Is Grind Retention Important, & What is it Exactly?

Is Grind Retention Important, & What is it Exactly?

If you’re in the market for a new coffee grinder you might’ve come across the term, “grind retention.”


We’ll discuss that topic in more detail here, & hopefully aid in your search.


Grind retention refers very simply to the amount of coffee grounds that remain in a coffee grinder after use. When you grind coffee, some of the coffee particles get stuck inside the grinder, and these particles are known as "retained grinds." Over time, retained grinds can accumulate in your grinder and affect the quality of your coffee and can also lead to operational problems as well.


It can also refer to the amount of coffee grounds that are left in the grinder between different grind settings. For example, if you change the grind setting from coarse to fine, there may still be some coarse grinds left in the grinder that can affect the flavor of the fine grinds, and perhaps make your drink too watery.


Grinders with high amounts of retention can be a red flag, or at the minimum, something to be aware of if consistent, and quality espresso is of any level of importance to you.


Who Would Want High Retention in Their Grinds?


We wouldn’t say that people are necessarily in search of high retention, however, like most things price comes into play here. Some of the more expensive espresso grinders that are on the market, such as the single dose Ceado E37SD and Ceado E5SD are superb at handling retention, not only because of the size and material of their burrs, but also as a function of the chamber.


Additionally, both grinders are built like tanks and will last a long long time.


A Rule of Thumb: The smaller the chamber & grind chute, generally, the less retention.


As you move up in price range, you’ll start to noice that some grinders are tailored more for a commercial setting than a home. This can be confusing at times with the constant blurring of the lines between consumer, prosumer, and professional machines and grinders.


The key is to find what works best for your particular situation.


For the most part, grinders designed for a café or restaurant are meant to produce large volumes of coffee, and have top-of-the-line materials, coatings, and speed. These grinders’ primary goal isn’t to avoid retention so much as it is to handle heavy traffic and heavy use, the opposite of a single dose approach.


If you’re looking for something on the lower end of the price spectrum, we’d like to think that the Baratza Sette 270 deserves a look. While not specifically designed to be used for single dosing, it does offer relatively low levels of retention and at an affordable price. As always, Chris’ Coffee is available to make custom recommendations. Give our sales staff a call at (518) 452-5995.


How to Deal with a Grinder That Has Higher Retention


Not all hope is lost.


If you find that you’re not producing the optimal number of espresso drinks every day, and single dosing is more your thing, you’ll simply need to adjust your routine by purging your grinder. All this means is that you run some additional beans through the grinder, ridding it of any old leftover and potentially stale grinds.


Ideally, a couple of grams of beans ought to do the trick when you’re purging.



Is There a Holy Grail Grinder That Does it All?


Wouldn’t that be something? A grinder that doesn’t break the bank but that also checks all the boxes in terms of retention, price, and other additional feature sets. Does such a machine exist?


We can’t say for sure, but one grinder that’s been generating a lot of buzz lately is the Eureka Mignon Zero. This quiet, easy-to-adjust, and low amount of retention is comparable to the two Ceado grinder’s mentioned above, but roughly $1,000 cheaper! In our opinion, this is the best “bang for your buck” grinder on the market as of today.


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