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The type of coffee grinder you have can make or break the quality of your drink and the brewing technique you prefer.
Electric grinders often overlook manual coffee grinders, but there are many benefits to owning manual grinders as long as you buy the right one.
This article will explain the different factors that determine a quality manual coffee grinder from a crappy one.
- Best for travel – Porlex mini
- Best for espresso – 1Z Presso JX
- Best For Turkish coffee – Javapresse (for the best Turkish coffee, you should buy a grinder meant to make Turkish coffee)
- Best overall – 1Z Presso JX
- Most affordable – Hario Original
- Highest quality – Chestnut G1
The Best Hand Coffee grinders
- Full control of the grind adjustment
- Easy to clean
- 48mm Stainless steel burrs
- A little large to travel with
Dimensions – 5.12 x 2.24 x 7.09 inches
- Smaller than a can of soda
- Numbered adjustment to make it easy to remember grind settings for different brewing techniques
- The lid is acrylic; I thought it should’ve been metal
- The hopper only holds 24oz of beans
Dimensions – 5.51 x 1.97 x 1.97 inches
- Great handle that allows you to create more torque to receive a finer grind if needed
- Ceramic burrs
- Small design means you have to grind a little longer than other brands
- The grinds become a little less consistent when you adjust higher than the medium course setting
Dimensions – 6 x 2.3 x 1.8 inches
- Compact and durable
- Very consistent grinds
- The numbers on the grind adjuster can be a bit confusing since they are reversed to normal grinders
- A little harder to grind
Dimensions – 1.8 x 7.5 x 1.8
- 5 axis stainless steel burrs
- Made of space-grade aluminum, making it damn near indestructible
- The only con is the price but would,ve been my number one pick if it was more affordable
Dimensions – 7.6 x 5.31 x 2.99 inches
- Cast iron burr which reduces heat to give your coffee a richer flavor
- Solid wood design that is durable and aesthetically-pleasing
- Cast iron burrs are very tough but not as sharp as ceramic or steel so it takes a little longer to grind your beans
Dimensions – 7.72 x 3.43 x 3.31 inches
- Easily cleaned
- Ceramic burrs
- Hopper holds 2 cups of beans
- Can only be hand washed
Dimensions – 7.3 x 4.5 x 3.2 inches
- Made with durable, high grade materials
- Larger hopper than most manual grinders
- Heavier than average
- Takes a little longer to ground your beans
Dimensions – 13.5 x 3 x 3
- Nonslip rubber bottom
- Removable handle for easier cleaning and stow away
- Finer grinds can cause a jamb if you make the hopper full, fill it halfway, and then grind a finer batch.
Dimensions – 4.1 x 3.9 x 8.1 inches
- Made from solid wood
- Zassenhaus has been around for over 100 years
- 25-year guarantee
- Great conversation piece
- Can not make a fine enough grind for espresso
Dimensions – 8.25 x 3.5 x 8 inches
- Made with a Juglans nigra stainless steel burr
- Comes with a measuring base
- Silicone grip on the outside for better handling
- Can not be used for espresso
- The hopper is a tad bit small
Dimensions – 5.63 x 2.36 x 2.17 inches
- 24 different grind adjustment levels
- Stainless steel burrs
- Heavier than normal grinders
Dimensions – 6.69 x 1.97 x 1.97 inches
Questions You Should Ask Before Buying A Manual Coffee Grinder
Many different elements separate the best manual coffee grinders from the bad ones.
This list will give you the knowledge you need to do the proper research and make an informed decision based on your specific needs.
Is it portable
Many people like to guarantee themselves a great tasting cup of coffee even when they’re on the road for work or pleasure.
If you fall into this category, you will want to pick a sleeker, cylindrical grinder that makes it easier to handle and is small enough to fit into your luggage or purse.
You’ll also want one that has a burr grounder made out of steel since it is more durable and will take a little bit of a beating since it is portable.
How much coffee can it hold
When answering this, you’re going to have to think about how many cups of coffee you normally brew in one sitting.
The average person will use;
- 8 grams of coffee beans for 1 cup
- 18 grams for 2 cups
- 38 grams for 4 cups
- 60 grams for 6 cups
If you grind more than 6 cups, you’re going to have forearms bigger than Popeyes or the rocks depending on how old you are.
Make sure to buy a grinder that will be able to make enough coffee for your normal usage.
How much is it
I wish we could all afford the finest things in life, but this isn’t the case, so you have to make sure you get the best quality for what fits into your budget.
The good news is that there are plenty of grinders on this affordable list and are still made with quality parts that will last a long time.
Are the burrs made of ceramic or stainless steel
This may be the most important factor in the effectiveness and consistency of the ground you’re going to receive.
If you have a larger budget, you should always buy a stainless steel burr grinder, there sharper, lasts longer, faster, and more consistent than ceramic burrs.
What are the dimensions of the handle
The handle is essential since you need torque to force the grinder to pulverize the beans.
A longer handle allows it to apply more force to the conical burrs making it easier for the grinder and your arm to get the job done.
A shorter handle will make you work harder, and since you haven’t had any caffeine, yet this will probably make you a little angry.
Does it have bearings
The ball bearings solely give the crank action of the grinder a smoother feel and make it less cumbersome.
Unfortunately, you will only see bearing in higher quality models, but if you can afford it, I highly recommend doing so since it will be a lot more pleasurable experience.
Is it easy to clean
The best way to make your manual grinder last longer is to take care of it by cleaning it regularly.
Whether or not you stick to this regimen is largely going to be decided by the ease of cleaning your grinder.
Look for reviews saying if it’s easy to remove the hopper and inner and outer burrs.
Consistency of the grind
Two factors are going to make the grind more consistent. A hand grinder that has steel burrs and a long handle.
The steel burrs are stronger and sharper, and the long handle allows you to apply more torque to crush the beans.
Can you adjust the size of the grinds
If you like to perform different brewing techniques you’re going to need change the grind size.
You want to check how many settings there are and how easy it is to switch between them.
This is important since you’ll want to be able to use your grinder no matter if you’re making espresso, french press, pour-over, drip, or mocha.
Are you planning on using it for espresso or Turkish coffee
If you’re a big Turkish coffee drinker you will need a completely different grinder to get the grind as fine as you need it to brew it properly.
In fact, I wouldn’t even recommend using a hand coffee grinder for espresso since you’ll have a hard time getting it as fine as you need for the proper extraction.
If these are your primary brewing techniques, I would buy an electric burr grinder for the espresso and a separate Turkish coffee grinder for your Turkish drinks.
Can you replace the parts
Even the best hand coffee grinders don’t have warranties like their electric counterparts, so it is important to find out if the brand you’re looking at allows you to replace the major components.
The individual parts of a manual coffee bean grinder are;
- Metal rod
- Bean hopper
- Inner burr
- Outer burr
- Grind container
By looking at reviews or looking up the manual online, you’ll be able to see whether or not these parts are replaceable.
What is the size of the manual coffee grinder
Unless you have unlimited counter space to display all of your kitchen tools it wil be important to check the dimensions of the hand grinder to make sure that it will fit on the counter or in the cabinet of your choosing.
You can tell a lot about certain products just by knowing who makes it.
For example, I know when I see a Breville espresso maker that it is precision made with the highest quality parts.
This is no different with a manual coffee grinder; some companies like 1Zpresso have a great reputation and give you the confidence that you’re buying a well-designed product.
This doesn’t mean that you have to pigeonhole yourself to a couple of brands, but you should consider it.
Manual Vs. Electric – Benefits Of Using A Hand Coffee Grinder
You may be wondering why you would want to grind by hand instead of using an electric grinder and just hitting a button.
There are a few benefits if you’re willing to put some extra work into preparing your next cup of coffee.
A premium electric burr grinder will cost you a few hundred dollars and maybe more, depending on the brand.
The most expensive manual coffee bean grinder will cost you around 150.00, with many more quality options under a hundred.
If you don’t mind a little extra work, you can save yourself a couple of bucks while still receiving a great tasting caffeinated beverage.
More durable and reliable
The more moving pieces a machine has, the higher chance of something breaking; there are dozens of finely tuned machined parts in an electric grinder that, at any moment, can break or become misaligned.
Manual grinders have 6 parts, and only 3 of them move; you don’t have to worry about having a power source either since it’s all done with good old fashioned elbow grease.
Easier to travel with
If you have any aspirations to take your grinder with you on trips, your only choice is a manual grinder.
The electric brands are much bigger, and the smallest drop or hit can break or make the burrs misalign.
More aromatic/Richer taste
When you use an electric grinder, more friction and heat is produced since the burrs or blades are moving much faster than a manual grinder.
This heat bakes the grinds and takes some of the moisture out of them, causing them to not have as much aroma as a grind from a hand coffee grinder.
If you’re like me and enjoy the smell that develops throughout the house when you brew your coffee, this may be a factor you want to take into consideration.
This will also make your coffee taste richer since none of the aromatics escape during the grinding process. They will instead seep into your drink while it’s brewed.
No electricity needed
It is easy to take electricity for granted; during the times when we find ourselves without it, we quickly realize how much we depend on it.
If you live in an area where you have power outages often, or if you like to go camping and still enjoy a good cup of coffee, a manual grinder is your best choice.
You normally enjoy the result more when you have to put a little effort into something and work for it.
I’m not trying to make grinding your beans by hand sound like you just ran a marathon, but it isn’t as easy as hitting a button and letting an electric model do its thing while you sit on the couch.
I have found that when I take the time to grind my coffee cup by hand, I appreciate the outcome a bit more, and I do find myself missing it when I am not able to do it.
I can’t tell you how many times we have had guests over, and they see our ROK coffee grinder model on our coffee bar and ask what it is.
Often, this conversation leads to us making coffee, and they end up grinding the beans themselves.
Not as loud
A few times, I’ve been yelled at by my wife and kids when I turned on our electric grinder at 5 am.
I can’t blame them. It is deafening; this is another benefit of a hand-turned grinder; they are reticent compared to their counterpart.
Disadvantages Of Owning A Manual Coffee Grinder
Like anything in life there are pros and cons to everything and I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it and say this isn’t the same for manual grinders.
Here are a few things to keep in mind before purchasing.
Slower with more effort envolved
It is a slower process when you use a manual grinder rather than an electric one.
If you’re the impatient type or are always in a hurry, then a manual coffee grinder may not be the best fit for you.
It will also take a little elbow grease to get the desired effect, especially if you need a finer grind.
These aren’t necessarily reasons not to get a manual grinder, but if you are questioning whether this may annoy you, then maybe you should get a coffee maker with a grinder.
Not good for parties
Manual coffee grinders are great if you’re making a small amount of coffee, but if you have guests over for dinner or a party, you will soon find it to be a bit much.
Grinding more than 40 grams of beans, which is around 4 cups of coffee, is a little tiring and time-consuming.
If you like to host, I would recommend getting an electric grinder for those occasions and a manual one for when it’s just you and 1 or 2 other people.
Quality means everything
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing since we all want to have a quality product, but in order to get a well made manual grinder you can’t buy a cheapmodel and expect to have great results.
Budget-friendly models are made with low-quality parts that will break, become dull, or not grind your beans at the right consistency.
If you’re really looking into buying a grinder, do yourself a favor and wait until you can afford a high-quality brand. You won’t be disappointed.
How Long Does It Take To Grind Coffee Manually
I’m not going to try and B.S. you, it takes a little effort and a longer time to grind your beans with a manual coffee grinder than an electric one.
If you’re making a large cup of coffee (12oz), it will take about a minute to grind the number of beans you’ll need.
This average comes from the two spectrums you have with any product.
The faster, more expensive models will grind this same amount of beans in 35 to 40 seconds.
Cheaper models with ceramic burrs will take 45 to 60 seconds.
The materials used to make the best hand coffee grinders truly make a difference in how well they work.
How Can you Gri
How To Clean Your Manual Coffee bean grinder
- The first thing you want to do is remove the top part of the grinder many times, which can be accomplished by removing a couple of screws or just prying it off.
- You want to remove the upper burr; this will almost always be held in place by 2 to 3 screws. Make sure you don’t strip the screws out.
- Lastly, you will grab the rod or shaft with pliers. If you’re worried about scratching the metal, you can wrap the electric tape around the top and bottom of the pliers to keep the pliers’ metal from doing any damage. Twist the handle with the pliers until it comes apart.
- Now you v=can clean all the parts individually with baking soda, vinegar, or soapy water. Do not use bleach or any chemical that you wouldn’t want to ingest.
Do Coffee grinders wear Out Overtime
Nothing lasts forever but you will get a lot of use out of your grind before you have to worry about changing out the burrs.
Steel burrs will be able to grind around 500 pounds of coffee before becoming dull and ceramic burrs will go through on average 700 pounds.
If you go through a pound of coffee a week, then you can have peace of mind knowing that your grinder will stay sharp for 10 to 14 years.
How Can You Tell If Your Burrs Are Becoming Dull
Dull burrs will create inconsistent grind size and effect how you brew your coffee.
this can be easily fixed by changing out the inner and outer burrs but you will need to know what to look for.
Here are 4 signs that you need to replace your burrs.
- The grinds are not a consistent size – If you start to notice that your grinds aren’t as fine or coarse as you normally like, then this is a clear sign that parts of your inner or outer burrs are becoming rounded.
- Grounds are stuck together – When your burrs start to dull, they will mash your beans more than ground them, and the outcome is clumped grinds instead of loose ones.
- If your burrs feel rounded – You can tell very easily if your burrs require being replaced by taking the inner and outer burrs out, wiping them down with a washcloth (try not to use a paper towel because it will rip), and then run your finger over them. If they feel rounded instead of sharp and defined, it is time to replace them.
- You have to grind longer before you get the desired grind size – If it used to take 45 seconds to grind 3 scoops of coffee and now it’s taking a minute or longer, this is a clear sign that your burrs are becoming rounded and are no longer working as effectively.
Is It Better To Grind Your Own Coffee
Grounding your own beans right before you brew your coffee gives you a completely different taste than using grounded beans from a bag.
When your coffee beans are subjected to oxygen in the air and water, a process called oxidation starts to happen.
Coffee is full of oils and compounds are known as solubles; this gives you the familiar coffee taste.
When whole beans are ground, the air’s oxygen starts to degrade the solubles and dry out the oils; this will weaken the strength and take away the rich taste that you’re used to.
This is why it is best fr you to ground your beans right before you drink so that you can keep all as much flavor in your beans as possible.
It is also recommended that you only buy coffee beans roasted 2 weeks ago or less; this will allow you enough time to brew them before they start to go stale.
How To Adjust The Grind Settings For Different Brewing Techniques
You can’t decide to try different brewing methods without knowing the size of the grind you need for each brewing method.
Here are the grind sizes you need for the most popular brewing techniques.
- Grind size for drip coffee makers – You want a medium-coarse grind to receive the richest flavor from your coffee maker. If it’s too fine, it will clog your filter, and if it’s to course, you will end up with a watery, weak coffee.
- Grind size for a pour-over technique – adjust your grinder to a medium-coarse grind; this will give you a strong flavor; if it ends up being too strong, adjust the setting accordingly until it meets your standards.
- Perfect for french press and cold brew – If you prefer these methods, you want a coarse grind due to the prolonged contact between grind and water.
- If you like espresso – I would recommend an electric grinder to get your beans fine enough for the proper extraction, but if you’re in a bind, adjust your grinder to make the beans as fine as possible.
- Turkish Coffee – don’t even attempt to brew a Turkish coffee unless you have a grinder meant to make Turkish style coffee. The grind needs to be so fine that it resembles flour; you won’t be able to do this with a normal hand coffee grinder.
Can You Use A Hand Grinder For Espresso
If your preferred method of drinking coffee is with an espresso maker I would not recommend using a manual coffee grinder.
An espresso machine extracts espresso by extracting the coffee from the grind by sing steam pressure.
To get the right amount of extraction you have to have a fine grind that is very hard to get with a manual coffee grinder.
If it’s to course, you will under extract, and if it’s too fine, you’ll over-extract or clog.
You will be better off buying an electric grinder that has the capability of grinding your beans fine enough to give you a rich, silky espresso.
Why Are Manual Coffee Grinders So Expensive
They tend to be more expensive becsuse there aren’t many parts that manufacturers can use cheaper plastic parts in lieu of the metal parts that are more commonly used.
This is because the burrs in electric grinders have to be made out of either ceramic or stainless steel, a cheaper material would break since they are spinning very close together at high speeds.
In hand coffee grinders you don thave the high speeds but this means that the precision of the build is even more important.
If you’re not able to get the right amount of torque inside the inner and outer burr, you won’t be able to get a consistent size grind for the particular brewing technique you prefer.
The quality control that goes into the durability and precision tests is light years apart from many other manufacturers since grinders are typically used multiple times every day.
Should You Buy A Blade Or Burr Coffee Bean Grinder
This is one factor you don’t have to worry about because manual grinders only have conical burr grinders.
The only element you’ll have to decide is if you want to buy a ceramic burr grinder or spend a little more money on a stainless steel brand.
Is There More Caffeine In Freshly Ground Coffee
Studies have been done to see if the size of your grind will change the amount of caffeine in your coffee, and the results surprised me.
I figured the finer the grind would result in more caffeine, but the experiment showed that the amount of caffeine actually doubled when you went from a coarse grind to a finer grind.
This would explain why espresso and Turkish brewing methods result in stronger coffee than a drip or cold brew.
The best manual coffee grinders will add many benefits, a truer experience and incite conversation from its uniqueness.
Like any purchase in life, you have to be able to make sure what you’re buying is going to fit your needs.
certain brewing techniques like espresso-making and Turkish coffee shouldn’t even be attempted with a hand coffee grinder.
Follow the buyer’s guide and decide which one best fits your budget and your needs, and you’ll be making coffee for a long while with a caffeinated smile on your face.