I love having a good cup of coffee in the morning and recently noticed how lovely coffee taste when it’s freshly grounded.
I usually have my coffee beans ground in the coffee shop where I buy it, but recently I started to wonder what it would taste like if it was freshly ground just before I make my coffee.
To my surprise, there is a big difference between coffee beans that have been ground a month ago and the coffee beans that you grind a few minutes before you make your favourite brew.
I wanted to put to the test few manual coffee grinders (as these are a great introduction to grinding your coffee at home) and here are the results.
Manual hand coffee grinders are available in many different finishes such as plastic, wood or glass. The actual grinder elements are made with stainless steel or ceramic and they vary in quality and the ability to grind your coffee beans without leaving a bit of aftertaste.
So, which one is the best? I have looked at the best manual coffee grinder models, so that you can get the best value for your money for the best quality that’s around.
My top pick
Normcore Manual Hand Coffee Grinder has a sleek design, great quality and a price to match. It has a large capacity container, sturdy stainless steel conical burr and adjustable setting for any type of coffee you like.
QUICK OVERVIEW BEST MANUAL HAND COFFEE GRINDERS
If you are short of time, here is a quick run down of the main features
- large capacity
- traditional design
- sturdy design
- 25 years guarantee
- easy to use
- budget friendly
- great quality
- beautiful design
- stainless steal burr
- easy to use
- budget friendly
- large capacity
- sturdy design
- easy to use
- budget friendly
- large capacity
- good value for money
- sturdy design
Why grind your own coffee at home?
- Freshly ground coffee has the most flavour (as oppose to coffee beans that have been grounded few weeks ago).
- You can set your own grind strength depending on your taste (finely ground coffee will have more distinctive flavour, than roughly grounded coffee beans)
Why choose manual coffee grinders
Manual coffee grinders need a bit more effort than electric ones, but there are many good reasons why it’s worth purchasing one of these.
Small, Portable & Easy to store
Manual hand coffee grinders are great if you like travelling, but still like to have a good coffee in the morning. You can easily pack one of the smaller coffee grinders to your suitcase and grind your own coffee every day.
Most models are also fairly small and easy to store if you don’t have much space in your kitchen, which makes them a perfect gift for students or young couples who are just starting to equipment for their kitchen.
In comparison to electric or professional coffee grinders, manual coffee grinders are very affordable and you can easily purchase one from just $25 or £20. The price varies depending on what type of burr mill they use.
The quality goes up with price, but at around $50 or £40 you get a very decent manual coffee grinder with a sturdy ceramic grinder which does the job well.
Manual coffee grinders can easily go up to $150 or £100 but at this price point, you get excellent inner components and long lasting piece of kitchen equipment.
MANUAL HAND COFFEE GRINDERS REVIEW (2023)
Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder looks fabulous in this beach wood finish. It is considered as one of the finest grinders in the market today because of its 25-year warranty and excellent grinding abilities.
Other colour alternatives include black beechwood and dark mahogany finish. This manual grinder can give you consistent result anytime without eliminating the delicate flavour of your coffee beans.
- It comes with a 25-year warranty
- Looks very stylish and it’s beautiful to display
- The conical burrs can preserve the purity of your ground coffee beans (they don’t add any extra flavour)
- It is made of long lasting materials
- It is a bit heavier and larger, making it less portable
- This grinder is a little pricey, but still excellent value for money
Zassenhaus is the best option for coffee enthusiasts who want to have beautiful and functional coffee grinders.
With its 25 year warranty, you can always feel secure that you are buying a high-performance grinder that can last longer.
Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder is perfect for people who are always on the go. It can grind your beans perfectly and it doesn’t take up much space. It is an excellent travel companion since it doesn’t weight much.
This coffee grinder is easy to use and it has anti slipping grip round the container allowing you to grind your coffee beans with ease.
This grinder is made of stainless steel and ceramic conical burr, making it simpler to clean and very durable too. You can set the coarseness of your grind from fine grinds to coarse and anything in between.
- Quality grinder at a reasonable price
- Ceramic conical burr, which is made to last
- Easy to use
- Portable and small to store away
- Simple features
- Capacity is 1-2 cups of coffee worth of coffee grinds
If you want to take your coffee with you on your adventures then get a Porlex Portable Coffee Grinder. It has simple features and very easy to use.
This product is made in Japan so you can expect that it can last for a long time.
If you are looking for a sleek design look, then this Normcore Manual Hand Coffee Grinder should be on top of your list.
It has a large capacity container, sturdy stainless steel 38 mm conical burr and adjustable setting for any type of coffee you like.
- Excellent value for the quality
- 24 different levels for adjusting coffee beans grinding
- Large stainless steel burr with sharp and precise grinding mechanism, which makes grinding faster than other models
- Portable design (comes with a stylish travel pouch/case)
- Comes in two colours – silver and black
- Large coffee grounds capacity
- Anti-slip rubber makes grinding easy
- Clever design means cleaning is very easy
- It can take time to get the coarseness settings right
- Mid range price, but the quality and design is worth it
Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill includes impressive features such as large storage capacity for your ground beans, ergonomic design, and non-slip rubber base, which makes it very easy to use.
The strong ceramic burr is reliable and will last a long time before you notice any wear and tear.
This coffee grinder is small and lightweight, which makes it ideal for travelling, students or when you haven’t got a lot of storage space in your kitchen.
It is easy to use and simple enough to assemble or clean. I like the fact that you can grind more than just for 1-2 coffee cups and keep the ground coffee in the coffee grinder for later.
- It features a non-slip rubber base for easy grinding
- Easy to clean and easy to dismantle
- Excellent value for money
- Perfect if you are on a budget
- This model is not the lightest grinder on the market
- Sometimes the grinding feels a little hard going
Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill is the best coffee grinder if you are on a budget or want a light and small model to store away easily.
Perfect if you want your coffee beans freshly milled when you are travelling, camping or away from home.
Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder shares the same construction with the Skerton, yet it is much sleeker and more compact too!
It is also the cheapest manual coffee grinder in the Hario line, making it a great value for your money.
It can produce uniform grinds, just like the Skerton model. The container has quantity markings, which makes it easier to see how much ground coffee you have left.
- It is reasonably priced
- This grinder can generate uniformity on finer grinds
- Consistency is harder to achieve on coarser grinds
If the price is your main concern then go for Hario Slim.
Hario Acrylic Hand Coffee Grinder is one of the most affordable and convenient grinders on the market. It has a rectangular shape, making it easy to clean, store and grind.
The ceramic burrs can create uniform grind which has the same quality with expensive grinders.
It has a large capacity, making it a great purchase for families.
- It is affordable
- Hario Acrylic is very convenient to use
- Large capacity
- Its construction is subpar
- The acrylic frame is not as strong as it should be
What to consider when buying your hand coffee grinder
Is this going to be your main coffee grinder at home?
In this case you probably want to invest in bigger capacity coffee grinder like the Zassenhaus Santiago, which will grind coffee for the whole family at once.
If you are travelling a lot, have a smaller kitchen or don’t think you will be using your coffee grinder that often, you probably want to opt for more portable (and cheaper) model like the Hario Slim.
What type of coffee do you like?
Make sure that the coffee grinder you buy can grind the level of courseness you need for your favourite coffee drink.
As a rule of thumb, budget models (say up to $25 or £18) very rarely have more than one setting for the milling to ground your beans, so make sure you choose the right one.
What is your budget?
You can easily buy hand coffee grinder for under $23 or £18, but I’m yet to find one that would last very long or surprised me with a brilliant performance.
If you are on a low budget I would seriously consider just buying your coffee beans in a local coffee shop and having it grounded on a professional coffee grinder in the shop.
This is what I’ve done until I saved up a bit more money to buy mid-range coffee grinder. Now, grinding my own coffee beans is my favourite thing to do in the morning.
What to look for when buying your hand coffee grinder
The type of burr (the inner mechanism part that grinds the coffee)
You will normally find ceramic burrs in budget-friendly coffee grinders, but the quality varies and not all ceramic burrs are necessarily a low quality.
On a plus side, ceramic burrs don’t interact with the oil from the coffee beans, which means that they don’t add any extra flavour to your coffee.
Steel burs are a lot sharper, which makes them faster and they also last longer.
Whilst steel burrs are mainly in the models in mid to top price level, if they are in a cheaper models, please read the customer’s review very careful. Sometimes the steel can react with the oil in the coffee beans leaving slightly burned or metallic taste.
Basic models might have just one setting, so make sure you double check the manufactures specifications.
Unless you are very particular about your coffee, you probably don’t need more than 6 levels of coarseness, but they are models that have anything up to 24 levels.
If you want something that’s easy to store and can travel with you, then look for a coffee grinder that’s slim and portable like the Porlex Mini.
The smaller models have a smaller capacity for 1-2 cups of coffee maximum, but the mid to top range models can easily grind enough coffee for a family.
How to use your hand coffee grinder
Set the coarseness level to the one you want. This is usually set by turning the little wheel inside the grinder (see your coffee grinder make for exact instructions). If you are not sure what your grinder coarseness is set to, just grind few coffee beans and check.
I normally use the fine to medium level as I like my coffee quite fine and usually use it in a french press to make my coffee.
Fill the top part of the coffee grinder with coffee beans, but don’t overfill it.
Close the lid by pressing it firmly down
Make sure that the bottom container is firmly attached to the top (some models are just gently pushed into the bottom container). The fit is usually very snug so you might need to twist the top and bottom part to attach or release it.
Add the handle (it’s usually ‘loose’ and it needs to be hooked up on the top of the grinder). There is normally no extra bolt or screw as the handle fits into the top of the grinder mechanism and stays level.
Firmly grip the bottom of the grinder with one hand and with your other hand gently start turning the handle.
Carry on until you don’t hear any crunching sound.
Gently twist the bottom part of the coffee grinder to release it from the top to get to your freshly grinded coffee.
Make your favourite coffee and enjoy!
How to look after your manual coffee grinder
Use your grinder to grind coffee beans only. This prevents any cross-contamination, cross flavouring, or oils from seeds or spices to corrode or stuck into the grinder mechanism.
Don’t wash the coffee grinder with water but instead brush any remains of coffee beans from the grinder with a brush (which is normally supplied when you buy your grinder).
MY FAVOURITE RECIPES WITH COFFEE
- Protein Coffee Smoothie (without protein powder) >>
- Banana & Coffee Breakfast Smoothie >>
- Iced coffee butter biscuits >>
This blog post was originally written on 4 February 2021 and last updated on 19 March 2023