• Natalia Setio

Coffee Grinder for Home User: Hand Grinder Vs. Electric Grinder

Folks who would brew some coffee at home when having a leisure time may have a hand grinder. If you are a barista or a coffee lover, you may even have an electric grinder!

There are a lot of types of coffee grinder: hand grinder or electric grinder, stainless steel or woody grinder; even for electric grinder, there are difference between flat burrs, conical burrs and “鬼齒刀盤”. Moreover, you may have heard the coffee brand like Hario, Kalita, “小飛馬”, ”飛鷹”, DeLonghi, or even more professional grinder brand named Mazzer and Mahlkonig, etc. Some of them are familiar, some of them are not. Considering we are more likely to brew coffee at home, we would do some comparison between hand grinder and electric grinder in this article. We hope this article may help you to figure out which types of grinder would you prefer personally.

1. Portable, convenient and size

In this aspect, a hand grinder is better than the electric one. “Mini Mill”, one of the hand grinder produced by HARIO is quite the one. The height of it is only 18cm, which is just 3cm longer than a normal ruler. Moreover, the width between hopper in the middle and the grind collector is just 5cm, as “mini” as they claim. However, the minimum weight of a proper electric grinder for a home user is at least 1kg, which means it would definitely occupy some space! Therefore, there are a lot of people like to brew coffee at home, they may not actually buy an electric grinder though. A tool may be preferred more than an electrical appliance.

2. The Speed

I bet the hand grinder won’t beat the electric grinder in this area. There is a disadvantage of using a hand grinder, which is making the user feel tired. For those who like to drink light roasted coffee, have you ever found that it is very hard and time-consuming to grind the hard beans? The reason why is that the light the roast level of the coffee bean is, the harder the bean. Therefore you would have to use a lot of effort and time to grind the coffee. However, you would seldom find this problem when you are using an electric grinder. It is because the energy of it is electronic, but not from mankind. The burr which is used to grind the coffee is smoother and more efficient, no matter how hard the bean is. And so, the speed will be faster. Nevertheless, burrs of grinder would get abrasion when people use it a lot. This issue will occur no matter it is a hand grinder or the electric grinder.

3. The Uniformity

Which one would perform better if we mention the uniformity of the coffee grind? To begin with, I would like to ask you a question: Does hand grinder could grind the coffee as fine as the grind for espresso? Many people would have the following idea: Coffee grind which is ground by a hand grinder will coarser and lack of fineness. Nonetheless, it is not quite a right saying.

Have you ever cooked at home? We will use black pepper when we are cooking very often. The way we use a black pepper hand grinder is similar to the way we use a coffee hand grinder. There is a grind adjustment in both tools, so it is completely available for them to grind the fineness powder. However there maybe a question: The screen size of a coffee bean and a black pepper is very different, how can we grind the coffee bean as fine as the black pepper? This would be involved the point we are going to discuss: the Uniformity.

“The hand grinder”. As the name implies, during the grinding process, the first and the most important energy source is from hands of a human. When we are going to grind the coffee is a fine size, the space between the burrs should be adjusted smaller. The finer the grind we want, the smaller the space should be. And the smaller the space is, the larger of the resistance we face during grind process would be. To grind the coffee with uniformity, vigorous power is not the most important thing. Instead, it is the matter of consistency of the strength and frequency that we perform. However, if we are using the hand grinder, the above requirement is not easy to achieve when there is a large resistance. In contrast, electronic energy is the primary energy of an electric grinder. It is steadier to grind the coffee with consistent strength and frequency, and therefore to achieve the uniformity.

4. Outlook

It’s quite subjective when we talk about the outlook of a thing. For me, a hand grinder and electric grinder are both beautiful. The size, shape, and material are various of a hand grinder. Even we just use it once a week and put it in a cupboard when we do not use it, it seems like alive and shining in a corner at home. For an electric grinder, the outstanding features with a fashionable design would attract everyone, even a layman, by its professional and appearance.

Nonetheless, considering the aspect of a home user, if we must choose one of them, I would appreciate much of a hand grinder. The reason is simple: it has the beauty of downshifting. This beauty is harmony with the home living. I believe that the attractive of coffee is not just from the caffeine. A cup of tasty coffee can bring happiness to people by the flavour. Moreover, the making process of it is already a reflection of life. Start from weighing the beans, grinding the coffee, to the preparation of coffee brewing, and finally to brew and drink the coffee. You would gain something in every step of it. Would you think that it is time-consuming? Or is it a worthy act? I would say that it is all about willingness. Besides, the unique appearance of each of the hand grinder could decorate my home and add a little bit of comfort in it, which is far more than the inferior itself when compared to an electric grinder. This also coincides with my philosophy of life: It’s no need to be perfect, but that’s what I like.

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