slurpy Senior Member Joined: 19 May 2013 Posts: 5 Location: Brooklyn, NY Expertise: Professional
Posted Sun May 19, 2013, 11:53am Subject: A Quality Grinder for Pour Over Coffee Under $200? Can it Be Done??
Dear Lovely Forum Folk-
I am a coffee professional of 5 years, and to this day, I struggle with at-home cupping as limited by my inadequate grinder. At present, I use a Hario Mini Mill. I do so because a little elbow grease has always been worth the dramatic price reduction when compared to electric models with the same grind consistency, and at the time of purchase, $40 was about all I was prepared to spend on a home grinder. Read: young, broke barista. So my choice of the Mini Mill was out of ignorance: at the time of purchase, I did not understand that $40 was an insufficient budget for the quality I was looking for, and I was also misdirected considerably through internet discussions by coffee laypersons whose needs I now understand are far, far simpler than my own. Through much experimentation, I've found that the inconsistency in particle size from the Mini Mill is simply unacceptable for meaningful feedback on a given coffee.
What I am looking for instead:
is a grinder capable of particle consistency uniform enough to be suitable for serious evaluation. I do not want to be limited by my grinder in my pursuit of understanding (though I understand that there will ALWAYS be a limit imposed by equipment). Instead, I wish to be able to adjust my brewing techniques against the experiment control of a consistent grind size. I do a great deal of my learning at home, and I presently have a good set-up: Bona-Vita swan neck kettle with digital temperature control, a battery of brewing equipment (aeropress, v60, bee house, chemex, cupping bowls, etc), and many focused years of experience. The grinder is the thing holding it all back!
A) what are some grinders that you would recommend for a person looking to enjoy quality coffee in this way at home?
B) Can this kind of quality be enjoyed (whether by manual or electric grind) for under $200, or must the budget absolutely expand to fit the above expectations? Understand that I will not be using the grinder for espresso: only for cupping and single-cup brewing techniques.
Posted Sun May 19, 2013, 12:10pm Subject: Re: A Quality Grinder for Pour Over Coffee Under $200? Can it Be Done??
I was just over on H-B looking over Jim Schulman's post on the Bunn LPG and Vario with steel burrs. It seems an LPG can be had on eBay for your price range (maybe less on Craigslist depending on where you are). Burr condition might be a consideration...
Dana Leighton - Espresso hack and CoffeeGeek moderator
Posted Wed May 22, 2013, 9:49pm Subject: Re: A Quality Grinder for Pour Over Coffee Under $200? Can it Be Done??
Check out the Breville Smart Grinder. They had some problems when they first hit the market; you had to install a washer kit so that the burrs were placed close enough together to grind fine enough for espresso. Now, they are manufactured with that change; espresso grind is possible with the grinder right out of the box. I have owned one for about a year and a half; the grind is very consistent, and I've used it for espresso to french press with no problems. Retails for about $199...and they've been around long enough that you can probably find them refurbished and even cheaper. Good luck!
Posted Wed May 22, 2013, 9:56pm Subject: Re: A Quality Grinder for Pour Over Coffee Under $200? Can it Be Done??
An additional note...what are you using for your pour-over method? If you haven't already, check out the clever little coffee dripper...it's available from Sweet Maria's (their website). The best pour-over I've come across.....but, I got tired of the double boiling; first, to rinse the paper filter, then to make the coffee...so, now I am impatiently waiting for my Trifecta mb to arrive, hopefully in about 5 days. My favorite coffeemaking methods: first, Trifecta...second, clever little coffee dripper; third, aeropress; fourth...nothing...that's it!
Posted Fri May 24, 2013, 2:03pm Subject: Re: A Quality Grinder for Pour Over Coffee Under $200? Can it Be Done??
Of course it isn't but when it's housed in an excellent grinder body - it's definitely important.
I have no evidence to claim that one grinder is better than the other. That said, I enjoy using the Mini more and find its maintenance to be a piece of cake. A single screw holds the burr seated and dissassembly takes 30 seconds. The Mini is built to last generations (aside from the catch cup) and it is very compact. The grind setting markers run in .05 increments as well, so it is very way to measure grinds. The LIDO is easy as well but just a tad more fidgety. The solid metal body of the mini, the easy intuitive grind adjustment, and the ease of use make it an incredible piece of machinery. That said, it only grinds 26-30g at a time and is meant for single servings in that sense. It's not for everybody but as an office grinder and travel grinder I could not be happier. I even use it at home when I have it with me. That said, yes, it's $360 plus shipping.
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