Are Hand Coffee Grinders Any Good? 5 Things You Should Know


Choosing a decent coffee grinder is no easy task. Do you want a convenient grinder? Do you want one that doesn’t make too much noise? Do you plan to make lots of espressos? Of course, you have to consider your budget. You can easily end up paying hundreds if not thousands of dollars on a decent electric grinder that produces a consistent grind size every time. Then, of course, there are manual grinders, and they are so much cheaper.

Most hand grinders are excellent and worth buying; they can duplicate the coffee grind of any electric burr grinder, and they are much cheaper. These grinders are also beneficial if you camp or travel a lot. However, you must consider that the effort you put in with a manual grinder can be a big hurdle to overcome.

Will you get used to grinding your coffee by hand? It’s a good idea to buy a manual grinder, but you must decide how to choose one suits your needs. You should want a product that lasts, and you must consider how to maintain and clean it. Let’s explore these considerations in more detail to help you make the best choice for you.

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Is It Better To Manually Grind Coffee?

It can be better to manually grind coffee by hand when you consider the price of electric burr grinders. While you can always purchase a cheap electric blade grinder, you can never guarantee consistent grind size and quality.

A hand coffee grinder costs a fraction of burr grinders and offers a more reliable grind than an electric blade grinder. Manual grinders provide reliability, consistency, and “hands-on” appeal. Let’s discuss five reasons why it is better to grind coffee manually:

1. Price

Electric burr grinders are excellent but costly. Most home models cost more than $100, and the best ones can cost more than $200. If you consider a cheaper burr model, the quality of the grind drops significantly.

A blade grinder can cost as little as $15, but it’s a false economy, as the grind quality is unreliable, and these machines don’t last.

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A hand grinder offers a consistent grind while costing less than the cheapest electric grinders. While these grinders don’t have a motor, their focus is on what matters: the burrs.

2. Consistency

Consistent grind quality is equally crucial as buying fresh coffee because they dissolve at the same rate when the grounds are the same size.

However, different ground sizes dissolve at different rates; some can be over-extracted while others are under-extracted. Under and over-extracted grounds will add unpleasant flavors to your coffee.

A burr grinder will bring out the best qualities of the coffee beans, unlike a blade grinder. Blade grinders don’t “grind” your coffee; all they do is chop the beans into uneven bits. A manual burr grinder is so much better than an electric blade grinder.

3. Portability

The coffee industry is trying to cater more to coffee lovers who travel and like the outdoors. You may have the best electric burr grinder at home, but you cannot bring it with you when you travel, and making your own coffee is much cheaper than buying expensive drinks at the café.

Whether you are going out for a picnic, backpacking, or going on a business trip, a manual grinder allows you to bring your favorite coffee with you.

4. Noise Level

Hand coffee grinders are helpful for early morning people who want to be conscientious in a house of light sleepers. Hand coffee grinders are much quieter than electric grinders.

5. The Process

Like any hobby that can take up much of your time, manual coffee brewing can be an enjoyable and relaxing experience. Creating something can bring a sense of pride and achievement. A hand grinder might be hard to use at first, but it can become therapeutic once you get used to it. i

How Hard Is It To Use A Manual Coffee Grinder?

A manual coffee grinder has no electric power source; it is exclusively the labor of your hands. It’s not an arduous task for many, and the positive benefits are evident.

Grinding by hand can seem a little challenging at first, but on the bright side, you will gradually develop some muscles after repeated use.

However, a manual grinder may not be convenient for everyone; it can be quite tiring for some people. A hand grinder may not be suitable for people living with arthritis, for example.

While there is some elbow grease with a hand grinder, excellent grinders are not too costly. You can buy a reliable manual burr grinder for $20 to $30, and it will provide you with delicious freshly ground coffee year after year.

The only electric grinders that can match that price tag is blade grinders, which you should avoid.

How Long Does It Take A Manual Grinder To Grind Coffee Beans?

Some people can hand-grind faster than others; generally speaking, it can take 70 revolutions to grind 10 grams of coffee, which can take between 30 to 40 seconds. The more you use your hand grinder, the more manageable it gets, and your grinding time will increase.

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A hand grinder can take up to four minutes of non-stop cranking to create three scoops. Three scoops of grinds can make a double espresso. For drip coffee, a finer grind can take under a minute. For certain, hand grinding is not for individuals in a rush, which is not a bad thing.

How Do You Take Care Of A Hand Coffee Grinder?

If old coffee grounds and rancid oils are ruining the flavor of your freshly brewed coffee, it’s time to clean your grinder.

Manual coffee grinders need a good wash from time to time because coffee beans leave oil and particle remnants on your burrs. It takes just a few minutes to clean your hand grinder to keep it in peak condition.

You will need to disassemble your grinder. Different models require different disassembly methods, so check the accompanying manual. For a JavaPresse, start by removing the handle, hopper lid, and grind catcher. All you are left with is the main shell and burr structure.

Unwind the adjustment lever or knob and put it aside, and pull out the inner burr. Inside the inner burr is a center part that can be pushed on and taken out.

Pull out the metal washer, plastic washer, spring, and rod, and that is how you disassemble a hand grinder. Let’s look at cleaning your hand grinder:

Cleaning The Hand Grinder

You must rinse well the handle and hopper lid and the grounds catcher needs a bit of a scrub with soapy water; rinse and dry thoroughly.

Get a bowl and fill it with sudsy warm water, then dip a cotton bud in it. Use the cotton bud to lightly scrub the tiny ground particle and oils off smaller components.

Once you have washed every piece, they need a quick and gentle rinse, be careful not to let small pieces go down the drain. Dry those parts thoroughly with a clean cloth to remove extra moisture or small food pieces.

When all the components are completely dry, you must put the grinder back together by first placing the metal rod through the top of the manual grinder.

Insert the plastic washer, spring, and metal washer. Fit the centerpiece back inside the inner burr, slide the burr up over the rod into the outer burr.

Put the adjustment knob on the rod’s thread and twist it until the burrs completely close. You should be able to open the burrs and count the clicks and find the correct setting for your brewer.

The clicks your grinder makes when switching settings should be louder, and the adjustment knob should feel more secure.

What Is The Average Lifespan Of A Manual Coffee Grinder?

It’s hard to say how long any manual coffee grinder will last, much depends on how often you use it.

For example, a coffee grinder you use every day for six months may need its burrs replaced after a year, and eventually, you will need to replace your old grinder. On average, a hand grinder’s lifespan is about six to eight years.

You should replace your grinder as soon as it breaks down and is not in good condition; this is usually a sign that a product has exceeded its use.

One way to tell your grinder is on the way out is by paying attention to the length of time for the grounds or beans to go through. If too many coffee grounds stop passing through the grinder, it means you need a new hand grinder.

Final Thoughts

The grinder you choose will have a considerable impact on the flavor of your coffee. If the quality of the coffee beans matters to you, so should the quality of your grind.

Thankfully, there is no need to spend too much money on an electric burr grinder to produce a reliable grind. Manual coffee grinders offer the reliability you need, even if your budget is small.

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