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?

In order to thoroughly examine the advantages and disadvantages of the different burr varieties, it is essential to first have a grasp of their operation.

The burr, which is the essential component of the coffee grinder, is accountable for the grinding of coffee beans. It is composed of two pieces, with one being stationary and the other rotating. These two parts work in collaboration to control the fineness of the coffee grounds that are produced while grinding the coffee beans.

Conical Burr Grinders

The conical burr grinder comprises two burrs in the shape of cones that are positioned vertically, with one burr nested within the other. As the burrs rotate, the beans are ground in-between. It's a great choice for those who want a single grinder for all their coffee 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 have established a reputation for their exceptional capacity to create a uniform grind. This uniformity is particularly crucial in the production of espresso, as it necessitates an even grind to extract a perfectly balanced and delicately smooth shot of espresso.

Nonetheless, one of the shortcomings of flat burrs is their tendency to generate greater amounts of heat in comparison to conical burrs. This heat can significantly influence the taste of the coffee, especially when grinding for espresso. Additionally, flat burrs tend to be pricier than conical burrs.

Which One is Right for You?

So, which one should you choose? The answer depends on your preferences and what you’re looking for in a grinder.

If you’re looking for a grinder that will produce a consistent grind and a balanced cup of coffee, then a flat burr grinder may be the most fitting alternative. On the other hand, if you yearn for a grinder that is adaptable and capable of handling a broad range of grind sizes, then a conical burr grinder might be the superior option.

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.


We hope that this article has helped you understand the differences between flat and conical burrs, and has made it easier for you to choose the right grinder for you. Regardless of whether you opt for a flat or conical burr grinder, the most important thing is that you’re happy with your choice and enjoy the delicious cup of coffee it produces. Happy brewing!



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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.