Manual Grinder for Pour Over

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

#1: Post by ytm »

Looking for a manual grinder that will mostly be used for pour over, and my choices came down to 3 candidates:
- Apollo BPlus
- Comandante C40
- Kinu m47

I've seen a lot of comparisons related to these, but most of them focus on espresso, where I'm only interested in using the grinder for pour over.
Also, any suggestion for a grinder that is not listed here would also be welcome.

So, which one would you recommend?


#2: Post by tennisman03110 »

What are the reasons you want a manual grinder? What type of pour over do you make? That's a big question, as far as what quality of grind you need.

I think one of the reasons those grinders are compared around espresso, is because they are highly capable ($$$) of dialing in a consistent particle size. Stepless adjustments, etc. and components that make it possible. Also high quality tools that should last a long time.

Here's my take. I make pour over daily (V60 or chemex), espresso on weekends. I have a Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill (35$) that CAN be used for pour over. Perfect, no. But normally I use a Baratza Encore, it is faster and also cheaper than the grinders you listed. I have a Baratza 270 for espresso, bought it used, once again faster and (in my case) cheaper than a manual grinder.

If you've never used a manual grinder, be aware it's not for everyone. I have a friend with a Comandante C40, bought it for 220$ for chemex. After a month they got sick of it and bought an Encore for half the price. Both are perfectly capable of making good chemex. But so isn't my cheap Hario, when I really feel like digging down deep.

I'm not overly picky. Good coffee and fresh ground beans trump the exact particle size, in my mind. That's the big difference in pour over vs espresso.


#3: Post by ytm »

I plan to mostly use it for v60/Chemex, I was thinking about having a manual grinder because of counter space concerns, and perhaps for the portability of it, on occasion.

I already have a Compak K3 which I don't use anymore, and Rocket Fausto for my espresso.
I suppose I can use the Compak for pour over if I find space for it.

Also, I'm aware that the most important parameter is the beans.
I usually buy freshly roasted ones from a highly regarded local roasting house (And sometimes light roasts from Colonna), I have to wait at least a week before I can use them.


#4: Post by tennisman03110 »

Just my opinion on a test (I've done plenty) of the Hario grinder vs. a much more expensive one, the coffee tastes the same.

I'd be interested if there are others who might disagree.....knowing this forum, I'm sure some will. If you have no concerns about money, the Comandante C40 is a superior product in every way. It's a pleasure to use, smooth, looks and feels nice. Not a fair comparison in my case.


#5: Post by jtrops »

Let's assume that you want a manual grinder, and that you aren't interested in something with a motor.

First, the reason the grinders you are looking at are mostly reviewed for espresso is because they are espresso grinders. Grinders that do well for a variety of brew methods generally don't do espresso well and vice versa.

I have a Kinu m47, a Hario Slim, a VKChef, a Zassenhaus turkish mill, and a Bodum manual grinder. All have conical burrs, and the only one in the lot with ceramic burrs is the Hario. I won't even talk about the Zass. It has all of the problems of an espresso grinder x10 for anything but Turkish.

The Kinu works okay for pourover, but the flavor is on the bitter side. Not a bad flavor overall, and the grind time for 15g of beans is in the 10-15 second range. Still it was annoying to switch between pourover, and espresso so I picked up a different pourover grinder. They do make a new burr for the Kinu that is supposed to do better for pourover, but I don't have that burr.

The VKChef is a very cheap grinder, and I took a chance on it. It is fast (<30seconds/15g), and requires very little effort. The flavor in the cup is more balanced than the Kinu for pourover. I'm very happy with this grinder, and it has grown on me in the month that I have used it every day. The downside is that the hopper only has enough room for 15-18g of beans depending on roast. The glass catch cup can hold at least double that amount, so you could refill the hopper if you need a bigger dose.

The Bodum is probably the best flavor for pourover; however, it takes a very long time to grind (minutes), and it takes much more effort. The flavor is clean with no bitterness. I don't even know if they make this grinder anymore. I got it used 20 years ago.

Hario uses ceramic burrs, and it is by far the worst of the lot in terms of effort, time, and grind quality. I don't know if anyone makes a ceramic burr hand mill that is good, but I haven't used one.

So, if the value option is important the VKChef has been good, and I think it was $40. I would bet that there are other nicer grinders using the same burrs as the VKChef. It is a cheap Chinese grinder that fits in my travel coffee kit.


#6: Post by ytm »

Thanks for the detailed response.

Good to know that I don't have to pay a premium for a pour over grinder.
The VKChef grinder sounds like a good solution for my needs, seems like a good value for speed.


#7: Post by Jonk »

I wouldnt be surprised if VKChef has the same burrset as the conventional Helor 101 uses. Cheap, common and really quite good. Sometimes I prefer Italmill like Kinu/Apollo, sometimes I prefer that conventional burr (mounted in a Timemore), it depends on the beans used.

IMO a bad grinder can make good beans taste dull, while a good grinder can make non-stellar beans taste alright (with some trial and error). Bad or stale beans will always taste crap though.

The closest thing to a comparison I've seen is Hoffman's showdown, unfortunately he doesn't go much into detail. Would be interesting to find out if the Comandante deserves it's reputation for pour over.


#8: Post by mtbizzle »

I have the c40 and love it for my v60


#9: Post by Richard »

ytm wrote:Looking for a manual grinder that will mostly be used for pour over . . . I'm only interested in using the grinder for pour over.
Also, any suggestion for a grinder that is not listed here would also be welcome.
Ignoring the Orphan Espresso Apex is to discount an incredibly capable brew grinder.
Richard J. Wyble


#10: Post by njw »

for me, the comandante produced a noticeably better v60 than a baratza virtuoso.

other things to consider:
-the "pour over" burr for kinu grinders
-cheaper hand grinders like the knock aerspeed (not aergrind), 1zpresso and timemore have had favorable reviews in the pour over range