Bodum Antigua Burr Grinder – Review
October 11, 2005
There is probably no single step that will give you more quality improvement for your money than grinding your own coffee beans. Ground coffee goes stale literally within minutes. If you spend your money on decent beans (or even halfway decent beans) and grind it or have it ground at the store, you’re wasting your money. By the time you get to the second pot, you might as well be drinking coffee out of the can.
Unfortunately, where most people go for their first grinder is to a “blade” grinder — one of the little “whirly-blade” things that doesn’t really grind coffee as much as it chops it up. In the process, it also gets the beans hot, burns them, and destroys some of the character of the taste. Worse, it produces an uneven grind — little pieces and big pieces.
While the coffee from a blade grinder will be light-years ahead of pre-ground coffee, a fairly small step up can get you almost as much further ahead again.
This is where the Bodum Antigua Burr Grinder comes in — at under $70, it’s not much more than you’d pay for a “whirlyblade” grinder.
In return, the Antigua will reward you with a much more precise and consistent grind, and a much better cup of coffee.
It’s a burr grinder. Instead of “chopping” the beans, the beans are actually ground between a pair of stainless steel conical burrs. Three grind selections let you choose between “French Press” (a coarse “press pot” grind), “Drip”, and “Espresso” (which does not produce a grind suitable for espresso).
Power is controlled by a timer, which allows you to roughly control the amount of coffee that’s ground. An auto-cutoff shuts off the grinder in case a stone is encountered during grinding (which has been known to happen).
The grinder includes a bean hopper that will hold roughly a half-pound of roasted coffee beans, in a reasonably air-tight fashion.
As mentioned above, the grinder is probably not suitable for espresso use, although there are doubtless more than a few people who do so.
The biggest problem is liable to be durability. This is a mostly-plastic kitchen gadget, not a rock-solid hunk of metal intended to grind industrial quantities of coffee. Of course, that’s why it costs under $70, instead of the $700 – $7000 you might pay for a real serious commercial grinder.
It does the job, and will produce a noticably better cup of coffee than a blade grinder (or pre-ground). If you decide that you later want to step up to something like the Kitchenaid, the Antigua is inexpensive enough to keep as a backup, or to help put some other benighted soul on the path to a much better cup of coffee.