Types of Grinders You can splurge on an expensive counter-top coffee grinder, or save your money and get a little hand-held one. That's not to say both models are the same but you do have the choice. Blade grinders are the cheaper ones, and they work like a small blender to chop up your coffee beans with a spinning blade. They can get clogged and usually lack any real fineness controls. An inexpensive blade grinder is a great first grinder for anyone wanting to try grinding their own whole bean coffee without investing in a larger machine. The good-quality grinders are burr grinders, and they have a real grinding action inside with spinning wheels or "burrs". These machines will give you a much more consistent grind and you can control how coarse your final coffee is by setting the burrs apart the right distance. Most machines will give you 4 or 5 options, or even more than 10 settings for a lot of selection. Burr grinders are also quieter than blade grinders, but both types are going to be a bit noisy no matter what. How to Grind There really isn't anything to grinding your own whole bean coffee. You just add the roasted coffee beans into the grinder, set the coarseness (if your machine has such controls) and let it go. The ground coffee is used in whatever kind of coffee brewer you use, just like any purchased ground coffee. You can usually grind enough coffee for a full 10-cup pot in just a matter of minutes. It's not a long or difficult process at all. As long as you don't have to dig in the cupboard for the grinder, it add almost no time to your brewing. Once done, brush out all the remaining coffee grounds.
You should clean your grinders occasionally but its not something that needs to be done with each use. You can also grind more than you immediately need to save time later, and store it in an air-tight container for a few days. If it's going to sit longer than that, you might as well just buy ground coffee. Coarse or Fine Using a grinder is easy, but the hard part is knowing how fine to grind. Regular drip coffee-makers usually use a medium grind, but if you use other types of machines, you will want to adjust that. French presses do better with a coarse grind, and espresso machines will pull better shots with very fine coffee. A coarse grind will look like a Kosher salt, and fine will be almost (but not quite) a powder. A machine with controls means you can just make your choice and set it. If you have to use your own judgment, use some purchased pre-ground coffee as a guide until you get used to it.