There’s just something about grinding your coffee manually that makes it so satisfying, right? So much so in fact, that we decided to test out a few manual coffee grinders ourselves and see what we make of them.
Working out the Best Manual Coffee Grinder
Below, are some of our experiences with a manual coffee grinder, needless to say, it took a fair amount of elbow grease to try them all out! Down below are our three favorites in working out the best manual coffee grinder.
[amazon link=”B01GQVHPLI” title=”Handground Precision Coffee Grinder
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[amazon fields=”B01GQVHPLI” value=”button” image_size=”large”]
The first-hand grinder on our list is the Handground Precision Coffee Grinder. Once you get your hands on the box, you’ll just want to pull up the tab on the back, open up the top and then right on top you’ll find you've got a hand-ground brew magnet – a nice little bonus that you can put on your fridge. There's also an instruction manual included for lots more details need you ever have to find them out.
The Handground Precision Coffee Grinder has six different burr methods, with the recommended grind size for each burr method. It also shows you a ratio for coffee to water, and the little dashes in the brown section represent the measurement marks on the hand-ground hopper.
We also have an allen wrench and some calibration washers for fine tuning, but you only really need to worry about those if you're doing espresso or trying to dial in a really fine grind.
There’s a foam pad you’ll pull right out of the top of the box, that lets you just lift your grinder out, and so the first thing you'll want to do is use the grip pad on the bottom, which makes it really grip the counter and makes grinding a lot easier.
There's also a piece of protective film that covers the pads, so you can just take that off, and then you're going to want to use a smooth countertop when you're grinding – which is what the grip pad will stick to the best.
The first thing that you're going to want to do is to set your grind size - you can do that by turning the numbered ring - one will be your finest size. Then there is a half step in between each number for a total of 15 steps, with 8 being the coarsest, and 1 being the finest. We started off with 2.5 and then opened the top – we did this by putting our right hand on the top and turning clockwise to unlock it. The top should then lift right off.
You can set the top down on the counter and load up your beans. If you don't have a scale handy, there are measurement marks on the side of the hopper – white lines – each mark represents about 10 grams of beans. But it varies depending on the roast and density of your beans.
We just poured in a few beans to try it out. Once you have your beans loaded, you can grab your top to line it up until it slides on and then once it fits down, you're going to want to turn it to the left and give it a little twist to snuggly lock it on.
Once we've got your top locked on, your grind size is set, and you’re ready to grind your beans.
You do this firstly by placing it on the counter. You put your first hand on top and give it a little bit of a downward push, and then put the other hand on the handle to move forward in a clockwise motion.
Now you're all set for grinding!
You’ll want to keep going until you feel the handle starts to spin freely and you’re no longer grinding beans. There are also other ways you can do it, but this one is the easiest.
Once you’ve ground all of your beans, the grounds will be in left in a glass catcher, which you can open just by turning to the left; unscrew with about a turn and a half and now your coffee grounds are ready to pour in your brewing device. An awesome, easy-to-use grinder from Handground!
[amazon link=”B001802PIQ” title=”Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill“]
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[amazon fields=”B001802PIQ” value=”button” image_size=”large”]
Next, we’re taking a look at the Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill. It uses a pretty simple mechanism, as with all coffee grinders. So right off the bat, it comes with a couple of different parts. Firstly, there is the glass container in which the coffee grounds sit after they’re ground - that comes with a small rubber cup that you can attach to protect the bottom and for it to sit on a counter; there’s also the mill itself.
So there's the mill, the cup and the hopper where you load the beans. When talking about ceramic coffee grinders, this is a perfect example of what people mean – the actual burr itself is ceramic. Therefore, that's a higher-quality, longer-lasting material that will give you a better grind straight away.
So why is the Hario so popular? Well, in short, it's because of the quality of the construction. We just mentioned the ceramic burr – that's important if you're going to have a long-lasting, high-quality coffee grinder.
There are a lot of coffee grinders on the market, anywhere between $15 to $35 dollars that don't have ceramic burrs, and in fact have a very poor, flimsy construction. The Hario is extremely sturdy by comparison, in particular, the arm. Even the hopper, although it's rubber or plastic, is a nice sturdy plastic with a good thick glass jar.
All the right parts are there to make sure that when you grind, you have a steady rhythm.
Getting into how the Hario works, we started by setting it to a relatively coarse grind, meaning that the gap between the burr and the walls of the grinder itself was relatively big. If you want a really fine coffee ground, you're going to have to tighten this up considerably.
The adjustments made on the Hario start at the top, where you’ll find a lock nut. Zone screwing allows for the handle to not come off and underneath the handle, you'll see there is a locking collar. This collar has two arms that lock the adjustment wheel in place, and this adjustment wheel essentially travels up and down a threaded rod, adjusting the burr within the grinder itself.
There are some instructions when you get your Hario on how to adjust this. There's a little bit of trial and error in this to make sure that you get it the way that you want it set, but once you have it set, you put the locking collar back on, put the screw on the handle and that's it.
To grind beans with the Hario, you simply load your favorite coffee beans into the hopper. The Hario comes with a top that allows you to close the hopper during grinding, so that the beans don't pop out. You simply have to hold the Hario grinder still and grind away!
Grinding may take a little effort, but it’s a fair trade in exchange for that cup of joe. We found it takes about 7 or 8 minutes to grind the beans, but that's it. Once you're done, you'll have a container of ground coffee that you can use right away or store for later.
We've been using a Hario for several months now and had no problems at all. It's a really good, sturdy tool, and when you compare that to other coffee hand grinders that you'll find in stores, or even some of the lower priced electric grinders, this is a much more robust tool.
It’s quite obvious that it's going to last a bit longer than anything else that you'll find on the market and is well worth the $70 dollars that you'll pay for it. Definitely up there when considering the best manual coffee grinder!
[amazon link=”B0044ZA066″ title=”Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Grinder“]
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[amazon fields=”B0044ZA066″ value=”button” image_size=”large”]
The Porlex Mini is quite a quaint, unique hand grinder, and definitely a contender for the best manual coffee grinder. Upon opening the box, you’ll find some packaging, and then the grinder itself.
There’s this cool little piece that holds the handle, which is quite a nice touch. Looking at the grinder, you can see that it’s the bottom that comes out after you grind the coffee – in there is a little nice container. We found that it seems to be quite form fitting, too.
Next is the adjustment level. You may have to use the internet for a little guidance, as everything is in Japanese, so it wasn’t very much help! We also recommend you go all the way tight, basically until you can't turn it anymore, and then you have to slowly turn it until you hear clicks.
We’ve started off by grinding at medium for a drip, which equates to about seven clicks; also, what most people recommend. But you may like it finer or like it coarser, but, basically, it’s up to you to turn it as you see fit. When you look inside, you’ll be able to see there is a gap where the beans will rub up against the ceramic dots.
After a couple of turns, it comes out. There are two pieces to the ceramic burr, and this is basically how you clean it - pop out the ring, wipe it down and then clean the inside. Then it’s good to go. Afterwards, you put it back, and you just have to match up one piece to lock it in place.
Understandably, it’s pretty firm. Again, the recommendation setting is all the way round, which is seven clicks. We put the bottom back and loaded the beans – we just had to take off the top and pop the beans in there when trying it out.
And not really a lot of beans either; you can use a small amount just to check out the grind. Bearing mind this is a small grinder, so it doesn’t hold that much.
After, we popped the top back on tight and put the handle back on there. Being a hand grinder, it’s fairly self-explanatory - the way you grind is basically you turn the wheel - it’s not too hard, and as we mentioned before, the handle is nice to use.
The handle, in fact, makes it a piece of pie. We didn’t do the whole thing, but taking a quick look inside, we could see what came out. We’ll admit, that after every grind you may want to clean it. Because this is stainless steel, most of the coffee comes out. It's not like the other brands, which have the plastic containers where it’s all static and it’ll stick to it.
The grind we did came out fairly well. You can really see, it has a sand-like consistency and is fairly even, which is very nice. And this is what a lot of people like about it – plus the grind smells great.
You can also take out the rubber piece and use what we call an arrow press. What a lot of people like about this, is that the arrow press is made for travel, so could take this grinder and slot it into the handle area, it will go all the way, enabling you to save the maximum amount of space. Efficient, stylish and compact – the Porlex mini is quite the grinder!
So, What is the Best Manual Coffee Grinder?
As you can see from our testing above, all of the grinders are fantastic, and have their own merits each. As we always say – do your due diligence, see which machine fits you best stylistically, and you’ll easily be able to find the best manual coffee grinder for your needs!