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coffee grinders

I have a small 'cup at a time' coffee maker and am looking for suggestions for a small coffee grinder. According to Consumer Reports, there are two styles of grinders, burr and blade style. After researching the burr style a bit more, it seems like those are just big grinders, having capacities of 8-18 cups of coffee per grind. I have no need of that much ground coffee at one time. And it seems to me that grinding just a few beans in such a large machine will lead to a) inconsistent grind and b) a messy transfer to the coffee maker. The blade style grinders are supposed to be less consistent but are cheaper and slightly smaller (still too much ground coffee for my needs). Any suggestions from the Chowhound crowd? Is there a small burr style grinder that my internet fu is too weak to find?

Thanks!

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  1. I have several grinders. If what you are trying to do is grind a small amount of coffee (I grind two coffee scoops at once, which may be even more than you want since I like a large cup with a refill), a simple blade grinder will be fine. Unless you are either grinding a large quantity or need the control of a high end grinder for a high end or semi-pro espresso machine, a blade grinder will do the trick.

    Kitchen Aid makes a simple one that is used by pushing and holding down on the lid until the desired grind is achieved. Yes, it is not as consistent as a burr grinder, but for drip coffee this is fine. I hold mine in place for about eight to ten seconds for my two scoops. I then use the long handled measuring spoon handle to help tap out the remaining grinds in the bottom of the grinder before replacing the container and lid. Very simple, works well even for grinding a few more cups, and inexpensive. The only annoying thing about this grinder is that you have to continue to hold the lid down with your hand while it grinds, so grinding for a six cup pot requires you to keep your hand in place for a while. You can't walk away from it as you can for a large hopper burr grinder. Shouldn't be a problem for you.

    1. There are some manual burr grinders that handle a single serving of coffee just fine.

      1 Reply
      1. re: paulj

        I have a Peugeot grinder I bought at a brocante (= American "junque"!) sale in France, but I've seen them over here a lot too. A very simple but well-made hand burr mill, cost me around $20. I grind a drawer full, which is enough for a one-quart pot, and that's a pretty good workout. One or two cups would be a piece of cake. A while back I was in your shoes, agonizing over being able to afford a decent grinder (already have a blade thing, but that's really a CHOPPER, and not satisfactory), when my eyes happened to light on the Peugeot, whose function at the time was merely decorative. So I got some good beans and gave it a whirl (okay, about 135 whirls), and Bingo!

      2. I grind a small amount each day using a Baratza Maestro (burr grinder) I bought a few months ago off ebay. Am delighted with the consistent grind and ease of transfer to the coffee maker, in my case a Mocha pot. I researched extensively before making the purchase, there have been some good threads on CH, only negative thing I read about the Baratza is that they don't work well with a fine Espresso grind.

        4 Replies
        1. re: andrewtree

          Baratza's new flagship grinders, the Vario and the Precisio, both work very well for espresso - you could easily run a restaurant's coffee side with them.

          The Maestro and Maestro Plus, while not the best for espresso, are more than adequate for the average home barista. Once you start to approach the prosumer range of machines, you should definitely upgrade your grinder.

          But I agree - the Maestro works flawlessly for FP and mokka pot. Good price, good quality.

          1. re: timoftheshire

            I have a Solis Masestro Plus that has been used daily for nearly 8 yrs. Replaced the upper burr once.

            1. re: scubadoo97

              You use this specifically for coffee? Probably as they are expensive I think.

              1. re: Tinker

                It's a burr grinder so yes coffee only. I have blade grinders for spices. Expensive? Not really

        2. I have been considering picking up a Turkish grinder for when I want to grind a single cup, turkish grinders are made of brass and look like a fancy pepper grinder with an attached cup to catch the grounds. for general use I have a blade grinder but I do find that the grind consistency is awful and a standard 10 second grind can give me everything from fine powder to large chunks in the neighborhood of an 8th of a bean all in one grind, so when that quits I will definitely invest in a burr grinder.

          1. No substitute for a burr grinder -- save the blade grinder for spices.