Meet my grinders

grinders-group

“What? It’s not NORMAL to have 5 coffee grinders?”

That’s how you are labeled when you achieve a certain status, depending on your number of posts, in the coffee forum I’m in — the Green Coffee Buying Club.

So now I know I’m normal, coz, as you see in the picture above, I ONLY have 4 grinders.

From left to right, that’s the Bodum Antigua, a Zassenhaus manual grinder, the Clipper Mini Coffee Grinder, and the 3D Café Aroma Plus.

Having a grinder at home is important, because you should only grind your coffee beans just before brewing. Ground coffee goes stale fast, real fast. Those who buy their coffee already ground in expensive looking foil bags with famous brands, I’m sorry to tell you that you are drinking stale coffee. It may still be okay for you, but you haven’t really tried what real coffee tastes like.

Bodum Antigua

Bodum Antigua

The Bodum Antigua is my main grinder, which I use 99% of the time. It’s big, it’s a desktop grinder. It’s what they call a “burr” grinder. Unlike the more common, and cheaper, blade grinder, a burr grinder’s grind size is adjustable, depends on your needs. Brewing with a French press, you’ll need coarse grind size, so there won’t be a lot of fine grinds getting past the metal filter. Brewing with a machine using paper filter, you’ll need finer grind, to extract the most from your coffee, but still no grinds can get past the paper filter. With espresso, you even need to grind finer.

So you can change settings, from French press coarse grind on the right, to the finest grind for espresso on the left. But I don’t think the Antigua is good enough for espresso, coz you’ll really need good grinder for that. The Antigua is among the cheaper machines among burr grinders. Got this for $60 from another forum member at Coffeegeek.

Antigua's adjustable grind size

Antigua's adjustable grind size

The Zassenhaus manual grinder is also of a burr type. Looks really primitive, maybe this kind of grinder was in vogue before Benjamin Franklin discovered electricity. Looks cheap, but this German-made grinder is expensive. Brand new is even more expensive than my Antigua, to the tune of $80 or more. But I got lucky with this one. A German Pinoy brought this home as pasalubong for me. I had to do a lot of work cleaning this up. This sees action when there’s brownout at home.

The Zass

The Zass

The Clipper Mini Coffee Grinder is also a burr grinder. You can open the bottom part, and use a screw driver to adjust grind size. I used to bring this in my travels. But it’s tiring grinding with this little toy, especially when friends come to have coffee. When I’m all alone, grinding just for one cup, it’s okay. But if 5 people want coffee, too … well … I let them do the grinding. Now I’d use this only when going to some place where I know there’s no electricity. This is available at Amazon, at prices ranging from $15 to $20.

The Clipper, yet another burr grinder in a small package.

The Clipper, yet another burr grinder in a small package.

Now, my travel grinder is the 3D Café Aroma Plus. This is a blade grinder, the kind of grinder being looked down by coffee geeks. Why? Coz you can’t grind uniform sizes on this one — you’d have boulders and powders! So it’s not ideal for French press. But is good enough if your coffeemaker uses paper filter. When I travel, I usually bring my Aeropress, which uses paper filter, or some other filter medium if used the “inverted” way. The Aeropress is so convenient for travel coz it doesn’t break, unlike the easily breakable glass carafe of the French press. The AP is also so easy to clean up, soap not needed.

Blade grinder, the cheapest available.

Blade grinder, the cheapest available, only over P500 at Gaisano.

IMHO, the blade grinder may not give you the best brew, but definitely you’ll have coffee that is much better than the pre-ground packs you buy from the groceries, or even from the supposedly popular coffee houses.

See, I’m not that obsessed with my coffee. I’m just a normal guy with only four coffee grinders.

==================

PS … For Steve, here are grinds from my Bodum Antigua. From coarsest all the way to finest, adjusted a quarter of a step every time. Added 15 June 2009.

01-coarse

02-semicoarse

03-mid

04-semifine

05-finest

Comments

15 Responses to “Meet my grinders”

  1. Mindanao Bob on June 8th, 2009 4:09 pm

    I have that same blade grinder that you do, and I only brew in french presses. Is there sludge in the cup? Yep? Does it bother me? Not a bit. Maybe someday I’ll get a better grinder, but for now, I am perfectly happy with a cheap blade grinder. Of course, I’ve never had better, so how can I know for sure. Maybe someday.

  2. Bobby on June 8th, 2009 5:32 pm

    yeah ngay, when you grow up get a burr grinder. :-)

  3. Mindanao Bob on June 8th, 2009 8:42 pm

    Ha ha… :lol:

  4. Steve A on June 11th, 2009 5:19 am

    Bobby,
    I think a grinder is the next thing on my “desired” list now. I roasted my first
    batch of coffee last weekend in my converted hot air popcorn popper and it turned out really good. I shipped the polyester filter material yesterday by USPS but it usually takes about 4 or 5 weeks to get there. Let me know what you think once you get to give it a try.

  5. Bobby on June 11th, 2009 12:59 pm

    Steve, they lied when they said you can save money by roasting your own beans. :-) Like any hobby, the desire to buy some gadgets is always there. Hehe … Excited over that filter medium!

  6. Steve A on June 14th, 2009 3:16 am

    Hey Bobby, well I had to pick up a burr grinder saturday morning after reading this and other sites about grinders. I managed to find a bottom of the line burr grinder (Salton) at the local thrift store for $5. I’ve already run a batch of test beans through both of my grinders now and taken some close up pictures so I could really compare/contrast the difference. I was really amazed that even the bottom end unit makes a HUGE difference over the new blade grinder I just picked up 4 weeks ago. The blade grinder has nice electronic settings for the number of cups and also the coarseness of the grind but it apparently is all for looks only. I even pulsed it instead of just letting the timer run as I saw suggested on other sites. I have a suggestion, maybe you could try to obtain the same grind size from each of your grinders and post the results. I would be greatly interested especially in your best grinder results.

  7. Bobby on June 15th, 2009 10:18 am

    Steve, see new photos added above. Tried as much as possible to keep same field of view, using same coffee. The Antigua is on the bottom part of the burr grinder hierarchy. Should be better if you get those $300 grinders. :-(

  8. Steve A on June 16th, 2009 2:11 am

    Thanks for the update with the new pictures!

  9. benson on June 19th, 2009 8:23 pm

    Bob, asa ang aning grind imong gigamit for french press?

  10. Bobby on June 19th, 2009 8:36 pm

    Benz, between 1(topmost) & 2. Usa ka guhit from coarsest on my bodum.

  11. benson on June 22nd, 2009 8:05 pm

    OK thanks. at least naa nako idea sa grind sa french press.

  12. Arnold on July 10th, 2009 4:44 pm

    What’s your favorite coffee blend?

  13. Bobby on July 11th, 2009 7:00 am

    arnold, i very seldom do “blends” (a mixture of coffees from various sources) coz it’s best to enjoy coffee as single origin, all by itself, meaning, from a single source. and my fav single origin coffees so far are the yemen mokhas and the ethiopia harrars.

  14. Mr Z on October 10th, 2011 10:38 am

    Just picked up a Kyocera CM-45, with a ceramic burr. Could make a nice travel grinder for you. Spring centers the spindle, so you should get a more reliable grind than more inexpensive units. You can find a review at orphanespresso.com

    Unfortunately, a bit pricey at P3000. Will replace my other Kyocera, until it’s modded with a new bushing. I’ll lose the finer settings, but I won’t get fines and chunks anymore for my French Press :D

    Mr Z

  15. Bobby on November 5th, 2011 8:33 pm

    Someone just gave me Hario manual burr grinder. I think similar to your Kyocera. I use it when travelling with a french press. But when using a brewer with a paper filter – like the Aeropress or a manual pourover – I’d go for the electric blade grinder. :-)

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