This Morning Was a "Burden"...Today Will Be a "Grind"
July 28, 2006 6:01 AM   Subscribe

Coffee Achievers filter: The grind settings wheel on my La Pavoni burr coffee grinder seems to have jammed...I suspect that I will need to replace the entire unit. Please support my caffeine addiction by referring me to a top-performing burr grinder that will cost me less than $50. It may help you to know that I use the ground coffee in a French press.
posted by NYCinephile to Shopping (13 answers total)
A used Rocky? No idea what the going rate is over the pond, but surely cheaper than in the UK.
posted by dance at 6:06 AM on July 28, 2006

Rockys are $275-300 new. I think a Solis Maestro (~$100 new) is your best bet. Then again, if you buy two or three comparable to that level instead of one Rocky or MDF in the next five years, you're still at about the same level.. take your grinder to a repair shop before you give up on it.
posted by kcm at 6:15 AM on July 28, 2006

According to an article I read once on CoffeeGeek, the cheapest grinder they could recommend in good conscience is the Bodum Antigua.

I like my Krups GVX-14, but I live in a 50hz world, so I can't comment on how good the cup setting is, as it always grinds too much if I use it here.

In my humble opinion, the best grind you are going to get for $50 is to buy a used Zassenhaus on ebay. It's a little work, but a good grind for your buck.
posted by bryak at 6:51 AM on July 28, 2006

As bryak said, I just don't think you can get a good grinder at that price point. If you want to minimize your caffeine withdrawal time, you can stop by Bed Bath and Beyond and pick up a Capresso Infinity--that way you don't have to wait for shipping, etc. I have one and it grinds very really well for espresso, so I'm sure grinding for a French Press would be no problem. I bought the chrome model, but the store where I got mine also had a black version that was around $90 if I remember correctly.
posted by jtfowl0 at 7:01 AM on July 28, 2006

You can pick up a refurbished Maestro grinder for maybe as low as $75. I have a Maestro Pro that I got refurbished and I've been pretty happy with it. I know it's more than you wanted to spend, but.

I've often wondered about the Zassenhaus and other hand grinders. That would be a nice thing to throw in my suitcase when travelling somewhere. Actually, I've seen a camper's hand grinder or two for sale at Campmor. Does anyone know whether these things are any good?
posted by Songdog at 7:29 AM on July 28, 2006

Most people who have worked with grinders a lot will tell you that there isn't much to work with under $100. I'm sorry, but a grinder is an investment in good coffee and well worth it IMHO. Good water, good grind, fresh beans, proper steepage time are all equally important.

I've worked with Bodum Antiguas and own the Solis Maestro. The Bodum is utter shit. If you can find a Maestro under $100 that's new, wow, jump at it. But it you can't, I would definitely try to get yours fixed before shopping for a new one. If it turns out to be permanently broken, I would suggest waiting for the Starbucks Grinder (which is a Solis Maestro in Starbucks packaging) to go on sale in October during their Fall Brewing Event. If you can't wait that long, I would suggest trying to get a Maestro that has a warranty. They work like champs, but you don't want to get screwed with a lemon. So make sure they offer at least a 90 day warranty (New ones should be much longer).

Don't bother with the Rocky. It's a prosumer favorite, but it's a waste of money for 95% of coffee drinkers. I have a Solis SL70 espresso machine, 4 coffeemakers, and a bunch of other coffee making devices and there's no way in hell I'd drop that kind of cash for a Rocky. If you ever decide to buy an espresso machine that costs over a grand, then sure. But when you got that kind of cash to throw around, may as well go for the big time.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 8:42 AM on July 28, 2006

Response by poster: Clearly, there are a lot of Coffee Achievers on Ask MeFi! I appreciate the suggestions that have been posted so far, and look forward to reading others.

To clarify:

*I meant that "Burden" in the title to be "Burr"-den...just goes to show what happens when you attempt to post bad puns & click "Post" on too little sleep.

*I won't be making espresso...the ground coffee will be used either to make a single cup using a French press, or a few cups in a small automatic drip.
posted by NYCinephile at 9:40 AM on July 28, 2006

What about buying a cheap blade grinder and using that while you save up for one that you really love? The blade grinder could be used for other tasks afterwards (such as grinding spices).
posted by chimmyc at 11:03 AM on July 28, 2006

Response by poster: Tangential thread: I'm sure the La Pavoni is no longer covered by its warranty. Any recommendations regarding where I might have it inspected and possibly repaired in Manhattan?
posted by NYCinephile at 11:45 AM on July 28, 2006

I've had nothing but bad experiences with Pavoni. I have no idea why they seem to have a good rep, but suspect it has more with having an Italian name than producing a good product.
posted by RavinDave at 12:46 PM on July 28, 2006

I have owned many a burr grinder, including a Rocky, and my all-time favorite grinder is the Zassenhaus Knee Mill, a hand-cranked beauty of a grinder. Infinitely adjustable (i.e. not stepped), shockingly easy to use, and usuable ANYWHERE, since it requires no electricity. I wouldn't, say, grind coffee for 30 guests in it, but for doing a french press at a time or even a whole pot of drip it is wonderful.
posted by casconed at 3:08 PM on July 28, 2006

I use a Capresso Burr Grinder Model #555. It has a plastic housing and is rather noisy but gets the job done. Capresso seems to have replaced it with the Burr Grinder Select Model #555. I use an electric Bodum Santos to brew my coffee.
posted by plokent at 3:13 PM on July 28, 2006

I've had very bad experiences with two Bunn burr grinders. They're crappily made, even though they cost about $175.
posted by wryly at 3:34 PM on July 28, 2006

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