Americans love coffee. In fact, 64% of Americans drink at least one cup a day. Yet, gone are the days in which the majority of Americans relied on pre-ground generic coffees, like Folgers, to get their fix. The industry continues to evolve as people slowly awaken to both the dangers of the coffee trade, which accounts for the rise in popularity of Fair Trade beans and the exquisite variations in the taste profiles of coffee beans from various regions.
In fact, a good cup of coffee is much like a fine whiskey. The beans, which could be of single-origin or many blended together, as well as the roasting, can make a huge difference in how your cup of joe tastes. In addition, the grind of the beans and the brewing process used can enhance or detract from the natural flavors. Each of these four factors is equally important to the finished product, but in this article, we’ll focus on the grinding of the beans.
When purchasing coffee, one of the most important decisions you need to make is whether to buy whole bean coffee or ground coffee. Coffee purists will always tell you to buy whole bean coffee and then grind the beans at home with your own manual coffee grinder. Below, we’ll explain:
- Why grind your own beans?
- Manual coffee grinders versus electric coffee grinders
- The best manual coffee grinders
Why Grind Your Own Beans?
Although coffee is a strongly flavored substance, the coffee bean is an incredibly delicate thing. The flavor of the coffee is contained in the oils inside the bean. Once the bean is broken, these oils are exposed to oxygen, moisture and other contaminants, causing them to lose up to 60% of their aroma within 15 minutes of being ground.
The longer the beans are ground before you brew, the more of their natural flavoring they lose. Therefore, grinding your coffee beans directly before brewing will allow you to taste all the flavors and smell all the aromas your coffee beans were meant to have.
Manual Coffee Grinders vs. Electric Coffee Grinders
Both electric and manual coffee mills can help you grind your coffee beans at home, but which type of grinder is the right one for you? Both have their advantages and disadvantages.
In brief, manual coffee grinders are simple, portable and generally cheaper than electric coffee grinders. On the other hand, electric coffee grinders are powerful and don’t require any elbow grease, but they do require electricity to use.
The one you buy depends on your preferences, but for people who don’t need to grind coffee 20 times per day, we’d suggest investing in a decent manual coffee grinder that is durable and simple enough to be used for years to come.
Now that we’ve discussed the advantages of grinding your own beans and of manual coffee grinders, we’ll now introduce you to the eight best manual coffee grinders available in 2020. Read on to pick out the best one for you.
1. JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
JavaPresse have designed their Manual Coffee Grinder in order to “liberate and empower you to transform your coffee ritual into an extraordinary daily experience.” While that might be slight hyperbole, their coffee grinder does do a fantastic job at creating brew-able coffee from beans. The grinder boasts ceramic combo burrs which will last five times longer than stainless steel blades. In addition, the removable hand crank comes with 18 click settings so you have precise control, allowing you to choose the exact coarseness of your beans. Plus, with each purchase of a JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder, you’ll get a free bag of whole bean coffee.
2. DDSKY Manual Coffee Grinder
For a mix of style and function, it’s worth considering the DDSKY Manual Coffee Grinder which is styled like an antique coffee mill. Rather than cranking in an up and down motion like the JavaPresse model, this grinder is twisted clockwise. It also boasts three settings for coarse, medium and fine grounds. To use the grinder, first, place the beans in the bowl, then twist the crank. The grounds will fall through and into the draw. While this may not be the most practical manual coffee grinder, it is fun to use if you only need to grind beans from time to time.
3. Cast Iron Hand Crank Corn Grinder
The Cast Iron Hand Crank Corn Grinder is an ideal choice for cafes that need to grind a ton of beans daily or homes with an industrial-chic vibe. The grinder attaches to the counter or table. Then, up to one pound of beans can be inserted into the bowl. A spout can be attached to the other end to funnel the grounds into your desired container. Alternatively, place a large bowl under the opening. In addition to coffee beans, this manual grinder can also be used for corn, nuts or wheat.
4. Bazaar Anatolia Manual Hand Grinder Mill Set
If you’ve ever tasted Turkish coffee, you know it’s incredibly strong and smooth. Half of the magic behind the brew is the grinder that’s used. Traditionally, the Turkish used brass grinders, like those in the Bazaar Anatolia Manual Hand Grinder Mill Set, as a part of the almost ritualistic process of brewing these espresso-like drinks. The one downside to these grinders is that they can only create fine grounds, so if you need a more coarse result, you’ll need to buy a different grinder. But, on the whole, this set contains two gorgeous grinders that are as functional as they are a beautiful addition to your kitchen.
5. Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder
When you set out to learn about manual coffee grinders, you’ll read a lot about the burr. That’s because the burr is essentially the part of the coffee grinder that breaks down the beans into grounds. Burrs come in a variety of shapes and materials, from ceramic to stainless steel, but few are as impressive as the burr found in the Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder. This cast iron burr is incredibly durable. It also doesn’t produce any heat to damage the oils in your coffee, and it will never rust or give off a metallic taste. This burr combined with the grinder’s attractive wooden build make the Akirakoki Manual Coffee Bean Grinder an easy choice for this list of the best manual coffee grinders.
6. Hario Skerton Pro Coffee Mill
The Hario Skerton Pro Coffee Mill has been designed to put you in control. It features a sturdy, cast iron handle connected to ceramic, conical burrs. The latter, along with the device’s burr stabilization spring, ensure grind quality, even on coarse settings. And, adjusting the coarseness of the coffee grounds is simple thanks to the new adjustment mechanism on the bottom of the burr. Finally, the non-slip rubber base and wide silicone grip allow for control during the grinding process. This is one coffee mill that looks attractive and does wonderful work at the same time.
7. Cafflano All-in-One Portable Pour Over Coffee Maker
Sometimes you need a coffee maker that can go anywhere with you. Whether you’re camping, traveling or you want your own coffee maker at the office, the Cafflano is the ideal answer. Not only does this device have a ceramic coffee grinder, it also includes a mesh filter and a pitcher with a spout designed specifically to brew pour over coffee. This makes the Cafflano not only the most portable coffee grinder on our list but also the most multifunctional. It has everything you need to make an exquisite cup of coffee, except for hot water and coffee beans.
8. Peugeot Coffee Grinder
Although you don’t need to spend a lot of money to get a quality manual coffee grinder, the Peugeot Coffee Grinder is worth the splurge. Since 1840, Peugeot has been making a version of this incredibly high-quality grinder. It’s technically made as a pepper mill, and you’ll see the design often in the most high-end restaurants. However, the mechanism inside is capable of taking on coffee beans in addition to peppercorns. You can adjust the burr to the fineness you want, and then just crank the handle to achieve your desired result. Not only is this a truly functional piece, it’s also something you can be proud to display on your kitchen counter.