There’s an old saying in coffee circles that the grinder is more important than the coffee maker—and you’d be crazy to think otherwise. It’s through a coffee grinder that you get to enjoy your favorite flavors while the beans are still fresh and rich in all of those wonderful tastes and aroma. Think hazelnut, caramel, chocolate, fruity, herby, flowery, smoky, whatever flavors fill your dreams.
But not all grinders are created equal. A weak grinder could limit even the most skilled barista in making a quality cuppa joe, while a good grinder lays the foundation for great coffee. And it is for this very reason that we’ll be going through some of the best manual hand grinders you can find on the market.
Review Criteria: We’ll start by going through each grinder and pointing out why it’s worth our consideration before offering a final verdict. Some aspect we’ll be examining are particle uniformity, ease of use, and overall design.
We’ll go through the individual grinders one by one, followed by a general overview of the one we loved the most.
For the purposes of our test, we decided to use a coarse grind throughout the reviews, owing to the fact that finer grounds are likely to be uniform whereas coarseness exposes any flaws in the burrs.
Now, let’s get down to the grind!
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Porlex Mini Stainless-Steel Coffee Grinder
First off is the Porlex Mini – a small but mean piece of Japanese grinding machinery. What sets it apart is the combination of longevity and portability.
The stainless-steel body is anti-static—which will save you from the annoying task of scrapping and tapping your grinder to remove coffee grounds that tend to stick to the container. Complimenting this robust, high-quality build is a heavy-duty ceramic conical burr that does all the dirty work.
As you can already tell, it’s a lightweight device weighing just over 200 grams (7.9 ounces). Coupled with the cylindrical design and dimensions, this is arguably the most portable grinder on this list. We were actually able to fit it into an AeroPress.
When it comes to functionality, the Porlex Mini has 13 grind settings that are adjusted by turning a dial. And it excels at most grind settings—making it a solid choice for pour-over, AeroPress, or French Press coffee. The grinding function is easy on the hands, but keep in mind that you may work up a sweat with finer grinds.
Orphan Espresso Lido 3
Next up is the Orphan Espresso Lido 3. A towering piece of equipment! It’s not too large to necessitate a separate travel bag—but it is large enough to take up a chunk of valuable space.
It has a plastic body and the large burr inside is regulated by a stepless grind adjuster. To change your grind (finer or coarser), you can unlock the locking ring and adjust the grinder as needed—before locking it again. This lock-unlock mechanism isn’t particularly pleasing—but maybe that’s just me.
One thing you may notice about the Lido 3 is that it’s a particularly fast grinder and it easily chewed through the beans for espresso. The bean hopper is also well-designed and keeps the beans where they’re supposed to be.
But to be honest, its build doesn’t warrant the $185 price tag; it just didn’t feel as premium as some of the other available alternatives. Overall, I liked the grinder. It does the job and is a solid device—save for the size and grind adjustment.
TIMEMORE Chestnut G1 Manual Coffee Grinder
The next entry in our list is the gorgeous TIMEMORE Chestnut G1. I mean, just take one look at it… isn’t it an immaculate piece of chestnut beauty? I love how the walnut bottom blends seamlessly with the aluminum top. It actually won the Reddot design award back in 2017. But does this beauty have the brains to go with it? Does it function as good at it looks?
Cranking up the device is seamless and the grind is fluid. It has twin bearings and precision-milled steel burrs that produced a surprisingly impressive particle uniformity.
At around $159, the TIMEMORE Chestnut ranks of the higher side—but the experience is rewarding and second to none. It is also worth noting that cleaning the coffee oils off the wooden container wasn’t a particularly pleasurable experience.
Hario Mini Mill Slim Hand Coffee Grinder
Easy to handle, lightweight, compact, and a sturdy build – the Hario Mini Mill Slim grinder impresses right out of the box. Similar to the Porlex Mini, it has ceramic burrs that make it a durable buy.
One thing I didn’t like was the fact that the grinder lacks markings for grind size. This was a poor oversight for such a simple thing, and because of this you have to run some trial-and-error before you discover the exact settings you’re looking for. Regardless, the grind consistency was relatively even and accurate.
Overall, it’s not a high-end device, but it offers immense value for $40. The 2-cup capacity is ideal for your morning ritual.
Zassenhaus Santiago Manual Coffee Mill
Timeless and vintage! The Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder boasts of a unique traditional-looking mahogany body, along with a carbon steel finish to add a bit of modern flair.
The $130 grinder has a capacity of 40 grams (which translates to 2 or 3 cups). And the grind function is consistent—with a huge number of grind settings. Whether espresso or Turkish, this grinder can handle whatever you throw at it. It has a drawer at the front to capture the grounds, and you can pull it open to transfer those grounds to your coffee maker.
But to be honest, I think the Zassenhaus is meant to sit on your kitchen counter. I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t want to carry around 952 grams of wood and metal in my bag.
All in all, the striking design, the finish, and the 25-year warranty are all a testament to its quality. If you have a soft spot for antique or vintage items, the Zassenhaus Santiago will fit perfectly into your décor.
Handground Precision Coffee Grinder
It’s easy to see why the Handground Precision Coffee Grinder is one of the best coffee grinders on the market today. From its price, durability, and functionality, it offers the best bang for your buck.
I kind of like the design—especially the transparency (it’s appealing to watch the ceramic burr grinder chew at the beans). It has 15 grind settings, allowing you to create evenly ground coffee fit for espressos, AeroPress, French Press, and Pour Over.
It’s rather large and occupies some significant counter space. And unlike most manual grinders, the grinder rotates vertically. This was actually more comfortable and it allowed me to grind at a solid pace while maintaining stability.
Hario Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill
Hario is a company with a good rapport in the coffee industry, and they certainly live up to their reputation with the Skerton Ceramic Coffee Mill. The manual grinder is easy to use and the build is compact enough.The grounds were relatively consistent for espresso, but I noticed it lagged behind when it came to coarser grounds.
However, be wary of a learning curve. The Hario Skerton does not have a coarseness indicator— it’s really a matter of trial and error.
JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder
The JavaPresse Manual Coffee is a fan favorite, boasting of tens of thousands of positive reviews on Amazon. If the opinion of baristas and coffee aficionados around the world is anything to go by, JavaPresse is the perfect blend of affordability and functionality.
It has a hopper capacity of 40 grams, a ceramic conical burr, and 18 grind settings. The hand crank is detachable from its stainless-steel body, making it an ideal choice for those of you who are always on the go.
However, I found it tricky to work out the grind settings using its click system, which may take some time to get used to. But if you’re looking for an affordable, simple, functional, and fuss-free grinder that gets the job done, JavaPresse ticks all those boxes.
ROK Coffee Grinder
Calling all manual brewing enthusiasts! The ROK coffee grinder is designed to facilitate a seamless grinding experience.
From the ergonomically designed vertical handle to the non-slip ring to stabilize the apparatus and indefinite hopper capacity, this grinder has everything you need to grind with ease and speed. It also boasts of 48mm stainless-steel container burrs.
The only downsides I noticed were its portability and a grind that was relatively inconsistent at times. Oh, and it will set you back by $250.
1Zpresso Q2 Manual Coffee Grinder
Last but not least, we have the 1Zpresso Q2. A premium grinder built for backpackers, campers, and those of us who always need our coffee by our side.
The quality of the materials is unquestionable, including the 38mm stainless-steel burr. As a tiny, travel-friendly grinder, it has a 20-gram capacity—which is great for small batches of coffee, but not ideal for a group. For a price of $99, I’d say this is a steal.
If I was hard-pressed to pick just one out of all these manual coffee grinders, I would have to go with the Porlex Mini. It’s good value for money, portable, functional, durable. Sure, there are a few areas where it lagged behind the others on this list—but if I could only take one device home with me, it would be the Porlex.
So, what do you think about these manual coffee grinders? Do your experiences mirror ours or did you have a totally different experience when working with these manual grinders? Let us know in the comment section below.