Manual coffee grinder
June 8, 2024 7:27 PM   Subscribe

I would like to buy a manual coffee grinder. It will get very light use, as I drink just one 12oz cup of coffee a day and (I think) I would be happy to grind enough for that one glorious cup every day. I know nothing about them and would like some help choosing one. Under $100, please.
posted by Dolley to Food & Drink (20 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
TIMEMORE Chestnut C2 Manual Coffee Grinder

I've got this one and it's excellent: Extremely sharp steel burrs, very adjustable grind from espresso to french press, disassembles for cleaning, large enough for a strong pour-over cup.

The handle did squeak when I first got it, but I fixed that with a tiny application of food-safe mineral oil where the handle meets the body of the grinder. Like all grinders, it will create static during use, so the grinds will tend to fly around after opening. You can fix that by adding a drop of water to the whole beans before grinding.
posted by arcolz at 7:36 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]

KinGrinder P series.

The James Hoffman review is worth watching for general thoughts on hand grinders.
posted by caek at 7:59 PM on June 8 [3 favorites]

Many of them are pretty sleek and minimalist, like my Hario, so I stuck blobs of Sugru to the sides so I could get a grip on the damn thing.
posted by wenestvedt at 8:24 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]

I had a Hario hand grinder - it was nice and solid and worked perfectly - but I'm not gonna lie it was so tedious to use, it was comical the amount of effort expended for one cup of coffee. I would totally recommend the Hario with the caveat that it was not the analog zen artisanal coffee experience I was trying to achieve - after a week I wanted to throw it out the window.
posted by niicholas at 9:30 PM on June 8 [4 favorites]

Can also testify the Hario took a frustratingly long time to grind a double espresso shot worth of coffee. Might be ok if you only do medium to coarse grinds.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 11:05 PM on June 8 [1 favorite]

We also have the Hario and I’ll use it for power outs or an apocalypse.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:09 PM on June 8 [2 favorites]

I have the Hario one and would happily send it to you for a steep discount more or less amounting to shipping costs. Feel free to MeMail.
posted by kensington314 at 12:45 AM on June 9 [3 favorites]

I have a Porlex Mini hand grinder [jp manufacturer] [us distributor]. Ceramic burrs. It is a workhorse, I tinkered slightly with the settings to adjust the coarseness of the grind after I bought it, then found a setting that worked for me, and it has faithfully ground 20g of beans most weekdays for 5 years without any issues or maintenance. When I make plunger coffee at home, it takes about the same time to grind 20g of beans as it does to boil 1L of water in a kettle. I pace in circles while grinding, which is optional.
posted by are-coral-made at 3:09 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

I have a vintage Dienes coffee grinder like this one that my parents picked up on a trip to Europe. You might have a look at Ebay or Etsy for other vintage grinders. Noting what others have said above about the difficulty of hand grinding, the genius of this particular design is the curved body that allows you to hold the unit between your knees while you crank. It makes a beautiful grind and I kind of like the simplicity. I can see where a cylindrical design would be much more challenging to crank.
posted by amusebuche at 5:04 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

I like my Hario and use it daily! I personally enjoy the grinding process. It just takes 1-2 minutes for a 4 cup press, and it helps wake me up before I get my coffee. I do it while the water is boiling so it doesn't add any total time. I got a mod kit that helps it perform better on coarse grinds for French Press, which I would recommend if you want coarser grinds. I would also recommend you take the generous offer above!
posted by SaltySalticid at 5:30 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

My Porlex is on its second set of ceramic burrs, the mounting for the grinding arm is showing wear. I've had it for 12 years, I think.

At $100, you might be able to find a Wilfa Svart electric grinder. I've had mine 7 years, the burrs are doing great and the motor seems unstressed. [knocks on wood]
posted by k3ninho at 6:05 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

The one drawback I find to using a hand grinder is that about half the times I use it, my Apple watch pipes up helpfully, "It looks like you're doing an elliptical workout!"
posted by wenestvedt at 6:15 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

I have a hario and a porlex. I recently travelled and took my porlex - it’s smaller and neater. I was surprised at how much nicer it was to use than the hario
posted by The River Ivel at 6:46 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

I have an old Peugeot Freres coffee mill I got from my dad. It's a bit of a workout but it will do any grind, as long as you have enough time and strength.
posted by fiercekitten at 8:19 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

I have a Timemore C3 grinder, and it's a noticeable upgrade (smoother, faster, easier to adjust) from the Hario I had before, but I still use the Hario at work, and also I wouldn't turn down a cheap one.

I've never used one or even seen one in real life, but if you're a fancy-designer-kitchen kind of person, the Snow Peak Field Barista is another option.
posted by box at 8:27 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

A coffee grinder needn't be fancy nor expensive, I've heard of people using spice grinders for their brew; when I was drinking coffee and roasting my own beans I used a grain grinder like this one. A uniform grind is only required for espresso machines - if you're making drip or using a French press, you can go back to basics and be completely rustic, grinding your beans with a mortar and pestle.
posted by Rash at 8:28 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

I bought a Timemore Chestnut C3s Pro grinder a year ago, and I've been very happy with it. It replaced a Hario that I was less happy with.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:35 AM on June 9 [1 favorite]

Oh - Also, the Hario took over 100 revolutions to grind two rounded tablespoons of beans for a 16 oz cup of (regular) coffee, whereas the Timemore only needs about 30 to do the same job and appears to be a more uniform grind size.
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:38 AM on June 9 [2 favorites]

Now that is something I hadn't heard before, Greg Ace. What's the maximum capacity of the grinder -- just 20g, or more?
posted by wenestvedt at 11:13 AM on June 9

Yeah, the first time I used it I realized how much quicker the grinding process went, and I fell in love with it immediately! Apparently it holds between 35-40g (though that partly depends on grind size), which is plenty for me since I only drink a cup at a time. You could probably fill a standard portafilter with espresso grind.
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:30 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]

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