Comparing Doser and Doserless Coffee Grinders

5 Things to Consider in Choosing Between Doser and Doserless Grinders

People who take their coffee seriously know that the best-tasting cup is brewed from freshly-ground beans. That's why a coffee grinder is an important piece in any coffee connoisseur's tool kit. All coffee grinders are not the same, and one big division in the available selection is between doser and doserless grinders.

Doser grinders have a container that catches the coffee after it is ground. At the bottom of that container is the doser mechanism that portions out the grounds into individual, identically-sized compartments. A flip of a lever dispenses one dose at a time into your container of choice, whether it be an espresso machine portafilter or a drip-machine filter basket.

Doserless coffee grinders dispense grounds directly into your container through a chute. You determine how much coffee is dispensed by manipulating the grinder's power switch. That method gives you finer control over how much is dispensed, but requires you to know how much you need to grind with no way to measure. Here are five things to consider before you decide which one is right for you.

  1. The Debate Over Freshness
  2. Unless you're careful to grind only the amount of coffee that you need at any given time, you'll inevitably leave grounds in the container until the next time you dispense a new batch. This is unacceptable to people who insist that their coffee be ground fresh for each and every cup, while others are fine with grinding coffee up to a week ahead of time.

  3. Cleanability
  4. Doser grinders have the grounds container and a whole separate set of moving parts compared to their doserless counterparts. This means that there's significantly more work to do when it comes to cleaning the machine. Routine maintenance should include brushing the components free of dust and wiping away residue and oil to keep the parts moving freely and the coffee tasting fresh. When it comes to maintaining a doser coffee grinder, that process can take a little longer.

  5. Price
  6. Again, because doser machines are a little more complex and are built with more moving parts, they tend to be priced slightly higher than doserless ones. This difference may be so small as to not be a factor in your decision, but is worth considering if you're trying to stick to a budget.

  7. Consistency
  8. The primary reason that people choose a doser grinder is that they help provide a consistent brew each time. Each dose of coffee that's dispensed comes out to the same volume. Once you determine the perfect number of doses for your morning cup of coffee, you need only to dispense that many each time, eliminating the need to scoop or weigh your grounds to get the right portion. We should note that different types of coffee beans yield different results when ground, so you still may need to tweak your recipe if you switch brands or try a different roast.

  9. A Question of Volume
  10. Doser coffee grinders are popular in restaurants and cafes for a reason: they lend themselves well to maintaining a consistent product in high-volume venues that pull dozens or hundreds of shots a day. We've already explored two of the reasons for this preference. First, because high-volume venues use a lot of coffee, there's no danger of the coffee grounds sitting long enough to become stale. Second, the consistent portioning of the doser saves baristas lots of time over having to manually measure grounds for each and every shot or pot of coffee.

    Home coffee drinkers may not reap those same benefits. Unless you drink more than a cup or two of coffee every day or do a lot of entertaining and brew a good deal of coffee for guests, the simplicity of a doserless grinder may be preferred.