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Coffee Grinder

post #1 of 61
Thread Starter 
My coffee grinder died and I need a new one.

What's my best option for a replacement on the cheap? I had a burr grinder and I really liked that I could just select a grind size and leave it to grind rather than worrying about how long I grind it for...so I would probably like another burr grinder unless the only cost effective option is the blade grinder (my old one was free).
post #2 of 61
What is your price range? I think burr grinders tend to be on the expensive side.
post #3 of 61
I suggest you shoot an email to the customer service people at http://1st-line.com/

I bought my espresso machine from them over 3 years ago. I couldn't decide which one to buy and once I engaged them and told them what I would use it for they directed me to a machine that was less than 1/2 of what I was originally looking at.
post #4 of 61
The quality of the grinder should always be as good as possible, since it's far more important in the coffee-making process than most people imagine. Blade grinders should never be an option, as they are not capable of a uniform consistent grind...save these for chopping herbs & spices.

But since you at least have the sense to grind beans for every brew, and if a very low budget is required, I would suggest buying the best burr grinder within your budget (sorry, but free just doesn't seem reasonable) on your local Craigslist.

I guess just how good you need depends on your brewing method of choice. If you are using a french press method (which requires large grinds), then a lower quality one will suffice. But if you are using an espresso machine, then the uniform consistency of the very fine grind will need a good quality machine I'm afraid...anything less and the shot will not extract properly.
post #5 of 61
Thread Starter 
Oh I certainly am not expecting free again (and while free is always nice...it died in a year) I'll give craigslist a try...I do have a pretty limited college student budget and while I usually am not brewing super high quality coffee (and I don't use it fast enough for grinding in the store to make sense), I prefer to buy something decent that I can keep using and won't end up in a dump in 2 years EDIT: What about a hand crank grinder? I usually only make enough coffee at a time for myself so it wouldn't take that much time to grind right? It sounds like on my very low budget, a cheap hand crank may get the best price-to-quality ratio.
post #6 of 61
As with many things, you pay for quality, and this is especially true with coffee grinders. Some links:
http://www.wholelattelove.com/
http://www.coffeegeek.com

Quality grinders start at around $300ish. Rancilio Rocky. Check e-bay as well.
post #7 of 61
ZASSENHAUS
This is the name you need to know if you are thinking of a hand crank grinder. These are the real thing, made in Germany by a company with a long tradition of making great manual grinders. I have one and it works great. It just takes a minute or so to grind enough beans to make more than a quart of coffee. The grind size is finely adjustable and the grinder is very portable. The only beef I have with it is that if I carry it around in a little case with a vacuum press and other stuff I notice that the grind size adjuster gets misadjusted (not likely to be a problem with stationary units). There are cheap Asian knockoffs out there and they look about the same but don't function nearly as well and are exasperating to use.
post #8 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelp123 View Post
As with many things, you pay for quality, and this is especially true with coffee grinders. Some links:
http://www.wholelattelove.com/
http://www.coffeegeek.com

Quality grinders start at around $300ish. Rancilio Rocky. Check e-bay as well.

I have a Rocky and it, um, well....rocks
post #9 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by cbird View Post
ZASSENHAUS
This is the name you need to know if you are thinking of a hand crank grinder. These are the real thing, made in Germany by a company with a long tradition of making great manual grinders. I have one and it works great. It just takes a minute or so to grind enough beans to make more than a quart of coffee. The grind size is finely adjustable and the grinder is very portable. The only beef I have with it is that if I carry it around in a little case with a vacuum press and other stuff I notice that the grind size adjuster gets misadjusted (not likely to be a problem with stationary units). There are cheap Asian knockoffs out there and they look about the same but don't function nearly as well and are exasperating to use.

Yes the hand crank Zassenhaus is probably the finest manual hand coffee grinder you can find however it is hardwork you may not be used to. I haven't used mine in a while as I buy my coffee already ground (extra fine balkan coffee). The round thing with the spring in the second pic is where you adjust how fine you want the coffee to be ground. Tightening it I brings the burs closer together. If not used practically its a must have in my opinion for coffee afficiandos and people who like interesting items. This thing oozes quality.




post #10 of 61
So how long does it take to hand-grind a serving of coffee?
post #11 of 61
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tarmac View Post
So how long does it take to hand-grind a serving of coffee?

Enough for a single serve close to 5 mins.
post #12 of 61
I've heard the Baratza Maestro is the cheapest "good" grinder you can get. It's a conical burr grinder and has the same guts as many of Baratza's more expensive grinders. I believe it runs around $100.

This is what coffeegeek.com has to say about it:
"All in all, Baratza and Solis have a real winner here, and my overall rating for the product is actually a 10 in its class - because it becomes the new benchmark in consumer grinders for the home. Stacked up against the Rocky, I give it a 6 in the espresso scoring, and 8 in the overall score, in its class."
post #13 of 61
I'm going to get flamed for this but I use a Mr. Coffee grinder that I picked up for $20. It's definitely not the best but it does a fine grind and it's held up for over a year now with every day use.

What's the difference between a blade grinder and a burr one? I'm sure the same rule that goes along with purchasing quality clothes that last can be said for a quality grinder but I haven't been schooled in that aspect of life yet.
post #14 of 61
Quote:
What's the difference between a blade grinder and a burr one? I'm sure the same rule that goes along with purchasing quality clothes that last can be said for a quality grinder but I haven't been schooled in that aspect of life yet.

The difference has nothing to do with how long they will last (or even build quality really)...and everything to do with how they work.

A blade grinder doesn't really "grind"...it chops...basically a tiny little food processor. The problem with this, is that you will never get the uniform grind that is required. The poster still hasn't mentioned his brewing method, but if you are using an espresso machine, you will never get the total uniformity required. And the problem with that, is that if the grind is not very uniform, the water under pressure will simply find a channel in the puck, and never extract properly. You simply could not use a blade grinder for espresso.

A bit of a mute point, as anybody who uses a blade grinder for espresso machines, would also not be using an espresso machine capable of a good shot anyway. Inevitably, this person would also not have the necessary skills or knowledge to pull a good shot, and would also not likely be using quality beans either. These kind of people are generally candidates for the "push-a-button" crowd...Tassimo or any superautomatic espresso machine (which is actually the more expensive route in the long run, let alone getting the inferior coffee).

A burr grinder actually grinds the beans between two grinding wheels. Fine adjustments can be made, and depending on quality, uniformity of grinds can be quite good (less so on really cheap models). The really cheap burr grinders have a hard time with espresso grind, but it isn't impossible. The larger and slower the grinding wheels are, the better the grinds...slower grinding produces uniformity and less friction heat, which in turn is better for the grinds.
post #15 of 61
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by freshcutgrass View Post
The poster still hasn't mentioned his brewing method,

Auto drip with the occasional french press.

And almost everything in this thread is far beyond my price range (though such is the way with SF)
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