Thich Nhat Hanh, a well known Zen Buddhist monk, famously talked about “washing the dishes to wash the dishes.” It’s an interesting quote. He’s saying that when you’re washing the dishes, you should be aware that you are washing the dishes. You should be focused on that one task instead of thinking about what you’ll watch on television afterward.
Of course, this is a blog about coffee. Specifically it’s a blog post about hand coffee grinders. It may be a stretch, but one of the many beauties of a hand coffee grinder is being able to grind the coffee to grind the coffee. You’ll never get that experience from an electric grinder.
Pros of Grinding Coffee by Hand
Alright, so maybe even after that beautiful introduction (there will never be another like it on this website) you’re not sold on the idea of a hand grinder. That’s fine. There are some great benefits though.
They’re cheaper! While a good electric burr grinder will cost you $100+, a great hand grinder doesn’t need to cost more than $30.
It’s a great conversation piece. If you bring your hand grinder to work or on vacation (oh, did I mention they’re very portable?), folks will stop to ask you about it leading you into a great conversation on coffee and maybe even converting them to the light (roast) side.
Hand grinders are portable. These are extremely packable, lightweight, and durable. The three best qualities any piece of gear could have for travelers.
The Best Hand Coffee Grinders
Without further ado, let’s dive into our list.
The Hario Slim is at the top of this list for being comfortable to use and a workhorse of a grinder. We’ve dropped it off counter tops and backpacked for several days with it in some rough conditions without a scratch.
The Porlex JP-30 is another excellent choice for a hand grinder if you’re willing to shell out some extra cash. It’s got a 30 gram capacity so you can fit enough beans in there to make a single pourover or about two Aeropresses. Its stainless steel body will look sleek in any kitchen or suit case. If a 30 gram capacity is too big for you, check out the smaller 20 gram version.
The Hario Skerton Coffee Mill features ceramic burrs which help to avoid heating up your coffee grinds. The Skerton has a relatively large capacity making this a great option for someone who wants a grinder to use at home and on the go.
This manual coffee grinder is our budget pick. It’s cheaper than anything on this list, but will likely still be fine. Like every other hand grinder here, it features ceramic burrs, an adjustable grind selector with 18 settings, and a sleek design. If you’re looking for a cheap and performant hand grinder, the JavaPresse is your best bet.
If the JavaPresse was our budget picket, then the Hario Canister Hand Grinder is our fancy pick. This is a pretty big hand grinder. It’ll hold about 50 grams of whole beans in the top, but plenty more in the mason jar style grind chamber on the bottom. The no slip rubber cover on the bottom means you don’t need to worry about it sliding across the kitchen counter while you grind.
The Best Hand Grind Starts With You
The truth is, it doesn’t matter too much which hand coffee grinder you pick. What’s important is that you are enjoying the coffee you make regardless of how you make it.