How to Choose an Espresso Grinder

Eureka Mignon Grinders

What makes a grinder great?

Here is a dirty little secret in the world of increasingly expensive espresso machines— any espresso machine over $2,000 and under $8,000 largely functions similarly. Most espresso machines in this price range pull shots at a reasonably consistent digitally controlled temperature and pressure, are all made from high-quality, long-lasting boilers and internals, and have extra features like flow control or pre-infusion. You would be hard-pressed to tell the quality difference in the cup between any of them. Of course, there are bells and whistles and differing finishes— but we are talking about flavor here. Sure, like you, we know the espresso machine is the focal point of your espresso setup, so we want that to be a showstopper, but the grinder is the real workhorse. So, from where does the character come? How are we developing the complexity, sweetness, and layers of nuance that justify $20+ per 12-ounce bag? The answer is simple: the grinder.

Libra espresso grinder and profitec pro 600 espresso machine lifestyle by ben matthews

The espresso grinder is critical in unlocking the flavor hidden within the beans. But what makes some grinders great and others less so? It comes down to relatively simple criteria: uniform particle size without excess heat or static. Heat and friction will occur during grinding, but the less, the better. Less heat = fewer chances for flavor to be stripped from the end product. The best grinders are intuitive, have a wide range of adjustments for fine-tuning, and can grind your coffee evenly and consistently. Having the ability to control your grind size will help you build and alter an espresso recipe and assist in your overall espresso technique. Ultimately, you want to become best friends with your grinder—using it daily and learning its idiosyncracies will help you grow on your espresso journey. 

Some things to consider when researching grinders:

  • Budget—if you need both an espresso machine and a grinder immediately, set aside at least $300-400 for a proper espresso-focused grinder. 
  • Footprint—larger grinders take up more space. Ensure it fits in your space, especially if it’s living under cabinets. 
  • Features—some grinders will have convenience features like grind-by-weight or timed dosing. Others are single-dosing grinders or come with a standard hopper. Decide what is important to you and your workflow.

A variety of conical and flat grinder burrs knockout by clive coffee

The three main things to know about grinders: 

  • Burr size—generally speaking, larger burrs offer a faster and more consistent grinding experience. This is because the larger cutting surface can grind your coffee dose faster with less heat and friction, causing less static electricity and fewer inconsistencies in the cup. Our grinders range from 40mm to 80mm. Larger burrs are not necessarily better for you. When you start to creep into the 80mm+ burr size range, you begin to see larger commercial grinders, although there are some exceptions, like the DF 83 and other similar single-dosing focused grinders.
  • Motor size—larger motors give the grinder more torque and are almost always paired with larger burrs. Grinders with larger motors tend to be physically larger. Larger motors can consistently grind a larger volume of coffee without overheating, which would cause clumping, static electricity, and strip flavor from the end product. 
  • Burr shape—there has long been a debate on the conical vs. flat burr shape and which is better. Unfortunately, that debate will not be settled today. Burr shape comes down to personal preference. Anecdotal evidence states that flat burrs produce more clarity in the cup, while conical burrs produce more body. This may just be the placebo effect;  they work differently, but both result in a great cup of coffee. 

Beginner Home Barista 

A beginner grinder is not a cheap or easy grinder, but one that is perfect for the budding home barista just starting and wanting to hone the espresso fundamentals. These give you room to grow with your new setup and help train your palate along the way. 

ecm classika espresso machine and baratza sette270wi grinder lifestyle by clive coffee

Baratza Sette 270 & Baratza Sette 270wi $399.95-599.95

The Baratza 270 espresso grinder is a reliable choice that has helped many individuals begin their espresso-making journey. Featuring 270 macro/micro adjustments and three programmable dosing settings, this conical burr grinder offers exceptional repeatability and minimal retention. Its design prioritizes home baristas, unlike other grinders adapted from commercial models. While it functions admirably with a full hopper, providing consistent doses with its timed dosing system, it excels when used for single dosing. The Sette 270wi adds a scale to the portafilter holder, helping you consistently nail your weighed dose each time. 


  • Low grind retention 
  • Easy to maintenance 
  • Stepped adjustments intuitively correspond to numbers and letters


  • Loud
  • Mainly plastic construction 

Eureka Mignon Specialita & Eureka Mignon Libra $649-849

la marzocco linea mini espresso machine and specialita grinder lifestyle by clive coffee

The Specialita is our most popular home espresso grinder. It’s so popular that we lovingly call it the “crowd pleaser. The 55mm burr size is a huge improvement— translating to faster grind times (9-12 seconds for an 18-20g dose) and with less heat and friction during the grinding process, giving you more fluffy and consistently distributed grounds. The Specialita also is an adept single-doser when called upon, having around .5 to 1g retention on average. Lastly, the accurate timed dosing screen on the front panel gives you two timed settings and a continuous mode for on-demand grinding. 

lucca x58 espresso machine and eureka mignon libra grinder lifestyle by clive coffee

The Libra is a copy/paste of the Specialita platform, with a built-in scale to grind by weight.  Almost identical, the Libra is taller at 16.9" and wider at 4.88”. The built-in scale is on the adjustable portafilter fork and will accept most portafilter sizes. You can adjust the fork to accommodate the included Libra dosing funnel for a no-mess grinding experience. Accurate to the tenth of a gram, you’ll nail your dose each time with the Libra. Compared to the Sette 270wi, the Libra’s build quality is far superior, using minimal plastic parts and being much quieter during operation. 


  • Low grind retention 
  • Easy to maintenance 
  • Quiet
  • Libra grinds by weight 
  • Specialita grinds by time 


  • The stepless adjustment knob could be a learning curve for beginners as opposed to stepped adjustments, but ultimately gives you more accuracy. 

Experienced Home Barista 

This category is for folks who have been making espresso at home for some time or for the home barista who wants to start with more performance immediately. Performance, in this case, means faster grinding, more consistency with back-to-back shots, and the ability to produce more volume if needed. Many seasoned home baristas already use advanced techniques like WDT (Weiss distribution technique) and RDT (Ross droplet technique) to maximize their puck prep and resulting extractions. Experienced home baristas are looking for a grinder that offers a tactile and engaging grinding experience with the most consistent grind consistency, shot to shot.

Eureka Mignon Oro Single Dose $799-869 

The Mignon Single Dose supplants our perennial best-seller, the Eureka Mignon Specialita, as a premium upgrade pick because you get a more extensive burr set (65mm) and motor (320w) for only $150 more. As a result, you get a significant leap in performance without making a huge commitment. Decked out with a custom wood hopper lid and dosing cup base, the premium touch points on this grinder match the grind quality. The single-dosing workflow requires you to measure your dose before grinding, adding an additional but quick step to your routine. Single dosing also allows for easier adjustments when switching beans. Low grind retention allows for less coffee waste and less guesswork when making grind adjustments. 


  • Low grind retention 
  • Easy to maintenance 
  • Quiet
  • Premium dosing cup, two hopper lids (wood & clear), and optional bellows
  • Easy to switch between coffee beans  


  • Difficult to use for multiple brew methods 
  • The stepless adjustment knob could be a learning curve for beginners 

Eureka Atom 75 $1399-1499

The Atom 75 is by far our top-performing home espresso grinder, boasting large 75mm flat stainless steel burrs and a large motor with all the torque you could need in the home setting. The Atom 75 can simply stay in step with any espresso machine; it is perfect for one shot of espresso a day or 50 plus. Why would you need this kind of performance? Becuase you are worth it. Are you ever planning on hosting guests for a dinner party or the holidays? Now, you can dazzle them with your newfound espresso skills. The Atom 75 exudes commercial performance and build quality but is for home use. 


  • Can upgrade to Eureka’s titanium burrs
  • You can add a larger 1200g hopper for light commercial use 
  • Can pull 50+ shots without skipping a beat 


  • It can be too large to fit under standard US cabinets 

The Home Barista Who Wants it All 

Admittedly, most people are not using $2500 + grinders in their homes because they are geared toward light commercial or café use. That said, some of us desire to replicate the café experience in the home and bring the café home. These grinders execute this idea beautifully. Why not take the plunge for those looking at the La Marzocco GS3 MP or the Sanremo YOU? You don’t want to pair a Baratza Sette 270 with that caliber of machine. 

Mahlkönig E65 GBW $2,950

World-renowned for its multi-purpose and endlessly versatile EK-43 bulk coffee grinder, the Mahlkönig E65 GBW (grind by weight) is dedicated to espresso only. With lightning-fast grind times and grounds distribution accuracy down to the grain, the E65 GBW can even remember and store the weight of your portafilter, so it instantly recognizes it when you place your portafilter on the resting fork. The technology is exciting and intuitive, lending to one of the smoothest and most consistent grinding experiences. 


  • Commercial pedigree 
  • Accurate grind-by-weight dosing
  • Disc Distance Detection (DDD) lets you fine-tune your grind setting based on the actual distance between the burrs


  • On the pricy side
  • Large for the home setting 

The Clive Way 

The importance of having a decent standalone espresso grinder cannot be overstated. Although you won’t become an espresso expert overnight, the grinder will help catapult your skills to the next level, setting you up with the right tools to help you become a more experienced and discerning home barista. If you’re still having trouble choosing a grinder and are stuck in the proverbial rabbit hole of indecision, please contact us for guidance. You can chat with us on our website, call us at 888-557-5320 (yes, we pick up the phone), or schedule one-on-one time with one of our espresso experts to walk you through the best options. We’re the best at what we do because we live it every single day, and if you’re not making the best espresso of your life, we will make it our life’s mission to coach you until you are satisfied. Why? Because that is the Clive Way.