Discussion for Hand Grinders

(Tio Nico) #24

I guess I’m rather Old School. some years back I found an old hand crank conical burr grinder on eBay in Germany, and bought it. I think it cost me some US$35 landed. It is made by DeVe, the premier Dutch maker of such things, and based on the design of the logo decal on the front, was made about 1960. The handle and top, with flap to load whole beana, are solid copper, NOT plated steel, the design of the burrs makes grinding quite fast and even. I get pretty consistent particle size distribution, and few fines. The adjustment is simple: a thumb screw moves the loe=wer shaft bearing up and down. I find I need a slightly finer grind for Aeropress than I do for French Press, and it only takes maybe three seconds to slide the drawer out, move the wing of the thumb screw, and replace the drawer. I know just where to set it for those two brew methods. Pourover/Chemex I think would be a touch finer yet than the Aeropress setting.I have used this mill for perhaps eight years, taking it with me everywhere. Travel by bike, it goes into the top part of the rear rack bag. It weighs in at just about a kilo. It only takes maybe 30 or 35 seconds to grind sufficient whole bean for a 1.5 litre French Press, far less for the Aeropress. No, it will not grind finely enough for espresso, byt tut that is no issue as I do not have such a machine. If I di manage to get one, since it will require mains power, a regular mains-powered countertop grinder will be handy. I’ve taken this Dutch mill cycle touring, camping, road travel, boating, and one time when an electric burr mill burned out doing large batches for an event, I commandeered some teenagers with something to prove, dosed the grinder and handed it round to them, who had races to see who could grind the fastest. Hilarious!! Oh, because of the high craftsmanship and fruitwood used for the “box” part of the mill, this thing is also a work of fine craftsmanship bordering on functional art. I ALWAYS get comments on it when I take it about with me.

(Tio Nico) #25

Ones made between about 1950 or so and before the modern ones with plastic parts for the burr set carrier are pretty good. Very even grind, durable, and look good. Before that date, they had some fiddly adjustment mechanisms, and the bearings were not sufficiently robust to stand the test of long use. Once the plastic bits came into vogue, they again lost what they had gained in the redesign of about 1950 or so. Typically the ones with the adjustment screw/handnut at the bottom of the main shart are strong and robust. When the adjustment is at the top above the bean hopper, the shaft and other bearings are too weak, and don’t hold up. Some of the models made during the 1960’s and 70’s are astoundinly beautiful, I have some. Their “wahlemüllen” are definitely works of high art yet functional. The artwork on the ceramic bowls is amazing.

Their Turkish mills (nickel or brass cylinder shaped models) during the entire time they made them are very fine instruments, and can actually grind for espresso and turkish coffee. Their rival at that time and for those mills was the Peter Dienes company, building both in Germany and Holland. Pe De is an abbreviated name style for them, seen on many of their mills. I’ve not seen a DeVe “turkish” mill, but that’s not proof they don’t exist. I do have a number of the Zasso and PeDe turkish mills, though, some I think dating from the 1920’s and 30’s.

Finding any of these at the present time would be quite the challenge, though… I’ve not seen one on eBay for years, and before that they were rather dear. I managed to find some bargains in Germany, France, and Holland, and took advantage of those offers.I think most of those have been claimed by collectors and such. Rather an esoteric branch of the industry, but for decades nearly every home in Europe had, and used daily, these hand cranked mills… box mills, (table top), knee mills (put between your knees to operate), Turkish mills, and the amazingly beautiful and artictic Wall Mills… Trosser were the low price “chevy” range, yet even those were fairly high quality and withstood the test of time. Their burrs were not quite so well cut, thus not as clean, but for the average householder brewing in a French Press, they worked well. They are still worthy of note. The French Peugeots (yes, the car and bicycle company, coffee mills is how the “Peugeot Freres” started in business about 1885. Any of theirs, even the cheap stamped tin box mills, are worth getting if you can find them. All of them work well. I laughed out loud when I first noticed the short, stright bicycle spoke and nipples used at the four corners to hold the metal body onto the woden top and bottom!! Hilarious, and ingenious!! It works, is cheap, fixable, what else is needed? Those are fine mills. Zassenhaus are the better known here in the US< simply because they kept producing until well after all the other companies had folded or gone out of that line of product.

(Jessica Mae Lancaster) #26

Hey Korey,

I work at CREMA Coffee Roasters in Nashville, TN. While we don’t have the Lido 3 grinder on our website yet, we do have a few in stock! I’m in love with it and definitely recommend if you are going to be traveling and want a durable, quality product. Email me: jess@crema-coffee.com and we can most likely sell and ship one to you if you don’t want to wait!

(Glen Nicol) #28

Hi!anybody have any opinions on the Feldgrind from Scotland or Helor 101?Considering to buy the Feldgrind…Thank u

(j l) #29

When I was travelling to Nashville, definitely enjoyed stopping by CREMA Coffee, really awesome! Particularly the Yemen :slight_smile:

Can’t recommend the Lido 3 enough, works great for travel and easy to clean.

(Jai Lott) #30

I’ve been using a Commandante for 6 months and particle size next to our EK is as close as I’ve ever seen. Well weighted and ergonomic too!

(Te Wang) #31

Please advise how is the Camano Coffe Mill? Hope it’s not too late to ask.

(Kay Ingram) #32

Full disclosure, we have been trialling it to stock in our store. We are really happy with the grind. The door through which you put the beans is a tad smaller than I would like, however it does make an exceptional cup of coffee.

(Benjamin Richardson) #33

+1 for Commandante MK3 Nitro also. Super solid. Great grind, stands close-ish to the EK as far as high extraction brews with little to no bitterness or astringency.

(R) #34

Hey gang,

From what I’ve read about the commandante is that it’s great for pour over, but no good for espresso
(steps too far apart). I’m interested in something that can grind for any method.
Anybody got feedback on the Helor?


(Samuel Waters) #35

I have the lido 3 and love it. It is great for revert thing from press to espresso. Only downside is the good folks at OE are a bit slow on the customer service end but very nice and helpful. I end up using the lido over my vario all the time.

(Mike Troup) #36

Knock Hausgrind is good, but it can be a bit tricky to contact the maker if bought direct if anything goes wrong. I had a transient problem with the grind setting drifting, now resolved. Will grind as fine as you like, unlike my Sage Barista Express grinder, which does not go quite fine enough for a ristretto with perhaps 25% of beans. The Knock does not pass the “wife” test - it requires too much strength for my partner to use it.

(Chris Coughlin) #37

I received my Commandante mk3 yesterday and it really is a pleasure to use. I ordered it directly from the company and the price was a little steep. $270 usd including shipping from Germany to NY. Anyone looking to get their hands on the grinder should just reach out to Bernd directly.

(Chris Birkett) #38

FYI you can order the Comandante Mk3 from coffeehit for about $245 USD shipped by UPS Express Saver (price shown includes VAT).


I remain skeptical about the company after the debacle over the Mk1 and the way they dicked around Able Brewing for months and then stopped replying to their emails after finally refunding them.

(Chris Birkett) #40

Also I think it would be appropriate if people posting in this thread who have a financial interest in the products they are recommending would disclose it (you know who you are).

(Rand Ordway) #41

I imagine most people who own a hand grinder aren’t using it for espresso. Generally if you have an espresso machine, you’ve invested enough money to also buy a nice electric grinder. However, this most recent study done by socratic shows particle distribution from 3 of the hand grinders mentioned here. Commandante looks to have the tighest particle distribution. I’d love to see this at a pour over grind size to see how results change. We all know that filter burrs and espresso burrs are traditionally very different cuts.

(R) #42

I’d like to see how this chart would look with Helor using espresso burr-set (they used conventional/brew).
Hardly seems fair…

(imm) #43

I’ve had an hario minimill and after it broke I got me the comandante . Really big difference in taste. It’s much more clear and sweet. No bitterness at all. For me it was worth the money. And it’s rock solid too…

(Chris Birkett) #44

And the results for pourover.

(Chris Coughlin) #45

Hey all,
Can someone please explain how to read the chart above, and how the different statistics shown affect the final cup.