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If you have a drill, rig up a wing nut or something to tighten the chuck around (or use a nut and socket) and grind the beans with it. Don't go real fast to avoid heating the beans though. I haven't bought a good electric grinder because none under $100 get consistently good reviews for making coarse grinds and not getting tons of static etc. I'm looking at buying a Hario Skerton, upgrading the lower bearing on it with the kit from orphan espresso and using my drill to do the work for me.
Currently, I use a cheap Mr. Coffee Blade grinder/chopper. Super inconsistent, but good enough for drip. Not so much for my french press. If you're dead set on electric, I would consider the Bodum Bistro for the glass catcher. For a cheaper option, the Cuisinart DBM-8 is well reviewed online but you get the plastic catcher/static issues.
First off, the quality of a grinder is mostly based on if the grinder has burrs or not. A cheap electric grinder uses blades, which grind the coffee without any real consistency. A bur grinder will produce a consistent and adjustable coffee grind.
The grind of the coffee is very important. A consistent grind will ensure the coffee extracts evenly. I use a hand grinder because it grinds the beans pretty darn consistently for a low price. Cons of a hand grinder are that it takes a while to grind your coffee. Down the road you could upgrade to an electric burr grinder. (Bodum makes a decently priced electric burr grinder).
My brew time for the chemex is 3 to 5 minutes based on how much coffee I am making. It also takes me a few minutes to grind my coffee as well. By now though, I try to grind my coffee as my water heats up in my kettle, so by the time the water is ready, my grinds are ready.
Yeah, so I'm gathering. Qua "noob," I frankly think I'm going to skip the hand grinder and deal with the minor, hopefully lesser mess of a new electric burr grinder. This one looks pretty good. Any other thoughts on a not-crazy-expensive electric burr grinder? Thanks!
Whats your budget? THe best grinders dont usually come attatched to brewers so your best bet would be to buy one seperet. I recommend this one. Its a burr grinder with many settings, I have had mine for 5 years and still works great. As for a drip machine, I would go bona vita. It brews quick and has a excellent heating element. It just doesnt have a timer but like I said Just hit the switch and it will brew in under 2 min.
Hey, thanks for the recommendation - I do ship worldwide, though the US postal service just doubled their base rates for international so shipping is gonna run $13.50ish on top of the bearing...
From what I've heard, the mini mill is better than the Skerton out of the box.
Now, if you CAN spring for electric, I'd recommend the Bodum Bistro as a solid, cheap entry-level burr grinder. Don't pay the current Amazon price for it though, they're often available for as low as $75 and the price fluctuates very often. I have one that I keep at my mom's house for when I'm back at home and it does a great job for pourover.
If you are liking your bodum bistro, then upgrading to the conical burr version would be a nice upgrade [link]. I just ordered one tonight, so I can't give first hand experience, but I think it looks really solid.
It could be that the shop uses grinds different than your espresso machine. This is why grinders need to be dialed in. Each machine is different, each portafilter is different etc... That grinder is doing you no favors. I had it for months and I tried everything just to make good pour over coffee. Grinds were from turkish to french press on a medium fine setting. I grabbed an encore and now I am more than happy. There are usually old espresso grinders on craigslist for cheap as well. I think the start of your problem is with the coffee grind.
Sometimes you can find these cheap as well
I just tried it at a friends house this past weekend and it delivered pretty well for a budget grinder.
>If you have a target nearby and you're very lucky the bodum bistro burr (important) grinder is on clearance at $50.
Is this what you're talking about? [link]
I have a Target near me so I'll have to check, do you think I could just call the store and ask?
Also if you don't mind me asking, what is the main difference between the Encore and the Bistro, they both use a conical burr (that's the term right?) but are quite different in price
As for middle ground grinders: The Bodum Bistro is a great burr grinder for pourover/drip coffee that can sometimes dip to a $50 price point. So maybe scan for that before going down the hand grinder road.
Don't get me wrong, hand grinders will give you the grind quality of a $200+ grinder for $30-$40 but they get tiresome and aren't ideal when you're in a hurry. Also I've gotten lazy.
I am a coffee loving girlfriend and my boyfriend got me a burr grinder, and can I say it is still the best gift I received in the last few years (and its competing against amazon gift cards). I've seen some as low as $46, mine is the $85. Its kind of high for a college budget though, but Ill drop a link anyway. [link]
I bought this grinder almost 4 years ago and have been using it at least once daily, and its held up great. Made a huge difference in coffee quality. That grinder plus an Aeropress ($25) has been my set up for 4 years, and has never failed me.
Obviously, I could go for more complicated with the hobby, but my setup is cheap, fast and really easy to get amazing coffee everyday.
So, after a lot of research, I finally picked up a Gaggia Classic from my local shop to get started with home espresso. I'm using good, recently roasted, freshly-ground beans when brewing and believe I'm operating the machine well (filtered water, enough warm up time, etc).
However, it seems every shot I brew comes out not... disgusting, but just very under-powered (missing that boldness you'd expect in any good shot). Also, it is consistently only taking about 7-10 seconds to fill up two side-by-side 1oz shot glasses when it appears it should take closer to 20-30 seconds.
I've been using a Bodum Bistro electric burr grinder, which has served me well making Chemex cups for a while now. It seems to produce fairly consistently sized grinds at the finest setting, and seems to be fine enough for espresso as well. Am I correct in thinking that the grinder (despite my actual knowledge of why this is the case) just won't cut it for espresso? Are there any variables I could tinker with to make decent espresso with this same grinder, or should I just bite the bullet and go for an upgrade?
FWIW, it seems that most other people doing home espresso have much nicer grinders than me, so maybe it's just the answer that I don't want to hear ;)
My SO has been using a Virtuoso, which seems to be the better (or at least more expensive) version of the Encore. Any big differences there?
Also, is there a step up or slightly step down, like this Bodum or is the Encore just the 'best-in-class' sort of thing.
I completely agree with fleflahfloh's suggestions. There are a zillion choices, but I personally would initially stick to trying Americanos at your local cafes (Americano = espresso with hot water added). Then, I'd get a French Press or an Aeropress and start playing around with brew time, grind size, etc. A decent grinder is a must, but it doesn't have to be really expensive (I suggest a Bodum Bistro, at around $70-$80). Have fun!
This is the one I switched to recently.
Pricier for sure but not insane and has literally none of those issues. Grinds much nicer too.
Only issue I've had so far is a few grounds escape the container so you have to give the machine a quick wipe where the container sits every few grinds.
I use the Bodum Bistro grinder. It makes a nice coarse grind. The biggest downside is that it has a 20sec maximum operation time, where you are then supposed to let the motor rest for 5 minutes before using again. But 20 seconds will grind you at least 60g of coffee on the french press setting.
I typical use water 30sec off the boil, around 200deg F.
Typically 4 minutes. If you're not timing it, then you will end up with inconsistent results.
I use 70g/L, but really, steep time, water temp, and coffee dosing are all up for experimentation!