Should You Buy A Coffee Maker With A Built-In Grinder?

Any dedicated coffee drinker will tell you it's the first thing they reach for in the morning. And while that mug is a must to get the day started, the motivation to put a lot of effort into getting the perfect cup of joe generally isn't there until after the first sip. It's the catch-22 for all java lovers. The last thing you feel like doing when you're bleary-eyed and fumbling around a dark kitchen early in the morning is measuring out beans, grinding them, and transferring them to a coffee maker. A machine with a built-in grinder seems like the simple work-around to that — eliminate all of those steps and just press a button.

It may seem like you're hitting two birds with one stone, but the general consensus is that coffee makers with built-in grinders do not produce as high quality coffee as using a separate grinder for the beans. Why? It's most likely due to a lack of control over the process. There are only a few settings to choose from when it comes to grind size, whereas you can hit all the texture consistencies in between if you grind yourself. What you save in counter space you may cede to taste.

Another downside is that if the machine breaks, you're up the creek until you get it serviced — not exactly good news for your bleary-eyed morning self. Two machines in one means you're down two machines, even if only one of the parts malfunctions.

Why it pays to grind your own coffee beans

If you're seeking convenience and thinking about skipping the whole step and buying pre-ground coffee, you may want to rethink that and try grinding your own. You can always grind your beans at night and set-up the coffee maker so it's easy to get going in the morning. That's just one extra step in the evening and almost as easy as going with the built-in grinder.

The biggest pro is that this yields fresher tasting coffee. Once coffee beans are ground and exposed to air, the flavor begins to weaken. For this reason the pre-ground varieties can start to taste stale fairly quickly. Another pro of grinding your own beans regards the very reason you may not want a built-in grinder — you'll have complete control over the grind size. This allows you to play around with degrees of bitterness and acidity to find your perfect Goldilocks brew.