Can one grinder do it all?
Hello, I'm looking for an ideal grinder which may or may not exist. I'm picturing something which can grind anything from sausage to spices to coffee to wheat flour, just by swapping out a set of interchangeable blades. I also want it to be a hand-powered device so I can still use it if the power goes out, but would prefer something a little more advanced than mortar and pestle.
Does anyone have experience with a grinder like this?
Terret's on the money. You won't get a very good or consistent grind for your coffee beans from a meat grinder, and you run the very real chance of creating coffee flavored ground beef or sausages.
IMO, if you want a meat grinder for sausage making and ground beef that can be powered and hand cranked, your best option is to pick up a meat grinder with a pulley/crank system.
Buffalo Tools sells a decent and inexpensive model on Amazon:
You just need to supply your own power supply and belt for the pulley. A drill (I use an old 10 amp Dewalt and an old timing belt) securely mounted near the grinder will provide enough power to run the grinder.
I agree with terret. A manual food processor is probably closest to what you're asking for. But really I'd recommend separate grinders.
I think a FP will work for coffee, spices, and meat, but won't do an ideal job on any of the above. Not terrible for spices, but definitely sub-ideal for meat and coffee. I've never tried grinding wheat into flour (though I once made chickpea flour from dried chickpeas).
The process that is best for grinding coffee is fundamentally different than the process that is best for grinding meat, so I can't see a single simple machine doing a great job on both just by switching blades. On top of that, there is a lot of potential for contamination if you were to run meat through the kinds of grinders that work well for coffee.
I can't think of anything that would do this other then some sort of food processor. Generally coffee grinders and sausage grinders work completely differently. Ideally for coffee you want a ceramic burr griner, this won't work well for spices and not at all for sausages.
Besides, I don't want my coffee tasting like spices, and I don't want my sausages tasting like coffee.
You can get a cheap coffee grinder for spices for $10-$15, and an amazing ceramic burr hand grinder for $30. I'd just keep them separate myself.
A really good food processor might work. You can certainly cut spices in it, and you could grind coffee to a degree but not very fine and not at all consistent. Meat can be minced in a processor to a usable degree, but still it will be electric and not very ideal.
I can only suggest a Hario skeleton or a Porlex mini grinder as a very very good manual ceramix coffee grinder. They are very consistent, can grind coffee for any brew method, very easy to use and very smooth. I have the porlex now and experience no static, it comes apart completely for easy cleanup when I want to wash it periodically. It is available for around $30. It won't work for sausage or spices.