Overall Rating: 7.5
Pros: In keeping with the classic KitchenAid ethos, this coffee grinder’s strong and handsome construction paired with its simple operation makes for a compelling combination.
Cons: Grind consistency, grounds retention, static and noise can all be problematic in various usage scenarios.
How to Interpret Equipment Ratings | Read complete report: Four Mid-Range Burr Coffee Grinders Tested & Reviewed
Quality materials, solid construction and straightforward functionality make a brawny case for the KitchenAid Burr Grinder, which cuts a stout and authoritative profile on any coffee lover’s counter. Its wide grind adjustment knob moves in satisfying clicks and there’s a refreshing simplicity to its screenless, analog operation. Clad in diecast metal with a range of glossy finish options, its good looks are further accentuated by the clear glass of its sturdy hopper and more delicate, thinner-walled glass grounds jar.
Particle-Size Consistency. Organized around a vertically oriented set of flat burrs that provide a straight-through grind path from hopper to jar, KitchenAid’s grinder bears some physical resemblance to the iconic professional Mahlkönig EK43 grinder. The similarities end there, however, for unlike the latter’s near-mythic capacity to generate a consistent grind, the output of the KitchenAid Burr Grinder is rather dramatically uneven.
The KitchenAid also offers a paltry 15 total clicks of grind settings compared to the considerably higher number offered by most competing grinders in its class. True, users can shift the KitchenAid’s entire range of grind settings several clicks finer by removing the adjustment knob and turning an exposed interior adjustment wheel clockwise to bring the burrs into actual contact with each other (a.k.a. to find the zero point), then backing off one click and replacing the outer knob. The manufacturer recommends doing this in order to use the machine for espresso. However, we don’t find this grinder to be fit for espresso at either the factory settings or the finer settings, for while it does grind fine enough for espresso brewing at its very finest setting, backing off by even one click from there is already a leap too coarse. The grinder therefore does not offer anywhere near enough settings to achieve the kind of fine-tuning of particle size demanded by the espresso method.
We made the adjustment anyway because it’s easy to do, and because the coarsest end of the machine’s stock range was so wildly inconsistent as to be of no use. Then we sent samples of two different roasts ground at three different fine-ward-shifted settings to our friends at Horiba Instruments for laser diffraction particle size analysis, which confirmed that no matter what brewing method you’re grinding for, the boulders and fines collected by the KitchenAid’s beautiful glass jar will come close to outnumbering the grounds of optimal brewing size. For detailed test results see the bar graph at the end of this review.
Noise and Static Cling. The KitchenAid’s noise level ranges from just shy of 90 up to 95 decibels on average, which is on par with other grinders in its class, yet still loud enough to disrupt a conversation you might want to have with guests about the beauty of your grinder.
While the machine does not produce much static from coffees that are less static-prone to begin with , a fresh or darkly roasted coffee ground on the coarser side by the KitchenAid results in a flurry of staticky bits swirling up onto the thin walls of the catch jar. This is not an uncommon affliction with burr grinders, but things can get messy when the KitchenAid’s vibrations cause the jar to shift just far enough out of place to allow some charged-up particles to escape onto the counter and cling to the sides of the machine.
And after opening up our unit for cleaning, we removed a whopping 5.5 grams of coffee from the flat burr grind chamber and exit chute, making the KitchenAid the top grounds-retention hog of the four machines we review for this report.
The Bottom Line. If looks are all that matters, this machine is easily a winner. The tactile experience of using it is also a joy. Yet if your foremost concern is a reasonably precise and tidy grind, there are other options in this price range through which the beauty more effectively carries through to the coffee you’re brewing.
Hopper Capacity: 7 ounces
Dimensions: H 10.0″, W 5.9″, D 9.8″
Weight: 10 pounds
Burrs: 57mm flat steel
Burr Speed: 450 RPM
Grind Settings: 15
Manufacturer’s Website: www.kitchenaid.com
Grind consistency test results for the KitchenAid Burr Grinder based on laser particle size distribution analysis by Horiba Instruments. Six samples were tested from each grinder representing various grind settings (coarse, medium, fine) and two degrees of roast (light and medium-dark). For an explanation of how we determined our optimal range of particle sizes click here.