The very first grinder I used at home was an impulse buy I made just a few days after buying a French press: a Bodum blade grinder. It was cheap, it looked cool, and I felt like a suave sophisticated and all around pretty awesome gentleman of the world when I bought it.
“Would you care for some freshly ground coffee brewed to order in my shiny French press?”
The reality of course was far less exciting. The grinder was loud, inconsistent, and made mediocre coffee. Thing is though, I didn’t know any of this. I never realized just how inferior a blade grinder really was when compared to a burr grinder. For years I had my system of how I would grind beans for the French press, and if you absolutely have to use the blade grinder I would recommend that you do it as such: weigh out the beans you’re going to use. Separate the beans into 3-4 equally sized piles and grind each pile separately for a pre-determined period of time. I find that doing this gives a more consistent result than grinding all the beans together. Combine them and pour into the press beaker (make sure to visually inspect first to remove any overly large chunks).
What using a system like this will allow you to do is to make minute but consistent changes to develop the flavor profile in your coffee that you’re looking for. For instance, you may discover that you like breaking it into 4 groups instead of 3, that you like grinding the beans for 3 seconds, or 4 seconds, or 5 seconds.
Overall I think that using a blade grinder is better than using pre-ground beans. But if I could make one suggestion to someone just getting into coffee it would be to buy a manual burr grinder. It will make a world of difference in the quality and consistency of your brews.
As for my blade grinder? I still use it to grind spices.
Thanks for reading,
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