr grinder over a propeller grinder. The burr grinder is a little more expensive, and quite a bit louder, but you make up for it with a consistently ground coffee set to your choice of how fine or coarse. By contrast, the propeller grinder inconsistently grinds the coffee, and the propeller blade may even burn flavor from the coffee, both of which will affect the flavor in your cup.
For years, my rule of thumb on kitchen appliances, including a drip brewer and coffee grinder, has been the following. If you want quality at the right place without spending hundreds of dollars, buy Cuisinart. If you want an economical alternative with all the bells and whistles stripped away for the best value, buy Black and Decker.
However, the Black and Decker burr grinder has changed my outlook. Here are my problems with it:
The consumer reviews for the Black and Decker burr grinder were fairly scathing across the Internet. That should’ve been my first concern, but I felt it possible that these people were expecting too much. Remember, it’s the economical alternative. For instance, while grinding, you need to hold the button down the entire time you’re grinding, rather than with the Cuisinart burr grinder where you set the amount of coffee you’re grinding, and then hit the button once. If you take your finger off of the Black and Decker grinder, it stops grinding. That’s not awesome, but again, remember this is the economical alternative.
Where I can’t defend it is in a few areas:
1) It makes a mess every time, as you see in the image above. You have to sweep away grinds that have shot out of the ground coffee chamber, every time you use it. It needs to be better sealed.
2) It seems to favor a coarse grind. When I select its medium grind setting, it’s a little too coarse. I was at least able to compensate for this by choosing a setting that is slightly finer than medium, in order to get the medium grind I want.
3) The whole bean chamber never clears out completely. What I mean by that is that the coffee has stopped grinding, but there are still several beans flying around the first chamber, bouncing off the burr blades, but never passing through them. This means, unless I clean the appliance every time, there are remnants of previous coffees every time I grind. Those remnants have already gone stale and will affect the flavor in my cup.
My advice? Spend the extra $20 for the Cuisinart burr grinder pictured to the left. It costs $50, and will last you for years. Over those years, you will have a consistent grind, and an appliance that’s easier to use, and less messy. As we all know, you get what you pay for. What disappointed me with Black and Decker is that even as an economical alternative, it does a lousy job.