With a grinder, you also get a lot of extra work to enjoy that first cup of coffee in the morning. You have to measure and grind the beans with absolute precision. Fortunately, there are options, even for those who want a grinder without the giant, cumbersome machine eating up valuable counter space.
If you want to make the most out of the “coffee experience,” you should definitely acquire a grinder with your espresso machine. You can purchase a grinder separately, or you can go for a built-in grinder on select models.
The addition of a grinder adds some workload to the overall experience. However, you’re essentially cutting out the middleman because now you can directly purchase the beans rather than the ground coffee that includes the cost of grinding the beans.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of A Built-In Grinder?
Of course, everything comes with a caveat, and there are certainly some cons to overcome if you decide to go with a grinder when you purchase your espresso machine.
- It’s definitely a space saver
- The grinder is designed specifically for your espresso machine
- Short-term and long-term savings
- Best flavor with a fresh grind
- Quicker process
- Adds to your cleaning
- A broken, built-in grinder may affect the whole espresso machine
- Difficult to change beans
Purchasing an espresso maker with a built-in grinder will save you a ton of space. Grinders alone are giant, bulky items. If you include an espresso machine sitting right next to the grinder, you’re going to eat up a whole lot of square footage on your counter.
Another favorable consideration is that a grinder built into an espresso machine is a grinder that is 100% compatible with that machine. Grinders are meticulous things, and—although it’s not often an issue—they sometimes don’t mesh well with an espresso machine.
You get both short and long-term savings investing in an espresso machine with a built-in grinder. Sure, there’s a bit of discomfort involved when you look at that price tag for the first time, juxtaposed against a stand-alone espresso machine.
However, buying an espresso machine and a separate grinder is generally going to cost a lot more money than purchasing the combo. Also, you get long-term savings by getting rid of the aforementioned middle man.
You will also appreciate the level of freshness you get from grinding coffee beans and running them straight through the espresso-making process. There’s really no quicker method for getting the freshest taste than an espresso machine with a built-in grinder.
The process is more suitable as well. With a separate grinder, you pull the results and transfer them over to the espresso machine. Of course, everything has to be measured out accurately as well, lest you make too much and end up wasting good beans.
Unfortunately, it’s going to require a bit more legwork when it comes to cleaning up. Residual coffee bean oils will spoil the flavor of future beans, so it has to be cleaned up on a routine basis. Since espresso machine/grinder combos are heavy and bulky, that’s easier said than done.
Suppose anything ever goes wrong with your grinder, depending on the design of the espresso machine you purchased. Therefore, it could mean trashing the entire thing. It’s something you should certainly consider before purchasing, so be sure to do your homework ahead of time.
Lastly, once you pour the beans in, it really has to run its course. The grinder will make an espresso shot after shot until the beans are gone because not only is it challenging to get the beans back out by hand, the other option is to flip the machine over and dump them.
This will make things difficult if you still have a lot of beans in the grinder and you want to try a different flavor.
What Are The Pros And Cons Of Buying A Separate Grinder?
Once you have your espresso machine, you may be saddened to realize that there are espresso machines available that have built-in grinders. Fortunately, you can still add a grinder to your personal coffee arsenal and still benefit from some of its advantages.
- Absolute control of the ground size
- Mix and match
- Change beans when you want to
- Eliminate the middle man
- Long-term savings
- Eats up counter space
- More expensive than a combo
- Requires plenty of cleaning
You really have a good deal of control over exactly how you want your beans ground, the level of coarseness, and how much. It’s nice to get precisely what you want out of the things you pay for, and a coffee grinder is a prime example of this.
You also have more freedom to mix and match different beans for flavor combinations or simply empty a previous batch of beans out to try something different. With a grinder, the possibilities are essentially endless.
Like you do with an espresso machine/grinder combo, you get the enviable position of not having to deal with a middle man. You can buy your beans direct and more cost-effectively when you don’t have to pay the labor costs associated with already ground coffee.
Sure, you won’t get to take advantage of the short-term savings of purchasing a combo unit. However, you still get long-term savings since you never have to repurchase ground coffee.
The unfortunate aspect of owning a separate grinder is the sheer amount of counter space it takes up, especially if it has to share the same space with the espresso machine. It’s also going to be a bit more expensive to buy a grinder separately from an espresso machine, especially since combos are nowhere near as prevalent.
Lastly, you’ll definitely have some extra cleaning to do with a separate grinder. Not only do you have to keep the espresso machine maintained and working efficiently, but you also have to deal with the grinder as well. That usually means taking several pieces of it apart.
Are Espresso Machine/Grinder Combos Hard To Find?
While the espresso maker and a separate grinder are certainly more prevalent, combos aren’t tricky to find by any means.
However, suppose you’re an absolute newcomer to the wonders and variations of freshly brewed coffee. Keeping that in mind, combos may not look like much more than a gigantic coffee shot maker.
This EspressoWorks is a good example of a grinder/espresso maker that won’t force you to sell a body part on the black market to afford it. It is also the perfect choice for newcomers who want to experiment and learn more.
Then, the Breville Barista is far more expensive but makes up for it with a load of different features. As a result, the Breville Barista is on the lower end of the spectrum by a considerable margin in terms of price.
If you’re a coffee aficionado, then nothing will fully complete the coffee experience until you get the grinder companion for your espresso machine. Either that or buy the combination of the two.
Either way, controlling, experimenting, and taking advantage of the freshness of the brew you can only get from grinding your own beans, is a reward in and of itself.
Stack, V. (April 17, 2020). SHOULD YOUR ESPRESSO MACHINE HAVE A BUILT-IN GRINDER?
Retrieved from: https://www.reviewed.com/cooking/features/espresso-machines-with-built-in-grinders-are-they-worth-it
Robert, J. (N/A). Should I Get an Espresso Machine with a Grinder?
Retrieved from: https://espressocoffeebrewers.com/espresso-machine-with-a-grinder/