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Coffee Grinder Paradise

Bleary eyed and still half asleep I make my way to the kitchen.  I have one thing on my mind.  How quickly can I get coffee into my body?  In my trance-like state I reach for the ancient Moulinex coffee grinder that has become a morning mainstay for many years now. 

 

Suddenly, CRACK!  Just as I plug it in, I hear a loud popping noise that’s shortly followed by a nasty, smoky smell.

 

Ok, now I’m awake(!!!)

 

I rip the plug out of the wall socket and start to examine the grinder.  It turns out that the cord closest to the machine had frayed to the point where the wires are completely exposed and several of them are now severed.  Moulinex, your time has finally come.

 

It’s sad to see a favorite kitchen appliance bite the dust, but I have a more immediate problem.  Lots of coffee beans, and no way to grind them.  I could have sworn I kept a small pre-ground can of coffee in the freezer for coffee emergencies like this.  But, unfortunately, there is none to be found.  I do manage to find a sample package of coffee I took from a hotel room, but it is only enough to make a pot for a 4-cup machine.  Well, beggars can’t be choosers, so that’s what I make.  And yes, it is gone in a flash.

 

After consuming a much smaller amount of caffeine than I am used to, I start to look into remedying the situation and get a new coffee grinder.  There are a huge range of options and prices when it comes to coffee grinders. 

 

The Basics

If you want a basic, inexpensive unit then Krups, Proctor Silex, Mr. Coffee and Hamilton Beach has models that fit the bill.  They all have one container that houses a rotating blade which grinds coffee beans without much fuss.  The Moulinex that met its demise after many years of service was this type of machine.

 

Burr Mill Grinders

Now if you would like something a bit more sophisticated than the basic unit, you could try a coffee grinder with a burr mill.  This type of grinder usually has two containers, one at the top of the machine and one at the bottom, and the mill in between.  The beans are loaded in the top container, flow through the burr mill and come out fully ground in the bottom container.  This type of machine allows for greater control in the grind of your beans.  There are usually settings for very coarse (which is good for a French press) all the way to fine (perfect for espresso). 

The other pluses for this type of machine is there is much better uniformity in your grinds (no whole coffee beans that escapes the grinding), there is less heat produced in the grinding process (heat negatively affects the flavor of your coffee beans), and some people find the flavor of the coffee superior.  Burr mill coffee grinders can be found in the Cuisinart, Bodum, CapressoBreville, and KitchenAid lines.

 

No Electricity Models

For something a little different, you can go manual!  If you don’t want or need to use electricity to grind your beans you can use a manual burr grinder instead.  For these types of coffee grinders you get the all the pros of an electric burr grinder, including the ability to produce a variety of grinds, but, you use a top-mounted handle to manually grind the beans yourself.  Additionally, these types of grinders can usually be completely taken apart.  This makes cleaning them a breeze!  If green is your thing, then it’s definitely a no-brainer.  There are manual models in the Kyocera, Hario and La Cafetiere brands.

 

Multi-Use Grinders

Finally, if you are not into buying single-use appliances, I have found that another great way to grind coffee beans is with… the Magic Bullet!  Believe it or not, the Magic Bullet actually a very convenient way to grind coffee beans.  In fact, it is so powerful you can easily over-grind the beans into a fine powdery substance.  Don’t do that, because it will make the basket in your drip coffeemaker overflow!  (I found this out the hard way…)  The secret is to pulse, on-and-off, until you get the grind you prefer.  I’ve found that the finer the grind (but not too fine), the more rich and intense the coffee flavor.  Also, it is very easy to clean up, since the small cup and the flat blade can be rinsed under the tap and then air dried.

 

So to sum up, there are many options when it comes to grinding coffee beans.  There is your basic spinning blade-type, your more precise burr mill-type, your environmentally friendly manual-type, and your multi-tasking mini-food-processing-type.  Each type of grinder has its strong points.  So in choosing one type over another, decide on a price range, then be honest about your own usage preferences.  The best thing about the many options available is that there really is something for everyone!

 

And now, to give the Moulinex a proper send off…

 

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One Response to “Coffee Grinder Paradise”

  1. Tom says:

    As an avid coffee drinker and somewhat of a sideline connoisseur, I’ve purchased the more basic inexpensive models in the past. (Right now I’m using the Proctor Silex model.) Although they hold up relatively well to your average grinding needs, I’m considering upgrading to a coffee grinder with a burr mill. Only because I’ve switched over to various full bean specialty coffees as my daily caffeine fix, including the well known Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. On average I would be grinding much more than usual throughout the day, and would like to closely preserve the intended flavor.

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