Varieties of grinders have been in use for thousands of years, including the first mortar and pestle for grinding coffee beans in Ethiopia; gorgeous, intricately designed spice grinders originating from Turkey or Persia; and today’s modern-day electric grain grinders — also known as mills — used by serious home bakers to create flavorful whole-grain breads.
In the market for a grinder, but not sure which one to buy? Consider your cooking style, budget and the time and effort you want to put into grinding your own coffee, grains or spices.
If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you may want to start grinding your own beans with either a “burr” or “blade” coffee grinder — the former is the pricier but often recommended option for producing the most uniform grounds, and therefore the best tasting “cup of Joe.” A blade coffee grinder is your best bet for producing finely ground spices, such as cumin, cinnamon and cloves.
It’s not recommended to use the same grinder for both coffee and spices — unless, of course, you don’t mind your coffee flavored with ground pepper!
There is some evidence suggesting freshly ground whole grains are nutritionally superior to pre-milled whole grains, so avid bakers may consider purchasing a grain grinder or mill for making bread, muffins and baked goods. Electric grain mills require less muscle power, while manual mills offer greater versatility as they can grind a wider variety of whole grains into various textures.
Note: It’s important to use fresh-ground grains right away, or store them in an airtight container in a dry, cool pantry for up to three months or in the freezer for up to six months to prevent rancidity.
Of course, for the ultimate tasting experience, you may want to invest in multiple kitchen grinders. What’s better than a homemade chai-spiced multigrain muffin you made with your own freshly ground grains and spices, alongside a cup of coffee you brewed from beans that you ground yourself?