What’s with the commercial coffee grinders?
Why are they so expensive?
Do I need one if I don’t run a coffee business?
Let’s clear the air a bit.
There are few main characteristics of a commercial coffee grinder over a typical consumer coffee grinder:
- Larger and better quality burr mechanism – you will be able to grind at a much faster rate and larger daily volumes.
- Better heat reduction from internals – your coffee will keep the intended flavors even after been ground.
- Increased durability (especially for moving parts) – you will deal with replacement parts or servicing the grinder less often (and for mild home use you might never run into those “problems”).
- Overall enhanced quality – you get most uniform grinding results as technically possible by these machines.
Do you need these for your home grinder?
Probably not, especially if you grind less than a few pounds of coffee per month.
For the home use, you will be perfectly fine with some of the best prosumer grinders that will cost you even 10 times less than any commercial grinder. Or you can look at these Best Budget Coffee Grindersthat will further reduce your costs, though quality won’t be competing with the list here below.
Let’s finally kick it off!
The 7 Best Commercial Coffee Grinders
As promised, here are the seven commercial-grade coffee grinders that could jumpstart your coffee shop or local roastery business.
Want to know more about how to actually decide which of the commercial grinders are right for you?
We got you covered there, scroll down to our complete buyer’s guide.
The La Pavoni ZIP-B is an Italian made commercial espresso grinder using a large 63.5 mm tempered steel flat burrs that can grind 13 lbs (5.9 kg) of beans per hour. It’s pretty fast and has semi-automatic dosing adjustable from 5 g (.17 oz) to 8 g (.28 oz).
The motor’s thermal shield helps block out sound, and the F insulation keeps the heat while grinding. The die-cast anodized aluminum body provides stability while grinding and long-lasting durability.
- Durable and long-lasting
- Automatic stop function protects the motor
- Fast grinding at a rate of 13 lbs (5.9 kg) per hour of coffee beans
- Produce consistent grind size
- Semi-automatic dosing function (5g to 8g setup)
- No timer
- Limited grind adjustment setting
The Mazzer Super Jolly is an impressive grinder that can handle a busy coffee house without a problem. The stepless grind control allows from very fine to coarse grounds with great consistency.
Dosing mechanism dispenses 5.5g to 8g of ground coffee for quick espresso brewing. It can grind 17g per second to quickly serve the long line of customers.
- Quick and consistent coffee ground from fine to coarse
- Can handle hundreds of cups daily
- Dosing mechanism for quick dispensing of ground coffee
- On/off switch is integrated with the dial timer for quick operation
- Durable steel construction
- Large hopper
- Large footprint
Baratza has always been a popular name in coffee grinders, and the brand continuously improves and innovates its products. The Baratza Forte is one of the most popular choices in the commercial coffee mills used by many professional baristas.
You might get fooled by the Baratza Forte’s size but it’s packed with features and functionality backed with modern technology enhancements. The 54 mm ceramic flat burrs by Mahlkonig makes it an all-occasion grinder perfect for any brew method you prefer.
Baratza states that Forte AP has a grinding coffee capacity of 5 lbs per day, which seems a little low when comparing to other 20+ lb per hour grinders. But there is a reason for that, Baratza Forte is meant to be a supporting grinder, that is dedicated for example to Decaf only.
Decaf is just an example, you need to evaluate the demand for types of coffee you are offering and dedicate most suitable to the Forte!
- Compact and sleek design
- Small footprint
- Great for espresso and other brew methods
- Quiet operation due to the belt drive system
- Grinding capacity of 5 lbs/day
- Durable metal construction
- Programmable for up to 3 preset grind setup
- You need to hold the portafilter as it slides while grinding coffee
- Small hopper size for commercial use
- Has some low-quality plastic parts
If you need a quick and reliable espresso grinder for your busy cafe, then the Compak K6 might be all you need. Built for professional baristas, this machine can handle any high volume cafe with its grinding rate of 23 to 27 pounds of beans/hour.
The motor is designed to work continuously in high volume cafes without you worrying about heating problems. It has stepless electronic grind adjustment setting for any consistent grind size.
- Large hopper capacity
- Durable aluminum body
- Precise dosing
- Consistent ground particles
- Perfect for high volume coffee houses
- Long-lasting build
- Small footprint
- Quiet operation
- Quite expensive replacement parts
Are you familiar with the Mahlkonig K30 Vario? It’s the United States and World Barista Championships official grinder.
So, what the K30 Air has to do with the K30 Vario?
The K30 Air is the refined version, and you’ll get the same features you get from the Vario, except that it’s cooler.
The K30 Air’s metal body has a rear fan that constantly cools the grinding chamber and the motor making it 10 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the Vario. What’s more interesting is that it keeps the ground coffee below 50 degrees Celsius even during the busiest time of the day.
- Durable overall construction
- Serves you the freshest coffee all the time
- Cool grinding preserves the aromatic oil
- Very quiet operation
- Easy to clean and maintain
- Very minimal coffee grounds retention
- May take some time mastering the stepless settings
From its name, the Compak K10 Conic grinds with a massive 68 mm conical tempered steel burrs. It runs at a slow speed of 400 RPM, but it can incredibly grind 35 to 39 pounds of beans per hour.
Imagine how quickly you can grind coffee to serve a long line of customers eagerly waiting for your freshest coffee brew. Packed with a 1 hp (~750watts) motor, the Compak K10 is a real workhorse.
- Cool operation due to the cooling fan
- Long burr life-cycle of 1.2 tons
- Minimal or no clumping at all
- Consistent fluffy grind
- Huge hopper capacity
- Quick and simple to use
- Quick grinding at a rate of 35 to 39 lbs of coffee beans per hour
- The chute retains coffee grounds
If you liked the Mahlkonig K30 Air, then you’ll most likely love the Mahlkonig Peak On-Demand with its easier to use dose setup buttons.
The Compak K30 has a massive burr, but the Peak has a monster 80 mm special cast steel burrs for that perfectly consistent grind particles.
When it comes to cooling systems, the Peak has two cooling fans so the motor runs cool during the peak hours of business.
- Double ventilation for better cooling
- Available with short or tall hopper
- Electronic grind control for exact portioning
- Starts automatically when portafilter is in place
- Precisely consistent grind size
- Quick disassembly for cleaning and maintenance
- Spout LED lights
- The burrs have tendencies to misalign during heavy use (the solution is to recalibrate that takes about 5 minutes)
There you have it, our seven best commercial coffee grinders for your one-stop coffee bar.
Earlier in this article, we mentioned that we’ll give you a complete guide on how to find the best commercial grinder.
Enjoy It Next!
These above-mentioned grinders are great at performing day to day duties. But few of them did make to our Best High End Coffee Grinder list.
Ultimate Buyers Guide for Commercial Coffee Grinder
The secret to a great-tasting coffee is an extraordinary coffee grinder. But we’re talking about commercial purpose here and not the coffee grinders we use at home.
Let’s make a quick peek on this ultimate buyers guide.
- The endless debate on conical vs. flat burr grinder
- The battle between doser and doserless commercial espresso grinders
- Stepped vs. stepless grind settings
- Hopper size, the bigger the better
- Manual vs. programmable, old school vs. techie
- Grinder footprint, small is better
- Business needs
- The working budget
- Other considerations – commercial grinder, retail grinder, and industrial grinder
Conical vs. Flat Burr Grinder
There’s always this comparison between a conical and flat burr grinder regarding which one makes better-tasting coffee. Both burr grinders make great-tasting coffee, and both are used in busy coffee shops.
So what makes them both unique?
Conical Burr Grinders
Conical burr grinders have two cone-shaped burrs that grind the coffee beans slowly. This slow grinding process keeps the beans cool, thus, protecting its flavor.
To the naked eye, the grounds produced by conical burrs look uniform in size, but the truth is, there are two sizes produced, which are large and small particles. This could be good for brewing methods using coarse grounds as the smaller particles slow down the filtering process to extract more flavors.
Conical burrs are known to bring out brighter coffee notes or the fruitier flavors.
- Best for fruitier blends
- Quiet grinding
- Generates less heat during grinding
- Easier to adjust
- Best for brew methods requiring coarse grounds
- The two-sized ground particles produce unbalanced coffee extracts.
Flat Burr Grinders
Flat burr grinders use flat-shaped burrs that spin so fast to crush the coffee beans in between them. Flat burrs are known to generate heat due to its high RPM speed, thus, risking to burn the coffee beans.
However, with modern engineering, top quality flat burr grinders are designed to quickly dissipate heat to protect the coffee bean flavor. Additionally, they are good at producing uniform coffee grounds resulting in a more balanced extraction.
Unlike conical burrs, flat burrs produce single-sized coffee particles.
- Best for customizing espresso blends
- More balanced extraction
- More uniform grounds compared to conical burr grinders
- Louder grinding operation
- More difficult to adjust
Depending on your coffee shop setup, you may need to have both types of commercial coffee grinders, especially if your coffee shop has a high-volume of customers. Some smaller coffee shops may have just one type depending on their brewing specialties.
Doser vs. Doserless Grinders
You might also want to consider if you need a doser or doserless grinder for your commercial coffee venture. Both types have their advantages and disadvantages, so let’s find out which one will work best for your coffee shop.
Doser is a container that catches the coffee grounds and has a dispenser. It helps baristas to get an accurate dose of coffee grounds with just a pull of a lever.
Some grinders have electronic dosers that work without a container. These grinders are programmable and dispense an accurate dose of coffee.
Doser grinders are great for busy coffee shops with their ability to quickly carry out accurate coffee dosing.
- Best for high-volume and busy coffee shops and restaurants
- Accurate dosing for consistent brewing
- A doser can hold a large quantity of ground coffee to anticipate high-volume orders
- Eliminates hit and miss dosing
- Doser grinders without container dispense more accurate doses
- Doser grinders without container guarantee freshness of ground coffee
- Coffee grounds may lose freshness while inside the doser
- Doser requires cleaning
- Models without container may be messy
Doserless grinders lack the container that catches the ground coffee, instead, it grinds directly to a portafilter, filter paper, or grounds bin. These grinders are usually used by experienced baristas who usually use their sense of sight to determine the amount of coffee grounds.
Typically, these grinders are equipped with just an on/off switch, but some modern designs have a timed dosing function.
- A barista has more control over the dispensing of the ground coffee
- Guarantees freshness of coffee
- No containers to clean and maintain
- Less waste from staled coffee grounds
- You need to get a more experienced barista to operate these types of commercial coffee grinders
- May produce more mess as coffee grounds may escape the portafilter, especially when your barista quickly moves around during peak hours of your coffee shop
Generally, doser and doserless functions are used in commercial espresso mills. Depending on your coffee shop needs, either one or both types of grinders may be essential to your business.
Stepped vs. Stepless Grind Settings
Stepped and stepless grind settings refer to selecting the right grind size according to the coffee brew one intends to make. In short, both types set a machine to grind from coarse to fine.
Both types of mills are used in different coffee shop setups.
Stepped Grind Settings
Probably you are more familiar with a coffee grinder with stepped grind selection. Entry-level and most commercial grinders are fitted with stepped grind settings.
This type of grinder usually clicks when you adjust the grind size because of the notched increments. Grind settings are usually marked with numbers that represent how coarse or fine coffee grounds will be produced.
- Easier to set
- User-friendly, especially for newbie coffee lovers
- Best for different brew options like drip coffee, pour-over, and French press
- Best if you are training new baristas
- Limited grind options
Stepless Grind Settings
Unlike grinders with stepped settings, stepless grinders have no notch increments that clicks, though some have visible markings such as numbers.
A user has more control over the settings as it doesn’t have preset notches. Therefore, a barista can set the grind size according to his own choice of settings.
- More precise grind settings
- Allows a barista to experiment on different espresso grind
- Better coffee extraction
- Difficult to repeat the same settings previously used
- A barista needs more time to learn the exact settings
Stepped grinders are more advantageous in using for different brew methods, as they are easier to set. On the other hand, stepless grinders are best used for a specific purpose, like espresso, but not ideal to be used on both filtered brew and espresso.
A busy coffee shop means you need more coffee to grind, and refilling your grinder’s bean hopper repeatedly can slow down your service. You don’t want customers getting impatient, do you?
A commercial coffee beans grinder typically has a large hopper that can hold a pound of beans but you can look for something bigger if your business would require so.
Your grinder’s hopper capacity should also match the capacity of your coffee shop, you won’t be needing something bigger if your space for clientele is limited.
Manually Set vs. Programmable Grinders
Many coffee grinder manufacturers are integrating modern technology with their products. Many manually set mills are being replaced by the more advanced programmable grinders using electronics.
However, many entrepreneur baristas use both manually set, and programmable grinders in their coffee shops.
But why use manual settings when you can program?
Manually Set Grinders
Just like the old manual or electric burr grinder that you might just probably use before, you simply set for the desired grind size, and then you proceed with the grinding process.
Some burr grinders have timers that you can also set manually to get the exact amount of coffee grind you need.
Usually, these manually set grinders need repeating set up for your daily coffee grinding tasks. It seems a tedious task, but old-school coffee enthusiasts find these mills fail-proof.
- Easy to use
- No complicated electronics to deal with
- Less expensive
- Easier to repair
- Needs to be repeatedly setup
Programmable grinders use electronics and LCD screens to set. You just push some buttons, and the electronic chips do the setup.
However, there are some grinders using electronics that you need to reprogram daily as they are not equipped with a memory.
For more high technology grinders, like the Baratza Vario, you can dial in 3 different preset programs that you repeatedly use, so the next time you use the grinder, you don’t have to repeat the setup.
- Perfect for grind settings that you repeatedly use
- Dosing and timers are more accurate
- Those with built-in preset programs provides quick operation
- Takes time to get used to the programming
- Not so attractive to old-school coffee enthusiasts
The most commonly forgotten consideration is the grinder’s footprint. Oftentimes, we get so fascinated by the size of the grinder, thinking of how great the amount of beans it can grind, but only to find out later that it eats up a lot of space on your counter.
So, before buying that amazingly huge coffee grinder, you might just want to see if it will fit just right in your coffee shop space.
Sometimes we all get too excited to buy things we don’t even need. The same goes for business startups like coffee shops.
Do you need a separate grinder for other coffee blends that your coffee shop serves? Or is just one espresso machine and grinder good enough for your daily operations?
If your coffee shop serves a high volume of customers, a separate commercial espresso grinder is ideal. However, small shops may only need just a few or even one grinder, but you may also want to consider having a backup coffee grinder just in case there’s an unexpected surge of customers coming in.
On the other hand, if your coffee business offers coffee grinding services, then a separate retail grinder would be necessary.
Does the retail grinder sound unusual to you? You might have encountered retail grinders on some grocery stores during the times when you were still a clueless coffee lover.
Do you need a retail grinder for your coffee shop? Or should a commercial grinder be enough?
How about an industrial coffee grinder?
The Working Budget
No matter how much you want that most expensive coffee grinder for your coffee house, in the end, it’s the budget that dictates what you can afford.
But being expensive doesn’t mean the best, the seven best commercial coffee grinders in our list may seem luxurious but the truth is, they’re not the most costly coffee grinding machines in the market.
In the end, you’ll decide which coffee grinding machine fits your business, and most importantly, your budget.
Other Considerations: The Difference Between Commercial, Retail, and Industrial Coffee Grinders
What do you need for your business? Will you need a commercial, retail, or industrial coffee grinders?
Before you get confused, let’s talk about them one at a time.
The Speedy Commercial Grinders
You are familiar with the commercial grinders, and you might already have one if you’re among those bonafide coffee enthusiasts. A good example of this type of grinder is the Baratza Forte.
A commercial coffee grinder is also popularly known as a professional coffee grinder, and it’s either equipped with conical burrs or flat burrs. These supercharged coffee grinders don’t come cheap but they are reliable during those long-line days.
Being able to grind pounds of coffee beans on a busy day isn’t just the impressive capability of commercial coffee grinders. These professional coffee grinders are not just workhorses, but they also produce highly consistent ground size from one grind to the next.
And that is the ultimate secret of great-tasting coffee, as consistent ground size produces consistent coffee extracts.
The Supercharged Retail Grinders
As mentioned earlier, retail grinders are usually found in grocery stores or coffee shops offering retail coffee grinding services.
Retail grinders could also be part of your busy coffee house, as some loyal customers would likely purchase preground coffee.
Whether they want it fine or coarse, these retail mills grind in a blast, and with impressive grounds consistency.
Retail grinders are designed not just for speed and consistency but can grind directly to coffee bags as well. What’s more interesting is some models have an inbuilt bag shaker that vibrates the bag to settle the coffee.
So, is a commercial coffee grinder enough for your coffee business setup or a retail grinder ignited a spark to have its place inside your cafe?
One good example of a retail grinder is the Compak R8 with a built-in bag shaker to automatically settle the grounds.
But before you decide, you might just want to check out what industrial coffee grinders can do.
The Turbo-Charged Industrial Grinders
So what separates an industrial grinder to a retail grinder and commercial coffee grinder? The turbo-charged speed.
Even the fastest supercharged retail coffee grinder will have no match to the speed of an industrial grinder.
So does this mean, you should get an industrial coffee grinder like the Compak R140?
If you’re planning to have your coffee roastery or to grind large quantities to sell in your coffee house or to vendors, then you might just need an industrial grinder.
These turbo-charged mills can grind a whopping 5 pounds of coffee beans or more in just a minute. They’re ultimately fast but they also reliably produce consistent grounds as they’re equipped with specially-designed burrs.
So, do you need retail and industrial coffee mills for your business? Again, as discussed earlier, decisions will be based on your business setup needs.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best commercial coffee grinder?
The top commercial coffee grinder would depend on your coffee business needs like daily coffee volume, space available for grinder, to name a few. It also depends on your working budget.
Sometimes, expensive doesn’t always mean its the best.
What kind of grinder does Starbucks use?
Starbucks uses the Mastrena High-Performance Espresso Machine, which is not offered commercially. The manufacturer exclusively partnered with Starbucks, so you won’t see any of these machines being sold anywhere.
Their espresso machines are also known as bean-to-cup machines.
What is the quietest coffee grinder?
All coffee grinders produce a loud grinding sound, but with modern engineering, manufacturers made it possible to lower their noise.
Any grinder that has a decibel rating of less than a hundred would be considered quiet machines, just like the ones in our list of the top coffee mills averaging at 75db.
So now, what grinder just made it through your liking?
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