Okay... right off the bat, this is a cheat on my part. This is actually an $850 item, but for Christmas, it will cost you $250; you pay the rest once the grinder is built, so I'm including it here.
Every super nerd in the world of coffee and espresso is talking about these grinders. For espresso enthusiasts, the bane of espresso making is waste, heat, particle size, and adjustability. Waste as in ground coffee left over inside the grinder that you have to somehow get rid of the next shot. Heat is in the grinds getting too hot during grinding which can lead to a variety of preparation issues in packing your tamper. Particle size comes from too-small burrs trying to do the job of a giant burr in ensuring your ground coffee's particle size is uniform. And adjustability means sometimes you have to really fine tune how fine your grind is, and most grinders don't let you do that.
This grinder attempts to address all these issues. The coffee falls straight down into your portafilter with no way for stray grounds to stick around. The burrs are huge (I'm linking to the 83mm version) which help with particle size uniformity. Since it is hand cranked, the fastest you can get is about 100rpm which means no heat issues. And it is infinitely adjustable.
Column Description Whether it's up to the minute, happening this day, this week, or in the recent past, this column's goal is to present coffee and attempts to make the experience truly culinary. You'll find short reviews about past events, interesting coffees coming on the market, new and different ways to enjoy espresso and other brewing methods, and give an insight into efforts around the globe to make coffee a truly culinary thing. Column written by Mark Prince.