Top positive review
54 of 54 people found this helpful
Pretty good but some flaws...
on November 30, 2010
After searching around quite extensively, I bought this grinder to replace my 10 dollar electric metal blade grinder which has served me well for a number of years. I was looking to get something that could give me a slightly more consistent grind so that I wouldn't always get the "sludge" of super-fine particles in my French press. I've had the Kyocera hand grinder for about a month now and have used it pretty much every day and generally I really like it. That said, if I were to go back and buy another grinder I would opt for the "Mini-mill slim" by Hario instead (which I can only seem to find on Amazon.com at the moment) as any problems I've had with this grinder seem to be addressed with the mini-mill. Here are some of the issues that I've had with this grinder:
1. I've found that the coarse grind from this grinder is not as consistent as I was hoping it would be. I've currently set it with one full counter clockwise rotation of the nut holding the burr in place, and I've found that although this is generally the right setting, the burr wobbles around (like it feels loose) and sort of screws up the grind consistency, and I sill get some grinds in the bottom of my cup from the French press. From what I've read about the mini mill, people say it is more consistent both with the coarse and really fine grind settings.
2. There are some issues with stability while grinding. This doesn't really bother me too much since I actually enjoy the act of grinding the beans, but I've found that I have to sit down and hold it between my knees while I'm grinding. I've found it can be kind of awkward to grind on the counter top, especially when it catches a bean and lurches (there is no lid on the hopper so there is a minor risk of tipping over and spilling the beans if you're not careful). I could see how this could annoy some people, but like I said, I don't mind it and I enjoy the smell of the freshly ground beans wafting up as I grind. I should also note that it takes me about the length of time is takes to boil the water (approx. 4-5 minutes) to grind enough beans for my 8-cup French press, which is fine with me, but it definitely does take more time than the electric grinder.
3. I was initially attracted to this grinder as opposed to the mini-mill because I thought the larger size would allow me to store the grinds between brews. At this point though, I've never had any left over grinds and have always just done a fresh grind for every brew. I suppose I could sit down and grind enough beans to fill the jar, but it would probably take 10-15 minutes, and I prefer to brew from the freshly ground beans anyway... If I'd known that I would be grinding for every brew, I definitely would have just gone for the mini mill.
4. Some other more minor points: The piece at the top that holds everything together seems to come unscrewed as you grind so you have to stop and tighten it every once and a while. Also when you get near the end of the grind, pieces of bean start to jump out of the hopper and onto the carpet, which makes me wonder why they didn't include a lid with the model... Again, not a huge deal but still mildly annoying.
So despite these comments, I do really like the grinder and I can honestly say that I have noticed a difference (for the better) in the taste of my coffee. I enjoy the process of hand grinding and the grind is more consistent and reproducible than my electric grinder. But like I said, when I was initially researching grinders I had narrowed it down to this one and the mini-mill and essentially chose this one due to the larger size, which I have now found to be more or less an irrelevant factor. Thus if you are in a similar situation as I was, I would recommend the mini-mill if you can find it, but if not, you will probably still be really happy with this one.
EDIT: One year update.
Still using the grinder probably 3 or 4 times a week, and still reasonably happy with it. That said though, I have started looking to upgrade to an electric grinder, as some of the minor issues I mentioned above have become more annoying. Probably the biggest issue I've had is the nut at the top. As I mentioned, it can come loose during grinding, but I've also had the problem of it tightening stuck to the point that I've had to use pliers to unscrew it. This has happened so often that I've stopped using the grinder for different grinds and just resigned myself to having it "permanently" set to a coarse grind. The bean fragments flying out of the hopper during grinding are also kind of a pain now (though I guess not enough of a pain for me to take 5 minutes to fashion some sort of lid as I've seen people do).
EDIT II: Three year check-in.
I've tinkered around with the grinder a bit over the past couple years (it's still going strong as my main grinder), so I thought I'd post a quick update with my findings. If anybody is looking for a starting point for different grind sizes, I've found that for french press, about 1.5 turns of the gear (from fully tightened) seems to work pretty well. For my particular espresso maker I usually go with about a 370 degree turn (i.e. one full revolution plus one "cog" on the gear) and that seems to be the sweet spot. You'll probably have to refine things a bit for yourself, but that should get you started. I should also mention that I tried modding (using the term loosely here...) the grinder by taking off the handle and top nut and attaching a cordless drill in their place. It actually worked hilariously well, and ground the beans in record speed. It kind of screwed up the threads on the burr screw though, so I've been too scared to try it again. On the plus side though, it seems to have fixed my problem of the nut coming loose/getting stuck, so not all bad I guess.
So final conclusion: For the price, I think it's a decent buy and probably a good starter grinder. However, there are some inconveniences that can become frustrating over time and eventually you may find that spending the extra money is worth not having to deal with the quirks of this grinder.