1. Welcome to the new Styleforum!

    We hope you’re as excited as we are to hang out in the new place. There are more new features that we’ll announce in the near future, but for now we hope you’ll enjoy the new site.

    We are currently fine-tuning the forum for your browsing pleasure, so bear with any lingering dust as we work to make Styleforum even more awesome than it was.

    Oh, and don’t forget to head over to the Styleforum Journal, because we’re giving away two pairs of Carmina shoes to celebrate our move!

    Please address any questions about using the new forum to support@styleforum.net

    Cheers,

    The Styleforum Team

    Dismiss Notice

Coffee Grinder

Discussion in 'Social Life, Food & Drink, Travel' started by otc, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,201
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    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).
     
  2. jswanson3

    jswanson3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    157
    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2004
    What is your price range? I think burr grinders tend to be on the expensive side.
     
  3. chas

    chas Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    731
    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2006
    Location:
    NYC
    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.
     
  4. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    690
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    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.
     
  5. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,201
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    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.
     
  6. michaelp123

    michaelp123 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2008
  7. cbird

    cbird Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    105
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    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.
     
  8. JohnGalt

    JohnGalt Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,880
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2009
    Location:
    Ouray, CO
    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 [​IMG]
     
  9. Star

    Star Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    In Exile Corsica
    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.

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  10. Tarmac

    Tarmac Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,219
    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2006
    Location:
    Location: Location
    So how long does it take to hand-grind a serving of coffee?
     
  11. Star

    Star Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    592
    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2008
    Location:
    In Exile Corsica
    So how long does it take to hand-grind a serving of coffee?

    Enough for a single serve close to 5 mins.
     
  12. dfminc

    dfminc Member

    Messages:
    16
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    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."
     
  13. minnesotamoon

    minnesotamoon Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    82
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    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.
     
  14. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    690
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    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.
     
  15. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,201
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    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)
     
  16. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    690
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Sorry, but this one of those....do it right or what's the point...kind of things. Since there are too many compromises for it to matter in the end, I suggest you just buy the cheap tin of supermarket pre-ground coffee and not worry about a grinder at all.
     
  17. otc

    otc Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    14,201
    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2008
    Now I don't buy that at all. Grinding my own coffee with my piece of shit burr grinder (disks...I'd reckon it is similar to the cheap one target currently has that has awful reviews) was definately better than the cheap tins of preground stuff.

    I'm not making espresso, I don't need a controllable super fine grind that only a super high end grinder can deliver. Even the people on coffeegeek seem to agree that the reviews are all biased heavily towards machines that can do espresso but many of them would work just fine for drip coffee or french press.

    Thanks to the people on more focused cofee sites who at least realized that a college student making 12oz of drip coffee in the morning is not the right person to be investing in a high end grinder.
     
  18. whacked

    whacked Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,364
    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2006
    Now I don't buy that at all. Grinding my own coffee with my piece of shit burr grinder (disks...I'd reckon it is similar to the cheap one target currently has that has awful reviews) was definately better than the cheap tins of preground stuff.

    Agreed. I would add that french press or moka pot are far superior ways to enjoy coffee on a budget than drip.
     
  19. freshcutgrass

    freshcutgrass Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    690
    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2008
    Well, it's not like other brew methods don't benefit from this as well. But my concern is no longer the grinder, but the coffee itself, and at what point it no longer matters, given your tight budget. You say you don't use "super high quality" coffee. Not sure what that means. "Good" coffee will have three attributes....good quality green beans to start (single varietal or blend)...it's roasted properly...and of course, being fresh.

    Let's worry about the "fresh" part. If you are buying beans from your source that are fresh roasted (as in roasted within a week of purchasing), then I'd say it's worth getting whatever grinder you can get your hands on....freshly brewed, freshly grinded, freshly roasted beans will always taste better no matter the quality of the bean and roast or the grinder.

    If you are buying "stale" beans, then it really doesn't matter so much....grinding a stale bean isn't really an improvement over just buying the already stale pre-ground....it's all stale.

    Know what I mean?

    My preferred method of brewing (besides espresso) is a simple pour-over directly into the cup. No need for a brewing machine at all....just a $2 plastic #2 cone and grind enough beans for each cup. It actually takes less time than waiting for a drip machine to brew a "pot", and having the second cup done this way tastes much better than using the stuff that's been sitting in the pot.
     
  20. esquire.

    esquire. Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,303
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2004
    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.
    If it has the same guts as Baratza's more expensive models, then that may or may not be a good thing depending on your point of view. I scored a Baratza Virtuoso for a fantastic bargain, but I'm already having second thoughts and seriously considering returning it because of the reviews I've read about it. When you look at the reviews about it, there's a lot of disappointed owners who aren't happy with the durability of the Baratza Virtuoso- parts start falling off pretty quickly, and the machine breaks down a lot. The Baratza is the Rowenta Iron of Coffee Grinders- a high priced tool that's great when things are good but all too often breaks down only a short amount of time.
    I don't know about this. I know burr grinders are the default answer about what kind of coffee grinders to get, but does it make that big of a difference for drip coffee? For espresso, you can make the argument that the grinder is just as important as the espresso machine. And, good grinders are needed for french press to reduce the number of fines, although they are still not as vital as they are for espresso. But, with drip coffee, doesn't the filter make the burr grinder less necessary? And, for something like a Chemex and their special filters, then a burr grinder would be even less important.
     

Share This Page

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by