on June 7, 2016
You know what grinds me about most grinders? The noise. That, and the fact that a lot of them are made from cheap plastic, resulting in the coffee grounds clinging to the sides of the container. The container part of this one is made from glass, so the coffee grounds fall in and pour out without any static cling or causing a mess. The fact that it's not some motorized contraption means that you can even take this camping: boil your water on the campfire or portable gas stove, and enjoy some freshly ground coffee without needing to lug a generator around. Oh, and because it's about as quiet as a manually operated pepper grinder, you're not going to go deaf using it and you won't wake up the neighbors (or your kids or significant other) when you want some freshly ground coffee early in the morning (or late at night for you shift workers).
I'll echo what others have said that the ceramic grinder wobbles a little if you're doing a coarse grind, resulting in slightly inconsistent grounds. Lookup online how you can easily modify this to increase its stability, making it suitable not just for your espresso and average daily brew (where it excels) but also for a French press.
I've had mine for a few years now and the great price and amazing features makes it worth every penny.
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.
on April 15, 2011
This hand grinder is basically the same as the Hairo Skerton. Out of the box it grinds expresso pretty well, but like most conical burr hand grinders it doesn't give a consistent coarse grind. The spindle is basically held at the top, and on coarse grinds the bottom burr wobbles from side to side a bit. However some coffee baristas have solved the coarse grind issue with this grinder. Just google "Hario Skerton Mods" and look for the coffee baristas site in the results list. Basically the mod involves stabilizing the spindle at the top and bottom, giving the two burrs perfect alignment all the time. The top can be stabilized by gluing a metal washer to the top stem - after using a hand file, or drill, to get the hole in the washer to fit the top of the spindle exactly. The bottom of the spindle can be stabilized by cutting a plastic guide which gets locked in place under the metal ring holding the top burr. This keeps the bottom burr in perfect alignment with the top burr.
After stabilizing the spindle you will get superb consistency in the all grinds from French press to espresso. It works better than many electric grinders costing over $100.
on December 31, 2011
The Kyocera Ceramic coffee grinder is more or less what I was looking for. It does not require electricity to operate, is very easy to set up and use, and does a pretty good job at grinding coffee. The only drawback for me is that I would have liked to be able to have very finely ground coffee, and that is not possible with this grinder. But, it comes close enough, and I am happy I bought it!
on April 10, 2011
Great little machine, not expensive compared to an electric burr grinder. Really quiet (obviously) so it's great for my precious ears.
Bad part is setting grind size for different coffee types (espresso, french press, filter). I own different machines and going from one to the other, it's almost impossible to reproduce grind size as the dial is actually just a "nut" on a shaft that gets tightened or loosened, no clicks.
Haven't used it a lot but still know one thing : if you plan on going for more than one grind size, try another one. If you do one kind, this grinder seems fine, for the price it's pretty cool.
on February 10, 2013
This grinder does its job very well. I was looking to buy a conical burr grinder for a few reasons.
I've been reading and experimenting with making coffee, and learned why a burr grinder does a better job that a blender-style grinder - even sizes of the grounds. That means you can make a evenly coarse grind for a french press, or fine grind for a cone filter, without having a spectrum of fragment sizes and coffee "dust" that comes from a blade grinder. Does it make a huge difference? Maybe for a coffee connoisseur, but probably not for me.
I also don't rely on coffee every morning, and am more interested in making the odd single cup on weekends or after dinner. That means I don't grind much coffee. If I buy ground coffee it goes stale, and if I shell out for a motorized burr mill grinder, it's $100+ for something decent, takes up extra counter space, and has a motor to burn out sometime down the road. I'd have gone this route if I drank more coffee, or if the family wanted in on the coffee routine as well.
Using the Kyocera grinder, I typically use 1/4 C of beans, and it takes around 1 minute to grind them, depending on whether my arm is feeling energetic or not. In other words, it's not quick. A finer grind takes longer. Making coffee for 4 people takes much longer, and I would resort to pre-ground coffee for groups.
When I use it for my 12 Oz single cups, it's fun to use, makes me appreciate the drink a little bit more, and is a snap to empty, dust out, or seal shut (with the included lid). The mechanism comes fully apart easily, if you want to completely clean the grinder, or just inspect what you bought to see how it works.
When fully disassembling, you'd need to make a note of how many turns you'd made to the grind adjustment nut, so you can put it back to the same setting. There's no numeric sliding scale like on a motorized grinder - it's up to you to tighten or loosen the adjuster to where you like it, and then lock it in place with the handle.
I would be giving this product 5 stars, other than the fact that it's slow. Not that this is a problem - if you buy this grinder, you're buying it because you don't grind a lot of coffee. But, I feel that 5 stars makes a perfect coffee grinder, and for me would mean being quick for big batches.
on January 28, 2013
We received an entry-level pump espresso maker for Christmas and all we had was a spinning blade-type coffee grinder. According the coffee aficionado sites that just wouldn't do - one should use a burr grinder, but I wasn't keen on spending hundreds of dollars on a decent one of those (and the inexpensive grinders get terrible reviews). Some more research led me to this Kyocera manual grinder which got good reviews so I took the plunge and bought it. It works well, but you have to be prepared for a bit of effort. It takes at least a couple of minutes of cranking to produce enough ground coffee to make two lattes, but the aroma that emanates from the grinder in progress is very uplifting. The grinder is a bit slippery and hard to hold onto while cranking, so I put a couple of large elastic bands around it to provide some more grip.
We've owned it for about 3 weeks and, so far, the quality seems good. The crank arm loosens during grinding so you have to tighten it periodically. A bonus is it came with a lid for the receptacle jar so, if you grind too much, you can seal it in the jar for later use.
Espresso from freshly ground coffee tastes much better than that from store-bought, pre-ground coffee! Did I mention the aroma while grinding? :-)
I look forward to using it during the summer when out camping, away from power, too!
on November 13, 2012
I purchased this grinder only a few weeks ago, and can't praise it enough. I bought it as a low-cost alternative to the expensive electric burr grinders on the market (cheapest one I would even consider buying is the Breville low-speed grinder, and that's $120), and since I'm a sucker for a bargain I reasoned that the extra time required would be worth it.
This grinder performed WAY beyond what I expected; although it takes about 5 extra minutes to grind enough coffee for two travel mugs in the morning (I like to do it fresh), the grind was perfectly even, and there was no problem with the very oily french roast beans I use once in a while (another reason I bought this; I found that many users of high quality electric grinders have reported occasional clogging problems with oily beans). It's a breeze to disassemble and clean, and the ceramic burr mechanism is of a very high quality.
One more thing; I'm often in a hurry in the morning, but I actually enjoy the extra time required to get my coffee ready. It may sound silly, but grinding beans with a hand grinder makes me appreciate the coffee more, and the degree of control over the grind is very satisfying. I can experiment with my coffee in a way I never did before, and the money I saved (about $100) went towards really good coffee beans!
on August 13, 2012
I use a mocha pot to make my coffee. Unfortunately not much espresso style coffee is available pre-ground. I didn't want a grinder that cost more than the pot itself and this one came up. It's a burr grinder so it makes a nice uniform grind. It takes up hardly any space in my cabinet. It's quiet. It's fast. It doesn't need power. It goes well with the mocha pot. The two are the same size and fit nicely in the cupboard together in less space than an entire espresso machine.
The machine itself is simple. All the grounds go into the glass on the bottom. It has an optional rubber bottom if you have a slippery counter. The grinder screws onto the container. The handle rotates surprisingly easily and you can get through a lot of beans in about the same time it takes to preheat the mocha pot water. The container comes with a lid so that you can seal the excess or do up a whole bunch of grounds. The grinder portion cannot easily be stored on it's own since the burrs hang down below the lip that screws onto the jar. This means you either have to leave it attached to the jar or in the event of storing grounds there is an indent in the lid so that you can stack the grinder portion without worrying about damaging the burrs.
One criticism I read prior to buying the grinder was the grind control knob. I believe people were saying it would loosen and so a consistent grind was difficult. If this was the case it has been remedied. There is a nut that tightens the burs together for a finer or coarser grind and there is a retainer to keep the nut from loosening. The nut spins freely and has several indents while the retainer is a U-shaped piece that does not turn on the shaft and engages in the nut indents. It's hard to picture but the result is that there is an easy and secure way to ensure the same grind every time.
I dialed in the grind by simply turning the grind control nut one notch tighter every batch of coffee until the coffee was too bitter and then turned it back one notch. This was accomplished by undoing the handle retainer nut, lifting off the U-shaped retainer, turning the grind control nut one indent, and replacing everything again. It's a 20 second process at most and very secure.
I have two criticisms that I don't find to be issues at all, really, but would be pleased if they were fixed. First and foremost is the way the burs are held together. The inner burr is retained by a loose mount at the top only. This means that the bur can wobble quite easily. This turned out to be much less of an issue as I thought it would. As the beans fit down into the burrs they fill the space around the burs and keep them very well spaced. There is no wobble. If you look at the grinds there is the odd large chunk that I suspect would be avoided if the inner burr was secured at the bottom as well.
My second criticism is that when you've ground extra grinds and are using the lid to seal them, the grinder portion is difficult to store. As I mentioned, the burs hang down below the lip of the grinder portion which means that it is hard to stack. It has a tendency to tip over and I worry about damaging the burs. The lid is designed for the grinder to sit on top but it's a little precarious and results in being too tall for my shelf. Not a big deal, just irritating. If the lip on the grinder was a half inch longer it could be completely avoided.
What I like about it is that it makes a nice grind without a lot of fuss. It's considerably cheaper than an electric grinder but that's not because it's a bad grinder. It's just not electric. The components are high quality and it makes a decent grind. If the burr was secured at the bottom as well then it would make just as good of a grind for a fraction the price. By removing the electronics the cost is reduced significantly. Definitely recommended, especially for the mocha pot people who are less inclined to put several hundred dollars into a coffee setup.
on January 28, 2012
The grinder works well. As mentioned by others, there are a few issues though. First, adjusting the grain coarseness is a bit difficult and there are not markings. Also, the handle tends to come undone as you grind. Other than that, it is the perfect non-electric grinder!