View Full Version : Coffee grinder recommendation?
02-23-2008, 02:43 PM
I'm looking into getting a coffee grinder, and I'd like recommendations. Let's say I've got a budget of $50.
02-23-2008, 08:57 PM
I'm not the most knowlegable about coffee, but I'll post until a better source comes along.
Ideally, you'll want something that will give you a range of grinds, and that means a burr grinder. The cheap blade grinders that are sold have no control over the size of the grind so you'll end up with "pebbles and sand"; large chunks and fine dust. A very rough rule of thumb is that the longer the grounds will be in contact with the hot water, the larger the grind. So a French Press takes a very coarse grind because it steeps in the hot water for awhile, and are more easily strained out by the filter. Espresso makers put hot water through the grounds very quickly, so the grind should be very fine. Drip coffee makers are somewhere in the middle.
I have a DeLonghi burr grinder, but it is a little bit above your price range. Here's one (http://www.amazon.com/Capresso-557-01-Burr-Grinder-Black/dp/B000O3JT46/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=kitchen&qid=1203820996&sr=1-2) in your price range, although I can't speak to its quality. The trouble with burr grinders is that you need to pay big money for decent power (and mine isn't really powerful enough), and the chutes tend to get clogged. Nothing is more frustrating than trying to clean out a chute with a toothpick when you desperately need that first cup of the day.
So here I get heretical: If you are only drinking drip coffee, a blade grinder is probably going to be okay. As mentioned above, some grounds will be too fine for a French Press, and they certainly won't be good for espresso, but I don't notice a lot of difference in a drip maker.
This isn't to discount the importance of a good grinder. Given the choice, many coffee purists would rather spend extra money on a better grinder rather than on a better espresso machine. And all of them would probably recommend that you should buy the beans green and roast them yourself. Ah, it's a slippery slope...
02-23-2008, 09:30 PM
I might or might not recommend a Zassenhaus hand-cranked mill. They're quite obviously less expensive than the fancy motor-driven sort, but they're every bit as effective at grinding coffee to a nice even texture. They're also much more charming than a modern electric grinder, especially the older ones with the lion-and-umbrella logo. (http://cgi.ebay.com/Coffee-grinder-Zassenhaus-Record-554-Meisterstueck_W0QQitemZ180216896202QQihZ008QQcategoryZ11652QQssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem) The vintage ones, as you can see, are available for well within your price range. Sweet Marias (http://www.sweetmarias.com/prod.zas.shtml) has new ones in at the moment that are a bit more expensive, but the supply tends to be spotty.
However, two caveats: First, only you can decide whether you want to have to manually grind coffee every time you want to brew a cup. Second, I'm afraid that the Zassenhaus box grinders seem to be a bit small. I've not brewed a lot of coffee lately, but when I did, I remember having to grind the beans in two batches because there just wasn't room enough to do it in one. This is the issue that's led me to more or less abandon mine--it's a shame, as I rather enjoyed grinding my own coffee.
02-23-2008, 09:37 PM
I have heard nothing good about cheap burr grinders. Like the top rated one on Amazon is 2.5 stars. And they aren't that cheap, for that matter.
I use a blade grinder and shake it while it's running. Mine gets grinds caked under the blade though, so don't buy a Black & Decker.
02-24-2008, 06:38 AM
02-24-2008, 01:05 PM
Thanks all. In an amazing fit of impulse shopping I actually threw caution to the wind last night and picked up this one (http://www.cuisinart.com/catalog/product.php?product_id=306&item_id=415&cat_id=3).
I used it this morning to excellent results.
Congratulations, may you and your coffee grinder have many happy days together!
I'm late to the game, but I have a big KitchenAid standup burr grinder. It works great and it has a sensor telling you when to clean out the insides.
That is, it starts shooting the grounds out in large chunks and they shoot into your face instead of into the container to catch them!
02-25-2008, 03:41 PM
Okay, related question it wasn't worth starting a new thread over. Given that my ENT doc would really prefer I didn't drink coffee at all, I've cut down a lot: I used to drink 6-10 cups a day, now I'm down to like 3-4 on weekends, maybe 1-2 occasionally during the week.
My new coffee grinder has a hopper (see above linkypoo) that will store about a half-pound of beans and a lid that fits pretty snugly, but it's not what I would call air-tight. How long will the beans stay "fresh" stored in the hopper?
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