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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?


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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.

            1. This is exactly what you need. It's what I use for my French press. It's fully adjustable, and will last you a very, very long time indeed.


              Mr Taster

              5 Replies
              1. re: Mr Taster

                Mr Taster is correct. That is exactly what you need. I have one, it is the best. If you do graduate to making more that a cup or two, be prepared for a workout.

                1. re: Mr Taster

                  If vintage is your thing, check http://www.orphanespresso.com/VINTAGE...

                  They have refurbished vintage hand grinders for very reasonable prices, and are great to deal with. Very friendly people and I would definitely buy from them again.

                  1. re: timoftheshire

                    I just went looking there and got no images for the links. Clicked one anyway and got PAGE NOT FOUND.

                    Not that I really NEED a vintage grinder (see above), but we old collectors just can't stop looking …

                    1. re: Will Owen

                      Sorry, I appended some extra text to the link. This one will work, I promise :)


                  2. re: Mr Taster

                    Strange, I just bought this exact model a few days ago and found the grind too fine for French press brewing, even on the coarsest setting.

                  3. If you're using paper filter media in a Melitta cone, Hario/Beehouse dripper or even an Abid Clever, a blade grinder is probably not going to kill your cup (although burr would be better). If you're using a press pot or an Aeropress, grind consistency is paramount and burr is the only way to go. Hario has a couple of burr hand grinders in the $30-$40 range that work extremely well and are basically unbreakable so you can travel with them. You can also try one of the Zassenhaus old-fashioned box grinders (the Turkish grinder is hard to find), but IMO the Hario is better. If you need an electric grinder, the Barataza Maestro is usually recommended by professionals, but a Capresso Infinity is about as good and about $50 less (around $89).

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: Panini Guy

                      I've been considering purchasing that Hario burr grinder. I recently received as a gift the Mypressi Twist espresso maker (http://www.mypressi.com/twistgallery.php ) and I'm still in the learning curve. There are so many variables to consider, but the grind of the coffee seems to be one of the most critical. I have a feeling that for the small amount of coffee needed for each shot of espresso, the Hario grinder might be just what I need.

                      1. re: CindyJ

                        I've heard good things about the Hario + MyPressi combo. Mark Prince, the dude who runs http://www.coffeegeek.com , uses that combo when he travels without his Baratza grinder.

                        1. re: timoftheshire

                          I wish I could spend some time with someone who knows exactly how to use the Mypressi Twist. I can't figure out why it works beautifully some times, yet other times it just doesn't perform at all. My last experiment was using ESE pods -- I figured that was foolproof, but I was wrong. I've already exchanged one Twist; I don't know whether the one I have now is faulty -- or if the problem is me. I should probably chat with some of the folks on CoffeeGeek.

                          1. re: CindyJ

                            Definitely do - Mark Prince is one of the most knowledgeable and experienced users of the MyPressi out there. Also try home-barista.com

                            You could also try contacting the company - they may have suggestions. IIRC their customer service has been said to be quite good. They have tables at SCAA conventions and Canadian Barista competitions, so they're serious about high-quality coffee.

                            1. re: timoftheshire

                              My Twist was purchased directly from Mypressi, and I've been in touch with Stephen at the company. Their customer service is excellent; as soon as I reported having a problem, a new unit was sent out to me, with a return label so I could send the original one back. But I'm having the same problems with the new unit, making me think that the problem is with ME, and not with the twist. I really did believe that using the ESE pods would eliminate the two variables I was so unsure of -- the correct grind and the correct tamping. Not so! I WILL chat with Mark Prince, though. Thanks so much for the recommendation.

                              1. re: timoftheshire

                                I started writing a post on CoffeeGeek, but it was getting so involved I decided to phone Mypressi. After having me do a little home test, they're swapping out my Twist for a new one again.

                      2. A belated thanks for all of the suggestions, chowhounds! I ended up going with a Hario mini mill slim, which I received from Amazon a couple of days ago. I wanted to give it a try so I could review the grinder here. In short, it is exactly what I was looking for, a manual burr grinder with a 2 cup capacity. The only wrinkle was that the instructions for use are entirely in Japanese. But with a little trial and error, I was able to figure out how to adjust the grind. And when they say manual, they mean manual. It isn't a big deal since after a minute or so, you have enough for a cup.

                        Incidentally, it's always humorous to me that gifts from 2 well meaning people can lead to the giftee shelling out some coin to enjoy the gifts. In this case, one friend moving in with her fiance led to my inheriting a small French press, while I received a free bag of great beans due to being a frequent customer at my local coffee house. This being an internet forum, I should clarify that I am by no means complaining. As a food lover, any excuse to dive into something new, like good home brewed coffee, is great!

                        Bottoms up!

                        3 Replies
                        1. re: dregypt

                          Has anyone ever used an LeEquip Coffee grinder for spices, coffee beans, etc? If so, what do you think about it for all types of spices? I think it used to be called a Braun Coffee Mill.

                          1. re: dregypt

                            Awesome. I was just going to tell you to stay away from the Hario Skerton, but the Mini Mill seems to be better.

                            1. re: jaykayen

                              Out of curiousity, why would you advise someone to stay away from the Skerton? I work in the coffee industry and I have never heard any complaints about it.

                          2. Something to keep in mind is that blade grinders heat the coffee as they grind/chop it. The resulting coffee will be uneven in size. Two of the better burr grinders, one by Zojirushi and the other, Capresso allow you to select the grind you want but allow you to select the number of cups you want to make. If you buy a burr grinder we recommend that you clean it 3-4 times a year by grinding raw white rice in it. If you want a blade grinder, Krup's makes a superior design. It is oval in shape and continually throws the grounds back into the blades for a more even grind.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Candy

                              To be honest, I am more interested in one for cinnamon, cloves etc. I have used my P&M but I still think I would like a small burr or blade grinder for spices when I have a lot to grind.

                              1. re: Tinker

                                I have an extra small blade grinder that I use for spices It's at least 10 years old and still does a fine job. I clean mine each time I use it by tossing in a piece of bread--seems to do fine.

                            2. Here's what we have used for the past five years:
                              Does great job.
                              We actually have two of them. One for spices, the other for coffee.

                              1. Blade grinders can burn your beans! Burr all the way :)

                                4 Replies
                                1. re: Cookworks

                                  I heard that, Cookworks, concerning Burr.. I have the big Kitchen Aid coffee bean grinder I think but it is for coffee only naturally. All my cinnamon and seeds would just be nearly lost grinding in one that large and some wasted for certain so that is the reason looking at the little blade one they are all talking about for spices etc when I do not use M&P. I also saw a manual one that is recommended but in the forties and not necessary to spend that much. Kyrocea or something like that. Thanks for the information however. I am still reading daily all of everyones comments.

                                  1. re: Tinker

                                    You're correct, Tinker - a burr grinder should be used only for coffee.

                                    Ironically, the best use for blade-style "coffee" grinders is spices and seeds.

                                  2. re: Cookworks

                                    All grinders create heat when they grind, regardless of being burr or blade grinders.

                                    The trouble with a blade grinder is it chops the beans instead of crushing them to two (or three) sizes. Chopping beans produces a wide particle size distribution and a lot of "fines", which will ruin your cup.

                                    A good burr grinder will crush your beans relatively uniformly, producing grounds that are roughly clustered in particle size distribution around two or three values. It will also have some kind of gear reduction that will decrease RPMs to avoid excessive heating of the coffee.

                                    1. re: timoftheshire

                                      You can take care of the problem of the superfine grains by scrupulously claning a blade grinder after every use, and both the consistency and heat problems are ameliorated by vigorously shaking the grinder while grinding. Of course, the cleaning takes extra time and effort, and if you want a good grind, you have to pay careful attention to bean/roast/timing. If you're on a budget, you can make it work.

                                  3. Buy a Hario and couple this with an Aeropress.

                                    Fantastic coffee quality!!

                                    Firstly you need a burr grinder and the Hario with its ceramic burrs provides excellent commercial grinder coffee quality for only a few dollars. You will pay hundreds of dollars more for a grinder to match the Hario grind. Talk to experts in the industry.

                                    It takes about 25 secs to grind a tablespoon of beans. Easy to grind and clean and can actually grind direct into the Aeropress although I use the Hario glass bowl with its non-slip silicone pad.

                                    Do NOT buy a blade grinder. You will never extract the flavor out of your beans and will end up buying twice.

                                    Avoid the Krupp XV which is a burr grinder but has flat burrs which just crush the beans.
                                    I recently tried this due to the name and was very disappointed by both the quality of the grind and the poor construction. Not a typical Krupp product. I will only use it for spices now.

                                    Hario will grind for genuine expresso and all the other brewing types.

                                    By the way two English PDF instructions and excellent video's are on the web. Just Google Hario pdf.

                                    It is well made (Japan). Adjusting the grind is easy too and the adjustment remains in place.

                                    Tip on Aeropress - try the inverted method - I find this gives me the best coffee. (Lots of videos available.) Also remember if you need to make more than one cup you can increase the amount of coffee and dilute the concentrate with water. I use a temp of 96.3C (which gives me ready to drink hot coffee ) and 2 minutes standing time. Otherwise you can use the lower temps recommended by Aeropress and heat in the microwave.

                                    I drink a lot of coffee and the Hario and the Aeropress are saving me $$.

                                    Remember the most important bit of equipment in creating good coffee is the grinder. You can't have good coffee without a decent grind.

                                    If you want electric grinders Baratza and Mazzer are two excellent brands.