Similar to Goldilocks’ porridge, the Three Grinds can be too coarse, too fine, or just right.
We look at a very interesting blade grinder with the De’Longhi KG49
For this review, we check out another ‘affordable’ electric coffee grinder (you can see our last such test here). These affordable machines typically use a high-speed spinning blade to chop the beans; hence their name.
More expensive machines typically use a burr grinder, which applies a (often slower) slicing and squeezing action to the beans. Because of the different operation, it is possible for burr grinders and blade grinder to produce different flavours from the same beans. But whether the flavour is better or not either way, is down to personal opinion.
Similar to Goldilocks’ porridge, a grind can be too coarse, too fine, or just right. Blade grinders offer less control over the grind coarseness than more-expensive burr grinders, so any assistance in getting the right grind, more consistently, is welcome. We tested a machine that offers just that.
We reviewed the De’Longhi KG49 coffee grinder, because it boasts grind control. The user can set the volume of coffee beans (measured by ‘cup’) using a dial around its base. When grinding, there are three lights to indicate when Coarse, Medium or Fine has been attained (or should have been attained). It will grind up to 90g of beans (about 12 cups).
Overall, the unit appeared to be solid and well-built.
Packaging and Parts
The unit is well packaged as you would expect, and comes with a cleaning brush (more on this later) and a simple instruction booklet which was clearly written. The cable tidies away into the base of the unit, although we found this to be a bit fiddly.
The instructions say to unwind the desired amount of cable, so we guess that’s what is intended.
Operation of the De’Longhi KG49
This grinder has a method to indicate the coarseness of the grind. It isn’t a calibrated grinder; rather it’s a blade grinder with a clever grind-indicator device. Here is how you use it:
- Open it up and drop in the required volume of beans for the number of cups (Espresso is about 7g / 1 tablespoon per cup)
- Set the dial to the number of cups /volume of beans (which sets to between 2 and 12)
- Put the top on, then press the top down to operate the motor
- Watch for the required light to come on indicating Coarse, Medium and Fine. The smart electronics inside shows the necessary grinding time, based on the number of cups set on the dial
- When the required coarseness has been reached (i.e. that light comes on), you simply release the top button
- The grind chamber lifts out, holding the ground coffee.
The handy cup/bean-volume dial together with the timed-indicator system definitely helps in obtaining a more consistent grind in a way that other blade grinds cannot – they use a little more guesswork.
For 2 cups, it takes approximately 5, 9 and 11 seconds to grind 2 cups to Coarse, Medium and Fine respectively. For 6 cups it takes about 8, 11 and 16 seconds. For 12 cups it takes about 12, 16 and 25 seconds.
Like other blade grinders, you can only operate this for a limited period before it needs to cool down. So it’s not like you can use it to grind up a few bags of beans in one session. It’s intended for short periods of activity – perhaps those who like fresh beans and will therefore grind sufficient for a day or two. As we state above, it takes only around 16 seconds to Fine grind 6 cups.
As with all grinder of this type (that we have tried), transferring the ground coffee directly into an Espresso filter handle can be tricky if not messy. However, if you grind, say, 10-12 cups and store the grind in a caddy you should be fine – and this is the way we would use it.
It’s so easy to misplace or lose little accessories like cleaning brushes. So, it’s a nice design touch that the cleaning brush sits in its own dedicated holder. The brush is useful to clean out the ground coffee – it was not able to thoroughly clean all traces of coffee but well enough for us. Given the importance of coffee freshness to brew quality, the brush is a great idea and shows that De’Longhi have really thought about practical usage.
The Resulting Grind
For our grind test, we took 2 cups (14g) of fresh Lavazza Rossa beans and ground them to Coarse, Medium and Fine. We found the Course setting to produce a grind that was, basically, too coarse and irregular. We found the Medium to be OK for cafetiere use and the Fine to be OK for use in our Espresso machine.
In everyday use, the user will test to determine the best settings, and the cup dial and timed indicators will definitely help in more consistently attaining the preferred grind coarseness.
The resulting brew tasted fine.
Summary of our Review: De’Longhi KG49 Blade Grinder
This machine is, in our view, clearly targeted at the coffee drinker either on a budget or who cannot justify a more expensive burr grinder. If you had plenty of cash to spend on a coffee grinder, you might prefer an expensive burr grinder (some of which are eye-wateringly expensive).
Other blade grinders will be more hit-and-miss in terms of grind consistency. We think the cup dial coupled to the timed indicators on the KG49 are a useful aid to consistent grinding, and so would be something we would look for if buying a blade grinder.
You can check out the specifications, and buy the De’Longhi KG49 Grinder here.