A little advice from coffee snobs, please.

I’m looking for a good manual coffee grinder that doesn’t cost a fortune. Around $50 or so should be about right, I think. I’ve searched ebay and a lot of other sites, but I’m not sure what brands are good. Ebay has 100’s of listings, mostly used, so you can see my dilema.
I use a Melita filter type pot and a french press pot.
Any advice on brands from the SDMB folks would be greatly appreciated.
Just doing my part for the power shortage. :wink:

What a smashing idea. I use my regular grinder for spices (especially pepper) and I’m tired of having to scrub the damn thing every time I switch between coffee & peppercorns.

Let’s bump this up for the Monday morning coffee drinkers to see.

A true coffee fan grinds it with his or her teeth :smiley:

Wanna bug a coffee snob? After they describe to you just how they savor their precious rare beans and hand grind them, look at them incredulously, and say “you buy your beans pre-roasted?”

Ah, so you’re the person for whom the home roaster at the local coffee emporium is marketed! I did wonder who would buy it. And what about the superiority of filtered water for brewing that better cup, hmmm?

Mangeorge, the difficulty with giving a sensible answer to your OP is the word manual. What’s wrong with using an electric one? A good one has got to cost less than $US50. Heck, for 50US you should be able to get two, one for spices, one for coffee.



I see mangeorge lives in Berkekey Californina. I don’t think an electric grinder sucks up enough juice that it’s gonna make a dent in the demand, but it’s the thought that counts.

Besides, manual grinders are kind of, well… charming.

AKAmame enlightens me thusly;

I can have my very own roaster?

And Attrayant kindly offers;

Charming for sure, but electrics heat the grounds. You don’t want the grounds heated until you pour on the hot (205-210F) water. Heat releases essential oils.
You guys are a big help! :stuck_out_tongue:

And then I’ll leave you folks alone.
I guess I can go out there, into the vast merchant jungle, all alone, a lamb among the lions, and take my chances in my simple quest for a decent coffee grinder.
If you don’t hear from me, it’s probably because I got myself mugged, or kidnapped, or something worse.
Oh, well.

Some years ago I bought my boyfriend of the time a manual coffee grinder.

It was a “Spong” brand (yes, real name) cast-iron, made in the UK, and of a design that has probably been constant since the early 20th Century.

But (and I should say BUT) it soon became just an ornament. He still has it mounted on thr kitchen wall, and it looks pretty, but he NEVER EVER uses it.

Because it is just too much hard work. You have to grind and grind and grind and and then you get enough for one cup and that’s okay, for about the first three times. Or the first bag of unground beans. After that, you always can think of something better to do with your time. Believe me it’s grind, grind, grind. You can’t read while you’re doing it, it interferes with listening to music or anything, and if you’re having coffee first thing in the morning, your heart sinks as you contemplate that grind grind grind.

The electric grinders do a great job. Get one.

Grind grind grind - it’s awful!


Um, I understand your concerns about heating, but the heating will result from friction, regardless of how the friction originates. One that gets the job done quickly will allow you to get the grounds under water with minimum of fuss. I’d recommend an electric “burr” type grinder. These run about $40-50, and are worth every penny. Yes, they cost more than those $20 jobbies you always see, but they grind much more quickly and evenly. I have a $20 thingy, too, but the problem I always found was that in order to get most of the coffee ground correctly, you had to overgrind a bit, which meant sludge at the bottom of the coffeepot. With my new Braun, no sludge. (Be forwarned that it’s a bit messy, but then again so would a hand grinder be.) There’s a Capresso model that looks pretty good too, but they were sold out where I did my shopping.

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people in the good ol’ USofA who do not have electricity by choice and need things like manual coffee grinders. They are definitely available.

If you look in the back pages of Mother Earth News, you will find a lot of ads for homesteading/off-the-grid supplies and ads for catalogs that sell that kind of stuff. I know there are several catalogs that specialize in non-electric appliances, etc.

Good luck

Lehamn’s Non-electric Catalog offers a couple different kinds of manual coffee grinders.

And pay no attention to what Redboss says; I’ve got a manual coffee grinder and grinding takes all of 60 seconds to grind enough beans for 6 c. of coffee. Different kinds of beans will be easier or harder to grind, but grinding isn’t never even remotely strenuous.

I like grinding the beans in the morning, it’s a nicely meditative activity. Scoop, scoop, scoop, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, breathe in, breathe out. Ahhh…

Plus my hand grinder always produces a perfect consistancy; with my old eletric grinder I’d get coffee dust and beans that had been barely chipped. With my manual grinder there’s less sludge at the bottom of the pot.

Manual coffee grinders rule.

It’s obvious that no one read the whole OP. George specifically mentioned owning a French press and a filter pot. This (probably) means that he would like to grind his coffee selectively. French presses work best with coarse-ground coffee. Most other coffeemakers like a medium-fine gind. An inexpensive electric grinder pretty much only provides finely ground coffee. I, too am on the lookout for a good manual grinder for my French press-ed coffee. It would be worth the effort since my early morning coffee is done in my drip coffeemaker. I use my press for “special” coffee, like when Mom comes over (she’s a got me my French press in the first place), or when I want to savor a cup o’ joe and a good book.

Hey, Redboss, is your Spong a cast iron cylinder with a nipped in waist (sort of a robot Mae West) or does it have a wooden box underneath?

If the former, we had one till it got dropped once too often (and boy, do those suckers make a mess of glazed kitchen floor tiles), and we used it as a pepper grinder. Mr Mame is still lamenting its demise.

mangeorge, what is a french press? I don’t know the term, but am generally assuming it is what is known here as a plunger, a glass cylinder with an internal piston arrangement with a couple of different mesh filters on the base of the piston.

Having viewed my last post, I would like to apologise to the estate of the late Ms West for any imputation that may be inferred from it regarding the nature of any prosthetic body parts.

(Well I would have previewed, but the link is taking 5’s of minutes per access. Sheesh. ::slinks off::slight_smile:

Arrrrrrgh. That was not a smiley. Not. Arrrrrgh.

I’ll just give up now.

This is what I was getting at in my discussion of $20 grinders: by the time you get rid of the big chunks, most of the coffee’s reduced to espresso powder. The beauty of my $40-$50 Braun burr grinder is that I’ve got 24 - count 'em, 24! - different courseness settings. I don’t own a French press and therefore haven’t tried the coursest settings, but I think you’d be happy.

I don’t know about you, but I am not in favor of manual labor as part of a wake-up routine. I actually went so far as to purchase a $100 Krups machine with a built-in grinder, but that proved a disaster (when it worked, it made the best coffee ever - but I bought it in October, and by January it was kaput).

A quick googol search turned up this.

Another point someone once made as to whether to buy pre-ground coffee or grind it fresh: You can get used to the taste of pre-ground coffee. You can’t get used to the sound of a coffee grinder at 5 a.m. Particularly if you’re the one still trying to sleep. A manual grinder would get around that.

At the risk of being glared at until I leave the thread, you can grind the coffee and measure the water the night before. Then all you have to do in the morning is turn on the automatic drip coffee maker. I don’t know what the French Press steps are, but you’ve got the hard ones out of the way.

Now that’s how I invision myself. Peacefully grind-grind-grinding my coffee at 5am. :slight_smile:
And thanks for the good links… I think I’ve found what I wanted.
Thanks to all for the advice. I’ve gotta try the manual, but if it doesn’t work out you can say “I told you so” :wink:
Watch for an update in a week or two.