One of the keys to a great cup of coffee is how you grind the beans. Although the required grind varies depending on your brewing method, it is important to have a consistent ground size. Blade grinders can’t give you this, and although you can have your coffee shop pre-grind your beans, this reduces the length of the time the coffee retains its prime flavour for. Your best solution is a burr grinder. While a blade grinder essentially just cuts and chops the beans, a burr grinder actually grinds them producing a uniform ground size. However, where a typical blade grinder might cost around $20, a standard burr grinder can easily run you upwards of $100. But if you’re willing to put in a bit of elbow grease, a hand powered burr grinder can be had for much less. Among these, I recommend Red Rooster Trading Co.’s Camano Coffee Mill.
The Camano uses a high-quality conical burr grinding mechanism to pulverize your beans into an even and consistent grind. The build-quality of the grinder is excellent. The metalwork and fittings feel firm with no give. Indeed some of the fittings are a touch too tight out of the box, although I’m happy to report they are breaking in with use. The grind size is adjustable, allowing you to switch from a fine espresso grind to a coarser grind with ease. Coffee is loaded into a metal hopper large enough to make several cups of coffee in one go before coming out the bottom into an attached glass jar. A metal and wood hand crank powers the grinder and although it isn’t a chore, you certainly notice the effort required for grinding. I actually enjoy the effort that goes into grinding my coffee. To me, hand-grinding my coffee has a rustic charm which fits well with my aesthetic sense in general. I enjoy the care I take in making a cup of coffee and so this extra effort only adds to the experience for me.