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Looking for something to grind spices...

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Hi, I'm looking for something that will grind my whole spices. I'm looking for something that will produce a very fine grind, just as you would see in a bottle of pre-ground spices. I have a cheap coffee grinder, but it doesn't break my spices into a fine enough grind, and I honestly doubt any coffee grinder would. Maybe there's one out there that does? That would be my ideal solution. My food processor isn't good enough either. And putting my spices in a pepper grinder and turning away would just take forever. Is there any product out there you'd guys like to recommend? Maybe even a good old-fashioned pestle and mortar would do the trick? I actually hear that pestle and mortars aren't good at getting really fine grind, but feel free to differ.

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  1. If you're wanting to get it super-fine, you could get a burr grinder. Bed Bath and Beyond has a decent Cuisinart burr grinder for $49, and Sam's Club has the same one for $29.

    My Blog: http://www.epicureforum.com

    1. I have great success with my el cheapo coffee grinder, as long as I have enough volume of spices in the bowl. Small amounts tend to just get twirled around by the blade.

      If I have a small amount of spices to grind, I use my mortar and pestle and sift out the chunks.

      1. I have a Kitchenaid, which I believe is supposed to be a coffee grinder, although I've never used it for coffee. Not a huge capacity (which is good for spice use), maybe 1 1/2 cups at most. I use it freqently to grind spices and also use it to grind dried chile peppers when making my own chili powder. It gives me a very nice, uniform, fine grind. Looks like it is roughly $40 on the web. Model number is BCG1000WH

        1. I use a cheap blade grinder and then sift the larger bits out when I need a superfine product.

          I have a mortar and pedestal, but it is very slow and produces a uneven result.

          A burr grinder is probably the best choice, but I don't have the room to store a 3rd grinder, as I already have separate electric grinders for both spices and coffee.

          I have a small hand grinder that I use for small amounts of spices and blends.

          1. my little krups coffee grinder pulverizes the heck out of spices.

            1. Mortar and pestle. Always worked. Always will.

              Even with no electricity.

              1 Reply
              1. The problem with electric burr grinders is cleaning them between spices so you don't get cumin flavored coriander, or vice versa. They are a bit pricey, but the Zassenhaus turkish-style coffee grinders can do the trick. Much more efficient than wimpy little pepper grinders, and very easy to disassemble and clean. I have one I use mostly for coffee. Here's one place you can find them for around $80. You can find them a bit cheaper if you spend a little time searching. Keep in mind that you may need to replace your $40 electric grinder in a few years, but this will pretty much last forever.

                http://www.espressozone.com/z-175m.html

                1. I second the mortar and pestle. Practice makes perfect...

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: Jimmy Buffet

                    Yup. Nothing beats a really good mortar and pestle. Try a large white pharmaceutical type.

                    But you could also pick up a cheap ($5.00) pepper mill at WalMart and try it. I have a couple of them, one for salt, the other for pepper. They have a white plastic housing with a glass storage container and adjustable grind. Set it really fine, and it might do what you want. I've just never tried mine for an extremely fine grind.

                    There are also really fine mills from Turkey that are now being sold as "spice mills" rather than coffee mills. I've never used one that is actually marketed as a spice mill, but I've been using my Turkish coffee mill for decades, and while it has a grinding mechanism like a burr coffee grinder, it actually produces a finely pulverized coffee that is like a powder. If you want finely ground spices, I'd go for a Turkish coffee mill.

                    1. re: Caroline1

                      There is an Indian Spice Grinder you can get called a Sumeet Grinder.In Australia we can get the Multi use ones,Wet and Dry in Indian Supply Shops .I love mine.It can puree lemon grass with chillis and garlic or dry grind to a fine powder cumin or peppercorns whatever.I understand Indian Brides get one on their wedding day.I have seen a version available in the U S advertised in Fine Cooking.The motors are very strong.With My lemon grass mixture I put a little oil with it and it is so smooth no bits.

                      1. re: jacksprat

                        you are the best this looks great !!

                        1. re: jacksprat

                          There was a time a few decades ago when the Sumeet was the end all and be all. Even in South Asia this isn't the case anymore. There are many other machines that have taken the revered space the Sumeet used to occupy in South Asian homes, I learned this only later when I started telling friends and family my horror story.

                          I ordered a Sumeet a couple of years ago. It was the worst shopping experience I've had a in many years. The machine arrived broken and non-functional right out of the box, which was a very bad sign for any appliance. The parts looked really cheap and very badly constructed. Even the plastic pieces were far inferior to the cheap plastic things coming out of China. It was clear to me that they had not kept up with new technologies or times. Even a $2 plastic piece of anything from Walmart produced in China looks so much sleeker and better than the plastic pieces of the Sumeet. The edges where the two parts of a mold meet, are these day so tiny they are often not even noticed. Not so in the Summet parts. The ridges were large and uneven, protruding out like a mess, sometimes even with a long string of plastic trailing from it. The edges too were coarse and ugly. The whole thing looked very coarse and unrefined compared to modern products. The metal parts were equally bad and "last century" looking.

                          I called the customer service number and a very unprofessional sounding man answered. i.e. just "Hello," no business name, nothing, in a very unfriendly tone. I had to then ask if this was the Sumeet office. I told him my machine was dead right out of the box, to which he said, "We don't have a return policy." I asked to speak to the manager, and he said, "I'm one of the owners." He offered to send me a "part" which I refused as I did not want a part replaced on a brand new machine. Even if it worked, that wasn't acceptable to me, as I bought a new machine not a "repaired" machine. Nor did I want to do the "repair/replacing parts" myself (he wanted me to replace a part inside the motor) as I'm lost looking inside the motor, I'd not know what I was doing. What's more, neither he nor I knew what the exact problem was so we were were shooting in the dark going down the "send a part" route. I insisted that I want to return the machine as I was calling the same day it arrived, and as it was dead, and he started yelling and shouting (really!) ending up in a scream. I know this is unbelievable, but he was that unprofessional and it really happened.

                          What's worse, they advertise their products in US dollars, never disclosing that your card will be charged in CAN dollars along with a foreign transaction fee levied by your most credit card companies these days. Which is ok, if it is disclosed, but to pretend like you are being charged in USD and then to be surprised by CAN$ and a fee by your card provider is not good.

                          All in all, a very unprofessional operation with a terrible product and non-existent customer service. I sent the machine back anyway and got a refund from my credit card company using the protection offered by my credit card company. Save yourself the hassle and skip the Sumeet. The glory days of the Sumeet are long gone. I suspect that whoever told this story about Indian brides getting a Sumeet was someone who migrated to the West decades ago and was telling what used to happen when they lived in India. I doubt that's the case today when there are many modern competitors on the market. Those days, Sumeet had no competitors on the market. Sumeet is certainly not worth the price (few hundred dollars), risk or hassle.

                          1. re: jacksprat

                            I have a Sumeet that I have had for, oh, maybe going on 15 years, and it's great. But I have also heard about a decline in quality. I'm told that these Preethi grinders are a better choice nowadays:
                            http://www.perfectpeninsula.com/EcoCh...

                            If my Sumeet ever dies, I guess that's what I'll replace it with.

                            That said, I only use my Sumeet when I am grinding a large quantity, or making a paste. When I need a teaspoon of cumin for tonight's dinner, it gets done with the mortar and pestle. The Sumeet is a luxury that I use occasionally. The mortar and pestle get used nearly every day.

                            1. re: jacksprat

                              100% agree with the Sumeet. It is ugly but works like a charm. I've had mine for over 15 years, the motor is still amazing but the plastic bits and pieces have broken over time. The dealer is in Markham and I take it each time a bit breaks and he fixes it for a small fee. There is nothing like it. Spices are powder fine and I rely on it for all the recipes I post on my blog at kravingsblog.ca. Recently I was on a popular competition type TV show and I think they had a Vitamix and I struggled to make the chutney I make so easily in my Sumeet.

                        2. Has anyone ever tried a commercial coffe grinder to grind spices? Like the type you see in a grocery store......Russ

                          1. I've always thought that the Braun was the "industry standard", of the home cook industry. I believe it won the Cook's Illustrated equipment test as well. I have two (one for spices, one for coffee). They recently changed the look up a bit, but the newer one works just as well. Plus it's only $20:

                            http://www.amazon.com/Braun-KSM2-BLK-...

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: heWho

                              I had one of these for 10 years until it died recently. Unfortunately this has been discontinued. The two nearest replacements I could find were:

                              http://www.amazon.com/Krups-GX4100-El...

                              http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-SG-10...

                              When you factor in the shipping they are both about the same price. The Krups has a 2 yr warranty vs 18 mos. for the Cuisinart. I went with the Cuisinart because it had a slightly bigger bowl and the bowl comes off for easier cleaning and can go into the dishwasher. Also, the cord can be stored inside the body. I am happy with it so far.

                            2. Thanks. What about a heavy, thai-style Pestle and Morter? I know they're usually great for grinding things into paste, but can they grind spices and herbs into powder as well?

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: phan1

                                they sure can, it just takes a little (lot) of elbow grease

                              2. Phan1,

                                I have exactly the same problem. Just the other day I ground a batch of curry powder with a Braun coffee grinder, and the result was coarse and terrible. A fine dust-like powder "disappears" into a sauce or gravy whereas little particles of spices are unpalatable and gritty. Coarse grind is ok for spices like pepper, but for most other spices, a super fine dust-like result is much more desirable. In fact, I think I have to throw out my latest batch of curry powder.

                                Since you posted this 2008, I was wondering if you found a grinder/mill that works? If you have, please post the name as I too am looking for the same. Thank you!

                                5 Replies
                                1. re: Chili10

                                  are you sure you ground it *long* enough, and that the blade in your grinder is still sharp? my Krups reduces everything to microscopic dust.

                                  a more recent discussion:
                                  http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/759209

                                  1. re: goodhealthgourmet

                                    Thanks Goodhealthgourmet for the reply. I am not sure about the sharpness of the blades even though I've only probably used it less than 10 times total. I did grid it for a "very long time" to the point of over grinding, mixing and stirring and re-grinding several times. I am encouraged by your experience with the Krups, and based on your experience it will be a good unit to try. Please post the model number you own if you can. Thanks for the link as well. Again, thanks for the reply!

                                    1. re: Chili10

                                      link to the Krups can be found in the other thread, it was just posted by someone else :)

                                      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7592...

                                  2. re: Chili10

                                    shake it when you grind in a blade coffee grinder.

                                    1. re: scubadoo97

                                      do you wash your grinder after every seasoning?
                                      what if I need to grind too small amount of seasoning? does it work?

                                      http://uniwebconcept.com/