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Coffee grinders are put to the test

February 12, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Not every coffee drinker thinks the best brew comes from Starbucks or the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. Many people are making their own brew at home.A good cup of coffee is the first thing many people think about in the morning. Often the pursuit begins with the beans. Many prefer fresh ground beans.

ABC7 teamed up with Consumer Reports to find the best grinders without spending a fortune.

Some coffee machines have built-in grinders, which sound like a good combination, but they have drawbacks.

"The combos can be annoying to use and to clean," said Consumer Reports' Bob Karpel. "And if you haven't ground all the beans, it's an extra step to take the beans out."

Consumer Reports says consider a stand-alone grinder instead.

"There are basically two types of grinders," said Karpel. "There's a burr grinder, which has two gears and they crush the beans, and then there are blade grinders, which actually have a blade and that blade chops the beans."

Consumer Reports tested three blade grinders and three burr grinders.

Burr grinders tend to be more expensive, as much as $140. But they usually hold more beans and tend to grind more uniformly. The burr-grinding Cuisinart Supreme Grind DBM-8 topped the list. It grinds consistently and costs $50.

If you want to spend even less, consider the Mr. Coffee IDS77 blade grinder, which did almost as good a job for only $20.

Whichever grinder you choose, grinding your own beans just might take your coffee break to a whole new level.

If you're in the market for a new coffeemaker, Consumer Reports has tested dozens and found some best buys.