Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
Easiest Maintenance Camping Grinder
on March 4, 2010
Bought this a few years ago for backpacking with coffee. I'm one of those snobs who avoids coffee ground more than fifteen minutes in advance and not roasted within the same 10 day period and needs fresh coffee and tea wherever I go. This grinder is surprisingly consistent in grind - much more so than the peppermill style Turkish grinders that are, in turn, far more consistent than a blade grinder. I recommend grinding a reference sample of coffee with a shop burr grinder and adjusting the wing nut to match the grind and mark the tines with a permanent pen in case it is loosened for some reason in travel.
Other reviewers have mentioned some difficulty with this, and it really would be nice to have a handle on one side but as it stands it is still very functional and easy to pack. I actually load this with the first day's worth of beans and seal the whole apparatus in a large Ziploc freezer bag. The grinding arm easily slides off and back on upside down for compact storage. I highly recommend practicing with it (and washing & drying thoroughly) before going out in the world with it. If you have not used manual coffee mills before, you may be surprised by the amount of time and effort is required to grind a single pot's worth of coffee. I find the physical upper-body light and repetitive exertion a refreshing beginning to a day of hiking but am grateful for my electric burr grinder when I get home.
Here are some suggestions:
- You should NOT use pressure to hold this in place! You will rapidly fatigue your wrist and forearm in a position that could cause later pain throughout the day and possibly even break the grinder or what you are grinding into. Instead, grip the vessel you are grinding into (metal press pot or dry metal mug is best) between your thighs, firmly grip the edge of the grinder with your hand along the line of your middle finder and thumb, and rotate the arm in a sweeping motion of your other arm in order to maintain a slow, steady rotation using your back and upper arm muscles. This will help avoid flinging the grinder against the ground, shattering a glass vessel you may grind into, and actually provides a more consistent grind than jerky movements or starting and stopping repeatedly.
- While you should never store coffee in any grinder for prolonged periods, with manual grinders it is a matter of ease to only fill the hopper with the amount of coffee you intend to brew. Packing out pre-weighed tins of beans and grinding one at a time is far better than guessing how much you have ground up for use in a certain pot/cup.
- Do not re-grind coffee! With electric burr grinders this can mean the death of the grinder but in this case you may break the mechanism or hurt your wrist. Filling the hopper with grounds will jam the grooves of the burr set and plug the grinder. At least this thing is easier to take apart and clean than most electric grinders if plugging does occur.
As a side note - coffee selection matters more with manual grinders. Lighter roasted or very high grown coffee will be very dense and will be harder to grind. Darker roast coffees will leave more residue behind that must be cleaned out to avoid going rancid and will stay fresh for a much shorter time. Natural processed coffees will result in far more chaff than washed coffees (won't impact flavor much, but more cleaning involved and grinding chaff under your nose can cause you to sneeze). Island grown coffees tend to be far less dense to a degree where they will shred easier and create more fine sediment (translated as more body to those who like rich coffee).