The 10 Best Hand Coffee Grinders
Manual Versus Electric Coffee Grinders
In a world where everything is going electric, it might seem like the logical step to get an electric coffee grinder. But hand coffee grinders still have their merits. Let's take a look at the differences between these two types of grinders. First off, electric grinders, while fast and efficient, are very loud. The trouble is that you likely want to make your coffee first thing in the morning (even though that isn't necessarily the healthiest time to have a cup of joe). If you live with others, they may not appreciate your electric grinder going on at 7 a.m. Hand grinders, on the other hand, boast much quieter operation.
The second thing to consider is that hand coffee grinders are also far more portable than electric ones. If you like to camp, you probably won't find an outlet in a tree to plug in your electric coffee grinder. But you don't need electricity to get fresh coffee grounds from your hand grinder. These also tend to be lighter and easier to pack than their electric counterparts. And, while electric grinders might get you your grounds faster, perhaps getting things faster isn't so great. The current generation is at risk of demanding instant gratification from everything. But there's something to be said for working and waiting for your reward — the reward can feel greater. Using a manual grinder reminds you to take your time, and when your coffee is ready, you enjoy it a little bit more because you had to work for it.
Finally, hand grinders are very simple machines. They don't have all the parts of electric ones, which makes them more durable. Manual grinders consist of just a hopper for the beans, burrs to grind those beans, and a chamber to catch the grounds. This makes these devices easy to disassemble, clean, and put back together. If something goes wrong with your electric grinder, you will probably face a long call with the manufacturer's customer service to fix it.
The History Of Coffee And Its Grinders
Considering that coffee is centuries old, it should come as no surprise that we've needed grinders for our beans for a long time. Coffee plants first grew in Ethiopia around 800 C.E. Legend has it that a goatherd in the region noticed his goats were a bit more happy and energized than usual. It turned out the goats had been snacking on the berries of a coffee plant, and discovered its mood-enhancing properties. The goatherd spread the word of the magic beans to local monks, who began using it to make coffee-based wine. Ethiopians actually used to treat coffee more like a food than a beverage, crushing the berries and wrapping them in some sort of fat to eat as a snack. This was almost like the earliest version of energy bars. At the time, Ethiopians used a simple mortar and pestle to grind their beans.
In order to discuss the history of the types of coffee grinders we see today, we'll have to go far back in time to before coffee existed. Coffee grinders rely on the technology of the mill, which the Greeks created around 1350 B.C.E. Around the 15th century C.E., the Turkish people invented the spice grinder, which people also used to grind up coffee beans. In 1665, a British man named Nicholas Book claimed to have created the first mill specifically designed for grinding coffee. But there is some debate over Book's claim since, at this point, people around the world had already been grinding coffee beans, and many believe someone probably beat Book to the punch.
Coffee took most of the world by storm in the following couple of centuries. King Charles III of Spain was so crazy about the stuff that he almost took to hoarding it. He decreed that coffee coming into the country from America not be taxed while forbidding the exportation of coffee grinders to America. As you can see, people have long been protective of their java.
What To Look For In A Hand Coffee Grinder
When it's time to pick out your hand coffee grinder, think about your coffee drinking habits. For example, if you don't want the exact same cup of joe every day, you may want a grinder with various coarseness settings. If you sometimes make coffee for large groups of friends, make sure your grinder has a big hopper. A big hopper also gives you the option to grind up plenty of coffee now and store it in jars for later. By the way, if you get pretty enthusiastic when grinding your beans, make sure your grinder has a non-slip base so it doesn't move around.
Durability is also key when choosing your grinder. Look for hardened steel blades. These will stand the test of time and easily cut through the toughest of beans. If you opt for a glass grinder, make sure it's shatter-proof. Some grinders even have steel shells, which will last you through years of java-making. It's important that your grinder has a comfortable handle, too, and that it turns smoothly. Make sure the lid of your grinder closes securely; this will help the beans maintain their aroma.
The style is another element to consider. Since new research has found that drinking coffee could lead to a longer life, you want to make sure you select a grinder you'll be happy to look at for decades to come. If you have a modern kitchen, you may want a grinder with an all-steel build or copper finish to complement your sleek aesthetic. If you're more traditional, consider a grinder with a wooden house. There are some charming varieties available with interesting and decorative details that will really make it stand out on your counter.