Is it really that beneficial to grind your own coffee beans?
For most people, yes! And the benefits reveal in several layers.
Firstly, the process of grinding your own coffee allows you to better understand whole coffee-making process. And once you feel more involved into making something, you enjoy the fruits of labor even more.
Secondly, you are in charge of making the freshest cup of coffee possible (that goes alongside getting freshly roasted coffee beans and storing them the right way, to learn more read Keep Coffee Beans Fresh and Best Coffee Bean Storage Containers).
And additionally, while grinding you can actually get into a meditative state that gives a nice overall feeling of the routine.
If it is so good, why don’t everyone grind coffee by hand?
Well, there are mainly 2 reasons that both boil down to one particular aspect – speed, if you need to grind for more than a few cups, it takes quite a time, and even more, time if you need fine grind size. This is especially true for coffee shops, no one wants to wait in long lines while barista is grinding coffee beans. Best in class speed and consistency grinders can be found here in our Best Commercial Coffee Grinder post.
And also you might not enjoy grinding at all, it depends on each individual personality. And why wait a minute or two more, if you can have your cup of joe ready in less time.
But if you got so far, we are happy that you don’t fall in the above two categories and so let’s get to the grinders itself.
7 Best Manual Coffe Grinders
This Silva grinder had great customer satisfaction ratings because of its performance and affordability. Let’s start with the grinder’s body.
The body is made of 18/10 food-grade stainless steel material that guarantees durability. Silva is very confident with their product’s resilience that they backed it with a lifetime warranty and great customer service.
This hand burr grinder is fitted with ceramic combo burrs to ensure long-lasting and premium grind consistency. Additionally, it has 18 click grind settings designed to provide more consistent ground texture for a French press to Turkish.
- Sturdy overall design
- Delivers even grind from coarse to fine
- Grinds quietly
- Portable and compact (a great companion to the office, camping, or occasional travels)
- Quick and easy adjustment of grind settings
- Easy to clean using a soft brush
- Easy to use with its smooth cranking design
- Lifetime warranty and great customer service
- Not so consistent with the fine grind
The Eparé’s conical ceramic burrs are designed to provide grounds consistency from French press to espresso grind. They are also easy to remove for cleaning by simply unscrewing the button nut.
What made the consistent grind possible, is the balanced construction of the axis that holds the spinning burr. It has a 3-point support design to minimize burr wiggling, ensuring a balanced funneling of beans while grinding.
It has 8 macro settings with 7 half sets totaling to 15 grind settings for more control over the coarseness or fineness of the grounds. The ergonomic design gives you a good grip, and the glass grounds catcher has a semi-sticky base to prevent slipping while in use over a flat surface.
- Easy to use with smooth hand cranking
- Ergonomic design for easy handling
- Great match for French press brew
- Quietly grinds so you won’t disturb others while grinding
- Large capacity hopper with a wide opening
- The handle fits perfectly without getting off during grinding
- Semi-sticky base to prevent slipping while holding down over the counter while grinding
- Easy to clean
- Quick removal of burrs by simply unscrewing a nut
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Glass grounds catcher is prone to breakage
- Not so consistent with finer grind settings
If you love antiques or classic designs, then the Gourmia manual coffee grinder would probably match your taste. Though it looks like just an additional adornment to your kitchen countertop, this manual grinder is fully functional and versatile.
The grind settings can easily be adjusted by turning the cog nut to your desired coarseness or fineness grind. This coffee mill is made of sturdy materials as the body is made of pine wood, iron bean hopper, and ceramic dual burrs.
The steel handle has a big wooden button handle for extra grip and ease of cranking. You don’t have to worry about the mess as the drawer-style grounds catcher does its job pretty well.
- Decorative and functional
- Grinds pretty well from coarse to fine
- Sturdy pine wood construction
- Easy screw adjustment
- It’s fairly easy to use
- Grinds too slow
- Beans jump out of the hopper when grinding
The Bassani coffee bean grinder is one of the best choices in Amazon.com. It is ergonomically designed for better handling, and it has both clean and elegant aesthetics.
It is fitted with top-quality ceramic conical burrs, for that ideal grind consistency. Combined with an 18 grind size selector setting, you can easily produce fine to coarse ground coffee textures.
The ceramic conical burr assembly is designed to grind effectively, even those hard light roasted coffee beans. The body is made of hard polypropylene plastic while the base is methacrylate, both BPA free, so you don’t have to worry about health hazards.
- Precision grinding
- It’s an easy to use coffee grinder
- Easy to disassemble for cleaning
- Ergonomically designed for better handling
- BPA-free hard plastic construction
- 18 adjustable settings for a variety of grind sizes
- Portable and lightweight
- Inconvenient lid design. You have to unscrew the cap that locks the handle before you can open the lid.
The second-generation model is ergonomically designed for a good grip and aesthetic purposes as well. Unlike the stainless steel model, the 2nd gen has a glass grounds chamber with an anti-wear pad at the bottom for protection and anti-slip purpose.
The unit is also equipped with an adjustable knob to select the desired texture to match your brewing preference. Turn the knob clockwise, to get the finer grind, and counterclockwise for a coarser ground coffee texture.
The ceramic conical burr assembly produces fairly consistent coffee grounds, though you might need to grind the beans a couple of times if you want to get the right consistency for an espresso. However, it’s quick when you’re grinding for coarse grounds perfect for drip coffee and French press.
- It’s a quick and easy coffee grinder
- Includes an extra 5.5 oz (155 g) glass jar with lid perfect storage for coffee beans when traveling
- Glass jar has a rubber base for protection
- Has a durable hard plastic construction of the upper chamber
- Easy disassembly of ceramic burrs for cleaning
- Durable stainless steel handle similar to other hand grinders
- Ideal for traveling with the extra jar
- Slower than most other manual coffee grinders
The Javapresse manual coffee grinder is Amazon.com’s best-selling coffee grinder. It has a built-in 18 adjustable grind selector, to produce a precise grind texture for your home coffee brewing preference.
The quick and easy removable stainless steel hand crank design makes it convenient to use. The patented ceramic combo burrs are tough and resilient that can outlast stainless steel burrs 5x longer.
The upper and lower chambers are made of stainless steel for guaranteed durability. The issue with the plastic component attached to the burrs is addressed with upgraded reinforced nylon for durability.
- Durable stainless steel assembly
- Fairly consistent coffee grounds
- A very easy to use coffee grinder
- Wide range adjustable setting
- Burr assembly has a locking mechanism to prevent wobbling
- Easy to clean
- The connection between the upper and lower chamber may become loose in time.
The Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill slim model is also included in Amazon’s choices of products. Although it has plastic construction, the material used is hard durable plastic.
The ergonomic design, like the shape of other grinders, is for getting a good grip while grinding. The ceramic burrs are fairly good with the consistency of the grounds.
Taking the mill apart is quick and easy for cleaning. It’s also portable and safe to travel with, unlike the ones with glass parts.
- A perfect travel companion for being lightweight and compact
- Amazon’s Choice
- Produces fairly consistent coffee grounds
- Adjustable setting for a variety of ground size
- Easy to maintain
- Quiet operation
- The ceramic burr wobbles a bit, which sometimes affects the consistency of grind
Buyers Guide for Manual Coffee Grinder
It’s easy to be deceived by the looks of a product and then, later on, you’ll have regrets about the quality or it’s not just meant for your intended use. So, we listed down some of the things you need to consider when buying the best coffee hand grinder.
You need about 14 g (0.5 oz) of coffee in a cup (235 ml) of water for a regular brew. You need about 1 minute or more to grind this amount of beans for a drip or French press brew.
The more servings you need, the more time you have to spend, and the more effort you must exert. With this in mind, it is not advisable to use manual coffee grinders when you regularly serve more than 2 cups of Joe every time, and most especially when you intend to brew espressos.
However, if you’re willing to flex those muscles for your daily exercise, then that would be a great additional benefit for your health. Likewise, having to grind coffee for more than 2 cups is better than using pre-ground, so it’s still worth the effort.
Ceramic vs. Steel Burrs
If you would look for a hand grinder, you will encounter products with ceramic or steel burrs. It’s a good thing to know what’s the difference between these types of burr before you purchase one.
So, let’s find out which one is better.
When we talk about hardness, ceramic is harder than steel. So theoretically, ceramic burrs outlast steel burrs. Moreover, ceramic ones maintain their sharpness longer than steel ones.
Harder doesn’t always mean stronger, but it may also mean brittle. Sometimes, small rock particles may hide inside the tiny crevices of coffee beans, and these may chip the ceramic, so the steel might have a little bit edge on a situation like this.
Coffee enthusiasts know that heat affects the flavor of the coffee beans during grinding. Ceramic does not conduct heat unlike steel, so ceramic is better than steel in retaining the coffee flavor, supposedly.
However, this situation is more applicable to electric grinders as manual grinders spin slowly, not to the point of creating heat.
Concerning bean roasts, both ceramic and steel burrs manage all the types, equally.
Overall, there are not many issues whether you choose hand grinders with ceramic or steel burrs. However, if you do travel a lot, then handling a grinder with a fragile ceramic inside might just need a little bit of extra care.
Grind Adjustment Settings
Adjusting the ground texture is important as different brewing methods require distinct texture. Manual coffee grinders usually have a screw adjustment mechanism that adjusts the burrs to produce varying texture from fine to coarse.
The screw adjustment mechanism has no indicating reference, so it may take you some time to get used to the grind setting. Some manual coffee grinders have the click adjustments, meaning you have to rely on the clicks to determine what setting you’re into.
Some have numbered ring settings, which are easier to set, unlike the screw adjuster and click adjustments.
Regardless of the way how the grind adjustments are set, the most important thing to consider is how many are the adjustment settings. The more grind adjustments, the better. But you might ask, how about those with screw adjustment mechanism?
That’s a pretty good question to ask. This is also known as stepless grind adjustment, which gives you more control in adjusting the burrs. It’s like having micro-adjustments within each numbered ring or click settings.
Grind settings might have something to do regarding the fineness or coarseness of the grounds but it is not a guarantee of the grind consistency. Oftentimes, poorly designed manual coffee grinders have loose or wobbling burrs, which causes the grind inconsistencies.
When buying hand grinders, check if the burrs have a locking mechanism that prevents any wobble.
Durability is one of the top considerations when purchasing any item like the hand-operated coffee grinder. So, what do you need to look out for?
The body is often made of stainless steel but try to evaluate if the material is thick enough to last. Some cheap products use thin sheets of stainless steel to keep the cost low but it also affects the durability of the item.
A body made of hard plastic is also durable (almost indestructible) but they are still plastic, and they fade in time, unlike the stainless steel ones.
We’ve encountered some products using thick glass for the grounds catcher. They’re beautiful and seem sturdy as well, but such products need extra care when handling. A hard bump on hard surfaces may end the life of these beautiful hand grinders.
Handle Construction and Lenght
Handle construction is another important factor to consider as it will be difficult to crank the grinder if the handle is made from weak materials. Stainless steel is often used as material for the hand crank, but try to look for something thick enough to not bend when you’re grinding hard light roast beans.
The handle should also fit perfectly to the rod connecting to the burrs as it will be difficult to turn if it keeps on coming off. The length of the handle also affects the difficulty of turning the crank.
A shorter handle would likely be more difficult to turn. Try to look for a product that has a longer handle to give you more leverage.
Parts of a grinder like a hand crank, burr, and some other plastic parts are the ones that usually get broken. If these parts are not available for replacement, then you’re purchasing a disposable grinder.
This affects the lifetime of the product, instead of reusing the grinder by simply replacing broken parts, they’ll end up in the trash. So, before buying, ask about the availability of replaceable parts.
On the other hand, try to research the price of each replaceable component as some brands sell expensive parts as if you’re almost paying half the price of the whole unit.
Finally, your budget should also be part of the consideration. Typically, most experts would advise purchasing the most expensive grinder you can afford.
This seems to be a piece of good advice but if the budget is tight, and you can get a cheaper product that has the same functionalities, then you don’t have to pay more. Besides, you can only purchase a product that is within the limits of your budget.
In the end, the budget shall prevail regardless of all the factors you considered.
Fortunately, the list you have just seen are all carefully hand-picked, as some of the best manual coffee grinders that are budget-friendly.
For more budget-friendly coffee grinders head to Best Budget Coffee Grinders Top 7 list.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best manual coffee grinder?
Going back to the grinders we had reviewed, all of them are worthy to be the best. If you’re on a tight budget, the Bassini would be a great choice.
However, if you can afford the JavaPresse or the Eparé, then you’d be going for the best value of your investment. If you want to save a bit of money, then going for the Hario Slim would be a great choice as well.
Is a manual coffee grinder better?
Theoretically, it produces a slightly better-tasting coffee than automatic grinders. It depends on the user, especially if you’re a busy person, then you would likely go for the automatic.
If you’re preparing for just a cup or two, then you’re better off with a manual grinder. However, if you’re preparing for large batches, then using an electric grinder would be better.
A manual grinder would come in handy, especially if you travel a lot. You wouldn’t want to bring with you a massive electric grinder whenever you travel. Would you?
It depends on the situation, but having a backup manual coffee grinder at home would be practical, especially when your old electric coffee grinder suddenly stops working unexpectedly.
How long does it take to grind coffee beans manually?
Grinding coffee beans manually for a cup or two may take a minute or more, depending on the type of brew you’re going to make. If you intend to brew for a French press, then a minute to a minute and a half would be enough as you’re aiming to get a coarser ground.
However, if you’re intention is to make espresso, then it will take you about 2-4 minutes because you need finer grounds. The time may still vary, depending on how good is your manual grinder, and it will also depend on how you crank your mill.
How long do coffee grinders last?
Generally, a quality manual grinder should last for years, or even a lifetime. However, the burrs take much of the punishments, so these parts will need replacement over the years of use.
Again, a hand grinder’s lifetime will depend on how it is used. Like for example, if you’re a daily espresso gulper, your burrs will get more of the abuse, as you need to finely grind the coffee beans.
For daily espresso grind, you will need to replace the burrs at least once a year, or as frequently as when the burrs show some tell-tale signs that they need replacement. You’ll know when they need replacement when it takes you more time than your usual regular grinding activity.
Burrs will last longer for the French press, which only needs a coarse grind. If you have stainless steel burrs, they can last for about 5 years or more, while ceramic burrs can last even longer.
How often should you replace your grinder?
There’s no general rule on how often you should replace your grinder. A good quality hand grinder can last a lifetime, especially those made of stainless steel body and hand crank.
Typically, what needs replacement, are some parts, if they are replaceable. However, if parts are irreplaceable, then that is the only time you need to replace your grinder.
Usually, the burrs and some plastic parts need replacement, though some brands don’t sell for spare parts. So it is always a good thing to know if the grinder you’re about to purchase has available replacement parts.
Lastly, it’s also good to keep old grinders. Sometimes you can get some parts that may fit into your new grinder just in case you’ll be needing replacements in the future.
It’s always good to know that we helped anyone with subjects concerning coffee, and we hope we did give you the answers you’re looking for. Probably by now, you’ve picked one of the best manual coffee grinders for your daily home brewing passion.
If there’s anything more that you need, we’d be very glad to help.
Just type in your comments, and we’ll get back to you the soonest.