Macro shot of coffee beans

5 Coffee Hand Grinder Tips

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I f you’re even slightly serious about coffee you know how important it is to grind fresh, right before brewing and hand grinders help you do just this. They are great little tools but can seem temperamental at times, so here's 5 tips that we hope will help you get the most out your grinder.

Grind at a steady, constant speed, where you can feel the crushing of the beans happening throughout the rotation.

#1 Spoilt For Choice — Choose your grinder wisely

As with all things, all hand grinders are not made equal, so do your research and find the best one that fits your budget and works best for your choice of brewing method. Here are some recommendation are varying price points:

  1. Timemore C1/C2
  2. Aergrind
  3. Timemore G1
  4. Commandante (Our Pick)
  5. Kinu Traveler/Phoenix
  6. Kinu M47

Now, you can get cheaper ones like the Hario slim and Javapresse, but I promise you that you'll out grow them so quickly you'll wish you skipped them altogether. But in case you do own one of these or decide to buy one, this article will still help you get the most out of them. So read on.

#2 Straight Up — Keep the grinder vertical

While grinding, try and hold the grinder as vertical as possible in order to feed the burrs more evenly. This is especially important with cheaper grinders, as they are far more susceptible to burr wobble, resulting in a very uneven grind.

#3 Met With Resistance — Pay attention to grinding speed

Grind speed is very important and hand grinders give you full control over this variable. It takes a little practice and some patience, but the effort is well worth it. Grind at a steady, constant speed, where you can feel the crushing of the beans happening throughout the rotation. Find that sweet spot, the perfect resistance and try to maintain it. If you’re choking up too often then you’re going too slow and if you’re gliding through the rotation and only feeling the resistance intermittently, then you’re going too fast.

Grounds on the right were ground too fast, resulting in a lot more fines. Grounds on the right were ground too fast and are visibly more inconsistent.

#4 Inception — New burrs need seasoning

Machining metal results in burrs, which are essential rough edges or ridges. Yes, we’re now talking about burrs on burrs and the title of this section should make more sense. Anyway moving on, these rough edges cause unevenness in the grind and the only way to smooth them out is to actually grind a bunch of coffee. This is called seasoning and can take a few 100g to achieve. While this is important to be aware of so you don’t think your brand new hand grinder is faulty, I would strongly advise against wasting coffee just to season the burrs. Use your grinder normally and over time the consistency of the grind will improve.

#5 Unsullied — Keep your grinder clean

This seems obvious but keep your hand grinder clean. The easiest way is to clean it after every grind. It takes a few seconds and will have a massive impact on the next cup of coffee you make with it. Coffee goes stale very very quickly, so anything you leave on your grinder will make it into that next cup. A quick brush and few gusts of air should be more than enough. From time to time you can do a deeper clean with products like “Grindz”, which are special cleaning tablets that are designed to clean burrs. Here’s what I use:
  1. Matin Blower
  2. Medium Brush
  3. Toothbrush
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