Best bang for your buck grinder for Aeropress

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
aeropressed

#1: Post by aeropressed »

Hi everyone,

I am new to this forum and in desperate need of advice for buying a new electrical grinder, mainly to be used for the Aeropress, and occasionally a Bialetti.

I currently have a GSI Outdoors Javamill hand grinder (it was a gift) but it's absolutely useless. It's the 2nd unit and it has the same issues as the 1st: nearly impossible to adjust the grind size and it just stops grinding after very few uses. And when/if it works, it's just painful.

We are looking to upgrade to an electrical one for convenience.

Ideally, it should let us grind directly in the Aeropress, and be easy to use and clean.

The Baratza Sette 270 and 270Wi initially seemed to fit the requirements perfectly, but I've read some negative reviews on how it's all made of plastic, and some complained about noise and size/weight consistency (for the 270Wi version)

The ECM S-Automatik 64 seems good but it's expensive and doesn't seem easy to clean nor allow to fill the Aeropress directly with coffee.

The Graef CM 800 seems like a cheap budget version, but it looks super hard to clean, and seems to retain/waste a lot of coffee.

We also looked at the Mahlkoenig VARIO Home, Eureka Mignon Specialita and Lelit Fred PL044MMT.
While we initially dismissed them compared to the Sette 270 (much easier to clean and use with the Aeropress), we are now back to square one given the negative feedback we saw on the Sette 270.

Would anyone have any good recommendation?
Are we worried for nothing with regards to cleaning? If it's fine to use Grindz and there is no need to open many screws to remove the burr, then we can revisit some of the models we dismissed.

Budget preferable below 400 but can stretch to 700/800€ if needed.

Thanks in advance :)

jtrops

#2: Post by jtrops »

Have you ever used a good quality hand grinder? I haven't used a single grinder with ceramic burrs that was worth anything for coffee. They do well for seeds, and salt, and okay for pepper.

I have used my Kinu with my Aeropress, and it has performed perfectly. It is very fast, and easy to use. Simple to clean.

aeropressed

#3: Post by aeropressed » replying to jtrops »

Thanks for your reply!

Never tried one, the experience with the GSI Jamavill was very off-putting, it took up to 5 minutes to grind enough fo the Aeropress (when it worked...)

I briefly googled the Kinu, it's around 350 to 400$ equivalent where I live. It seems to grind in about 30s for 15gr which would be acceptable.

The convenience of an electrical one is however very tempting. Especially when you have guests that want a coffee :)

millmountain
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#4: Post by millmountain »

Hi Claudia,

No need for desperation, sounds like you've already researched a few good options. You're just indecisive, like me. Not sure if that you is plural, you didn't say who "we" are. :)

The Bialetti mokka pot is so aesthetic, but it has quite fallen by the wayside for me. I use Aeropress and pour over (Kalita) at work, and Aeropress by itself for the first year. It is possibly the most versatile method of coffee preparation there is, so it would make sense to me to also have a grinder that is versatile. I typically use a medium-fine grind, but sometimes emulate an espresso intensity with an espresso-fine grind and short steep time and fast press. Probably all of these grinders will give you good-tasting coffee.

I would tend to agree with jtrops on the hand grinder. I started with a Hario Skerton, which actually grinds pretty evenly at espresso level, but is not even close to adjustable in small steps and takes forever to grind. I then got a Porlex mini, which grinds faster but is also only adjustable in large steps and in my opinion just does not grind evenly. I think there may be a problem with my Porlex, because it makes a scraping noise. If it is off center, that would explain the wide grain-size distribution. But I suspect even high-dollar hand grinders don't match the electric machines, so you are probably saving yourself a lot of grief and what-ifs by going with a decent electric grinder.

I own the CM 800, have done research on the Sette and Mignon, and have some thoughts on single-dosing vs. hopper. The latter point is to me rather important. In Switzerland you generally have very tasty water, but I don't know how much attention you give your beans. A good grinder is the most important equipment, but the bean quality has even more influence over taste. This means buying freshly roasted coffee beans, but also how to store them and for how long. Single dosing vs. a hopper impacts your process/work flow and the way you manage your beans. For instance, if you are making for one or two people and put 500 g in a hopper, the beans are going to get stale. You may not see it yet, but it is the first question you should be asking yourself in this debate. After 2.5 years of using the CM 800 with hopper at home for espresso and the hand grinders (single dosing) at work for Aeropress and pourover, I personally am going full single dosing; the ability to change and compare beans, along with easily switching to decaf in the evenings is too tempting. I ordered the Niche Zero yesterday, and once it arrives I am going to develop a better method of bean management. The small inconveniences of bean management will be worth it.

Here's a run-down on what you named:
  • The Lelit has 38-mm burrs. I don't know its pricing, but I suppose the small burrs are an issue. You'd probably love it at first after the hand grinder, but those burrs might not bring out the taste of the beans.
  • The Graef CM 800 saved me from hand grinding for espresso. This one wins IMHO in the bang-for-buck category, but only because of its very low price (€111 on Amazon). It has decent grind quality, but it does not make the fine adjustments needed for espresso. It may do you quite well for Aeropress, but it is not very flexible. The Bialetti needs a coarser grind, and if you vary the grind for different Aeropress recipes, it does not allow wide enough changes without some reassembly. You can find videos for how to adjust the burrs coarser or finer when the 40 clicks are not enough, but if you are looking for convenience and willing to pay more, just forget it.
  • The Mahlkoenig Vario Home seems a decent option. Seems a lot of people here have it and it apparently has good grind quality, I just don't know enough about it. I don't love electronics and doubt I'd like the plastic-looking adjustment handles.
  • The ECM S-Automatik 64 is surely a great grinder, but as you mention maybe over priced. I also don't know enough here.
  • The Sette 270 apparently gives good grind quality, but I also didn't like it after reading a lot of user feedback. It has too much electronics for my taste, and with the other issues you've doubtless read it didn't seem to me that it would prove long-lasting.
  • The Eureka Mignon series is worth your attention. The Specialita has a timer with touch interface (actually seems responsive and robust) slightly larger burrs and would doubtless do better than its brother and sister Mignons for espresso, but the others can be had for a lower price. I don't know if 50 vs. 55 mm burr sizes make that much difference. Great grind quality, quiet, long lasting, accurate timer, very competitive price. Its being sold by a lot of specialty espresso stores where I live.
Again, I would encourage you to I look into and think about single dosing vs. a hopper. For grinding with a hopper, I'd say focus on the Eureka Mignon and maybe the Mahlkonig Vario. For single dosing, the only option you mentioned is the Sette 270, which, despite its strengths, you like me seem not to prefer. If you find out you like the advantages single dosing offers, look into the Niche Zero. You can read about its qualities these forums (e.g., here , here, here and here). Basically, it matches the versatility of Aeropress, and you cannot touch its grind quality in this price class. Its only weakness in my book is having concial burrs, which for espresso and light roasts may not be as awesome as flat burrs. Niche went with conical because flat burrs wouldn't give near-zero grind retention. And if you ever go crazy with something like a Cafelat Robot, you'll have the ideal grinder for it. ;)

Wait, there is one other downside to the Niche, they sold out and I have to wait until May for my delivery, but it's worth that wait for me. If you like the Niche, I'd say order a Porlex mini for the interim period. It will do for a couple of months, and you'll want it for taking your Aeropress on the road. It fits inside nicely!

For what it's worth, I do think you're too concerned about cleaning. Even for a thorough cleaning, the "super hard to clean" CM 800 needs a screwdriver, a simple wedge tool (think Swiss Army knife), a brush and, with some practice, 10 minutes. How often it needs this depends on your grind size and how oily the beans are. For espresso, it's best to do every 1 kg or so. For the medium fine typical of Aeropress, I'd guess it's way less frequent. If you were to go with a CM 800, I can help you out there.

Remember: fresh-roasted beans. Try buying specialty beans that have been roasted within the past few days once, and you will see.

jtrops

#5: Post by jtrops »

Millmountain: That is quite a post.

If you ever have an opportunity to use a quality hand grinder you will find that it is as good as the best electric grinders. The Kinu is regularly compared to electric grinders that are 2-3 times the price. While it gives a different flavor profile than other grinders it is not lower quality. The La Pavoni is more sensitive to grind quality than a lot of machines, and manual extraction like pourover, or Aeropress are usually even more tolerant of grind.
,
aeropressed:
The Kinu is not cheap; however, it will last forever. The 30 seconds for 15g is for a fine espresso grind. For Aeropress I grind a bit coarser, and I was getting grinds of less than 20 seconds.

There are other options for a quality hand grinder that may be less expensive such as the Helor 101, the Knock Feldgrind, or the Orphan Espresso Lido. If you want something to compliment the Aeropress in a travel kit there is also the Aerspeed grinder (smaller hopper, but fits inside the Aeropress). I chose the Kinu because of the grind adjustment, and the perfect alignment without the prospect of the burrs going out of alignment.

I have not used my electric grinder for a couple of years now, and for the occasional group I don't have a problem hand grinding. If I was regularly making more than a couple of shots I would opt for a more automatic system.

baldheadracing
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#6: Post by baldheadracing »

Of the grinders that you have mentioned, I can only speak to the Vario - which I can't recommend for Aeropress with ceramic burrs. The optional steel burrs are great. The "Alicorn" mods/alignment make it awesome - I would say better (for non-espresso) than most home-sized grinders.

I would consider the Wilfa Uniform - you don't see much here about it because it is not available in 110v markets.

"Bang for the buck" invariably applies to low-end (relatively) hand grinders. However, in your case, I would perhaps look at the 200w 80mm ghost burr XeoLeo grinder. I don't have one, but that would be my choice for "bang for the buck." ( Various models discussed )
What I'm interested in is my worst espresso being fantastic - James Hoffmann

aeropressed

#7: Post by aeropressed »

millmountain wrote:Hi Claudia,

[*]The Eureka Mignon series is worth your attention. The Specialita has a timer with touch interface (actually seems responsive and robust) slightly larger burrs and would doubtless do better than its brother and sister Mignons for espresso, but the others can be had for a lower price. I don't know if 50 vs. 55 mm burr sizes make that much difference. Great grind quality, quiet, long lasting, accurate timer, very competitive price. Its being sold by a lot of specialty espresso stores where I live. [/list]
Hi Mike,
Thank you for the detailed answer!
The Eureka Mignon Specialita is indeed back on the watchlist. It's a bit cheaper than the ECM and the "fork" (what holds the espresso 'spoon') is removable, which is a big plus.
It doesn't seem like it's removable on the ECM.
The problem is that you find concerning bad reviews for practically any model :(
I guess for perfection one has to go commercial, but it's way overkill for our needs (we won't grind more than 3-4 times per day, except when we have guests) and very expensive.

Thanks for the other parts of your answer, that gives me a lot of food for thoughts and things to google and explore.
jtrops wrote: If you ever have an opportunity to use a quality hand grinder you will find that it is as good as the best electric grinders.
Thank you for your answer!
I have no doubt about this. To be honest, the only reason to pick electrical (other than the bad experience with the GSI Javamill) is convenience.
It's very hard to get enough motivation to grind that first-morning coffee manually when you're not a morning person.
Although 20s seems like a very acceptable length of time, so we'll give this some thought.
Thanks again
baldheadracing wrote:Of the grinders that you have mentioned, I can only speak to the Vario - which I can't recommend for Aeropress with ceramic burrs. The optional steel burrs are great. The "Alicorn" mods/alignment make it awesome - I would say better (for non-espresso) than most home-sized grinders.

I would consider the Wilfa Uniform - you don't see much here about it because it is not available in 110v markets.

"Bang for the buck" invariably applies to low-end (relatively) hand grinders. However, in your case, I would perhaps look at the 200w 80mm ghost burr XeoLeo grinder. I don't have one, but that would be my choice for "bang for the buck." ( Various models discussed )
Thank you for your reply and these suggestions, I've never heard of them, I will check them out.

What I meant by "best bang for the buck" is not necessarily something cheap. I would prefer to pay what is necessary to reach the optimum price/quality ratio, as the curve usually looks logarithmic.
While initially, quality increases massively when you pay more, starting from a certain point, the improvements are very small compared to the much higher prices. This is something one notices for many products: it's initially easy to go from poor to good or very good, but difficult and very expensive to go from very good to excellent, and rarely worth it unless one has specific needs or a lot of disposable income.

The optimal point is usually subjective though, so I am trying to research as much as possible, and also get different opinions.

jrham12

#8: Post by jrham12 »

I use a Lido 2 hand grinder for my aeropress and V60 and I think it is awesome. It is pretty fast and doesn't take a lot of effort. In the mornings before work, I grind about 30 grams of coffee to take with me for aeropress at work. I've never timed the grinding, but I'd say it takes less than 30 seconds so not long at all. (I liked the Lido 2 so much that I ended up also buying a Lido-E for single-dosing espresso...)

Do you have future plans to use this grinder for other purposes like espresso or moka pot? If not, it seems like some of your choices like the ECM 64 would be overkill for an immersion brew. If you want to go electric, have you looked at the Eureka Mignon Filtro or Silenzio or the Baratza Encore / Virtuoso? The cafe at our church uses a couple of the the Virtuoso's and results are very good for pour-over. I don't have any direct experience with any of these models, but just pointing towards what I would be looking at.

Hope that helps!
Josh

millmountain
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#9: Post by millmountain »

jtrops wrote:If you ever have an opportunity to use a quality hand grinder you will find that it is as good as the best electric grinders. The Kinu is regularly compared to electric grinders that are 2-3 times the price. While it gives a different flavor profile than other grinders it is not lower quality.
Glad to hear it. Maybe I'll get to experience a quality hand grinder one day.

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MB

#10: Post by MB »

Having recently purchased one, I'm going to say the ghost burr grinder for excellent coffee. Specifically, the 520N (there are similar, so be careful) and I selected 110v since I'm in the U.S. Not sure if it will do the bialetti moka pot since it may or may not go fine enough. The ghost burrs are designed for the coffee range of particle sizes, not espresso, and have low fines/boulders. They test it with coffee before sending, so mine had a little grinds residue when it arrived. It doesn't really retain much of anything and is super easy to clean, but I haven't found a need to yet. But even if it wasn't remarkably quiet, easy to use single dosed or hopper, relatively inexpensive, and easy to clean, the best part is that it makes surprisingly great grinds for coffee. I'm enjoying using it with a Bonivita immersion brewer, so I imagine it would work well with the Aeropress.
LMWDP #472