How Are Conical Coffee Grinders Different From Flat Burr Grinders?

Have you just read a Baratza Virtuoso Plus review and are currently wondering what a conical coffee grinder is and how it’s different from their flat burr counterparts? If yes, reading through this write-up. It will clear your confusion regarding coffee grinders with conical burrs. 

About Conical and Flat Burr Coffee Grinders

The coffee beans ground using a burr grinder are subjected to extreme pressure when passing through two burrs or surfaces. If it’s a flat burr grinder, it would feature a couple of rings lying flat on one another. At times, these rings come with angled teeth and are aligned horizontally. 

In coffee grinders featuring conical burrs, the grinding takes place vertically. These units come equipped with two burrs. The outer circular burr, which resembles a hollow ring, features angled teeth. The second burr sits inside the first one but has a bigger base and is conical in shape. Like the outer burr, the one inside it also has angled teeth, but they are smaller in size. 

The Impact of Burr Shape on Grind Quality 

Products like the Capresso Infinity Conical Burr Grinder enjoy immense popularity among coffee lovers primarily due to its ability to produce tasty coffee. According to experts, the taste and quality of filter coffees and espresso shots vary significantly depending on factors like grind consistency, temperature, and retention. And the shape of the coffee grinder affects each of these three factors to some extent. Read on to know about the kind of impact the burr shape can have on your coffee’s quality. 

Grind Consistency: Thanks to the different ways they are assembled, the grind consistency offered by conical burr grinders and flat burr grinders can never be the same. When assembling the conical burrs, manufacturers need to achieve flawless concentricity and parallelism. Flat burr units, on the other hand, only require perfect parallelism. 

Many experts believe that the above-mentioned difference allows the flat burr units to produce more consistent grinds. However, that’s always not the case. One factor that spoils the consistency of flat burr grinders is heat retention. They often heat the coffee beans more, a problem that never occurs when using conical burr grinders.

Coffee Retention: Coffee retention i.e., the quantity of grinds left behind, has been found to cause variable dry-coffee weight. This alters the espresso extraction process and might even result in contamination. For those who don’t know, contamination occurs when fresh grounds blend with stale ones. 

The risk of retention would be significantly lower if you are using a conical grinder like Bodum Bistro Electric Burr Coffee Grinder. So, if you want to avoid contamination, it would be wise to opt for a unit with conical burrs. 

Ease of Use: As the temperature keeps rising, flat burr units usually require more adjustments. You’ll not need to make such adjustments when using a conical burr machine thanks to its lower RPM. The low RPM also makes the conical burr grinders less noisy. 

If you want to know about the best conical and flat burr coffee grinders available on the market right now, you can read the unbiased reviews published on CoffeeAtoZ. 


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