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Showing 1-10 of 50 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 69 reviews
on March 29, 2011
I mostly use this grinder at my office and when I am offshore (I'm an engineer--my veins have more coffee than blood in them--and it's hard to get good coffee in the Gulf of Mexico) and I'm happy with it with a few caveats.

The Good:
*I am fairly impressed with the build quality. You have to apply a decent amount of torque and jostling to grind coffee by hand, and this grinder seems up to the task. The handle and shaft are both metal, and the clear plastic body feels thick and robust.
*The design allows you to safely carry enough coffee for a couple of pots in the grinder, which is perfect for me to travel with.
*The grind is adjustable from coarse to fine, so I can use it for my press makers or a regular drip maker. There are a couple minor flaws here though (see The Bad).
*The honeycomb shape of the bottom makes it fairly easy to rest over most presses while you grind (just don't push too hard!).
*It is fun to use (call me crazy, but I like the thought of grinding my coffee by hand)

The Bad:
*As a couple other reviewers have mentioned, there are no instructions to be had. The box has a rudimentary drawing, but that is all you get. For those that are interested in buying, I've included a set of mini-instructions at the bottom that resulted my from my trial-and-error.
*You adjust the coarseness of the grind by turning the wing-nut with the handle detached. This doesn't really allow for much accuracy and consistency as there are no markings to indicate grind level. I generally try to count the number of turns and write them on the lid.
*The lid can not be completely removed, which makes cleaning the inside a little annoying.

All and all I doubt you are going to find a better hand-operated burr grinder out there. For all it's flaws, it does it's job well, and I enjoy using it.

*To remove the handle, turn the rubber grip away from the grinder and pull up. Simply flip it over and re-attach it to start grinding.

*To grind, turn the handle clockwise. The coffee comes out of the bottom, so make sure you remove the rubber cap first!

*To adjust the coarseness of the grind, remove the handle and turn the wing-nut. The best way to judge the coarseness is to observe the gap between the burrs at the bottom while you turn it. Clockwise is finer, counter-clockwise is coarser.

***Review Update***
So after months of use the grinder is still going strong, and I wanted to add a couple things to the review.

First, you can actually clean the whole thing by removing the wing nut completely and pulling up on the black plastic top. When you do this be sure to note the order in which all of the parts for the grinder go together, as they will come out too.

Second, I found that the easiest way to use this is to put the french press in your lap between your legs, using your legs to grip the press. Just use one hand to hold the grinder on the clear part and the other to turn the crank. This way you don't wind up pressing down inadvertently and changing the grind.
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on December 26, 2011
Disclaimer: I haven't tried using this in a camping scenario as it seems designed for - I merely wanted a decent inexpensive grinder for the office.

I used this grinder less than 10 times before the black plastic handle (also locks the crank for travel) broke off. There is a C-clip inside that holds the piece onto the crank, but it has too much play and is too flimsy to be on a crank that takes a lot of force - this was a bad engineering decision. Without this piece, I imagine a backpacker/camper may spend more time looking for the handle than grinding coffee. Without this handle, turning the crank is harder and much less comfortable.

Holding the grinder down over a receptacle for the grinds (e.g. french press) while grinding is rather tricky. The bowl is too big to easily hold (even with my rather large hands) so the grinder ends up slipping this way and that as I turn the crank. (Speculation - it might be easier if I had a press or cup that fits tightly over one of the stepped rings on the bottom.)

I decided to replace the JavaGrind with the Hario MSS-1B Mini Mill Slim Coffee Grinder and have found it to be a solid, easy-to-hold grinder.
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on November 20, 2011
I've had this thing for about 2 years now; first used it casually then started using it almost on a daily basis over the last 3 months or so. (The need for coffee grew exponentially as a masters degree draws towards the end). My original intention was to use it for camping, but somehow I haven't managed to go since getting it and the better grind quality I get from it has replaced the blade grinder as my main grinder. I've made coffee with the AeroPress, a stovetop espresso maker (moka pot), vietnamese drip, as well as a french press all using this grinder.

Lets start with the bad things first.

The biggest complaint, and others have mentioned before me, is that it can be awkward to use. Since I haven't found a container to catch the grind that fits it snugly, I've developed a technique for grinding that involves sitting and holding a mug/cup between my legs, placing the grinder filled with beans on top, pushing down and holding the grinder body with one hand and cranking with another. Not the most elegant solution, but works quite well (and is actually quite easy once you get the hang of it).

The next issue is that there is very little instruction and it took some time to figure out the optimal way for the desired grind. Once you've figured it out, it is quite simple: the little wingnut, as you tighten it, pulls the rotating burr upwards and closer to the stationary teeth at the bottom of the grinder. Past a certain threshold the tighter you turn the nut the finer the grind. For finer grinds sometimes I grind twice at increasingly finer settings.

Now the good things:

The ceramic conical burrs are quite well made, and the entire grinder can be taking apart for cleaning. The grinder can also be used to store beans when travelling and the removable handle can be flipped over and reattached so it takes up less room.

I recently bought a Hario hand grinder (the Skerton model) and while the construction seems sturdier and the longer handle and screw-on bottom section make it easier to use, the GSI grinder appears to perform just as well grind-wise (their operation is quite similar).

If you're willing to work a bit to get your coffee, I would highly recommend this grinder!
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on November 4, 2013
As other people have mentioned, it's a little difficult to balance this and turn it at the same time. However, once I got the hang of it, I love this thing. It takes me under three minutes to grind my coffee every morning, and I don't have to use electricity. It is a little bit of a workout--or maybe my arms are just weak--but I like to feel like I've earned my coffee. You can also adjust the grind by tightening or loosening the nut, which is cool. And this gives a great grind for a French Press. It's cheap and portable--if you're looking for something basic, I totally recommend it. I find it helps to find the right size cup to set it on top of, and I usually sit down and wedge it between my legs so I can press down on the handle and grind without things slipping all over the place. There are probably easier ones to use out there, but I'd bet not for this price.
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on October 18, 2011
I opened my GSI Outdoors JavaGrind as soon as it arrived. As previous reviews have stated there were no clear instructions on how to operate the grinder. There was a series of pictograms on the outside of the box crudely indicating how to set it up for use. Since I had read several reviews on the product prior to ordering it, I had no trouble setting up and using it. Everything was going smoothly, I put in some coffee and was grinding a bit at a time to adjust the grinder to suit my method of brewing. After a few dozen turns, the black knob that you grip to turn the crank simply fell off!

Well, the other features of the device were just what I wanted, so I thought it would be an easy matter to get on the Amazon website and request a replacement. No such creature! I found that I would have to return it for a refund and then turn around and re-order the grinder. Doing the math I discovered that it would cost me an extra $8 to get a new grinder since the price of the grinder had increased about $3 since I ordered mine. I'm a cheapskate. I decided to try and repair the handle myself.

I examined the handle and found that there was a retaining clip that had come loose inside the grip. To complicate the matter, the grip was glued shut with no way of extricating the clip. I drilled a hole in the top of the grip, inserted the handle back where it belonged, and using a small screwdriver, pushed the clip onto the slot in the end of the handle. It took me several tries, and I ended up with a hole in the top of the grip, but it worked! So much for American ingenuity on a Chinese-made product. Here's to hoping it holds together, since I really do like the design of the grinder.
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on November 30, 2010
Value for money spent: this grinder can't be beat. Perfect grinder? Not by a long shot. I use it for my french press, though, and it works just fine. The grind isn't extremely consistant, so I wouldn't recommend it for something like espresso where a fine, consistant grind is needed. But a course grind needed for the french press, or the medium grind needed for a drip coffee maker, is handled well by this grinder. And that's what I expected from this price range.

My biggest complaint with this grinder is its durability. After only a week, the black part of the handle had broken off. It still grinds fine, but this definitely makes it tougher. And for a company that makes camping products (and claims this would be a good camping/travel grinder) I expected better quality. Also, after only using it 30-40 times, it appears that the burrs are wearing out, resulting in even less consistency in the grind. This is the biggest problem, since if these wear out it is basically useless to me.

Overall, though, it's a decent grinder for a great price. For under $20, this is hard to beat.
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on August 30, 2011
I've been using this grinder for over a year now, and while I have learned how to produce an excellent cup of coffee with it, it has always been a bit frustrating. It's probably good for camping, as it's quite light and gets the job done.

But it's quite awkward to hold while grinding. The root of the problem is that the grinder and the container you're grinding into are separate, and you need to try to hold on to both with one hand. I generally need to sit down and grip the container tightly between my legs, while pushing down very firmly on the grinder.

Perhaps this would be better if I had a container that was precisely sized to fit snugly over one of the ridges at the bottom of the grinder, but I have tried many different containers and none were a perfect fit.

I usually grind directly into my french press, but unfortunately all the jostling and pressure got to be too much and the press cracked. Now that I'm ordering a new press, I'll probably just order a different grinder too -- one with a built-in container for catching the grounds.
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on April 9, 2013
espreI have Bezzera and Mazzer grinders and of course you can not compare with the JavaGrind, but in an emergency you can have your freshly ground coffee (better than instant coffeee). I had no trouble adjusting the grind. Although its use is better for a french press. It is easy to remove all the parts for a good first cleaning. Not recommended for espresso.
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on March 23, 2012
I gave it one star because it does grind coffee and it was inexpensive. Its diameter is larger than i expected which makes it awkward to hold. The handle does conveniently flip over for storage. When grinding, though, the handle would bump/scrape my knuckle on the hand that was holding main part. I understood that it would be difficult to grind the coffee manually, but i didn't expect scrapes. To work around this I attached the handle just enough to catch the axle. The swivle knob at the end of the handle came off today which will make it even more difficult to use. I bought it to have freshly ground coffee while camping and to have a more even grind for the french press. I guess i have to go back to the electric blade grinder.
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on February 4, 2013
The fact that this is so wide AND doesn't come with some sort of catchment makes it problematic. I know it's supposed to nest in other GSI cups, but even there it's imperfect; it jiggles loosely in my GSI Java Drip. Plus, the Java Drip is often still damp from previous use. I've ended up taping a paper cup to the grinder's underside, placing the whole setup in the Java drip, and grinding away. The wide top of the grinder makes it awkward to hold, and will tire your hand muscles if you're grinding a bunch.

The grinding function works fine, and the wingnut gives you some control over courseness, so I have no complaints on that aspect.

Knowing all this I'd probably have gone with a different grinder that has a catching cup and is smaller diameter for ease of use.
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