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Durable Coffee bean grinder ?

fatbob Apr 12, 2013 06:53 AM

Since Christmas 2011 I've burnt out 3 bean grinders. They were all brand names, Cuisinart etc. They all cost around $50. Professional models, besides having capacities of several pounds, cost $300 and up, way up.
Does anyone know of a reliable reasonable cost ($100) grinder that night last ?

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  1. grampart RE: fatbob Apr 12, 2013 07:14 AM

    I currently use a Breville Smart Grinder that I like a lot, but at $200 probably not for you. Here's a giant list of grinder reviews put out by the folks at CoffeeGeek. I hope it helps you in your quest. http://coffeegeek.com/reviews/grinders

    1. Eiron RE: fatbob Apr 12, 2013 09:40 AM

      My #1 recommendation is ALWAYS a Baratza 'refurb' grinder. I bought one for my dad for Xmas several years ago (the current 'Encore' version) & it's been flawless. I got the chance to use it about 3 months after he got it, & it worked just like brand new! And as a factory refurb, they all come with a 6 month warranty.

      There's a couple of good refurb selections right now, but if you miss them just keep checking their website for new refurb units.


      1. c
        calumin RE: MidwestCookingLover Apr 13, 2013 09:21 PM

        I had a Capresso grinder for four years. It was fine but always made a mess. I bought a Rancillo Rocky three months ago and wished I bought that in the first place - it is so much better. It is over four times more expensive though.

        I have the doserless model so I only grind what I need for what I'm making at that moment. It was too much of a hassle to try to do that with the Capresso.

        1. DoobieWah RE: fatbob Apr 12, 2013 02:33 PM

          I have had this one for two two years or so.


          I always felt it was good bargain, (but I got mine at Costco for about $50.


          Still working great.

          1. srgoodman RE: fatbob Apr 13, 2013 01:21 PM

            I assume, by the price, these are burr grinders, not whirlyblades.

            By "burnt out", do you mean you've literally burned out the motors? How often do you use a coffee grinder? How much coffee do you grind at a time, and how finely?

            Those $50 burr grinders aren't really meant for much use. I seem to recall they are all the same grinder, made in a Chinese factory and rebadged for the customer.

            A Capresso Infinity or a better Baratza, as already suggested, are both significant improvements over those $50 cheapos.

            And, if you're really hard on grinders, a commercial grinder, though expensive at the outset, actually may be your least expensive choice over time. I got a Mazzer Mini almost ten years ago, and it shows little, if any, signs of wear, despite daily use.

            2 Replies
            1. re: srgoodman
              grampart RE: srgoodman Apr 13, 2013 01:26 PM

              Mazzer makes a great grinder, but at over $600, it's a tad more than the OP is looking to spend.

              1. re: srgoodman
                scubadoo97 RE: srgoodman Apr 14, 2013 06:10 AM

                My Solis Maestro Plus finally bit the dust. I can try to repair it, the parts are cheap but not every part Baratza list for the Solis fit like the original Solis parts. In the mean time I'm using my Mazzer Mini which I purchased about the same time you got yours. Good deal too, $380 with a case of Illy espresso coffee which I sold

                To the OP I've used my Solis/now Baratza for over 10 yrs. Excellent grinders for the price and wouldn't hesitate to buy a refurb. In fact, that's what I just might do. My wife hates using the Mazzer with doser but she's getting use to it.

              2. t
                ThanksVille RE: fatbob Apr 14, 2013 03:26 AM

                We have a kitchen aid compact grinder. Whirligig type that has ground our coffee beans for at least four years now. Not a burr but does the job every day for our French press of java

                1. jpr54_1 RE: fatbob Apr 14, 2013 06:00 AM

                  I have 2 burr grinders one for spices and the other for cofffee.

                  I have had them for 25+ years-

                  one is a krups and the other melitta.

                  1. f
                    fatbob RE: fatbob Apr 14, 2013 07:18 AM

                    Thanks for everyone's comments. I think I need to buy a direct-drive burr grinder type and realistically spend about $200. Maybe I can deduct the cost as a business expense ?
                    I work at home so I'd pour in a handful of beans and grind until pretty fine. I drink 32 oz in the a.m. and about 24 oz in the afternoon so I'd do enough to get me through the day.
                    Each grinder died differently. One was definitely the motor or the switch, it just stopped working. Two others ran but at a third of the original speed and just mangled the beans.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: fatbob
                      grampart RE: fatbob Apr 14, 2013 07:21 AM

                      Smart decision. Read up on the Breville Smart Grinder; great control of amount and grind, easy to clean, and in your new price range. I got mine from Sweet Maria's.

                      1. re: fatbob
                        tbbbnbab RE: fatbob Apr 24, 2013 10:06 AM

                        Your story about the slowing down reminded me of when ours started slowing down. All it needed was a thorough cleaning. All the oils and the fine grounds got caked on the inside of the chamber and just clogged everything up, making it impossible to spin at full speed. Once I scraped the gunk off all interior surfaces, it was as good as new! Check that out before plunking down your cash for a new grinder.

                        1. re: tbbbnbab
                          scubadoo97 RE: tbbbnbab Apr 25, 2013 04:22 AM

                          Many grinder issues and failures stem from poor maintainance, cleaning

                      2. m
                        MatG RE: fatbob Apr 15, 2013 11:37 AM

                        Without question get a Baratza. No other options worth considering unless you make espresso. Coffee is a specialty, and regular kitchen brand names are typically best avoided. Cuisinart, Breville (I will not rant, but I hate all Breville for coffee--since SM sells it, the Smart Grinder is probably OK, but everything else they've made is very bad), KitchenAid, whatever, often make very nice kitchen equipment, but their coffee stuff should be avoided without exception. A few others, like Capresso, are also very oriented towards mass-market rather than quality.

                        Considering your smaller volume, you might consider a manual, like a Zassenhaus or a Hario.

                        Also, if you are not making espresso, you do not need the upper tiers of Baratza grinders. The Maestro/Encore is fine. Refurbs are available from the mfr site. See reviews on CoffeeGeek.com, Home-Barista, etc. I recommend buying from Chris' Coffee ($129), Sweet Maria's or Seattle Coffee Gear if not from the mfr or a local store. 1st-line and 1st inCoffee also reputable.

                        For reference, I am a long-time roastmaster, barista, and home-roaster. I use a Rancilio Rocky for espresso.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MatG
                          scubadoo97 RE: MatG Apr 16, 2013 09:24 AM

                          As mentioned before, I've been using a Solis, now Baratza for the last 10 yrs. What I like is that it is well designed to be clean and with little if any static issues and does produce a very consistent grind with a wide range of grind size from FP to espresso

                          1. re: MatG
                            iamafoodie RE: MatG Apr 23, 2013 12:15 PM

                            If you are going to grind your own coffee regularly check out the used restaurant equipment dealers as they have attractive prices for refurbished "professional" equipment. I have an old Bunn burr grinder that has a Starbucks tag on it that works just fine.

                          2. t
                            tbbbnbab RE: fatbob Apr 23, 2013 12:36 PM

                            Wow...I guess I'm lucky because I've been using the same Braun 4045 burr grinder once a day for 15+ years, and it's still grinding away. I think it was less than $100 when I bought it way back when. Now, it looks like Braun doesn't even make grinders any more. I guess I'll watch this space so I'll know which grinder to buy when the day finally comes to buy a new one...

                            1. t
                              tinroofrusted RE: fatbob Apr 23, 2013 01:23 PM

                              I'm not sure if Starbucks still makes its burr grinder, but if they do that is a good way to go. I've had mine for a very long time and it works just great. I can't recall what I paid for it but it was probably around $100 or so. They used to put them on sale frequently as well. Something tells me they don't sell them anymore though. But they sell them frequently on eBay and they probably don't cost much at all used. You never know how a used one is going to be though.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: tinroofrusted
                                scubadoo97 RE: tinroofrusted Apr 24, 2013 05:00 AM

                                The Starbucks was Solis which is now being made by Baratza.

                              2. Candy RE: fatbob Apr 24, 2013 09:24 AM

                                I have been using the same Krups grinder for over 20 years. It is not a burr grinder, just the little oval shaped one that retails for $19.99. The oval shape helps to get an even grind because it throws the big particles back in to the blades.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: Candy
                                  masha RE: Candy Jun 30, 2013 07:31 AM

                                  Unfortunately Krups and Braun blade grinders are no longer available. We had a series of the Braun blade grinders that each lasted at least 10 years. The last one died in March so I decided to replace it with a burr grinder. I bought a Cuisinart, which stopped working this week, less than 4 months after I bought it. BBB took it back for a full refund with no pushback at all (the manufacturer's "warranty" involved shipping it to Cuisinart with a check of $4 to cover return S&H -- no thank you). Bought a cheapo Capresso blade grinder at the net cost of $16 -- $20 gross, reduced by a 20% BBB coupon. Maybe my taste buds are insufficiently discerning but the coffee tastes fine this morning.

                                  1. re: masha
                                    srgoodman RE: masha Jun 30, 2013 09:53 AM

                                    "Unfortunately Krups and Braun blade grinders are no longer available"

                                    Braun has pretty much stopped marketing all small appliances in the US, not just their blade grinder. However, the Krups blade grinder is still made and widely available on the web, if not in stores.
                                    I see it for sale on Amazon (four colors!), BB and B, and direct from Krups. $20 at all three sites.

                                    1. re: srgoodman
                                      masha RE: srgoodman Jun 30, 2013 12:16 PM

                                      Thanks for this info. I did not look online, just on the shelf of my closest BB&B (was not interested in another week of not having coffee available on demand in my kitchen, although I suppose I could have bought a bag of pre-ground coffee in the interim). I may proceed to buy a Krupps and repurpose the Capresso as a spice grinder.

                                2. z
                                  zin1953 RE: fatbob Apr 24, 2013 04:34 PM

                                  What do you want the grinder to do? Do you want/need the grinder to do espresso? Or do you want it just for pourover, drip, siphon, or press?

                                  As long as it's NOT for espresso, I'd second the suggestion of a refurbished Baratza. Look here:


                                  Now, anything "below" a Baratza Vario will be fine for everything other than espresso . . .

                                  FWIW, I primarily make espresso, and have a Mahlkonig K30 Vario, a Baratza Vario (which I use for both espresso *and* pourover), and in my office, a Cimbali Max Hybrid and a Nuova Simonelli MCF.

                                  15 Replies
                                  1. re: zin1953
                                    JeremyEG RE: zin1953 May 3, 2013 07:51 AM

                                    I'm going to hop on this thread as I also am looking for a new grinder after my Baratza Maestro (no longer made) finally passed away. Is the Encore really not good at grinding for espresso? I've never used one and don't know anyone who has one. Thanks!

                                    1. re: JeremyEG
                                      grampart RE: JeremyEG May 3, 2013 08:09 AM

                                      The reviews here seem pretty good and I didn't notice anything negative regarding espresso grind.


                                      1. re: grampart
                                        zin1953 RE: grampart May 3, 2013 08:14 AM

                                        Yes, well, Seattle Coffee Gear is trying to sell them, aren't they?

                                        1. re: zin1953
                                          grampart RE: zin1953 May 3, 2013 08:18 AM

                                          The reviews are by folks who bought one.

                                      2. re: JeremyEG
                                        zin1953 RE: JeremyEG May 3, 2013 08:17 AM

                                        Jeremy, what sort of espresso machine do you have?

                                        Did you use the Maestro for espresso? If you did, then you should be happy with the Encore. That said, if you have a prosumer or commercial machine, I'd avoid the Encore and go with the Vario.

                                        1. re: zin1953
                                          JeremyEG RE: zin1953 May 3, 2013 01:41 PM

                                          Hey Zin,
                                          I have a Gaggia that I'm really happy with. The espresso from the Maestro was decent but not consistent. I also made a mistake and it's the Virtuoso I'm considering rather than the Vario. Sorry!

                                          1. re: JeremyEG
                                            zin1953 RE: JeremyEG May 3, 2013 04:48 PM

                                            I had a Gaggia MDF for 25 years, because I didn't know any better.

                                            As soon as I upgraded the grinder, the quality of my espresso skyrocketed!

                                            1. re: zin1953
                                              scubadoo97 RE: zin1953 May 3, 2013 08:31 PM

                                              I always like to say the grinder is more important than the machine

                                              My experience was the same. Quality shot up with a better grinder.

                                              1. re: scubadoo97
                                                zin1953 RE: scubadoo97 May 4, 2013 07:20 AM


                                                1. re: scubadoo97
                                                  grampart RE: scubadoo97 May 4, 2013 07:30 AM

                                                  While I agree that a proper grinder is integral to a superior cup of coffee, all the other aspects (bean quality, water quality, and a machine that puts it all together) must be attended to just as rigorously. One weak link in that chain can defeat the perfect grind. It's all important.

                                                  1. re: grampart
                                                    zin1953 RE: grampart May 4, 2013 09:29 AM

                                                    The Four M's of Espresso:
                                                    1) the Macinazione is the grinder, and with it, the correct grinding of the coffee beans;
                                                    2) the Miscela is the coffee beans/blend itself;
                                                    3) the Macchina is the espresso machine; and
                                                    4) the Mano is the skilled hand of the barista.

                                                    All four are important. Nothing is more important than the grinder.

                                                    1. re: zin1953
                                                      grampart RE: zin1953 May 4, 2013 09:42 AM

                                                      I'm sure you're right regarding espresso and, I see my reply was made in a "sub-thread" about espresso grinding. The OP however never mentioned espresso and my reply was regarding coffee in general. Personally, I have no experience with espresso.

                                          2. re: JeremyEG
                                            mcf RE: JeremyEG May 3, 2013 08:20 AM

                                            I was contemplating a purchase last week and read a lot of reviews and writeups.

                                            I decided that if I did buy a new grinder, I'd get the Virtuoso, not the Encore. And they had a refurb on the Baratza site last week.

                                            1. re: mcf
                                              MatG RE: mcf May 3, 2013 09:48 AM

                                              Scuttlebutt on coffee nerdery sites are vastly in favor of the Virtuoso over the Maestro for espresso. I have a friend doing very well with a Virtuoso. The Encore is new, and I don't know if it's improved to accommodate decent espresso or not. I like Mark Prince's espresso grinder-buying rule of thumb: Take your total budget and allot two thirds to the espresso machine, one third to the grinder.

                                            2. re: JeremyEG
                                              scubadoo97 RE: JeremyEG May 3, 2013 11:48 AM

                                              Having used a Solis Maestro Plus and a Mazzer Mini, I can tell you it depends on your machine. But bottom line, the grind is often more important than the machine

                                          3. meshane RE: fatbob Jun 28, 2013 01:15 PM

                                            I've been researching for my own interest lately, and I'm quite excited by what I've read about a couple new hand grinders by a company named Orphan Espresso.


                                            The Pharos is their high-end hand-grinder with a 68mm conical burr set, priced at around $275, and the Lido is the smaller, more economical cousin with a 38mm conical burr set priced at $165. Both allow for step-less grind adjustments, and both have apparently been designed with a lower bearing to keep the burrs aligned.

                                            People over at home-barista.com have described the Pharos as the hand-grind equivalent of professional grinders in the +$1000 range. People are also making some design mods to these which make it easier to adjust the grind, collect the grounds, and clean and maintain, but the mods bring the pricetag to the $500 range.

                                            The Lido apparently has some of those mods built in and is a bit less of a tank to work with. So at $165 it's a bit of a stretch for the $100 pricetag you mentioned, but it sounds like it blows the competition away at that price if it suits the volume of coffee you intend to grind. I haven't had my hands on one yet, but I think I can only talk myself out of buying one of these for a little while longer.

                                            Here's a good review of these which I sourced for what I've written here:

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: meshane
                                              Mr Taster RE: meshane Jun 30, 2013 09:58 AM

                                              With all the talk about motors burning out, I'd think that hand crank grinders would be the first thing people would think of.

                                              Guaranteed no motor burnout! (Until you're six feet under, that is)

                                              I too got tired of my grinder motor burning out and purchased this Zassenhaus from Sweet Maria's, and I've never looked back:


                                              I use it for french press and Chemex pour over, but you can adjust the nut to make a fine espresso grind too.

                                              Mr Taster

                                              1. re: Mr Taster
                                                zin1953 RE: Mr Taster Jun 30, 2013 10:17 AM

                                                I've never had a motor burn out in 40+ years . . . .

                                            2. j
                                              JeremyEG RE: fatbob Jul 2, 2013 03:27 PM

                                              I ended up getting the Baratza Encore and have had it since I first posted on this thread. The espresso has been FAR better than it was when I was using the Maestro and the unit seems really solid. I'll let you know if something goes wrong but so far it's been a great purchase!

                                              1. p
                                                pedalfaster RE: fatbob Jul 2, 2013 03:40 PM

                                                The biggest thing I have learned about coffee-bean grinding (over 20 years now) is: DO NOT OVER-LOAD YOUR GRINDER.

                                                Thank you.
                                                And many happy coffee-making years to you and yours.

                                                5 Replies
                                                1. re: pedalfaster
                                                  poser RE: pedalfaster Jul 2, 2013 09:11 PM

                                                  "DO NOT OVER-LOAD YOUR GRINDER" What do you mean by that statement?

                                                  1. re: poser
                                                    scubadoo97 RE: poser Jul 3, 2013 06:27 AM

                                                    Yes I was also puzzled by that statement. I can see this being true for a blade grinder but not a burr grinder.

                                                    1. re: scubadoo97
                                                      pedalfaster RE: scubadoo97 Jul 3, 2013 02:09 PM

                                                      Yes I was talking about using the el-cheapo blade grinder. If one wants one to "work" it is important not to over-fill it. Can usually tell by the sound it makes and the inconsistency of the grind.

                                                      1. re: pedalfaster
                                                        Mr Taster RE: pedalfaster Jul 3, 2013 03:15 PM

                                                        I was confused too. The original poster was talking about $50-$300 grinders so was not referring to blade grinders, which are $15-$20. Hence our confusion re: overloading. Burr grinders, by default, cannot be overloaded. If you overfill the hopper, then you've got beans on the floor... but not an overloaded grinder!

                                                        Mr Taster

                                                        1. re: Mr Taster
                                                          pedalfaster RE: Mr Taster Jul 3, 2013 03:33 PM

                                                          Thanks for explaining. :)
                                                          As I near 50, I fear I can not taste the difference between burr and blade grind coffee beans( just: must start with whole beans) --perhaps one of the benefits of old age...

                                                          Still use my trusty-crusty French Press.

                                                          Happy sipping!

                                                2. c
                                                  CarlR1954 RE: fatbob Jul 2, 2013 09:30 PM



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