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Jun 2, 2009 10:04 AM

Manual Coffee Grinder

Does anyone use a manual grinder for a press pot on a regular basis? I'm looking for a reliable way to coarse grind my coffee for under $50.

I searched this board and Googled a little, but it seems like hand cranking has typically been too labor intensive for regular use. But I'm holding out hope that new technology has changed this. Yes/no?

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  1. you might have to expand your budget a bit to get a good quality hand grinder. These have been around for a long time and seem to have staying power.

    1. While Sweet Marias is a good place to buy coffee, I think I could suggest an alternative link to find a grinder.

      These guys refurb and repair all the grinders, but what's morel, they actually can tell you about how they are in practice. What I mean is that they will tell you the grind variety available, the difficulty in grinding (ie. the strength required) and even how many turns of the crank it takes to grind 7 grams (one cup) of coffee. You will not find a more knowledgeable, respectable, or FAIR dealer in these products.

      /not affiliated, just a fan.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Zedeff

        thanks, Zedeff, always good to have more resources. You might also check home barista and coffee geek and chris's coffee

        1. re: Zedeff

          Interesting that orphanespresso sells the knee mill for higher cost but sweetmarias sells the original box mill for higher cost.

        2. I have one. It's not labor intensive at all. I'm a weak, 105 lb woman with skinny arms.

          2 Replies
          1. Here's one that's gotten pretty good reviews:
   up in Washington - right in your price range too!

            Or you could try your luck on ebay or your local flea markets for an old, west-german Zassenhaus grinder.

            2 Replies
            1. re: can_i_try_some

              I have had the small Camano mill for a few years. I bought a much more decorative one for my brother as a gift, but I don't think they make it anymore. The little mill with a pint jar is just perfect.

              1. re: Jane917

                I just purchased the Camano mill after learning about it on this board. I'm pleasantly surprised at how well it works - consistent grind, solid construction, an overall great buy!

            2. I bit the bullet and bought a Hario Skerton manual grinder. It's made in Japan, $50 (I probably paid a premium buying it at a Blue Bottle retail location instead of shopping around on line), and works fine. Pretty even grind for a French press. Caveat: I like my French press coffee a little finer than most people do.


              -very easy to use and ergonomic. No difficultly grinding at all, even at its finest setting
              -the conical burr grinders are 100% ceramic
              -the entire thing is dishwasher safe, which seems crazy to me
              -very sturdy glass construction
              -rubber base stays on counter while I grind. It almost creates a suction cup effect, actually
              -no noise and no mess. I used to have an electric burr grinder. It was not only noisy, it sprayed a fine dust of coffee around its base whenever used.

              -definitely doesn't grind fine enough for espresso
              -there aren't even numbers to denote how fine or coarse the grind will be, so there's no way to know what's going to come out of your grinder without putting some beans in. Two problems: you'll waste beans, and unless you use the same brewing method every single day you'd soon drive yourself crazy turning the little nuts and bolts trying to change between grinds. There aren't any numbers so you can't even memorize "my drip machine is 5 and my French press is 2," for example

              2 Replies
              1. re: Pei

                I had the same experience with a Zassenhaus. Great for drip grinds, but for finer grinds you need to crank a hell of a lot more per spoonful, and you can't get very close to espresso at all.

                1. re: Pei

                  Yeah, I agree with you that changing the grind size is too cumbersome to do regularly. I had to experiment with different settings, and I have left it unchanged since I found the ideal setting for my machine.

                  I'm surprised that you found the grind too coarse for espresso. I'm getting great results on my 15-bar machine, and according to Mark Prince, "it can produce a grind fine enough for a La Marzocco GS/3 espresso machine."

                  In my brief experience with this mill, the Hario is best for espresso because the wobble of the inner burr is minimized at the finer grinds. The coarser the setting, the greater the wobble, and the more uneven the grind.