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Understanding Flat vs Conical Burr Grinders

0 commentPost by : Jasmin Tétreault

It is widely held among coffee aficionados that a high-quality coffee grinder is an essential tool in the pursuit of exceptional coffee. Choosing the right grinder, however, involves a decision between two main types of burrs: the flat burr and the conical burr. In this article, we will take a look into the question of which type of burr produces the best coffee, leaving no stone unturned in our quest for a perfect cup.

What are Flat Burrs and Conical Burrs?

Before delving into the pros and cons of different burr types, it's crucial to understand their mechanics. The burr, an essential part of a coffee grinder, is responsible for breaking down coffee beans into grounds. It consists of two interlocking parts—one stationary and the other rotating—featuring sharp surfaces that crush beans as they pass through. These parts work together to determine the fineness or coarseness of the resulting coffee grounds.

Conical Burr Grinders

The conical burr grinder consists of two vertically positioned, nesting cone-shaped burrs. As they rotate, beans are ground between them, making it a versatile option for diverse brewing needs.

Advantages of Conical Burrs

Conical burrs are known for their versatility. This type of burr possesses the capability to process a broad spectrum of grind sizes, ranging from coarse for French presses to fine for espresso. In addition, conical burrs are generally simpler to cleanse compared to flat burrs. The cone shape enables larger coffee particles to effortlessly separate, mitigating the possibility of blockages.

Another advantage of conical burrs is their slower grinding speed. The slower grinding speed of this burr category produces less heat, which could potentially rob the coffee of its flavor. Moreover, there's static electricity, which is a potential obstacle in other grinder types.

Flat Burr Grinders

In contrast, flat burr grinders consist of two parallel flat plates that usually lie in a horizontal position. Flat burrs are renowned for their capability to deliver an even grind, rendering them a favored preference amongst adept baristas. The uniformity in the particle size of the ground coffee is vital to a balanced extraction.

Advantages of Flat Burrs

Flat burrs, characterized by parallel grinding discs, produce uniform grinds crucial for espresso extraction. However, they tend to generate more heat during the grinding process compared to conical burrs, which may affect coffee flavor, particularly in espresso. Additionally, flat burr grinders often come with a higher price tag than conical burr grinders.

Which One is Right for You?

Deciding on a grinder depends on your preferences: choose a flat burr grinder for consistent grinds and balanced coffee, or a conical burr grinder for versatility and handling various grind sizes.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, the selection of either flat burrs or conical burrs relies on personal preference. Enthusiasts who only have one brewing method might lean towards flat burr grinders owing to their unwavering uniformity. Meanwhile, those who alternate between various coffee brewing methods may opt for conical burr grinders due to their adaptability and simplicity of maintenance.


This article aimed to provide clarity on the distinctions between flat and conical burrs, assisting you in determining the most suitable grinder for your coffee preferences. Whichever type of burr grinder you select, the key is to be content with your decision and take pleasure in the delectable coffee it yields. Wishing you a delightful brewing experience!


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Baratza Encore ESP - Coffee Grinder

With simple, intuitive controls and a high-resolution grind range from #1-20, dialing in the perfect shot is easy with the Encore ESP. Inside, the durable metal adjustment system offers consistent, precise grinding, and the 40mm M2 conical burr features a quick release for easy cleanup and maintenance. The Encore ESP includes a 54mm anti-static dosing cup with a 58mm adapter for larger portafilters.