For coffee aficionados, the decision between manual and electric grinders is often a complex balance of cost, quality, and the desire for a deeper connection to the brewing process. In this exploration, we'll delve into the enchanting world of manual coffee grinders, evaluating whether the affordable price tags and the intimate relationship with the brewing process can truly deliver the grind quality sought by discerning coffee lovers. As we weigh the benefits and drawbacks of hand-powered devices, we'll discover the rewards of mastering the craft, ultimately revealing that the perfect blend of wallet-friendly options and gratifying coffee experiences can be found in the art of manual grinding.
Quick list of the Best manual Coffee Grinders
If you just want our quick recommendations for the best manual grinders, here they are. But everything's better with a bit of context, so read on to get more info.
However if you want to research that little bit more, or are on the fence about whether a manual grinder is right for you, we have compiled some convincing reasons that might just convince you to invest that money you have set aside for a coffee grinder, into a manual coffee grinder. There are several reasons to choose a manual coffee grinder over an electronic one;
- Cost: Manual coffee grinders are generally more affordable than their electronic counterparts and a premium hand grinder has the ability to grind fine enough for espresso without the outlay required for the same quality from an electric grinder. This makes them an attractive option for budget-conscious coffee consumers.
- Portability: Due to their smaller size and lack of reliance on electricity, manual grinders are perfect for travel, camping, or use in places with limited access to power.
- Durability: Manual grinders typically have fewer moving parts and are less prone to mechanical failures, making them a longer-lasting option.
- Noise: Manual grinders are much quieter than electronic grinders, which can be especially important in the early mornings or shared living spaces.
- Control: With a manual grinder, you have more control over the grind size and consistency, allowing you to customize your coffee experience. Environmental impact: Manual grinders use no electricity, making them a more eco-friendly choice.
Why Manual Grinders are Great for Espresso
Home baristas and coffee experts often emphasize that the cornerstone of a great coffee-making setup is a grinder that can consistently produce the desired level of grind. A high-quality grinder is paramount for unlocking the full potential of your chosen coffee beans, with the precision required varying depending on the brewing method. Espresso, in particular, demands the utmost accuracy, as the fine grind needed for this extraction method is crucial for achieving balanced flavour and the perfect crema. As such, investing in a reliable and consistent grinder is a top priority for those seeking to elevate their coffee experience, particularly when crafting the intricate and delicate art of espresso.
Manual grinders provide this opportunity for a consistent and fine grind at a price point much lower than you'd be able to find with an electric grinder. This provides the perfect starting point for anyone looking to get into the world espresso as well as those looking to improve the consistency of their grinds. That's not to say that there aren't highly premium manual coffee grinders out there with some truly eye watering prices. But even the most expensive manual grinder is going to be a similar price to an entry level electric coffee grinder.
Manual Coffee Grinder Brands
There are a lot of different brands out there selling manual coffee grinders, but the following are the best brands around for value and quality, at all ranges of the spectrum
Commandante, a German brand with roots in coffee roasting, is renowned for its precision engineering, offering premium manual coffee grinders with high-quality stainless steel or ceramic burrs. Admired for their durability, consistency, and sleek design, these grinders cater to coffee enthusiasts seeking top-notch performance and a satisfying hand-grinding experience.
Kinu, another German manufacturer with a strong dedication to craftsmanship and precision, produces high-end manual coffee grinders featuring premium stainless steel burrs. With their robust construction, exceptional consistency, and ability to achieve a wide range of grind sizes, Kinu grinders have become a favourite among influencers and connoisseurs alike.
Hario, a Japanese brand with a long-standing history in glassware, has expanded its expertise to the world of manual coffee grinders. Offering a range of affordable, durable, and stylish grinders with ceramic burrs, Hario caters to both novice and experienced coffee enthusiasts but at a price-point that most people can that enjoy.
Timemore, a Chinese brand dedicated to innovation and style, crafts manual coffee grinders that combine sleek aesthetics with high-quality materials like stainless steel burrs. Timemore grinders have gained a strong following among coffee lovers seeking a modern and efficient hand-grinding experience without sacrificing performance or design.
The Best Manual Hand Grinders
There are some absolutely excellent manual coffee grinders out there and these are our picks of the bunch. We have selected these at both ends of the cost spectrum going from the cheapest to the most expensive along with our best pick for value.
TimeMore C2 - Best for Pourover
The Timemore Chestnut C2 is a budget-friendly manual grinder from a relatively new Chinese coffee brand. The grinder has a unique textured surface and offers a premium hand grinder feel at a lower price point. With a comfortable capacity of 25 grams, it grinds coffee quickly and reasonably consistently.
It's suitable for brewing methods like Aeropress and French Press but not ideal for espresso. Weighing under half a kilo, it is portable and easy to store. The main downside is the use of plastic parts and cheaper materials, which may impact long-term durability. Overall, the Timemore C2 offers good value for the price.
If you are primarily a pourover fan, or like to use an Aeropress that makes use of slightly coarser grinds than traditional espresso, then the TimeMore C2 is the perfect choice. It's perfectly portable and great for taking to work, to the woods or just to have knocking about in your van for when you need to have freshly ground coffee.
The Kinu M47 - Best for Espresso
The Kinu M47 Classic hand grinder stands out with its solid steel construction, ensuring durability and robustness for long-lasting use. This premium hand grinder is designed to withstand the test of time, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a reliable tool for their coffee brewing experience. Its versatile design allows it to grind up to 35 grams of beans at a time, catering to a variety of brewing methods such as Turkish grind, espresso, moka pot, pour overs, immersion brewers, and cold brew.
One of the key features of the Kinu M47 Classic is its smooth grinding action, even at fine espresso settings. This quality is attributed to its precise grind adjustment mechanism, which offers tactile feedback for greater control over the grinding process. The result is a tight particle size distribution and quality grinds comparable to the best hand grinders in the market, making it an excellent choice for coffee enthusiasts looking to elevate their brewing experience.
Another notable aspect of the Kinu M47 Classic is the steel grind catcher, capable of holding 35 grams of grinds. The improved design of the grind catcher allows for easier flow of grinds, minimizing any potential difficulties during the grinding process. This attention to detail, combined with the grinder's robust construction and versatility, makes the Kinu M47 Classic an outstanding choice for anyone looking to invest in a high-quality coffee grinder
Commandante C40 MIII
The Comandante C40 Mark III is often considered the gold standard of manual coffee grinders. Featuring a minimalist design, the grinder comes in various colours and has a glass ground jar, which is easy to clean but can be fragile. The body of the grinder is made of steel, with an internal stabilizing structure made of plastic. The handle is ergonomically designed and easy to use, but the body might be too wide for those with smaller hands. The grind adjustment is simple and intuitive, with users communicating grind settings through clicks.
The Comandante C40 is not the fastest grinder on the market but consistently produces a uniform grind distribution. The resulting coffee flavour is analytical and slightly different from its rivals, but the differences are subtle and might only be noticeable when cups are compared side by side. However, the grind adjustment steps can be quite large unlike the stepless Kinu, making it tricky to get the perfect setting. An official mod called Red Clix is available on Amazon, providing double the number of settings for better precision and a more specialised product built for Espresso.
While the manual coffee grinder industry is not without its challenges – including numerous court cases related to copyright infringement and some interesting business practices that we'll delve into in a future blog post – there are still plenty of high-quality options available for those looking to purchase a reliable and efficient manual grinder in the UK. Keep an eye out for our upcoming post, where we'll explore these issues in more detail and provide further insights into the world of coffee grinding. Until then, happy grinding and enjoy the perfect cup of coffee with the help of one of these outstanding manual grinders!