Ever since electric models were invented, people debated whether or not they were better than the manual coffee grinders that were used to grind coffee for decades before the electric ones entered the scene. Even today people debate about the usefulness of manual grinders, even though the fact that they have now been used faithfully for over two hundred years should say something about how well they grind coffee beans.
Manual coffee mills are fairly inexpensive devices and often do a better job at grinding coffee beans than many of the low-end electric ones available. They also give the user a greater amount of control over the grind consistency of the coffee. This gives the coffee connoisseur the ability to grind their beans to exactly the right amount needed for their favorite cup of coffee.
Best Manual Coffee Grinders Of 2018
10Simple Kitchen Premium Ceramic Burr Mill
With an updated design that includes a newly installed stabilizer washer, this manual coffee mill has become one of the better ones currently available. It gives the user great control over their grind, allowing them to grind to just the right consistency they need. It also does a fantastic job at producing grounds that all have a uniform size, which is important for French press coffee applications. It does this using dual ceramic conical burrs that precisely grind the coffee beans without producing a lot of heat the way that electric models do. This allows the user to maintain the quality of their coffee throughout the entire coffee grinding process.
9Khaw-Fee HG1B Handheld Bean Grinder
This handheld coffee grinder has some of the features that coffee connoisseurs look for when they buy a coffee bean mill. It has a durable design that’s not made with nylon or plastic parts like other grinders. Instead, it uses stainless steel and ceramic parts that will hold up to daily use for years to come. Its ceramic conical burrs will make short work of grinding up your favorite coffee beans and is really quiet while it is being used. This product is extremely customizable and allows the user to choose from a number of preset grinding levels, allowing them to craft different kinds of coffees.
8Kona Manual Coffee & Spice Mill
This lightweight manual grinder is portable, easy-to-use and made from high-quality components. It can grind enough coffee beans for up to 3-cups of coffee at a time and is very easy to clean. This product has 18-adjustable burr settings that allow users to select their grind preference, from extra coarse for French press and cold brew coffees or ultra fine for Turkish coffees or espressos. It has an easy to hold glass base and a long hand crank handle that gives the user the leverage they need to easily grind their coffee to their personal preferences. And since it uses ceramic conical burrs, it’s also fairly durable as well.
7JavaPresse Conical Burr Mill
This stainless-steel mill has 18-click settings which give the user control over their coffee bean grinding process. This grinder can be used for pour-over, cold brew, percolator, French press, AeroPress, Turkish coffees, and for making espressos. It can also be used to grind up herbs and spices or as a pepper mill. It has a quiet mechanism that’s only about 10% as loud as some electric grinders, and it has ceramic combo burrs which allow it to easily grind coffee beans to their proper consistency. And it has a convenient-to-use size that allows it to be used just about anywhere a person needs to grind their beans.
6Shanik Premium Quality Stainless-Steel Grinder
This product has a number of features going for it. It’s made from high-quality stainless-steel base and has very durable ceramic burrs. In its base is a measuring guide, which allows the user to crank out the exact dose of grounds they need for their favorite brew. This grinder also has a handle that’s made from 304 stainless-steel, so it holds up quite well to daily cranking. It comes with a silicone lid that can be attached to the top part of the bottom of the base so it can keep remaining coffee grinds fresh. It also has a silicone grip and comes with a handy travel bag.
5Hunt Brothers Coffee Grinder
With 18-different click grind settings and high-quality conical ceramic burrs, this premium coffee grinder is able to grind coffee beans with precision and with minimal effort on the part of the user. It’s a great grinder for grinding beans for all kinds of different coffees including French press, Aeropress, pour over and percolator coffees. This product doesn’t have a plastic window, which can cause static to build up and make coffee grounds stick to the bottom, and is therefore considered to be static free. It also has a nice long handle which gives the user the leverage they need to grind beans easily.
4QcoQce Adjustable Handheld Grinder
This handheld coffee grinder has several features which make it easy and efficient to use. It has a wide opening for easy-loading of coffee beans into it. It also has a top-mounted crank that gives the user the leverage they need for easy grinding. And since it has 40mm ceramic conical burrs, it gives a consistent grind each and every time. This product also has 16 handy coarseness settings which allow it to be used for a variety of different coffee applications and has a 50-gram hopper that can hold enough beans for up to 5-cups of coffee. Finally, it has a triple mounted stainless-steel axle that helps to provide the utmost stability during the coffee grinding experience.
3Onore Cafe Heavy-Duty Portable Grinder
This Java bean grinder is obviously designed for heavy-duty use because the body, handle and the knob of this unit is all made from high-quality 18/8 stainless-steel. This product is produced with a patented top screw which prevents the handle from falling off during the cranking process, which is a common problem with some lesser quality coffee mills. It’s also manufactured with conical ceramic burrs and a nylon inside piece that makes it more durable than models built using plastic pieces. It has 18 different click settings which give the user complete control over the grinding process and has a clear window for viewing the beans that have been already ground.
2Mueller Austria Ultra-Grind Steel Mill
Whether this stainless-steel cafe mill is used to grind beans for French press or cold press coffees or is used for cups of Turkish or espresso, it’s sure to provide the adaptability that the coffee connoisseur needs for their morning coffee grinding. It’s made of stainless-steel and is designed to hold up to daily use. It’s crafted to the same standards of German cookware and contains a high-grade ceramic combo burr grinder that lasts up to 5-times longer than comparable steel blades. Its hand crank mechanism is quieter than most electric models, and the whole unit is portable enough to be taken anywhere.
1Continental Shift Travel Grinder
Ready to get to work right out of the box, this coffee grinder is designed in a way that makes it quite simple to use for just about anyone. Once the handle is attached to it, and beans are added, this product is ready to grind coffee beans into a delicious hot beverage. This product is suitable for home use, or for taking out on the trail during hiking trips. This product is manufactured using ceramic burrs, so it should provide the coffee enthusiast with years of use. It can be used to grind beans for a variety of different coffee drinks including French press coffees, espressos, cappuccinos, Turkish coffees or any other coffee the user needs to make.
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Is the Manual Cofee Grinder the Right Tool?
While coffee drinkers who’ve been using manual coffee bean grinders already know the benefits of using these devices, there are some people who are still skeptical about using a grinder that isn’t powered by either a cord or a battery. Which is quite understandable. After all, it isn’t self-evident why a person would have to put in the manual effort to grind beans when they could let a powerful motor do the work for them. That’s why we’ve gone ahead and laid out some of the reasons why a manual coffee bean mill is better for grinding beans in some instances than an electric model.
Many of the electric grinders which are in the same price range of manual grinders use blades to grind up coffee beans. All of the decent manual mills, on the other hand, use burrs to grind up the coffee beans. What’s the difference between the two? The difference is that you get a more consistent grind with burrs than you do with blades. Blades leave uneven pieces which are either over-extracted or under-extracted during the brewing process. This can result in bitter notes being introduced into the coffee during the brewing process. And that isn’t anyone’s definition of a good cup of coffee. Sure, there are electric models which use burrs, but those models generally cost more than the manual ones which also use burrs.
I pretty much hinted at the price point of manual grinders in the above paragraph but I’ll go over it again for clarity. Electric burr grinders can be very expensive. Most of them are around the $100 mark, and some of them are even more expensive than that. While you could go with an electric blade grinder and save some cash, you’re not going to end up with the same quality grind that you would from a grinder that uses burrs. Which is why manual burr grinders have become so popular over the last few years. You can get a high-quality grind without having to dip into your savings account to do it. And I know what many people are going to say: “Hey, there’s expensive hand-powered burr grinders, too.” Yes, there are some expensive models out there, but these models tend to put the extra cost into the burrs, where they belong, instead of into a motor to power the unit.
Portability is another thing that these type of grinders bring to the table. They can be taken just about anywhere without the user having to worry about if there’s an outlet to plug it into or whether they have fresh batteries to put in it. This means that these grinders can be taken to locations where electric ones can’t go—like into the wilderness during camping or hiking trips. And if you’re traveling to Europe from America or from America to Europe, you don’t have to worry if there’s going to be a compatible outlet for your grinder. Which is why some coffee companies have been creating travel kits that are equipped with a number of items, one of which is usually a hand bean grinder.
In anticipation of this article, I decided to do some research and find out the decibel levels for electric grinders and for manual ones. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any scientific studies on the matter, so I’ll just have to provide some anecdotal evidence that manual grinders are way quieter than electric ones and hope that you ultimately believe me. Because in my personal experience, it’s most certainly true. Electric models are like 10 to 15-decibel levels above manual grinders, which can be quite disturbing. That means that if you’re using an electric model at home while everyone is asleep, then you have the potential of waking everyone up with a jarring sound. If you use a manual version, however, you can wake everyone up in the home with the smell of fresh-brewed coffee instead of with a loud grinding sound. The choice seems pretty simple to me.
Anyone who works with their hands no the zen experience of entering the zone. It’s when your mind relaxes and clears as your hands go about performing the motions they’ve done a hundred times before. This meditative state is kind of what happens when you use a manual grinder. Your mind clears, and you begin to calm as your hands perform the grinding motions. It’s a meditative state that can’t be duplicated with electric grinders for two reasons. One, electric grinders are quick. Wham, bam, and your coffee is ground. And two, they’re loud. It’s almost impossible to enter the zone with that noise rattling in your ear. Using a hand grinder can become part of a quiet morning routine that allows the person’s mind to get a little peace, and prepare itself for the stress of the day. That’s probably the best thing about these grinders.
Better for Coarser Grounds
If you enjoy making coffee using a French press or by using some form of a pour-over method of coffee brewing, then a manual grinder may be a better choice. With some electric models, it can be hard to get the beans coarsely ground because the grinder is up and running so quickly. With a manual one, however, it’s pretty easy to keep the grounds coarse.
The Last Drip
Before I end this article, I do want to say that I’m not against electric grinders by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I not only love them, but I own several of them. They are quick, easy-to-use, and do a great job at grinding beans for finer coffee applications such as espresso. I think they’re extremely useful tools and wouldn’t ever wish for them to disappear from the face of the Earth.
All I really wanted to say is that hand coffee bean grinders also have their place in the world. While they might not be a tool that’s suitable for everyone, they can do a fantastic job of handling the grinding jobs they excel at doing. And that’s why I think everyone should keep them in mind when they go shopping for coffee grinders.