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Picking a grinder that is right for you can be a hassle. There’s so much to consider, and so many out there. Do you care about consistency? Noise? Portability?
We believe in wide-ranging analysis, and so that’s what you’re going to get with these reviews. Granted, it’s for a very specific subject: hand grinders. There are a lot of reasons people become attached to their favorite drink, and one of them is the process of making it.
With a hand grinder, you can feel the beginning of your cup. There’s a satisfaction in looking at the empty bottom of your glass and knowing that you were there from the beginning. Here are our picks.
|Hario Ceramic “Skerton Pro”|
|Porlex 345-12541 Jp30 Stainless Steel||30g||4.6/5|
|JavaPresse Manual Burr |
|Porlex Mini Stainless Steel ||20g||4.3/5|
|Mueller Austria ||30g||4.2/5|
To a lot of people in the specialty coffee world, you remember exactly where you were when you were introduced to the Hario V60 drip system. Turns out, they produce a fine hand grinder as well.
The Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill “Skerton Pro” grinder is the definition of consistency from the size of the grind to the feel of the crank. Where some hand grinders can feel a bit loose, or wobbly, the Hario “Skerton Pro” utilizes a stabilization spring to keep your grinding tight. You will truly feel like the steward of your cup with this grinder. It’s really quick, which is special in the world of hand grinders. The burrs are adjustable, so you are totally in control. You will find that this grinder really is only good for personal use, which will be a theme throughout these reviews. It may not seem like a special trait, but this grinder feel natural and intuitive, not something a lot of hand grinders can say.
Aesthetically it looks like a pepper grinder, which is cute enough, you just might want to label it or you could have a very surprising dinner. The Hario also boasts a 3.5 ounce capacity for holding beans, or roughly 99 grams. This is more space than most.
Here comes another theme of these reviews. Cleaning your grinder can be a process. Here’s the thing; hand grinders are messy, this one is no different. We’ve also heard of durability issues, which is also to be expected with a hand grinder. For your money, the Hario Ceramic Mill is the way to go. Burr is better than blade, even if it is a mess to clean up.
A great thing about the stainless steel make–up of this grinder is that you don’t get any of those loosey goosey grinds flying around, dirtying up your counter space. This is because stainless steel is the enemy of static. That has nothing to do with the quality of the coffee you drink, it’s just a nice thing to know. The stainless steel is also very durable. It’s been touted as “indestructible”, but we haven’t tested that claim.
The Porlex 345-12541 Jp30 shares traits with the Hario. Fortunately, the good ones. It has a stabilization spring so your grinding process doesn’t feel wobbly. It’s also a burr grinder, and we prefer burr grinders.
You can lock in your grind with this machine and when you lock it in, it stays locked in – meaning the burrs stay where they are. You will have a consistent grind every time you use it. It’s portable and it’s lightweight.
As for aesthetics, this thing looks like a tall soda can, or a really futuristic pepper grinder. That is assuming that the future is made of metal and there aren’t any windows anywhere. Porlex should be given credit; it looks indestructible.
This machine is mostly suitable for personal use. It has about a third of the storage capacity as the Hario. Much like number one on our list, it has durability issues with the burrs (the body is “indestructible”). It was neck and neck between the first two, but from what we’ve heard, this one breaks down just a little bit quicker than the Hario.
The JavaPresse produces very similar results as our first two grinders – at a fraction of the cost. The manufacturer doesn’t boast that this grinder is indestructible, but maybe they should. On the other hand, they do boast that this grinder is so quiet that you can use it while standing next to a sleeping loved one. Aesthetically, it looks very similar to the Porlex.
While you can adjust the grind, you can’t do so with the precision of the first two on this list. The adjustments are less of adjustments as they are selecting the type of coffee you want to drink. For example, if you want espresso, you put it on the espresso setting. Which is to say, this product is not for the persnickety types.
Also, if we’re being honest, it takes forever to grind enough coffee for one cup of espresso. Other than that, it’s great. Easy to clean. Well, easier to clean. Plenty durable.
This is very similar to the model listed above, but in a smaller body. It is stainless steel to avoid any static electricity and gives you unpredictable results. Aesthetically, it’s pleasing. If you are the type to call things “cute” often, you will probably have a positive reaction upon seeing this grinder.
We’re now getting to grinders that sometimes take a little bit of effort to get the grind you want. For example, if you wanted a French press, it would take you less than a minute with the Porlex Mini to get the grinds you want. Espresso is another story, which could take several minutes.
This one fits less beans, and is smaller. It also takes longer for the grind, so you’ll have to be more time to think about all the other types of grinders you could have bought.
The Mueller Austria grinder produces results that are at or just below the same level of quality of our previously mentioned grinders, while costing just a little bit more. The adjustments are settings–based, so you don’t have that much control. Similarly to the JavaPresse, the manufacturer oddly mentions being able to use this grinder while next to a sleeping loved one.
The aesthetics here are furristic as well, if not totally uncreative. It seems like hand grinders have the “tall soda can” market firmly cornered.
The handle on this machine is rumored to give out, which is not uncommon for grinders like this. It seems to be quite the contradiction; paying more for less quality.
We’re veering away from futuristic dystopian looking grinders in favor of the past, and the past sure does look good! The Defancy C50 is an Old World style grinder with an ornate grinding wheel that looks as if it’s made of cast iron, which grinds into a cute little drawer underneath. Is your home rustic and have windows? The Defancy would fit in just perfectly.
As for functionality, the Defancy C50 is a decent personal tool in that it is mostly quiet and kind of easy to clean all for an affordable price. This machine is not as consistent, nor is it adjustable, but it gets the job done if you’re less than picky about your cup.
As with most hand grinders, it’s another slow one.
The Handground Precision can get the job done if you’re in a pinch for a cup, but it is less than ideal. Users have reported serious durability issues. It also feels… less than. The grind is adjustable but only so much so, which is consistent with most of the hand grinders we’ve reviewed.
Aesthetically, this one is different, which makes sense, since it’s the love child of a kickstarter project, as opposed to a huge company. It isn’t dystopian, but it isn’t old–timey. It’s mostly glass, so you can see what you’re grinding. It is bigger than most hand grinders, therefore a bit less portable. It has a decent feel to it. It isn’t as stable as our top picks, but it feels decent.
The Handground is easy to adjust, but with only eight settings, and runs very quietly. Sadly, this grinder has serious durability issues. On the plus side, it holds more coffee than most of the other hand grinders on this list.
If it isn’t noticeable yet, cute things tend to get a bump here, and this grinder started off on the right foot because of the name of the manufacturer. It’s also the type of grinder you look at and say, “Aww, look at that little dumpling!” So, yes, it’s very cute.
Functionality is a different story. There isn’t a whole lot you can do with the Khaw-fee HG1B. Will it get you to the part of the process where you can pour hot water over something? Yes. Will that be coffee? Well, if you’re reading this, then we are assuming yes.
This grinder is great to use for grinding beans for a french press. Side note; if you buy this grinder you should also buy a french press. All of that is to say that this hand grinder isn’t very adjustable. In fact, it’s not adjustable at all.
You shouldn’t expect too much with the Khaw-Fee grinder. It’s super cute and it works. Normally it even works more than once. As with a lot of hand grinders, durability is a concern with this product.
If the other grinders on this list took a while to grind a bean, this one takes FOREVER.
The Norpro is similar to the Defancy grinder per aesthetics, but is less reliable and less good looking. In the end, this one works, but it’s more decorative than it is anything else. You might as well buy something that looks better and works better.
As for the old–timey part of it, here’s how that goes: you put your beans in the top, you crank it, and they fall into a little drawer. It’s cute. Okay, it’s really cute. How well do the grinds come out? Less than cute.
With that being said, not many people drink coffee for how cute it is…
If you expect to get what you pay for, then you won’t be disappointed with this machine. The grind isn’t consistent, it doesn’t look great, it takes a while, and it will break. For the price, it’s amazing.
Everything bad about all of the other hand grinders is summed up in this hand grinder. Why put it on the list? Because we are awful people who need to prove to you that we have no ulterior motivation.
As with anything else, coffee is what you want to make of it. If you are fine with “Folgers in your cup,” you might not even need a grinder because you’re not going to grind already ground grinds (there’s a tongue twister for you).
Here are some things to remember:
Any of our top three picks are great for the price. If you really care about your cup of coffee, you’re probably going to be fine with spending a little extra on your grinder. The good news with hand grinders is that unless you get them plated in gold and diamonds, they are ever going to be that expensive. Which is good because…
These are to be used with the understanding that they will break down. If it’s a part of life, it’s a part of coffee. If you make a lot of coffee or entertain often, you should probably get an electric grinder that was meant for larger workloads, working faster, and working longer. Because of this, you might want to go the less expensive route. There are other reasons to think about getting an electric grinder, it’s not all about the cost, especially…
And that’s OK. Again, these are better for camping or spending your time meditating over one cup in the morning. We recommend a hand grinder just to slow down every now and then. The world moves too fast. Sometimes you need to really feel your morning cup. You need to be your morning cup.
Here are some of our other grinder blog posts:
If it isn’t clear, hand grinders aren’t our favorite. They are great for camping or really meditating over a cup of coffee, but they don’t have the consistency, speed, or durability that electric grinders do. Some of these could be bought purely for aesthetics.
We’re not saying that you can’t produce a good cup of coffee with these hand grinders. What we are saying is that you can produce a better cup more consistently with other products. Never one to tell you how to enjoy coffee, it should be pointed out that we understand the motivation to feel every aspect of making your own cup of coffee. While we don’t find any of these to be perfect, there are some that are much better than others and we hope that these reviews help guide you through the vast market of hand grinders.
Featured image credit: rawpixel, Pixabay
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