$700-850 (or as much as $1800). Manual and Auto flat burr doser grinders.
In this price bracket, we typically see the presence of a dosing chamber. Bad cafes will allow the dosing chamber to fill and serve you stale coffee. Great cafes will grind through the doser, clicking like crazy to fill the portafilter and serve you fresh coffee. In the home, a doser may have less relevance other than to allow for multi-tasking if you’re producing coffee for your dinner party guests. Examples include the Mazzer mini-manual and Macap M4. You can spend much more on much larger flat burr grinders such as the Mazzer Major which would be found in busy cafes. By doing this you purchase speed, but not grind quality.
Circa $1700 to $4000. Large conical burr doser grinders.
In this price bracket, we switch back to conical burrs but it’s not a case of the same grind quality as the cheapies. These big, very fast grinders run large burr sets and need big motors and powerful gearboxes to operate them. The burrs rotate more slowly than those of flat burr grinders. Grind quality improves incrementally- but mainly for those who prefer black coffee in that they can contribute to improved shot quality. This is generally undetectable under milk. You’d have to be very serious about your coffee! In addition, they generally retain more coffee in the throat between the burrs and the dosing spout or chamber than smaller grinders. This can be of concern to some home users as it may lead to some wastage. You will be grinding at 4-6 seconds per double shot with these monsters. Some good examples include the Compak K10 Conic PB and K10 Conic Master PB and Mazzer Kony, Robur and Kold.
Ultimately it comes down to your individual circumstances, but we do advise that you buy the best grinder you can afford for your machine. It’s wiser to save a few hundred dollars on an espresso machine and then allocate the savings to a better grinder rather than to compromise your enjoyment in the cup.