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Coffee Grinder for Aeropress

cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 11:36 AM

So, I've switched over to the Aeropress, for its nice mixture of convenience and quality in a single cup coffee maker. Been playing around with it for a couple weeks now, and I dig it. Thumbs up.

Problem is I need a new grinder for it.

I have two grinders already. One is a blade grinder I use for spices. Since I generally don't want my coffee smelling like cumin and cardamom and cloves, that's out. The other one is an affordable electric burr grinder. It can grind to varying fineness, and set to fine it produces a nice cup of coffee in the Aeropress. Problem is it sprays coffee grounds all over my kitchen. Some kind of design or manufacturing flaw. It still works - I've suffered through it for years - but I've decided that I just can't justify cleaning half my kitchen every time I want a cup of coffee or else operating it inside a garbage bag.

So I want a reliable grinder. It doesn't need to grind a lot of coffee at one time - usually it's just me drinking. Cost is a factor.

But I haven't yet worked out exactly what works best for the Aeropress. I know that a fairly fine grind from a burr grinder works well (with a very quick extraction). And that a VERY coarse grind is less than ideal. But I don't know much beyond that yet. I've heard that the Aeropress deals well with a variety of grinds - better than most methods. So for those of you who've played around with the Aeropress:
- How important is the grind?
- Is the dust or slight unevenness from a blade grinder a problem?
- While I'm at it, what kind of grind seems to work best for you?

I'm looking at this blade grinder, for a hopefully reliable low-cost option:
http://www.amazon.com/Krups-203-42-Electric-Grinder-Stainless-Steel/dp/B00004SPEU/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1329417589&sr=8-2

Here is an affordable burr grinder of dubious quality:
http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Coffee-BVMC-BMH23-Automatic-Grinder/dp/B004T6EJS0/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1329420727&sr=8-4

Then there are grinders like this - manual grinders that are reputed to have a very consistent grind. I have no experience with these at all.
http://www.amazon.com/Hario-MSS-1B-Mi...

Suggestions?

  1. s
    sr44 Feb 16, 2012 11:51 AM

    Back in the last century I bought a manual grinder for coffee and used it for that precisely once. It was not something I wanted to use first thing in the morning. It is, however, a very good spice grinder for later in the day and smaller quantities of smaller things.

    1. scubadoo97 Feb 16, 2012 12:01 PM

      I use a blade grinder when traveling with my AP. It works quite well yet I don't use it at home due to the better grinders on the counter. I tend to grind pretty fine for the AP so the blade works well there and unlike espresso it's not as finicky to grind consistency.

      I have a Krups blade grinder like the one you posted and can vouch for it but have never used the Mr. Coffee burr grinder. I think I remember some big static/mess issues on reviews at coffeegeek which is where you need to go for reviews or home-barista

      1 Reply
      1. re: scubadoo97
        cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 12:44 PM

        Thanks for the input, scuba.

      2. Eiron Feb 16, 2012 12:17 PM

        I'm not a fan of blade grinders for coffee, but since the AP uses cooler water it appears it isn't as sensitive to the mash-up of grinds they produce. For your price range, I'd say stay away from "affordable" electric burr grinders.

        Both the Hario Mini & Skerton manual grinders get decent reviews over on CoffeeGeek. As a bonus, it would also allow for a compact & simple travel coffee setup.

        Otherwise, a refurb'd Baratza ($70-$80?) would be my first choice for consistent, effortless grinding over a huge grind range.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Eiron
          cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 12:48 PM

          I bought the aeropress expecting something not all that different from a french press. But adding pressure and a filter to the equation seems to have a surprisingly large effect on the end result and what kind of brewing makes for an ideal cup.

          I'm definitely leaning against the 'affordable' electric burr grinder, in part because that's what I'm currently having problems with. Though i wondered whether it was just my particular model.

          Right now my main considerations are the cheap blade grinder I first linked to or else a manual grinder like the one I last linked to. Does anyone have any first hand experience with the latter?

          Thanks for the mention of the Hario Mini and Skerton grinders. I'll look into them.

          1. re: cowboyardee
            Eiron Feb 16, 2012 03:03 PM

            I think the Mini is basically the same one you linked to. The Skerton looks like it'll do a larger batch of beans at one filling, which may be moot for your purposes.

            Unfortunately, I can't recommend the Cuisinart DBM-8. I used one in an office for a while & it was extremely inconsistant for grind quality. (In 2DD's defense, the office environment might've trashed it out beyond its useful life.)

            I forgot to ask: what's causing the grounds to end up all over the kitchen? Is it "static fling" when opening/dumping the grounds bin? Or do they just get thrown out during grinding? Or something else?

            1. re: Eiron
              cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 03:36 PM

              It spews while it's grinding. The container that catches the grinds and even the seams of the machine itself seem not to be fitted well, so whenever I grind a few tablespoons of coffee, I can count on losing a couple teaspoons worth to my counter tops and floor.

        2. t
          TwoDogsDad Feb 16, 2012 01:01 PM

          I've had this Cuisinart for a couple years now, it works fine with both Aeropress and drip coffeemaker.

          http://www.amazon.com/Cuisinart-DBM-8...

          1 Reply
          1. re: TwoDogsDad
            cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 01:06 PM

            Thanks for the suggestion.

          2. cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 01:07 PM

            By the way, I guess I should mention which burr grinder I have that has given me problems. It is this grinder by Melitta.
            http://www.amazon.com/Melitta-MEBG8B-...

            That's what I get when I don't research my purchases. Even a quick look at Amazon would have sent me in another direction. Serves me right.

            1. c
              chuckl Feb 16, 2012 02:24 PM

              take a look at this list
              http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/grinder...

              The Baratza Maestro might serve your needs.

              8 Replies
              1. re: chuckl
                cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 02:52 PM

                Coincidentally, I was just on coffeegeek.com looking up product reviews at the suggestion of some of the posters here. This one came up quickly, referenced in reviews for other grinders - it seems to be their gold standard for home-model vaguely affordable electric burr grinders. Unfortunately, it's more money than I'm looking to pay right now though.

                1. re: cowboyardee
                  scubadoo97 Feb 16, 2012 03:00 PM

                  Then stick with the blade grinder for now. No reason getting a cheap burr until you are ready to move up to a decent one. There are plenty of experiments with the AP to hold you for a while

                  1. re: scubadoo97
                    cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 03:33 PM

                    I guess my main question at this point is whether the manual coffee mills are a worthwhile upgrade from the blade grinder.

                    At this point, it seems I can pretty much rule out the electric burr grinders, since the ones that are well made and well reviewed seem to be out of my price range.

                    1. re: cowboyardee
                      Eiron Feb 16, 2012 03:58 PM

                      From a quality standpoint, I'd say it's definitely worth the $10-$15 extra for a hand mill. (disclaimer: I've never used one, but base my comments on other geeks' opinions.) The drawback is the fact that it's manual. Probably not a problem at home or in a hotel, but it may be inconvenient at work. But again, the AP seems to be less sensitive to inconsistent grinds, so maybe that extra $ goes to a "free" pound of beans... :-)

                      1. re: Eiron
                        r
                        RudigerVT Feb 16, 2012 04:13 PM

                        I've got an AP -- which is pretty neat -- along with, oh, lordy, enough espresso gadgets that I should be in a support group. Anyway, the problem w/ the manual grinders is that they are SLOW. I don't think a super-even grind matters that much in the AP. I've now got a Baratza, and it's pretty darn great. It's put my (I can't bear to report what it cost) Mazzer Mini up in a closet.

                      2. re: cowboyardee
                        rosetown Feb 16, 2012 04:10 PM

                        I own 2 manuals - IIRC it takes about 5 minutes for a very fine grind - the grind is even enough for an espresso machine. Still 5 minutes per use adds up fast. No mess though and zero static.

                        1. re: rosetown
                          cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 04:13 PM

                          How long for a 'pretty fine' grind? ;)

                          1. re: cowboyardee
                            rosetown Feb 16, 2012 04:17 PM

                            I guess a little less :D

                2. p
                  Panini Guy Feb 16, 2012 04:26 PM

                  I think the key here is that you're making coffee for yourself and using an Aeropress. So it's not like you have to crank out a ton of coffee for a full pot. Try the hand grinder. I've got a couple of Hario slims I use in the office and at home. They're easily adjustable so you can play all you want with grind sizes.

                  It takes me about 90--100 secs to grind 24 grams for my Clever, which would be about the "2" line on your AP depending on how strong you like your cup. Grinding can get boring, but I rationalize it as my morning workout. And until I can get a Preciso for under $100, I'll stick with it.

                  And since you've become a convert to the AP, have you checked out the recipes here? http://worldaeropresschampionship.wor...

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Panini Guy
                    Eiron Feb 16, 2012 04:43 PM

                    "I think the key here is that you're making coffee for yourself and using an Aeropress. So it's not like you have to crank out a ton of coffee for a full pot."

                    I agree (unless CBAD decides he wants to switch to press or drip...)

                    CBAD, does it help to think of this as the Kuro-Uchi of grinding? :-D

                    1. re: Eiron
                      cowboyardee Feb 16, 2012 08:57 PM

                      "CBAD, does it help to think of this as the Kuro-Uchi of grinding?"
                      _______
                      LOL. Now I have to buy one. You just sold me on it.

                      If I have to make a pot for a crowd, I can still always just bust out the electric. It's a good conversation piece. And I can ask an unsuspecting guest to use it to grind some coffee for me, sit back, and let hilarity ensue. And then get a broom.

                    2. re: Panini Guy
                      j
                      jkling17 Feb 16, 2012 10:11 PM

                      I've got the Capresso and it works very well for the aeropress. Very well in fact for anything short of a proper espresso machine. The Baratza stuff is also good at about the price point. While I haven't used them the good manual grinders will do the trick but they are manual. For something that I use nearly every day, I prefer electric.

                    3. c
                      CrazyOne Feb 16, 2012 06:33 PM

                      We have a Hario Slim here that is used to grind coffee for the Clever Dripper. Definitely better than blade or electric burr of dubious quality (we had one of those too, probably still around hiding in a cabinet somewhere, Krups for around 50 bucks several years ago. Annoying stuff.) Now I am not the one doing the prep, and I mentioned just recently about oh maybe we should get a good electric now that we know you like the Clever, and she said no she doesn't want an electric.

                      The one downside I would say about the Hario Slim is that while it adjusts to just about any grind you need I can't figure out a good way that you would know what position you were at if you happen to want to change it or get it messed up by accident. In other words, once you dial it in where you like it, you'd be hard pressed to return to that position exactly if it were moved away from it. (Unless I'm missing something.)

                      PG can probably tell proper grind on sight so wouldn't have that problem too much. ;-)

                      Note I don't think this should deter you from trying it. At around $35 or so the Hario Slim seems like a great tool to have around. Plus since the Aeropress is small and portable, you may at times find it makes sense to have a grinder that's equally small and portable.

                      1. TeRReT Feb 17, 2012 05:57 AM

                        Hario is a very good quality piece of equipment, and quite famous for their coffee equipment. While here in Japan it will be a mission of mine to buy a manual hario burr grinder. I got a siphon machine for Christmas and love the coffee it makes, and it will make even better coffee if I grind it right before I brew it. I have seen many hario grinders, and don't have any experience yet with using one, but the coffee shop i frequent in toronto uses a manual grinder right before their siphon machine and it seems good enough for me.

                        When I do get one, I will just make sure it is a ceramic burr grinder. I will let you know how it goes for me.

                        I was looking at something like this model:

                        http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/nile-style/item/11hario-mm-2/

                        Its a Japanese company so you know I'm onboard with that. When I get one I'll be sure to take a balancing shot of it too :P But not of my siphon, if I dropped that I'd probably cry.

                        I just found this and want it too but its expensive.

                        http://global.rakuten.com/en/store/ni...

                        1. TeRReT Feb 26, 2012 11:25 PM

                          After pushing Hario and saying it was so good and definitely I was going to get one, my fiance got me a hand mill for my birthday, and it isn't Hario. She said she will still get me the wooden drawer style one eventually for decoration, but she has read a lot of reviews and there can be static and the grinds can be difficult to get out of the drawer.

                          Anyways, she got me a porlex, it is nice and small, thing cylinder, can do 2 cups at a time, but there is a larger version that can do more. Let me just say it works incredibly well. It can get extremely fine, with very nice consistency, and is so smooth I was surprised. It is a ceramic burr style, and you can break it down completely for cleaning if you want. It is easily adjustable, and grinds well.

                          http://porlex.co.jp/cofmini1.htm is the unit, I haven't checked but I am sure it is available on rakuten, and may be available on us amazon as well.

                          1. cowboyardee Feb 27, 2012 12:40 AM

                            I guess I should update:

                            I bought the Hario mini manual grinder. It seems to be well made. The grind is pretty consistent, with less dust than I get from my electric burr grinder. Only suitable for grinding coffee for maybe 1-3 cups at a time, though that's no problem for me personally.

                            For a fairly fine grind (just a hair finer than drip), it takes me about 90 seconds for one cup's worth. This works by me since it means that I can still grind my coffee, set up the aeropress and get out my cup in the time it takes the water to boil in the microwave.

                            Big thanks to everyone who chimed in.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cowboyardee
                              rosetown Feb 27, 2012 07:07 AM

                              That's fast - my Mazzer mini takes 9 seconds to grind, but the whole process, grinding, pulling the shot, and steaming milk, to make a cappuccino, takes about 6 1/2 minutes including a bit of cleanup.

                              1. re: rosetown
                                cowboyardee Feb 27, 2012 07:16 AM

                                It still takes me around the same start to finish to make a cup of coffee (cleanup included). The 90 seconds is just grinding time. My point was just that I have 90 seconds of downtime while the water for coffee is in the microwave, so the long-ish grinding time isn't much of a hassle for me.

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