Are Manual Coffee Grinders Worth it

Are Manual Coffee Grinders Worth it | Pros and Cons

There is a saying in Starbucks called "The Last 10 Meters". 

A cup of coffee can travel thousands of kilometers from its origin to your mouth. But what we have access to is the last ten meters.
In these last ten meters, we will be able to influence. It's the two steps of grinding and extraction.

And when you grind well, the extraction of coffee can only perform better.
If you want to make a qualified cup of fine coffee at home, a coffee grinder is enough to get your attention.


Do you need an expensive coffee grinder?

Are Manual Coffee Grinders Worth it

Why we are talking to you today about coffee grinders, is probably for people who are new to the field or ready to get started, the most important equipment for making coffee is the coffee machine. But in fact, real professionals who want to make the most cost-effective coffee equipment with limited funds will spend their money on a coffee grinder.

Both coffee machines and grinders are integral and important parts of coffee making and have a great impact on the taste of coffee.

For us to buy an expensive coffee bean grinder, the first thing to understand is that the grinder plays a hands-on grinding role in making coffee.

As we all know, the coffee we drink is brewed from coffee beans, in more professional terms, called extraction. Roasted coffee beans have 20% of the material is soluble in water, but only about 18% of the soluble material is a good to-drink extract.

The simple point to understand is that if the extraction is not stopped in time, the last 2% extracted coffee will be astringent and bitter, if stopped too early good tasting substances and can not be completely extracted, the taste will seem very bland.

are manual coffee grinder worth it

However, controlling the extraction process of coffee is a very complex process, affected by many aspects such as machine equipment, water temperature, water pressure, grind degree, atmospheric pressure, and so on. The bean grinder has a direct impact on the coffee grind for the taste.

Simply put, what the grinder does is increase the surface area of the coffee and hot water contact to speed up the extraction process.

So, should you buy an expensive one? We need to be sure that an expensive grinder can make your coffee even better.

The most critical factor in evaluating a bean grinder is the uniformity of its grind. Generally speaking, the more uniform the toner is, the more expensive the grinder is because it requires excellent materials and precise and scientific design.

If your coffee requirements are not as high as those of a professional barista, we will continue to share with you more different types of grinders, and hope to give you more help when you are ready to purchase.


Why does grind size matter?

are manual coffee grinder worth it

The way we brew a cup of coffee is essentially the process of allowing more of the good-tasting soluble substances in the coffee powder to dissolve in water.
In the process.

  • Water temperature will enhance the rate of dissolution
  • The amount of water and extraction time will increase the total amount of dissolved
  • And the uniformity of the coffee powder is related to what we end up dissolving from the coffee powder

Finished roasted coffee beans contain 30% soluble substances, but not every substance is pleasant to your senses.

  • Acid dissolves the fastest
  • Next is the floral flavor substances, the sugars that bring sweetness
  • The slowest are the substances that bring bitterness to the taste

To avoid more bitter substances from dissolving, so we have to control the time, but if the coffee powder particles are uneven, even if the time control is more precise, you will not get a good cup of coffee.

That is because after the coffee powder is immersed in water, the water will soak through the coffee powder particles from the outside to the inside and dissolve the extraction. Therefore, if the coffee powder particles are uneven, then it is inevitable to face this situation.

  • Slow submersion of the large particle powder and fast submersion of the small particle powder
  • When the flavor of the large particle powder has not been extracted completely, the small particles have been over-extracted, appearing astringent.

This makes the whole cup of coffee taste very mixed, sour, and unpleasant. Therefore, even the best beans cannot withstand the torment of uneven grinding.


The impact of grinding on coffee flavor

1. Grind coarseness and fineness

The finer the coffee powder, the better it is for extraction, and the easier the sweet, sour, bitter, and salty flavors will be extracted. However, because of the high solubility of the sweet and sour taste, it will dissolve first, and with the low solubility of the bitter and salty taste, it will dissolve later. If the extraction is excessive, it will lead to too much bitter and salty dissolved, and the bitterness and astringency will be heavy.

The coarser the coffee powder, the less favorable the extraction. If the extraction is not enough, the other flavors have not been dissolved, only the acidity is fully dissolved, then there will be too much sharp acidity.

2. Evenness of grind

Will determine the consistency of the extraction, otherwise, the fine powder is easy to "over-extraction", and coarse powder is easy to "under-extraction", resulting in unbalanced coffee sweet, sour, bitter, and salty four flavors.

The role of the sifter is to sieve out the too-fine powder, reducing the bitter taste brought about by subdivision over-extraction.

3.  Reference suggestions on the fineness of grinding

The following suggestions for the coarseness of the grind can be used as a reference and may help you find the balance of flavor more easily. Then adjust according to the roast level of the coffee beans you use, extraction parameters, and personal taste preferences.

When recommending the coarseness of the grind, it is generally based on the brewing apparatus. The reason for this is that brewing appliances have customary brewing styles: for example, espresso machines have high extraction pressure and short time, while cold brewers have low water temperature and long time.

So between the variables, it is a relationship of cooperation. We select coffee beans, choose different brewing appliances, and adjust the color and extraction parameters, to find our favorite flavor balance.

4. Grindability and brewing utensils

are manual coffee grinder worth it


Manual Coffee Grinders

"Should I buy a hand crank bean mill or an electric bean mill?"

you only need to understand your requirements: budget, portability, convenience, and coarseness of the grinding, and the choice becomes very simple.

First, ask yourself four questions:

  • What is my budget? --Price
  • Do I need to travel with me? --Portability
  • How much effort do I want to put into making a cup of coffee? --Convenience
  • What type of coffee do I like to drink? --Grind fineness/Preference

Hand-operated bean grinder (grinder type)

Hand crank bean grinder, as the name implies, can be hand-held size (hold the machine in one hand and grind the beans in the other). If you are trying to travel with it, you don't have to think twice about it, which is the biggest advantage.

Pros: More durable and easier to clean than an electric bean grinder with a mechanical line construction.
Cons: requires some physical effort, although it is not so laborious, after all, unlike the electric bean mill, press the button, in minutes.

Of course, the hand-cranked bean mill will be much cheaper and cost-effective, to learn more please click on the link

Electric Coffee Grinders

The biggest advantage of an electric bean grinder is that it is convenient and easy to use. All you need to do is load the beans, choose the coarseness of the grind, turn on the button, and you're done.

But a good electric bean grinder will cost a bit more. Don't try to be cheap, you get what you pay for, a low-end electric bean grinder will be very bad in terms of uniformity of powder.

The average electric bean mill is about the same size as a blender, which is not too big, but it takes up some space.

Pros and Cons comparison: Manual Grinding vs Electric Grinding

are manual coffee grinder worth it

Ten-second quick decision

Here is a summary to help you make a final decision.

Choose an electric bean grinder if you:

  • Save time and need to get it done quickly
  • Have a budget of $200 or more
  • Prefer espresso or Turkish coffee (finely ground)
  • Have a place to put it

Choose a hand crank grinder if you:

  • Have a budget of less than $200
  • Willing to spend some time and effort, or enjoy the process of grinding beans
  • Prefer to drink hand-brewed, French press (coarse grind)
  • Travel with you
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