Grinders, they say, are vital to the coffee experience. Some baristas say that if you’re not going to buy a coffee grinder, then there’s no point in purchasing a coffee maker. And I believe they’re right!
Well, why get both? In the same machine? That’s right, coffee makers with integrated grinders are a thing, and they’re much better than you can imagine. Turns out they figured quite a while ago that it was easy to put a high-end coffee grinder inside a coffee machine.
Since their release, coffee makers with grinders have been popular – but they still struggle. There’s no real reason behind this, as they’re as good as any other grinder. It may be the fact that baristas are still too conservative to fully embrace these two-in-one kinds of coffee makers.
In this article, we’ll explore a few different coffee makers with a grinder and see what’s good about them.
- Top choices
- The 7 Best Coffee Makers with Grinder
- Should I buy a coffee maker with an integrated grinder?
- Aspects to consider when buying a coffee maker with grinder
- Tips for using a coffee maker with grinder
The 7 Best Coffee Makers with Grinder
You can tell that DeLonghi has been in the game for a long time because, even though this is a hybrid machine, it functions like a top-grade machine. The steaming wand makes rich, thick foamed milk, and the espresso is very aromatic.
Its amazing design is built to cater to either busy or lazy people. By this we mean that there’s practically no need to be using chemicals to clean the tubes – no need to run scalding water through it just in case there are blockages etc. – The machine is built in such a way that it only needs a little cleaning here and there every week – and that’s it.
Cuisinart DGB 900BC
You might need to look twice to realize that this is actually not a drip coffee maker. Because in appearance it looks just like a regular old drip coffee maker yet it has a lot of raw power for such a small machine.
Once you’re ready to drink coffee, you can control the grind you want (as well as the strength) with the buttons on the front; you can track your customizing process thanks to a small display.
The machine even comes with a commercial-grade gold-tone coffee filter which is the best kind of filter you can use for drip coffee and a charcoal water filter to remove any sort of impurities in the water that threatens to mess with the taste of your coffee.
The bean hopper, which looks stylish with its transparent lid, can hold up to 8 ounces of coffee beans and its specially sealed lid prevents any moisture from coming in and ruining your coffee’s freshness. Once you start making your coffee, the grinder automatically grinds the coffee needed. And all the coffee goes into a great 12-cup doubled-wall, insulated thermal carafe. Guaranteed to keep coffee hot.
Breville DBC650BSS Grind Control
On the very top of the Breville there sits the LCD display – which helps you navigate all of the settings that the machine lets you play with via a set of dials and buttons. And these are a lot of options; it has not 5 nor 6 but 8 different strength settings!
It has a sturdy set of stainless steel machined burrs -the kind that Breville is known for to grind coffee to a perfect, consistent size each time you need it to. It grinds and then brews directly into your coffee cup – or into the carafe, which is also made of stainless steel.
It has great features that you will find out you need, like the Programmable Auto Start function: Once you set a time of the day, it’ll start grinding and brewing at that time – so that you can wake up to freshly ground, freshly brewed coffee! Now that’s the good life.
Another feature to consider before buying is the Pre brew temperature control – which will give you water at the optimal temperature for brewing in very little time, even if it’s cold.
Cuisinart DGB-650BC Grind-and-Brew
You have to hand it to the guys at Cuisinart. Grinding your own coffee instead of buying ground coffee adds another level of quality to your coffee – but it can be really expensive to get your own grinder – and sometimes you don’t even have the space in your kitchen, much less the time to learn the ins and outs of a coffee grinder.
So, the best thing that anybody could come up with is to incorporate a decent grinder into an inexpensive machine; this makes it more than accessible even for those who can barely operate a French press. This way, no matter how clumsy you may be, you can get to experience the taste of freshly ground coffee.
Thinking this is a low-quality machine would be a mistake. The Cuisinart coffee maker is a really good choice; it’s cheap on purpose. There aren’t many settings or adjustments to be made, but there is no better thing than enjoying coffee that has been brewed with freshly ground coffee.
The raw power of this machine is very impressive. We made ourselves a cup – and were pleasantly surprised by the results. Coffee made with the Grind-and-Brew tastes delicious and is very aromatic.
Gaggia Brera Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
First – is the digital display. This is hands-down the best use of a display on our list. Not only does it look great, but it is also very easy to use and will help you make great coffee with little or no effort. Trust the little screen.
The steam wand is extremely powerful: It will reach steaming-hot temperatures in about ten seconds, which means virtually no wait time between brewing your coffee and frothing the milk for it. This is Gaggia’s top quality steam wand, the Pannarello, which can fit a lot of other Gaggia machines – and can be ordered separately, should you need to.
The grinder is impressive, too, and can be adjusted to five different settings. The Gaggia Adjusting System lets you program the grinder to grind a specific amount of coffee beans at a time – the exact amount that you need for your morning coffee, for example. This is a much closer use of the grinder that you can see in coffee shops.
This machine is not only a good choice because of the quality of the drinks it makes; but also because of the wide range of coffee drinks you can make with it. Most of the machines on this list can make black coffee, espresso – maybe a little more. But the Gaggia Brera gives you a repertoire worthy of a Barista: From latte to macchiato, this machine lets you experiment… And it’s all with freshly ground coffee!
Perhaps one of the most impressive machines on our list, particularly because of its stunning design. La Specialista is designed wider than most home espresso machines, which gives it a professional look. It’s got a combination of red and chrome which is just fantastic.
The grinder on this machine might just be the best so far. It’s a sensor grinder and gets super consistent results and will always let you know when you’re running low on beans!
As for the coffee quality, it is superb. De’Longhi really knows how to deliver good coffee, and with the La Specialista they’ve knocked it out of the park. The espresso by itself is absolutely bonkers, and the steam wand is rather powerful, too.
Overall, it’s a machine that doesn’t seem to fall short in any aspect, although it is definitely on the pricier end of the list.
Breville Barista Express
Who better than Breville to completely destroy the notion that coffee makers with built-in grinders were only for casual, home use?
And that exactly is what this machine does. All of its features are of unequivocally professional quality: The grinder delivers impeccable ground coffee and is equipped with dose control; it has a digitally-controlled temperature system so that the temperature of the brewing water is optimal every time.
With these -and others-, you must be starting to understand why the Barista Express is a clearly more potent machine than all the others. To further destroy the association of built-in grinders and home machines, this coffee maker is designed exactly like classic espresso machines: Stainless steel finish, wide and with all the controls at the front. (And, incidentally, no digital display in sight)
In all honesty, there isn’t much more to say. There isn’t much of a decision to make here: The Barista Express is the best machine on our list. If you have enough space and money, then the choice is clear!
Should I buy a coffee maker with an integrated grinder?
In my opinion, yes. Maybe I am a little biased, but there’s nothing like freshly ground coffee. And if you’ve owned a coffee grinder before, you know it can be complicated, messy, and take up a lot of space.
Having the grinder right in the coffee maker is just super convenient, while coffee grinders’ main issue is that they are inconvenient.
So, with this, the issue is resolved. Not as much mess, no bulky machine to take care of – it’s just such a great solution. For me, nothing tops integrated grinders. I hope for a future where all coffee makers come with their own grinders.
Aspects to consider when buying a coffee maker with grinder
Burr vs blade grinders
Fortunately, integrated grinders are all burr grinders. Burrs are dented discs that rotate in opposite directions – the same principle they use for milling grain.
Blade grinders are almost exclusively a “kitchen appliance” and while they’re good for grinding spices and such, they are not suitable for coffee: they can’t be adjusted to grind at a certain size and thus they produce super inconsistent results.
If you are thinking of getting a separate grinder, never ever buy a blade grinder. You’ll thank me later.
Usually, coffee makers with integrated grinders are rather medium-end, meaning they come with all expected features that make for a good experience. There are some exceptions, but usually, that’s the way it goes. Companies don’t want to spend all the effort on low-end machines.
When shopping for coffee makers with grinders, I always look for features regarding the grinder; the rest usually follows the standards of the grinder. If the grinder is good and has good features, then the rest of the machine will be the same.
This is a good rule of thumb to follow. Pay attention to the grinder’s features, as they will tell you all about the coffee maker in question.
Some of these machines only have enough space in the grinder for a few cups of coffee, so you’ll see yourself refilling it practically every day.
If you’re a person that consumes a lot of coffee or maybe you live in a big household, then it’s a good idea to look for bigger hoppers. Hoppers are the bean containers. The bigger, the better, so you don’t have to be refilling them every day.
Ideally, you only have to refill these every two days. Although, if you’re very particular about the freshness of coffee, you might just want to refill them at the time you’re brewing and use the exact amount of coffee you need.
That way, the beans don’t spend a lot of time in the hopper, which can affect freshness.
Difference between drip and espresso machines
Espresso is made with pressure. Water is forced through the beans at intense pressure: this means we need much less time to brew, as well as much less water.
The result is a very concentrated coffee that has a flavor and aroma that surpasses most other types of coffee.
Drip coffee is made by pouring water over the grounds, and it passes through only thanks to the pressure that gravity bestows upon it. This means it will take longer, and the amount of water is higher.
This is why drip coffee is more watery and while still delicious, it is no rival for espresso in terms of raw flavor.
Automatic Espresso vs. Super-Automatic Espresso Machine
Coffee makers with grinders exist in a space between automatic and super-automatic.
Generally, super-automatic machines are those that do everything for you: from grinding the beans to frothing the milk, to even pouring the milk. They will have the drink option ready and all you’d have to do is press a button.
Automatic or semi-automatic are machines that do some of the things for you. Most coffee makers in the market are like this, as this terminology is very very old and it takes into account manual coffee makers where you would have to press a lever to produce the pressure needed to extract the espresso.
Coffee makers with grinders aren’t quite super-automatic, but they’re almost there because they grind the coffee for you.
Glass or Thermal Carafe
It really depends on your needs: if you make little coffee or drink what coffee you brew right away, a glass carafe is more than good for you. They are easier to clean and don’t absorb as much smell as thermal carafes.
Thermal carafes, though, are much better at keeping coffee hot. If you like to brew a pot of coffee and drink it throughout the morning and have each cup be as hot as if it were freshly made, this is the best option for you.
Yes, grinders are quite noisy. The amount of noise grinders make varies from one to another, and the best way we have of telling just how much noise they make is to read the reviews.
Usually, if a particular grinder is way too noisy, you’ll immediately find reviews about it.
Either way, the days of super noisy grinders are almost behind us. Most new gen grinders are much less noisy than what they used to be. And they used to be seriously deafening! Now, not so much.
Tips for using a coffee maker with grinder
Keep it clean
The best way to ensure that your grinder performs at 100% as time goes on is to keep it clean. Get yourself a good brush and brush it every once in a while to get all the coffee particles out!
Watch educational videos
Grinders are complex machines, and so you should know all of their intricacies on them. A couple of Youtube videos will tell you all you need to know to properly take care of them and make sure you don’t commit obvious mistakes. I suggest you watch this video for an explanation of how to use the grind control on the Breville machine.
How long do coffee beans stay fresh in a hopper?
Usually, one or two days. More than that is pushing.
Be sure to keep your hopper with the lid on at all times and ensure that no sunlight is hitting it directly, two factors that can make your beans lose freshness very fast.
Is it bad to pre-grind coffee beans?
There’s no way around it: yes. Very much. Ground coffee starts losing freshener super fast and will lose quality by the second. It is safe to say that ground coffee will start losing flavor after just one hour of being ground.
So it’s better to have it freshly ground. You can also use coffee canisters, which are good at protecting coffee from the elements. Even then, I would say don’t pre-grind your coffee.
Do you need to wash coffee beans before grinding?
Don’t even think about it!
Coffee beans are washed thoroughly and then roasted, which eliminates all sorts of dirt and bacteria. You can consume them with no fear of them being dirty at all, for all the bacteria has either been washed away or cooked away.
How do I clean a coffee grinder?
With a brush! You can use old toothbrushes, or special coffee grinder brushes that you can find on Amazon and such sites. They are really good for your grinder and help them stay in good condition.
As you can see, coffee makers with integrated grinders are a marvel of science and I personally love them. They are really convenient and produce really great results. If you make the decision of purchasing one, I assure you you won’t regret it!
Marcelo is a filmmaker and passionate barista on the side. He spends his free time cooking up new and exciting recipes – and drinking too much coffee in the process.