coffee grinder for a stovetop?
no, No NO NO NO!!
Conical Burr will grind coffee evenly, consistantly .
Almost everything else is a rotary blade machine and will not give you consistant results.
You are right that, an electrial conical burr machine may not be worth the cash. Unless you are lucky enough to lay hands on a good condition second hand machine.
I hope that you get something that suits you.
We are talking about grinding coffee for a Bialetta, not for a La Pavoni. If someone wants to invest couple hundred dollars for conicle burr grinder and have counter space for it, go for it. But if someone wants to buy a $50.00 burr wanna-be, I think it is a waste of money and eventual aggravation. I am not disputing the fact of consistent grind of a conicle burr. I have a Solis when I used to make espresso at home. When I stop making espresso, I gave it to a friend as a gift of kindness and save some counter space. Now I've gone back to my $20.00 Krup for my Bialetta with great result.
Unless you want to make a big investment, inexpensive burr grinders are mostly useless. They will jam and cause more grief than it is worth. I think a good burr grinder is important for espresso machines but for a stove top Bialetti, an inexpensive $20.00 Krup, Braun or Kitchen Aid round mill will do a good job. The trick of getting a more even ground is to hold the cap down and give a few shake while grinding the beans. After a few try, you will have a sense of how long to grind the bean. The ground will be perfectly fine for the Bialetti. I've used a Krup mill grinder for my 4 cup stove top Bialetti for over twenty years and it makes a great dark (Peet's style)mug of coffee.
Coffee, now this I know about!
Coffee Geek is the place to look if you want the low down on various coffee related anything.
If you are looking for a good grinder and want to spend no more than $40, you are probably going to afford a hand opperated grinder.
The magic words that you are looking for with a coffee grinder are "conical burr". If you see the words "rotary blade", put it down and walk away.
A "rotarty blade machine" is a device that chops the coffee, normally fairly uneavenely, which will not give you consistant results.
A "conical burr" machine will grind the coffee, consistantly, which is what you do want, bacause this will give you consistant results.
When you are looking to buy a hand grinder, take a look at the reviews at coffeegeek.com so that you don't get one of those that are designed to look nice, and not designed to grind coffee.
Let me know what you choose to buy, I am interested.
There are couple of low cost burr grinders (around $20) that are aimed at the camping crowd. REI has been sell a European made grinder for years (actually, 2 sizes). GSI Outdoors has a new, sleek looking one, with a circular clear lexan body.
The GSI one is faster, and grinds smoother (though that may be because mine is newer). However it is hard to hold on to the circular body while grinding. Both are better for grinding one mugs worth of coffee (2 scoops); grinding a larger quantity gets tiring.
The easiest coffee to hand grind is a dark roast peaberry. The dark roast cracks easier, and the smaller beans feed into the grinder better.