Manual burr grinder?

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VicVox72

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My wife (and to a lesser extent, I) like coffee but don't have the money or counter space for a fancy electric burr grinder.

Hence, we have been wondering if there's a decent manual one that might shave some money off the price tag (by virtue of not needing a motor) that can compete with the $250+ electric models in terms of grind consistency and quality?

We drink very small portions of coffee at a time, and use a variety of preparation methods so output speed isn't that important but having high quality across different grind settings (and ability to change grind settings easily) would be important.

Amazon has a ton of highly rated grinders where some of the knowledgeable looking reviewers point out atrocious flaws, so I thought I'd ask the usually much more experienced and quality minded crowd here. Also, if you have a favorite kkf-like (in terms of knowledge and quality orientation) community but for coffee, please share so that I can read up on their boards :D
 

iandustries

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can’t go wrong with anything by hario. grind is consistent and those are highly rated by industry vets as well !
 

AT5760

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I used the Hario Skerton for about 5 years until I upgraded to an electric burr grinder. I think I paid around $35; it's a bit more now. I'm not a super coffee nerd, but I do care how my coffee tastes and want a predictable brew.

Plus: Far more consistent grind that any blade type grinder and as good of a grind as my lower end burr grinder. The ceramic burr isn't going to break or wear quickly. It's very easy to clean.

Con: Slow. I timed it at some point, but I think it was something like a 90+ seconds of cranking every morning for my wife and me to have a cup of coffee. Moderate effort required.

If you're looking around the $50 price point, I'd recommend checking this one out.
 

LostHighway

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You can find quite a number of reviews on YouTube. IMO Hoffman is among the more reliable sources but IMO you should look at several different opinions.
The Timemore Chestnut C2 is quite popular but I'm not personally super excited by PRC products when there are Western made alternatives for not too much more. Any of the $75 to $150 hand grinders should be superior to the <$250 electric grinders for grind quality - speed/volume is where they fall behind.
 

MarcelNL

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What Losthighway said..Hoffmann does great reviews and knows what he is talking about.

Plus; First decide if you want to go espresso or slow coffee, any Espresso grinder is like 5 times more expensive and making espresso has MUCH more of a learning curve. There are few grinders that can do espresso AND other brew methods simply because the required particle distribution is very different.

Home Barista is my go-to place for coffee ( as home roaster and Faema Urania vintage lever owner you may consider me a coffee geek), it is a place to meet quite a few folks from the industry and has been a place where ground breaking methods were developed.
 
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tcmx3

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if you want an espresso grinder, M47

otherwise the Commandante is the way to go IMO. not only are the results excellent but because the grinder is so popular you can often find measurements in "clicks on a Commandante" and this is quite helpful. a C40 and a 5 dollar plastic Hario V60 is already a genuinely good pour over setup.

I have one for traveling and frankly it can make coffee almost as good as my 900 dollar Baratza Forte BG (though without the automatic dosing, electric motor, hopper, etc)
 

Bensbites

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I consider sweet Maria’s to be a curated collection of coffee equipment. It’s not the end all be all, but atleast I can look there and know there is no junk.
I have a porlex I have used for years.
 

ew_ut

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I found James Hoffmann's video (already linked above in post 4) really helpful when we were looking for a manual grinder. I also found the product spotlight videos on Prima Coffee's youtube channel helpful.
 

PineWood

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I have a Comandante C40 and an Apollo B Plus for espresso.
Both are very capable grinders, but if I could keep only one it would be the Apollo. It's much heavier, no plastic parts, bigger burrs (= faster), easy to change the grind setting. But it's also more expensive, it's about the price of a small electric grinder but you have the grind quality of a very expensive professional grinder.
I believe the Kinu M47 is similar in quality (and price).
But for your needs I think the Comandante is absolutely fine. You'll find tons of information on home-barista.com.
 

demcav

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I have...an Apollo B Plus for espresso
In your experience, is the Apollo B Plus specifically for espresso grinds, or would its settings allow it also to produce drip/pour-over grinds?
 

PineWood

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Sure you can use it for drip coffee! If you own a Porsche, you can also use it to get groceries, you don't have to drive on the Nürnburgring all the time ;)
I use two grinders because I don't want to change settings all the time. But the Apollo is designed for espresso because it can grind very fine (you can choke any espresso machine) and the steps in grind settings are very fine. Only issue could be the capacity: the Apollo can hold about 25 g of beans, so if you make a big volume of drip coffee you would need to fill it multiple times. A grinder such as the Hario Skerton (Pro) would be fine and much less expensive for pour-over.
 

tcmx3

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Sure you can use it for drip coffee! If you own a Porsche, you can also use it to get groceries, you don't have to drive on the Nürnburgring all the time ;)
I use two grinders because I don't want to change settings all the time. But the Apollo is designed for espresso because it can grind very fine (you can choke any espresso machine) and the steps in grind settings are very fine. Only issue could be the capacity: the Apollo can hold about 25 g of beans, so if you make a big volume of drip coffee you would need to fill it multiple times. A grinder such as the Hario Skerton (Pro) would be fine and much less expensive for pour-over.
strong disagree.

just because pourover isnt the same as an espresso doesnt imply that grinders dont make all the difference there. proper grinding, technique etc. have just as much impact on a pourover as they do on espresso.

it's one thing to make a joke about it (which Im fine with), it's another to suggest that pourovers somehow pave over the subtly of coffee which I think is very much untrue.
 

PineWood

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It is fine to disagree, I always want to learn! What would be your recommendation then as a dedicated manual pour-over grinder and why?
 

tcmx3

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It is fine to disagree, I always want to learn! What would be your recommendation then as a dedicated manual pour-over grinder and why?
I already gave mine; Commandante C40

if you wanna spend up there's also the OE Apex. Beyond that get on a wasting list for a Monolith (not manual though)
 

MarcelNL

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pour over requires a different grind particle distribution than for espresso.
 

Rangen

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Does the Commandante C40 exist in the current market? I checked all of the authorized dealers, and they are out of stock. Aliexpress offers them, but it's pretty obvious what that is.

Any tips? I've been looking for a great manual travel grinder for years, and this seems like it. If it exists, I mean.
 

Moooza

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The Commandante is the standard for filter coffee in Australia, for a reason. With the red clix kit, I've made excellent espresso (not quite at the level of my Kafatek flat, but it's very good). A good grinder is so important, but a great basket and perfect puck prep is arguably more important for espresso.

Not sure where you are located, but it looks like you can buy direct from Commandante in the USA.
 

slickmamba

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the hario stuff unfortunately is not very good. They are slow, and have lots of wobble creating inconsistent grinds.

The 1zpresso stuff is solid, the jx, jx-pro, q2 heptagonal(c40 burr clone basically) are all good all around affordable ones. c40 is solid, but on the pricier side.
 

Corradobrit1

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I just bought a 1Zpresso JE manual grinder with Italmill 47mm conical burrs. Supposedly perfect for espresso thanks to the fines these burr sets generate.

Screen Shot 2021-08-01 at 3.21.10 PM.png


I also picked up the new 1Zpresso J-Max model but will likely return this as it has Chinese made burrs that aren't as good for espresso. Looks great on paper though.

Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 10.03.13 PM.png
 

VicVox72

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I bought the Hario just to have something serviceable while i figure this all out (it's definitely not perfect -- it seems not very intelligently designed with the super wobbly shaft and no downward force keeping the burrs aligned ... -- but already worlds better than my Vitamix dry container spinning blades or just buying pre ground coffee)

I might have gone with one of the 1zpresso if their website was easier to use to compare the dozen plus different models and configurations. But with the way it is i just felt choice overload and didn't want to either shell out 150 if the quality is much much worse than on the 200 models or spend 250 if the 150 models would be almost as good.

Maybe the way to go is just save up for the c40 and deal with Hario in the meantime?

But thanks again for all the great comments and suggestions. I love learning about this stuff
 

Rangen

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When I first got serious about coffee, I did a lot of reading, and everyone's advice was to consider the grinder as the most important thing.

Really? The grinder?

Turned out to be true, though. When I had to fall back on one of those blade grinders because my Baratza was waiting for parts, the French press produced something I could barely recognize as coffee, compared to the usual. I was shocked at how bad it was.
 

Corradobrit1

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I might have gone with one of the 1zpresso if their website was easier to use to compare the dozen plus different models and configurations. But with the way it is i just felt choice overload and didn't want to either shell out 150 if the quality is much much worse than on the 200 models or spend 250 if the 150 models would be almost as good.

Maybe the way to go is just save up for the c40 and deal with Hario in the meantime?

But thanks again for all the great comments and suggestions. I love learning about this stuff
Helps to know whether you want to use it primarily for espresso or pour over. That will restrict the choice somewhat. Finer adjustments are definitely advantageous for certain types of coffee, further reducing the options. Checkout The Coffee Chronicler and META coffee on YT. Lots of good advice and opinion from endusers.
 

Corradobrit1

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This is what I'll be using to make espresso in the campervan. A Picopresso
Screen Shot 2021-08-02 at 10.53.30 PM.png
 

MarcelNL

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I just pack the Cafelat Robot, and some pre ground (pre ground? really, YESS...), I don't even change the setting, just grind enough for whatever number of days we're gone. As long as we don't need more coffee than a day or 5 this scheme works very well. For longer trips I'm still on the fence for a good grinder, for now I think I'll just load the backup grinder, a SJ in the car. 😁
 
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