What’s inside this buyer’s guide
- Types of commercial coffee grinders
- Styles of commercial coffee grinders
- Things to consider before purchase
- Best makes of commercial coffee grinders
- Frequently asked questions
- Commercial coffee grinder glossary
- Keep your cash; use ours!
You love coffee. You love your business. And you want to make your customers happy. But you know that making great coffee is not as easy as it seems.
You need to have the right beans, the right water, the right machine, and the right grinder.
The right grinder is key to satisfying your customers’ preferences and expectations.
Whether they want a smooth espresso, a rich French press, or a balanced drip, you need a grinder that can deliver the perfect grind for each brewing method.
But with so many options and features to choose from, how do you find the best commercial coffee grinder for your needs?
In this guide, we will answer these questions and more.
We will also review some of the top-rated commercial coffee grinders in the USA and help you find the perfect one for your needs.
Types of commercial coffee grinders
As a café owner, you know how different coffee beans have different flavors, depending on where they come from, how they are roasted, and how they are blended.
But do you also know how different grinders affect the quality and taste of your coffee?
There are three main types of grinders: automatic, semi-automatic, and manual. Each one has its own pros and cons in the process of turning beans into cups.
We will explain the features and benefits of each type of grinder below and help you select the most suitable one for your needs.
Automatic coffee grinders
An automatic coffee grinder is a device that simplifies and speeds up the process of grinding coffee beans.
Its mechanism produces consistent and fresh ground coffee with just a click of a button.
You don’t have to worry about adjusting or grinding the beans yourself, as the machine does it for you, guaranteeing the same quality grind every time.
These machines are perfect for busy settings, as they have a doser that grinds the coffee beforehand and keeps it ready to brew.
They also offer various features to suit different coffee preferences, such as a built-in brewer and milk frother.
Moreover, they are versatile enough to work with both whole beans and pre-ground coffee.
How it works
All you have to do is load the beans, press start, and let the grinder work its magic.
It has a burr or blade mechanism that turns the beans into coffee grounds.
The grinder is efficient and smart: it stops automatically when the doser is full, avoiding any spills.
Automatic coffee grinders are ideal for busy cafes or restaurants that need a constant supply of coffee.
Thanks to the automatic refilling feature, the doser is always filled with fresh grounds.
But these grinders are not only for high-volume places; they also suit specialty venues where precise grind quantities matter.
The main benefit of automatic grinders is convenience.
They produce fresh ground coffee faster and more evenly than manual grinders.
This even grind size is essential for optimal coffee extraction, which leads to a better cup every time.
In the world of coffee, fresh, beats pre-packaged, and these machines are the masters of fresh.
Semi-automatic coffee grinders
A semi-automatic coffee grinder gives you more freedom and flexibility over the grinding process.
You can customize the grind size, dose, and time according to your taste and brewing method.
Unlike an automatic grinder, you have to manually start and stop the grinding operation.
These machines are made for coffee professionals who want to offer more options and customization to their customers.
They have a hopper that stores the beans, a burr or blade mechanism that grinds them, and a doser or dispenser that releases them.
Some also have a timer or a scale that helps you measure the amount of coffee grounds.
How it works
You load the beans into the hopper, choose the grind size, and press a button or a lever to start the grinding.
You can either use the timer or scale to measure the dose or manually stop the grinding when you have enough coffee grounds.
You can then release the grounds into a portafilter, a filter basket, or a container.
If you run a coffee shop or a restaurant where you want to make different kinds of coffee drinks, such as espresso, cappuccino, latte, and more, you need a semi-automatic grinder.
It lets you adjust your grind size and dose to match your taste and brewing method.
You can also use it for different kinds of coffee beans, roasts, and blends, allowing you to show off your coffee skills and creativity.
The main benefit of a semi-automatic grinder is the control and flexibility it gives you.
It allows you to experiment with different variables and find your perfect grind size and dose for each cup of coffee.
Moreover, you can enjoy the freshness and flavor of freshly ground coffee without giving up too much convenience.
Manual coffee grinders
Manual commercial coffee grinders enable baristas and coffee lovers to craft their grinds by hand, promising a customized coffee experience.
These grinders are often found in coffee establishments that value fresh, high-quality brews, and they have a few distinctive features.
Manual grinders have a simple and sleek design, consisting of a chamber for the beans, burrs for grinding, and a container for the grounds.
How it works
They feature a simple and elegant design that includes three components: a bean chamber, a grinding mechanism, and a grounds container.
The grinding mechanism consists of burrs that are activated by a handle, producing a consistent and smooth grind. Before rotating the lever, you turn a numbered dial to choose the grind size, for the preferred brewing method.
The ground coffee is then collected in the container below the burrs, ready to be brewed.
Manual grinders are not only attractive and functional but also adaptable.
They can handle any type of coffee beans and grind sizes- from French press to espresso to pour-over. Plus, their compact design also allows them to fit in any cozy space.
You get to enjoy many benefits, such as: accuracy in grind size, quiet operation, low cost, and high durability.
And the best part is, you get to grind right before you brew, so your customers will savor coffee with the optimal flavor and aroma of the beans.
Styles of coffee grinders
You have learned about the different types of commercial coffee grinders, but did you know that they also come in different styles?
The style of a grinder refers to how the grinding mechanism is designed, which can affect the way your coffee is ground and the flavor and quality of your brew.
Let’s take a look at them below.
Burr grinders use two rotating surfaces, called burrs, to smash and grind coffee beans into even and consistent particles.
They are perfect for cafes that want to achieve a high-quality brew, as the uniform grind size allows for a balanced extraction of flavor and aroma.
Burr grinders can have either flat or conical burrs, which vary in shape and performance.
Flat burr grinders
Flat burr grinders use two flat and parallel surfaces, called burrs, to smash and grind coffee beans into uniform and consistent particles.
They are good for espresso, as they produce a balanced extraction and a clear flavor profile.
However, they can be loud and may store more grounds than other types of grinders, so they need regular cleaning to prevent old coffee residues.
Conical Burr Grinders
A conical burr grinder uses two cone-shaped surfaces, or burrs, to crush and grind coffee beans into even and uniform particles.
This type of grinder is popular for its versatility and consistency, as it can produce different sizes of grinds and suit various brewing methods.
It is also quieter and easier to clean than other types of grinders, as it tends to have less clogging and less grounds retention.
A blade grinder is a machine that uses a fast-spinning blade to chop and grind coffee beans.
It is not very consistent, as it creates uneven grinds that can affect the quality of the brew.
You can get a slightly better grind by pulsing the blade instead of running it non-stop. Blade grinders are inexpensive and easy to use, but they are not the best choice for premium brews.
An on-demand grinder is a machine that grinds coffee beans precisely when they are needed, delivering the grounds directly into a portafilter or a bag.
This type of grinder prioritizes freshness, which enhances the flavor and aroma of the coffee.
It also helps reduce waste by grinding only the required amount for each cup.
On-demand grinders are especially beneficial in cafes with a high volume of coffee orders, as they consistently provide fresh grounds for every customer.
Stepped adjustment grinders
A stepped adjustment grinder is a machine that has pre-defined and fixed grind settings, often called “steps.”
These settings are easy to switch between, but they offer limited settings in terms of grind size adjustment.
When you change the grind size, you can clearly hear a clicking sound on these machines.
Stepped adjustment grinders are well-suited for cafes with consistent and unchanging menus, where frequent adjustments to the grind size are not needed.
They are also an excellent choice for newcomers in the coffee industry due to their simple and user-friendly nature.
Step-less adjustment grinders
A step-less adjustment grinder is a machine that allows you to choose any grind size you want without being limited by pre-set settings.
This type of grinder gives you meticulous control over the grind size, which is essential for creating custom brew recipes and accommodating various brewing methods.
It is the preferred choice of coffee enthusiasts who seek the utmost precision and flexibility in their coffee preparation.
A step-less adjustment grinder is the perfect fit for cafes that aim to deliver gourmet coffee experiences or those that often adapt their brewing methods to cater to their customers’ unique preferences.
Things to consider when buying a commercial coffee grinder
Type of coffee
Before you buy that sleek new commercial coffee grinder, you’ll need to ask yourself:
What kind of coffee will I be serving?
This might seem like a simple question, but it’s one that greatly affects the equipment you choose for your venue.
With coffee enthusiasts having more diverse and refined tastes than ever before, you’ll need to decide whether your café will be making high-volume coffee for the masses or are you aiming to explore the high-end realm of seasonal varieties and rare single origins.
And how will they be served?
Do you need an on-demand grinder? A burr grinder? Maybe a versatile one?
Some commercial coffee grinders focus on specific brew methods for particular coffee types.
Therefore, having a clear understanding of your coffee origins, brewing methods, and your target customers is essential before making such a big investment.
After you’ve decided on the coffee blend or origin for your customers, it’s important to estimate the volume of coffee your venture might handle weekly.
Your choice of a commercial coffee grinder will largely depend on practicalities.
Is your place mainly a coffee haven, where every brew needs to be of high quality? Or is coffee a nice addition to an already diverse menu?
For busy places shifting over 88 pounds of coffee weekly, a grinder’s efficiency is essential. It should restart quickly after each serving, regulate its temperature well, and ensure a consistent grind every single time.
For more cozy venues or those promoting niche brewing styles, the features of top-tier grinders might be unnecessary.
Choosing a simpler machine without the high-end frills can be both cost-effective and suitable for your needs.
Commercial coffee grinders mainly rely on two types of dosing systems:
In this system, the grinder delivers coffee based on a fixed duration.
Once you’ve set the settings to get the ideal morning shot, you can just start the timer and let the machine handle the rest. It’s an easy “set and forget” approach, and it’s why many commercial establishments like this method.
However, there are some challenges:
Factors that can affect grind consistency include:
- The weight of the coffee beans.
- The moisture in the air.
- The quantity of beans remaining in the hopper.
These factors might cause slight variations in the grind, which might matter for those who want absolute precision.
A change to gravimetric grinders might be helpful for them.
Gravimetric grinders work by weighing the ground coffee directly as it is delivered into the portafilter.
Similar to timed systems, once you’ve chosen your optimal weight, minor adjustments can be made throughout the day.
The main advantage of a gravimetric system is its precision.
Grinding by weight ensures a more consistent grind size, which is important when aiming for a specific brew ratio.
This method ensures that your coffee basket has a consistent amount every time, unaffected by bean density variations, external weather conditions, or the amount of beans left in your hopper.
Let’s talk about aesthetics. Why? Because just as the first sip matters, so does the first visual impression!
Here are some factors to consider when choosing a commercial coffee grinder based on the visual appeal:
- Design: What vibe do you want to create? A futuristic, shiny grinder shows modernity, while a classic Italian piece might make your guests feel like they are in Rome. What story do you want your grinder to tell?
- Size and shape: Take a quick look at your space. Can you imagine a small, sleek grinder tucked in a corner? Or maybe a majestic one standing out among rustic décor? Size does matter, and so does shape!
- Colour and material: Let’s talk personality. Do you like a clean, stainless steel look that means business? Or do you prefer a grinder with warm wood accents that suggest cozy coffee nooks? Which one matches your café’s personality?
- Brand and model: Do you care about brand badges? Some coffee grinder brands are like celebrities in the caffeine world. Showing off a famous brand might just make your coffee corner the talk of the town!
Ease of use
Your coffee grinder should be more than just a machine; it should fit into your daily operations, making every cup of coffee an artistic experience.
Here are some key aspects of ease of use to consider when choosing a commercial coffee grinder:
Choose a grinder with a user-friendly interface. Features like a digital display, timer, scale, or intuitive dial should be available.
The ability to easily and accurately adjust grind size, dose, and timing is essential. Quick access to the grinder’s status and settings at a glance is also helpful.
Hopper and doser
Make sure that the grinder has a spacious and transparent hopper and doser capable of holding the coffee bean and ground coffee volume needed for your business.
Burr or blade mechanism
Pick a grinder with a durable and efficient burr or blade mechanism that can consistently produce high-quality grinds. Accessibility for regular cleaning and maintenance of this mechanism should be easy.
Take into account the noise level and heat generation of the grinder, as these factors can affect both performance and coffee quality.
Look for a grinder with built-in safety features to prevent accidents and injuries. Features like automatic shut-off, overload protection, lock-out switches, or tamper mechanisms contribute to a safer operating environment.
Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and recommendations to use and maintain the grinder safely.
Ease of cleaning
To ensure your coffee shop or restaurant operates at its best, you need to pay attention to every aspect of your equipment.
Your grinder should not only make excellent coffee but also maintain the highest standards of hygiene and maintenance.
Here are key aspects of ease of cleaning that should influence your choice:
Hopper and doser
Don’t ignore details like removable and washable hopper and doser. The ability to take apart these components makes thorough and regular cleaning easier.
Also, check the design of the hopper lid, portafilter holder, and knock box to make sure they are easy to clean and work effectively.
Burr or blade mechanism
Choose a grinder that offers easy access to and removal of the burr or blade mechanism.
This feature simplifies the cleaning process, allowing you to keep it in good condition.
Take into account noise levels and heat generation, as these factors can affect both the grinder’s performance and the quality of your coffee.
Exterior and interior materials
Look for a grinder made from smooth and durable materials, such as stainless steel, plastic, or ceramic, for both the exterior and interior parts.
These surfaces should be easy to wipe clean with a damp cloth or a soft brush, effectively removing dust and dirt.
Avoid using harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could damage the grinder.
Find a grinder that comes with clear, detailed instructions and recommendations for cleaning and maintenance.
Follow these guidelines regularly to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
If you encounter any issues or questions regarding cleaning and upkeep, don’t hesitate to contact the manufacturer’s customer service for help.
Best makes of commercial coffee grinders
Fetco, established in 1987 by Ziggy Lassota, has become a distinguished name in the coffee brewing industry, particularly noted for its exceptional and user-friendly commercial coffee grinders.
The brand is celebrated for crafting reliable, easy-to-maintain grinders that deliver consistently superb coffee grinds, enhancing both flavor and quality.
Two top picks from Fetco, the GR2.3 G02013, and the GR2.2 G02012, exemplify the brand's commitment to versatility and precision in coffee grinding.
Both models, identified as burr grinders, feature two hoppers, each capable of holding 10 pounds of coffee beans. They cater to various brewing methods by offering different batch sizes, with six options available for the GR2.3 and four for the GR2.2.
With a digital display that indicates grind time, weight, and cycle count and a smart hopper that automatically adjusts the grind size based on the bean type, Fetco prioritizes convenience and accuracy, ensuring your commercial coffee needs are met with simplicity and expertise.
Founded in 1952 by Egidio Girardi in the scenic city of Venice, Italy, Ceado has seamlessly blended quality, innovation, and exceptional performance to establish itself as a notable name in the coffee brewing arena, particularly in the world of commercial coffee grinders.
Celebrated for its sturdy and easy-to-use grinders, Ceado not only meets the varied needs of café owners and baristas but also enhances the flavor and quality of coffee through its consistent and uniform grinds.
Let's spotlight two of Ceado’s on-demand grinders: the CDE37J and the CDE37S. These models, grinding only when required, guarantee peak freshness and reduce waste.
Both are flat burr grinders, celebrated for generating exceptionally uniform coffee particles, making them ideal for espresso and other fine grinds. The CDE37J is equipped with a 1.3 lb. hopper, while the CDE37S offers a more generous 3.5 lb. capacity.
Each model features a digital display, presenting dose time, weight, and shot count, and includes a smart fan to avert overheating, ensuring they are versatile, convenient, and precise, satisfying all your commercial coffee grinding needs with ease and efficiency.
Founded in 1957 by George R. Bunn, who innovatively designed his own versions of paper coffee filters and pour-over drip coffee brewers, Bunn has since positioned itself at the pinnacle of dispensed beverage equipment manufacturers.
A key feature that distinguishes Bunn is its unwavering commitment to quality. This is achieved through a thorough Quality Management System that oversees all processes to design, manufacture, and deliver Bunn products.
Two recommended models from Bunn, both burr grinders, exemplify precision with their rough surfaces that meticulously grind your coffee beans. These are the Bunn 36400.0000 FPG-2 DBC French Press Coffee Grinder with a 6 lb. Double Hopper and the Bunn 20580.0001 LPG Low Profile 6 lb. Single Hopper Grinder.
The FPG-2 DBC features a double hopper, each capable of holding up to 6 pounds of coffee beans, and can grind up to 4 batches per hopper, with a digital display indicating grind time and cycle count.
On the other hand, the LPG model, with a single hopper holding up to 6 pounds of coffee beans, offers up to 9 different grind settings and features a low-profile design for space efficiency and easy access. Both models, easy to use and maintain, promise consistent and uniform grinds, catering adeptly to your commercial coffee needs.
Founded in 1993 by John and Helen Kim in a modest Los Angeles garage, Astra has since blossomed into one of the USA's leading manufacturers of espresso machines and grinders. Astra prides itself on producing high-quality, innovative products that not only brew the perfect cup of coffee but also prioritize safety, efficiency, and performance.
Versatility and convenience are hallmarks of Astra grinders. The company provides a variety of models that cater to the diverse needs and preferences of cafe owners and baristas, ensuring there's a model to suit every need, whether for espresso, drip, or French press.
Two recommended models from Astra, both burr grinders, are the Astra MG050 Semi-Automatic Espresso Grinder and the Astra MG030 Automatic Espresso Grinder with Doser.
The MG050 features a manual on/off switch, allowing control over the grinding process, while the MG030 incorporates an automatic timer that dispenses the precise amount of coffee into the doser.
Both models boast a 2.2 lb. hopper capacity, a 1400 rpm grinding speed, and an adjustable grind size ranging from fine to coarse. Easy to use and maintain, both models ensure consistent and uniform grinds, adeptly meeting your commercial coffee needs.
Nuova Simonelli, founded in 1936 by Orlando Simonelli in Cessapalombo, Italy, has evolved to become a global partner in providing reliable beverage equipment and exceptional post-purchase support, consistently staying at the cutting edge of coffee technology and design.
A distinctive feature of Nuova Simonelli is its patented Clima Pro technology, which maintains a stable temperature in the grinding chamber, ensuring grind size consistency regardless of ambient conditions or the amount of coffee in the hopper. This technology also minimizes noise and vibration, contributing to a stable and quiet grinder.
Two recommended models from Nuova Simonelli, both on-demand grinders, are the Nuova Simonelli MDJ On-Demand 3.5 lb. Espresso Grinder and the Nuova Simonelli MDXSA Automatic 3.5 lb. Espresso Grinder.
The MDJ, a flat burr grinder, features two disk-shaped burrs facing each other, while the MDXSA, a conical burr grinder, incorporates one cone-shaped burr fitting inside another.
Both models, with a hopper capacity of 3.5 lb., a grinding speed of 1400 rpm, and an adjustable grind size from fine to coarse, also feature a digital display that indicates dose time, weight, and number of shots, and include a smart fan to prevent overheating.
These features ensure the grinders are versatile, convenient, and precise, adeptly meeting your commercial coffee needs.
Frequently asked questions
How do commercial coffee grinders work?
Commercial coffee grinders finely grind coffee beans for brewing. They have two main mechanisms:
- Burr grinders: They are preferred for precision, as they crush beans between two rotating surfaces. They come in flat and conical shapes. The flat one gives a uniform grind, while the conical one offers varied textures.
- Blade grinders: They use a spinning blade to chop beans; consistency depends on duration.
Powered by strong motors, commercial grinders work without overheating, preserving bean flavor.
Beans are kept in an upper hopper, then ground and gathered below. The machine’s settings modify the grind size, catering to different coffee types.
How to clean a commercial coffee grinder?
To clean a commercial coffee grinder, follow these steps:
- Unplug the grinder: Always prioritize safety. Disconnect the grinder from the power source.
- Empty and clean the hopper: Before proceeding, make sure the hopper has no beans. Remove the hopper, then wash it with its lid and any sealing gaskets using warm, soapy water. After rinsing, pat them dry with a soft cloth.
- Brush the burrs: With a manufacturer-recommended brush or a soft one, carefully clean the grinder’s burrs, making sure no coffee residues remain.
- Clear remaining residues: For a complete clean-up, vacuum inside the grinder or wipe it with a lint-free cloth, taking care not to disrupt its internal parts.
- Let the grinder dry: Avoid grinding while components are still damp. Wipe down with a cloth and let it air dry before its next use.
Regular maintenance ensures your grinder works well and your coffee stays fresh and flavorful.
How long does a commercial coffee grinder last?
The answer depends on several factors, such as the type of grinder, the material of its components, the frequency of usage, and the level of maintenance.
Burr grinders are generally more durable than blade grinders, especially if they have stainless steel or ceramic parts.
Some burr grinders can last up to 30 years with proper care. However, if you use your grinder frequently and neglect to clean it regularly, you will shorten its lifespan significantly.
Even if your grinder can last 5-10 years, you might need to change its burrs or blades after grinding about 1000 pounds of coffee.
Commercial coffee grinder glossary
The container that holds your whole coffee beans before they are ground. It is directly connected to your grinder and feeds the beans into the burrs or blades.
The compartment where the ground coffee is stored after it passes through the burrs or blades. It has a lever that you can use to release fixed portions of coffee for your chosen brewing method.
These are the rough surfaces that grind your coffee beans with precision. They give you better consistency than blade grinders, especially for coarser grinds like the ones you use for French press or pour-over coffees.
This is a grinder that has two disk-shaped burrs that face each other. It gives you very consistent coffee particles, which is great for espresso and other fine grinds.
This is a grinder that has a cone-shaped burr that fits inside another. It works well for grinding coffee, but it might not be as consistent as a flat burr, especially for coarser grinds.
This is a term that describes how much coffee you sell every week. A high-volume cafe would sell over 88 pounds of coffee weekly and get about 60-70 servings from each pound.
A type of grinder that grinds coffee directly into the doser, so you can use it right away. It’s ideal for busy cafes where you need to make a lot of coffee quickly.
A grinder that only grinds when you put the container or portafilter in place and activate the machine. It’s suited for quieter or specialty places where you want more control over your coffee.
Stepped grind adjustment
A feature on some grinders that lets you choose from different pre-set options for your grind size, but without any variations in between.
Step-less grind adjustment
A mechanism that lets you adjust your grind size without any pre-set limits, giving you more flexibility and precision to make very fine changes.
This refers to the amount of coffee that stays in the grinder after you’re done grinding. Finer grinds, like the ones you use for espresso, usually have more retention than coarser grinds.
This refers to how consistent your coffee grind is. You want your coffee grounds to be as similar in size as possible. A commercial grinder that offers top-notch uniformity will give you consistent and high-quality brews.
Keep your cash, use ours!
We hope this guide has helped you better understand what you need to look for in a commercial coffee grinder and how to choose the right model for your needs.
If you want to know more, you can always reach out to the SilverChef team.
Hospitality equipment can be expensive, and paying for it outright can put pressure on your business’s cash flow.
Our finance solutions allow you to get the equipment you want now and to pay for it in small, regular amounts out of the revenue it generates for you.
Rent–Try–Buy® not only helps you maintain your cash flow, it gives you unrivaled flexibility to adapt your equipment to the changing needs of your business.
You can upgrade or buy the equipment at any time or, after 12 months, return or continue renting it.
If you decide to buy the equipment, we’ll give you back 60% of the net rent you paid in the first year and 20% of any rental payments afterward — to put toward the purchase price. If you buy the equipment within a year, the interest will be 0%.