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A coffee grinder is to an Espresso maker what foreplay is to full coitus; you don’t have to do it but everyone involved will be a lot happier if you do.
Anybody who knows me knows that one of my most serious addictions involves the taking of caffeine and as far as I am concerned there is only one way to take caffeine and that is in the form of Espresso coffees.
Once it has been accepted that instant coffee is the work of the devil, the coffee drinker must find a decent Espresso maker. However that particular piece of kit is for another occasion since this review is on the Gaggia MM74518WH grinder. Having said that, try to use a stovetop percolator, you won’t regret it!
Why Use a Grinder **************** It is of course possible to buy ready ground coffee and a couple of bags of your choice are certainly a cupboard essential, however ready ground coffee only really comes in about three main levels of grinding and the true caffeine addict will want a greater choice depending on the maker used ( i.e. cafetiere or percolator) and the strength of the resultant brew; the finer the coffee grounds the stronger in caffeine the brew will be. Freshly ground coffee also improves the taste exponentially.
This make of grinder has 39 settings, which to be honest is a little over the top. Ten would be sufficient from very coarse up to very fine but I suppose it leaves scope for experimentation on a particularly barren television night!
This is a burr grinder.
Burr Vs. Blade Grinders ******************** A blade grinder is as it sounds a method using rapidly rotating blades, much like a food processor, which chop the beans into a dust. A burr grinder is basically a mill and crushes the beans much as one would flour or even pepper. Burr grinders tend to produce a better tasting coffee for the following reasons: blades tend to heat up in the process and can add a slightly burnt flavour to the coffee. Also, grinding teases out the natural oils within the bean and produces a subtler taste. Another important consideration is that burr grinders are much quieter not producing that teeth clenching whirring and rattling that the blade variety tend to do.
This grinder is made of a mixture of hard plastic and stainless steel and can be bought in three different main colours; black, white and grey. It stands at about 15” and can take a 250g bag of beans with ease.
Use is as simple as it gets; the beans are poured into a container at the top which has a locking clear plastic lid. The setting is chosen by means of a dial, the machine is switched on, the coffee is ground and deposited in another clear plastic container at the bottom, which slots in and out quite easily. It isn’t very noisy, but then neither is it very quiet. It only has to be on for a matter of seconds anyway.
It uses a 100w and I have found it on the Caffè Italia website for £53. Mine cost about a tenner more.
I like this grinder over my others because it is essentially simple to use and small enough not to be intrusive. Some grinders are ridiculously over complicated, it is just a mill after all. Gaggia is also an excellent make and mine shows no signs of illness after approachin 9 months.