Which hand coffee grinder is right for me?
Guide for Coffee grinders: What you should know
Good coffee only requires three things: high-quality, freshly roasted coffee beans like our CAPTN Coffee, a reliable coffee maker and a good coffee grinder. The latter is part of the basic equipment of every coffee lover, because it significantly influences the taste of the drink. Coffee made from freshly ground beans always tastes better than coffee from already ground beans. Why? Because coffee beans retain flavor that is volatile in air much better. Only when grinding do those wonderfully fragrant coffee and roast aromas that we love so much come out.
A coffee grinder is therefore a sensible investment. In addition, it does not even have to cost a lot, as we will prove below. In this article we will show you what types of coffee grinders there are: from the hand-operated to the electric version. We also explain why the grinder is the most important purchase criterion and present various coffee grinders that have been convincing in product tests and with customers like us.
What different coffee grinders are there?
The hand-operated coffee grinder
There is a large selection of coffee grinders. There are electric and hand-operated variants. If you appreciate grinding coffee as a ritual and would like to take your coffee grinder with you on a camping holiday, for example, a hand-operated model is a good choice. A hand grinder does not require electricity, is usually smaller and therefore easier to stow away than an electric coffee grinder, and is also available for significantly less money. High-quality models even have adjustment options for the degree of grinding and a conical grinder, which gently grinds the beans. Of course, a hand mill also has disadvantages. For example, you have to do the grinding yourself, which can be a bit exhausting, especially for inexperienced hands or heavy drinkers.
The electric coffee grinder
The grinding as a ritual is not your thing? You just want your coffee to be ground quickly and precisely? Then an electric coffee grinder is for you. A good model is much more convenient than a hand mill, but usually costs you a little more. However, it also grinds at the push of a button and much faster, which is particularly practical for people who drink a lot and larger households, or when every minute counts.
The most important purchase criterion: the grinder
Everything stands or falls with the grinder. It is the heart of the mill. Most importantly, the grinder grinds the coffee beans without generating too much frictional heat: heat increases the loss of aroma and can give the coffee a bitter taste. In addition, a good grinder should grind as homogeneously as possible, i.e. produce coffee particles of the same size as possible. This is the only way to extract the aroma evenly during the brewing process. In the following, we will introduce the three types of grinders and explain which one is preferable.
Coffee grinders with striking mechanism: hands off!
If you read the word "Schlagwerk" in a product description, forget the device immediately. Similar to a blender, such an impact grinder uses a kind of fast-rotating small propeller made of stainless steel knives, which breaks up the beans more than it grinds them. The result is a very uneven grind, meaning your coffee will be extracted unevenly as it brews and may not taste good at all. In addition, the impact grinder heats up, making the coffee bitter and losing its aroma.Therefore: Stay away from a coffee grinder with an impact grinder!
Coffee grinders with disc grinders: Usually a good choice
Higher-quality coffee grinders often have a disc grinder made of either robust stainless steel or somewhat more fragile ceramic. It has two concave discs that lie on top of each other and converge towards the outside. The bottom disc is fixed while the top one rotates. During grinding, the coffee beans get between the two discs, are driven from the inside out by centrifugal force and are gradually ground finer. By changing the distance between the discs, the degree of grinding can be easily adjusted.
In principle, you can achieve a very homogeneous degree of grinding with a disc grinder. However, due to the higher number of revolutions, it generates more frictional heat, which makes the coffee bitter than, for example, a conical grinder. When choosing a coffee grinder with a disc grinder, you should definitely consider this point - some devices also work with lower speeds and do not have this disadvantage.
Coffee grinders with a conical grinder: more is not possible
Coffee grinders with a conical grinder grind particularly gently. They get by with a lower speed, so that little frictional heat is generated. How does this work? A cone-shaped component with a serrated exterior rotates through a ring-shaped tunnel that is also serrated. Like a funnel, the distance between the cone and the tunnel tapers downwards. The beans make their way through the grinder from above, migrate downwards due to gravity and are ground finer and finer as the conical grinder turns. By increasing or decreasing the distance between the cone and the grinder wall (the tunnel), the degree of grinding can also be easily adjusted here.
Coffee grinders with a conical grinder unite the two quality criteria – homogeneous ground material and avoidance of frictional heat – best. But beware: This often only applies to more expensive professional coffee grinders with high torque. Cheap models, which also advertise conical grinders, often have motors that are too weak and therefore low torque, which they try to compensate for with high speeds - and that means again: frictional heat. By the way: There are also very good hand mills with cone grinders!
We can recommend these coffee grinders
Hand coffee grinders: reviews and buying tips
Hand mills are available in all price ranges. The cheapest and at the same time most popular are the modern models from Hario. They always do really well in tests. The price is due to its plastic exterior, which does not detract from the grinding quality. They're also nice and small and almost unbreakable!
Many, including us, swear by the small Hario Mini Slim Plus. It scores with a transparent bean container, a conical grinder made of ceramic and a locking screw on the lid to adjust the degree of grinding. The hand crank can be removed - this is particularly practical when you're on the go! One full grind is enough for a whole French Press. The Hario Mini Pro (approx. 33 euros) is now on the market, the successor to the classic Mini Mill. B. an improved crankshaft and an easier to read scale.
You want to grind more? The Hario Mini also has two bulbous big brothers! Namely the Hario Skerton Plus (approx. 34 euros) and the Hario Sekrton Pro (approx. 55 euros), which have a significantly larger grist container with a capacity of 100 g.
Anyone who prefers a stainless steel look is well advised to go with the Porlex Tall II (approx. 64 euros) with its indestructible hand lever.It convinces with a high-quality ceramic conical grinder and also has a wheel on the lid with which the degree of grinding can be set in no time at all. Porlex stands for quality, durability and, above all, particularly precise grinding results. The Porlex Tall produces approx. 30 g of ground coffee, the smaller Porlex Mini II (approx. 64 euros) produces approx. 20 g. The latter is great for on the go!
You like wood look and good, timeless design? Are you willing to pay a little more for this, as long as the performance is right? Then we recommend the Comandante C40 MK3 Nitro Blade, which is one of the most expensive hand mills at a steep price of around 230 euros. But the design made of wood, stainless steel and hard plastic as well as the patented conical knife-quality stainless steel grinder, which produces an inimitably precise grinding result, especially with finer grinding degrees, is more than worth it. The degrees of grinding can be set well and by audible clicking and differ significantly. Handling has also been thought through: the crank can be removed and is attached to the lid with a magnet, and thanks to a double ball bearing, the Comandante is particularly smooth-running.
Electric coffee grinders: reviews and buying tips
The Rommelsbacher EKM 200 proves that an electric coffee grinder can be good for less than 50 euros. It is a good entry-level coffee grinder that looks very robust despite a lot of plastic. The removable bean container holds 250 g and the required amount of powder and one of 9 grinding degrees are set with a wheel. A reliable and solid steel disc grinder works inside.
If you like it higher quality, you will find a coffee grinder with a conical grinder made of stainless steel from the same manufacturer with the Rommelsbacher EKM 300 (approx. 80 euros), which grinds the coffee beans a little more gently. You can also choose between 12 degrees of grinding.
Anyone who wants to prepare both filter coffee and espresso with their coffee grinder can enjoy the Graef CM 800 (approx. 120 euros) with its high-quality conical grinder for a long time. A total of 40 grinding degrees can be set with it, and two of them are so super fine that they are also ideal for a perfect espresso. You can grind it directly into the portafilter, which simply has to be pressed against the portafilter holder. Everything else goes into the supplied grist container. The large bean container holds 350 g and an "antistatic system" ensures that the ground coffee does not stick to the sides during grinding - which saves valuable waste and thus costs. The Graef CM 800 grinds gently and evenly and is suitable for every coffee machine and every coffee maker thanks to the different grinding degrees. With its slim design, it is also very space-saving.
Last but not least, the "Mercedes" among the coffee grinders is the Vario Home Grind-on-Demand from Mahlkönig (approx. 400 euros), with which over 200 (!) levels of grinding degree can be selected via the display and even programmed with a timer are. Coffee nerds can experiment as much as they can - or make it a little easier with the selection buttons (espresso, French press, filter). With this luxury model, the manufacturer checks each device himself before delivery and even carries out test grinding to ensure the quality is right..