If you are in a hurry and just want to find out what the best grinder for cold brew is, then we recommend the Baratza Virtuoso as our top choice.
Although the cold-brewing process isn’t particularly complicated, it’s essential that you grind the beans to a very coarse consistency first. Too fine and all you’ll end up with is a thin, gritty mess. Yuck.
In this guide to choosing the best coffee grinder for cold brew, you’ll find buying tips that will help you choose the right device for your kitchen.
After that we’ve highlighted five of the most popular grinders on the market. They’re all great for the cold brew process, but some offer more functionality than others.
Once you’ve taken all that in though, you’ll be well-armed to pick the perfect grinder for you.
(If you want to explore more of my coffee content, take a look at the home brewing guide I have on the site!)
In this article I’m going to review the following cold brew coffee grinders:
- Capresso 560.01 Infinity Conical Burr Grinder
- JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
- Baratza Virtuoso Conical Burr Coffee Grinder
- Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill “Skerton Pro”
- Bodum Bistro Burr Grinder
Viva Flavor is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.
Before looking more closely at some of the most popular grinders that are available, there are some important things to consider.
Why even buy a coffee grinder?
Don’t get me wrong, there are some really good pre-ground coffee brands out there. When they’re roasted and packaged well, you’ll enjoy some fabulous drinks.
There are also some very good, coarse pre-ground coffee varieties that are perfect for the cold brewing process.
There’s just no substitute for grinding coffee fresh from whole beans though.
The moment the outer shell of the bean has been been crushed, it begins to lose its flavor and aroma potential.
The faster you can get the bean from the grinding stage to your cup, the better the drink you’ll enjoy.
If you’re at all serious about your coffee, a high quality grinder is worth every penny you invest in it.
Check the coarseness settings carefully
When preparing cold brew coffee it’s really important that the grounds you prepare are as coarse as possible.
With coarser grounds, the water can seep through more slowly. Over the course of 12 hours or more, you’ll get a much better cold brew concentrate.
There’s no point owning multiple devices to get a number of jobs done though!
Many grinders have an extra-coarse setting which will serve you very well for cold brew, but the more options you have to play with the better.
Chances are you’ll want to do more than cook up cold brew with the thing. Make sure it has plenty of settings to accommodate espresso, French Press, and any other drinks you might want to prepare.
Should you buy a burr or a blade grinder?
When it comes to cold brew coffee – and all coffee in general – a burr grinder wins out every single time.
Although they’re typically cheaper to buy, blade grinders don’t produce results that are nearly as consistent.
They work much like a blender, and produce a lot of heat. This can severely impact the flavor and aroma of the coffee you’re working so hard to prepare.
Burr grinders, on the other hand, feature a pair of abrasive surfaces which rotate to slowly grind the beans down.
The further apart you set them, the coarser the grind you’ll get. Regardless of the setting you choose, you’ll get very even grounds every time.
The end result is a superior grind for a much better drink. They’re also better at producing the kind of coarse grinds that you really need to get the most out of your cold brew coffee.
Is a manual or electric grinder better?
Manual coffee grinders tend to be significantly less expensive than electric machines.
They do, of course, require a lot more hands-on effort on your part though. It can take a good few minutes of rigorous effort with the crank to get just a few cups’ worth of beans ready!
They can also be a little messy to use as well, so if you go down this route you should factor in more time for cleaning up.
We think electric coffee grinders offer more convenience all round.
They’re considerably faster, the best can produce more consistent results, but it won’t surprise you to learn that they cost a lot more money as a result.
Which of the two types you choose will ultimately depend on your own circumstances. There are a couple of things to consider here.
Are you happy to put in the physical effort that a manual grinder requires? Might you actually enjoy the ritualistic aspect of grinding your coffee by hand?
If the answer to both of those questions is yes, then we think you’ll love a manual coffee grinder. You’ll also save quite a bit of money as well.
If you don’t want to put that much manual work in though, and if speed and convenience are important to you, an electric coffee grinder is the obvious choice.
They’re also more suited to daily use, so you should choose electric if you know you’re going to be grinding beans throughout the week.
How easy is it to clean?
When you’re buying a cold brew coffee grinder, make sure it’s easy to clean.
If you don’t clean the grinder out after each use, you risk stale coffee accumulating on the insides. There’s also a risk of bacteria forming over time.
If the coffee grinder can be taken apart easily, you’ll have a much easier job cleaning the thing. As a result, the quality of your coffee will be maintained over time.
How big is the bean hopper?
The bean hopper is the part of the grinder that holds your whole coffee beans before you begin grinding them.
We recommend looking for a grinder that has a bean hopper with a minimum 8oz capacity. Because of the steeping time required for cold brew coffee, you’re likely to be making bigger batches at any given time.
Cold Brew Coffee Grinder Reviews
In this next section we’re going to take a closerlook at five of the most popular coffee grinders on the market today.
Capresso’s electric grinder comes with 16 separate settings for preparing everything from coarse cold brew to ultra-fine Turkish coffee.
These are separated into four different categories that range from fine to coarse. There’s plenty of scope to find the right setting for your cold brew, in other words.
The steel burrs built into the mechanism are produced to an extremely high standard as well. Not only are they manufactured as matching pairs, they’re then hand-assembled to ensure they fit to perfection.
The Infinity has some clever additional tech built in, which reduces the friction and heat created by the motor. That helps alleviate one of the main concerns with electric grinders, which is the potential loss of flavor.
In terms of capacity, the Infinity can hold up to 8.8oz of beans at once.
That makes it one of the largest in this round-up, and will be suitable for those of you who want to make the biggest possible batch.
The upper burr is designed to be easy to remove too, which in turn makes it easy to get at the mechanism for cleaning with the supplied brush.
It also has a smart safety-lock device built in, which means it can’t spring to life during cleaning unless the bean container is actually in place.
- Produces little static which makes this grinder easier to clean
- Low RPM minimizes heating of the beans
- Comparatively quiet for a bean grinder!
- Produces very consistent coffee grounds
- Capresso known for providing great customer support
- If making finer grounds for espresso, you may need to shake the hopper around a little
- Not as much fine control over grind timings as other devices
- Clear lid means it’s surprisingly easier to miss when pouring beans!
- Leaves quite a bit of waste in the burr area, so regular cleaning is required
- Many feel the timer dial feels a little cheap
The JavaPresse grinder is quite a simple, manual affair but it packs a surprising amount of versatility into such a primitive device.
It has 18 different grind settings in total, which should be more than enough to help you prepare a multitude of different specialty coffee drinks – including that all-important cold brew, of course.
There’s some impressive engineering behind this appliance too. As well as being made from ceramic material, the burr grinders are put through rigorous testing.
In fact, the company reckons its burr assembly is good to last five times longer than a blade-based equivalent.
As with any other manual coffee grinder, it’s going to take quite a bit of elbow grease to get the most out of it. The longer you use it though, the stronger you’ll get!
There are other benefits to using a manual grinder such as this.
For a start, they’re a lot more portable than electric alternatives. That’s nice if you want to head off out in your RV, for example, but not compromise on your coffee while you’re away.
Secondly, they’re just very satisfying to use and will quickly become an enjoyable part of your morning coffee ritual.
That’s if you’re lucky enough to have the extra time in the mornings of course…
- Built-in window makes it easier to see how much progress you’ve made
- Easy to disassemble for cleaning and reassembly
- Stainless steel elements should prove durable
- Extremely portable if you want to make great coffee away from home
- Many owners report it can be tough to achieve a consistent grind across multiple uses
- Others have reported the plastic components breaking easily
- Grind settings aren’t very clear, so you’ll need to experiment
- Quite a small reservoir, which means multiple grinds for cold brew
If you need a more convenient way of grinding your cold brew coffee beans, the Baratza Virtuoso is one of the most popular electronic grinders we know of.
Part of that appeal comes as a result of backing from the Specialty Coffee Association, a body which sets the highest standards for performance in coffee brewing.
The Virtuoso also provides a choice of up to 40 grind size settings.
If you need an all-in-one coffee grinder that will suit all your brewing needs – not just cold brew – it’s hard to go wrong here.
The actual grinding mechanism consists of a burr set, and grinds at a speed of 2 grams per second. That’s a good pace for getting high quality results.
To help you achieve consistency in your grinding, the Virtuoso also has a digital control panel.
This gives you easy access to a 40 second timer that can be adjusted by increments of just a tenth of a second.
As you tweak the settings over time, you’ll be able to settle on your exact preferences – and replicate them easily in the future as well.
Although it’s quite a small unit overall, it has a bean hopper capacity of 8oz. That’s not the biggest, but it’s enough to cook up a decent sized batch of beans.
- Very easy to replace parts that become worn out over time
- LCD screen and fine controls will help you achieve consistent results
- An SCA award-winner
- Compact design
- Capable of grinding correctly for just about any specialty coffee drink
- Set up is considered by many to be a little more complicated than with other machines
- Sits at the higher end of the budget range.
Hario’s Skerton Pro is another manual coffee grinder, one that’s proved a long-term favorite with amateur baristas.
There’s a spring inside which keeps the central shaft secure. This stops the device from moving around while you grind away, and means your coarser grounds are more consistent.
As for the actual grinding mechanism, the Skerton Pro makes use of ceramic conical burrs. These produce an impressive and consistent result.
Following a redesign, it’s also now a lot easier to change that burr grind size when you want to switch from cold brew to espresso, for example.
Rather than having to dismantle the whole thing, you simply tweak the grind adjustment wheel, which is located underneath the main body of the grinder.
In terms of capacity though, the 100g maximum output here isn’t a lot – particularly if you’re making a larger brew of cold press coffee.
Rather cleverly, however, you can actually thread the device onto a standard bell jar to grind larger amounts for any given batch.
Finally, the Skerton Pro features a non-slip rubber bottom. That helps keep it in place once you’ve popped it on your countertop, and are ready to start the hard work.
Time to roll your sleeves up…
- To expand the amount of coffee you want to grind, just add a bell jar!
- A high quality manual grinder that should last for years if you care for it well
- Supplied with a lid so you can keep ground beans fresh in the jar
- Silicon base helps grip the grinder in position on the countertop
- Some owners have reported inconsistency when it comes to coarser grounds.
- One of the more expensive manual grinders available on the market.
- Not as portable as many other manual grinders.
- It’ll take a lot of hard work to get the coffee just right for cold brew.
Although a popular option, it’s worth keeping in mind that Bodum’s Bistro grinder only has 12 grind settings to choose from.
That’s probably enough for most, but it’s not the most advanced electric grinder in this round-up.
It is easy to choose between those settings though, and requires nothing more than a twist of the bean hopper.
That hopper’s a little smaller though, with a maximum capacity of 7.75oz. That’s not a whole lot less than the 8oz or so that you’d like as a minimum, but it’s something to keep in mind.
With that said there is a clever measuring chart on the lid of the Bistro, which means you can neatly line things up to get the right grinding time. It’s nothing fancy, but it’s a thoughtful addition!
The grind time is set using a manual dial just in front of the bean hopper.
It’s not as precise as the digital settings of something like the Baratza Virtuoso, so be aware that you’ll have less fine control over proceedings.
- Simple to set up and use
- Lid measuring chart is a clever touch
- Lots of color options means it’s easy to find a match for your kitchen
- Gets the job done at a budget-conscious level
- The machine build has a relatively cheap feel
- A little bit fiddly to clean, and the gunk builds up over time
- A smaller bean hopper capacity than other grinders
- Some owners have reported the glass container fracturing over time
For us, life’s too short to spend precious kitchen time grinding out beans. For that reason alone we’ll always prefer an electric grinder over a manual one.
All of the machines we’ve looked at for this guide have proved popular over the years, but our top pick in this case is the Baratza Virtuoso.
In terms of capacity it’s about as good as these things get, and the burr grinder’s high quality too.
It also has a huge range of settings which let you make more than just cold brew, and with just one machine. It also has the best fine control options, thanks to that precision digital timer.
Click here to learn more about the Baratza Virtuoso and read more reviews.