The way you grind your coffee will have a direct effect on its flavor profile and strength. If you happen to be a taste aficionado just like the 1 billion+ coffee drinkers around the world, why not invest in a manual coffee grinder to get that cafe-like taste?
Manual coffee grinders give you a consistent grind due to their burr mechanism and come at a fraction of the cost of electric coffee grinders.
Stick till the very end of this article as we take you through an exclusive list of the best manual coffee grinders. By the end of this blog post, you will know:
- Which manual coffee grinder to get
- Factors to consider when buying a manual grinder
- Manual vs electric, what’s better
Best Manual Coffee Grinder: At a Glance
|Best overall||1Zpresso K-Max||Click here||4.9/5|
|Best value||Timemore Chestnut C2||Click here||4.8/5|
|Best for travel||Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder||Click here||4.6/5|
|Budget pick||JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder||Click here||4.2/5|
|Best for espresso||Orphan Espresso Lido E-T||Click here||4.3/5|
|Best design||VSSL Java Coffee Grinder||Click here||4.4/5|
|Best versatile||1Zpresso Q2 Manual Coffee Grinder||Click here||4.5/5|
1Zpresso has a highly-rated line of coffee grinders in which the K-Max comes at the top. Being the flagship, it’s no doubt that this coffee grinder delivers impeccable performance, but is it enough to beat the competition? YES!
- A timeless and classic design
- Dedicated adjustment dial for changing the grind size
- Best for espresso and filtered coffee
- Comes bundled with plenty of accessories
- Quiet and fast grinding
- On the expensive side
Kicking things off with the design, this grinder comes packed in a cylindrical case along with a cleaning brush, blower and a grippy rubber band. The case feels premium to touch and has soft flaps on the inside to minimize scratches. You can get this manual coffee grinder in either a black or silver finish.
The knob is made up of natural wood and sits at the end of an ergonomically designed handle. The main body is frosted and comes with a beautiful aluminum alloy finish. Just like the K-plus and J-max, you also get 1Zpresso’s patented silicon wrapping which makes holding this grinder quite easy. The catch cup is magnetic (13 magnets on top) and can be removed easily.
Its capacity is 35-40 grams. Owing to the cylindrical shape, you can easily place it vertically and grind with extra friction. Its signature burr, dubbed as the K-burr by the brand, is made up of 48mm stainless steel and grinds fast and effortlessly. Unlike cheaper grinders where you get lumps, the K-max has two strut support brackets and 3 ball bearings for a consistent and fine grind.
To adjust the grind size, you need to rotate the adjustment dial which is bifurcated into 9 dials. In terms of precision, you get 22 microns per step which results in finely ground coffee. All this is cleverly put together in a system which has a lower decibel output than the competition and market leading consistency when it comes to manual coffee grinders.
Lastly, don’t forget the cleaning part. For this, you can easily disassemble the grinder and even use the Ross Droplet technique to clean it. This is one of those rare devices which can be termed ‘flawless’.
Timemore Chestnut C2
This grinder brings the best of both worlds: Affordability and quality. This Chinese brand offers a simple and subtle design with 38mm steel burrs and ball bearings along with an aluminum finish. Weighing in around 470 grams, this grinder is quite lightweight. This is achieved by plastic components such as stabilizers on the inside which cut down the weight.
- Fast and lightweight
- Smooth grinding mechanism
- Easy to grip
- Plastic components might not hold up with time
- Not ideal for fine espresso grinding
- No numbers on the adjustment dial
The knob and lid cover are composed of PCTG plastic, however, the quality is quite good. You can get it in multiple color options ranging from off-white to textured black. The bean hopper can hold about 25 grams of coffee beans at once. There is an adjustment dial (without any numbers) which works on a ‘click system’. Timemore recommends the following settings for different kinds of beverages:
- Pour over: 10-14 clicks
- Espresso: 18-24 clicks
- French press: 25-27 clicks
This grinder is 7.6 inches tall and is 5.6 inches in diameter. Keep in mind that since this is a budget offering, the steel burrs only perform well when you set them to coarse/medium-fine setting. The dual bearings on the inside work just as well as you’d expect them to, giving a consistent grind every time.
This grinder can be disassembled and put together easily for cleaning too! All in all, if you are in the market for a value-for-money manual coffee grinder with 1-2 cup capacity, this is a good pick.
Porlex Mini Stainless Steel Coffee Grinder
What is small, fits in your bag, and helps you make delectable coffee? The Porlex mini stainless steel coffee grinder! Be it espresso or French press, this small-yet-mighty coffee grinder does it all. Though the grind capacity is on the shorter size, this one should be your pick if you travel often and want something portable.
- Compact design
- Consistent grinding
- High-quality ceramic burrs
- 16 click grind settings
- Stainless steel body with rubber grip
- Limited grinding capacity
Porlex is a Japanese brand which has been in the coffee-making industry since 1978. This grinder has a minimalistic design which appears quite modern. The body is made up of stainless steel and features a grippy rubber cover outside. This grinder is just 6 inches tall and spans just around 2 inches wide, that’s smaller than a can of Coca Cola! It weighs about 8 ounces. You can add around 20 grams of coffee at once which is sufficient for about 2 standard cups of coffee.
The steel handle can be clipped vertically within the rubber grip, which further reduces the footprint. You might be thinking, ceramic burr..that’s not good right? We agree that stainless steel does have some advantages when it comes to durability, but those burrs do not protect the aroma of coffee beans. Ceramic burrs do not heat while grinding and thus retain the aroma better. You get 16 clicks per dial which allows you to switch between fine and coarse settings effortlessly. Here are the recommended grind settings:
- Fine: 0-4 clicks
- Medium: 9-12 clicks
- Coarse: 16 clicks
The grind consistency however, was quite average, but definitely usable. With this grinder, we definitely feel that it’s targeted towards a narrow dynamic, say someone who just wants a small grinder. Given the price that this grinder comes at, you can buy plenty of manual grinders which offer better features, but you will lose the compact form factor. If grind quality matters more to you, then you can go for our next pick.
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
JavaPresse is known for selling authentic high-quality coffee, but it also offers some highly-rated accessories like this coffee grinder. Going with a reputable brand like this, you get excellent customer service and plenty of guides and helpful information that you can refer to when starting out your coffee-making journey.
- Noiseless grinding with consistent & fine results
- 15 grind size options
- Smooth hand crank
- Grind speed is rather slow
- Ceramic burrs
Weighing about 9.4 ounces, this grinder measures 1.8 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches. Using the built-in grind selector, you can switch between 18 different grind options for any type of drink as you like. In fact, you can even use this grinder for herbs and spices in certain settings.
There are conical ceramic burrs layered with stainless steel on the outside. This shape provides lump-free texture and ensures that your grinder lasts for a long time. The rolling action on the lever might take some effort and is surely not as smooth as a few high end options, but given the price, we couldn’t have asked for more.
A few users did get confused on how to change the grind size, others reported that this grinder takes a bit too long to grind (5-6 minutes for one cup).
Orphan Espresso Lido E-T
Building on the legacy of their highly rated Lido 3, the Orphan Espresso Lido E-T is a high quality manual coffee grinder. As you might have guessed with the name, this grinder is specially geared for those who want to make professional-quality espressos right at their home.
- BPA-free plastic, aluminum and stainless steel body
- 48mm Swiss made conical burrs
- Adjustable dial for each setting
- Travel-friendly design
- Fine threaded step less adjustment
- 70 gram hopper capacity
- Dual bronze axle bearings
- No markings on the adjustment dial
In the box, you get a neoprene carrying case, a hex tool for maintenance, grinder and an owner’s manual.
This is a conical burr grinder with cone-shaped pieces that rub against each other to give you a precise grind. Manufactured with high precision, this burr grinder features an adjustment ring which can be rotated both clockwise and counterclockwise allowing you to adjust the coarseness/fineness of your mix. There are no numerical markings on the locking ring, so you might need some time before you learn to tune the Lido E-T to your liking.
You can lock the current setting to any value that you like using a locking ring which can be tightened when rotated. The groundhopper comes with a BPA-free certification and has a generous holding capacity of 70 grams of coffee beans whereas the bottom jar can hold upto 100 gram coffee grounds.
This grinder is also faster than most manual grinders in its price segment while grinding effortlessly without any noise or imbalance. Outer handle is foldable, reducing the space that it takes. You can get this grinder for just under $200 bucks in most sales, Orphan Espresso also provides the option to avail a product protection offer for an additional $26.99.
VSSL Java Coffee Grinder
Canadian brand VSSL has been a trademark in the coffee industry due to their camping supply kits, flasks, cups, etc. This is a premium looking coffee grinder which comes with stainless steel burrs and an all-round aluminum body. The handle is seamlessly integrated within the body along with a clickable top which comes off with the push off a button.
- Skilfully crafted
- Aluminum body that is built-to-last
- Stainless steel burrs
- Lifetime warranty
- Small hopper capacity
This is one of the most easy-to-use manual grinders out there. As mentioned above, the top comes off at just a click of a button and can store 20g fresh beans. VSSL ships this grinder with a load-bearing capacity of over 200lbs which makes it suitable for any rough endeavours you throw at it. It weighs 12 ounces and takes up an area of 5.1 x 5.1 x 15.2 centimetres.
There are 50 grind settings and an innovative flip and clip carabiner to help you carry this coffee grinder on the go. You get two premium ball bearings placed inside the kit so that you never wobble while rotating the handle.
Some users complained that the handle lock and extension was not smooth. Another issue is the 20g hopper capacity which is quite low given the high price tag. The VSSL Java is not dishwasher-safe, but can be hand cleaned easily. The brand ships the grinder with a lifespan of 6,000 grind cycles and also provides a lifetime warranty.
1Zpreso Q2 Manual Coffee Grinder
The Q2 was previously launched under the moniker ‘1Zpresso Mini Q’ and is a compact coffee grinder which weighs just 405 grams. It can easily fit inside an aeropress and has a diameter of 4.6 centimetres. With a hopper capacity of 24 grams, which is sufficient for most specialty coffee enthusiasts, this grinder houses a 38mm conical burr unit which is made up of stainless steel.
- Compact build
- Dual bearing system
- Adjustability dial for extreme precision
- Small chamber capacity
- Struggles with superfine grinds
The stainless steel construction gives it properties like corrosion resistance and extreme toughness. The brand claims that the burrs can stay sharp up to a decade. Unlike entry level models like the Hario Skerton, Q2’s handle is incredibly smooth when grinding. There is a wooden knob at the end of the curved handle which enhances the overall appeal of this grinder.
We get a numbered dial which sits under the burr and can be changed by rotation. As for the grind quality, you can expect mid-tier performance which is more than acceptable. You can get this in two bur configurations: Heptagonal and Pentagonal.
If you prefer lighter roasts which brew at 1:17 ratio, go for a heptagonal burr. The standard burr set will be better suited if you like medium to medium-light roast.
Tip: You can run a few pounds of minute-rice through your manual coffee grinder to sharpen the blades quickly.
Manual Coffee Grinder: Buyers Guide
There’s nothing more satisfying than grinding your coffee beans all by yourself right before you make your favourite beverage. To get that satisfaction, it is essential to buy a manual coffee grinder that works seamlessly. To help you buy the perfect grinder, we have a buyers guide ready for you!
Steel, ceramic, and plastic are the three most common materials used in the production of manual coffee grinders. These materials are suitable for a variety of applications. Let’s have a look at the advantages and disadvantages that come along with the various types of materials.
- Stainless Steel: Anyone who wishes to grind coffee while travelling or camping should consider purchasing a coffee grinder made of stainless steel since steel is typically sturdy and long-lasting. A stainless steel coffee grinder is practically invulnerable to breakage.
- Ceramic: Sleek and polished, ceramic coffee grinders have a beautiful look, but they demand careful usage and consistent maintenance for durable performance. Ceramic coffee grinders have a longer lifespan than their metal and plastic counterparts. Therefore, they are a better option for long-term usage at a workplace or indoors.
- Plastic: Plastic may not have the most elegant appearance, but it’s both functional and affordable. If we talk about durability, it’s the same as stainless steel. However, after a few years of usage, plastic coffee grinders can develop scratches and dents which can lead to an unpleasant appearance. If you wish to buy a coffee grinder for a short period, then the plastic one is the best option.
For individuals who are constantly on the move, products that are portable, lightweight, and simple to use are considered best. Thus, if you are searching for a coffee grinder that you can carry with you on your trips, it is extremely crucial to pay attention to the weight of the grinder as well as its portability. Nobody wants to lug a massive coffee grinder in their backpack all day.
When shopping for a coffee grinder, it is essential to buy one with a capacity that is suitable to your brewing requirements. Coffee grinders are designed to brew a specific amount of coffee.
You should select a model with a capacity ranging from two to five cups if you want to make coffee for just one or two people. On the other hand, if you want to brew coffee for a more sizable group of individuals, a coffee grinder with a bigger hopper capacity will be more appropriate for your needs.
Manual coffee grinders do not come with motors, which makes them the quietest of all coffee grinders. However, you might experience some unpleasant noise while grinding extra-fine espresso. Thus, while choosing a manual coffee grinder, it is advisable to pick the one that doesn’t make any noise at all. It is also the safest option to go for if you have a newborn or a pet at home.
Manual vs Electric Coffee Grinder: Which is Better?
Manual coffee grinders can give you some fine coffee without burning a hole in your pocket. With the cost of a little manual labour, these grinders are known for their consistent grinds which result in a smooth brew. Furthermore, since you do not have to rely on electricity, you can carry them while travelling too.
However, many people do not prefer the labour, which is also not ideal if you are grinding in large amounts. These grinders take more time than their electrical counterparts and do not come with settings for micro-adjustments in most cases. Electric grinders on the other hand, are more convenient but also bag a higher price tag. They are known to produce consistent quality grinds and feature a variety of modern settings which can be tweaked with just a touch of a button. The only downside to electric grinder is its loud noise and dependency on electricity.
All in all, if you are on a budget and only have to prepare coffee for 1-2, manual coffee grinders are the way to go. Electric coffee grinders are suited for finer grinds and are recommended for heavy grinding and chopping.
For this list, we stayed clear of grinders which were flimsy or brittle (for instance, Hario Skerton Coffee Mill). All the grinders listed above will last a long time before you need to replace these parts. Regular cleaning and reassembly always goes a long way.
If you are just starting out, manual grinders might seem a bit labour-intensive, but the end result is surely going to be worth your effort. Consider your requirements, check out some user reviews and then pick one accordingly.
Thanks for reading!