All about manual coffee grinders

A manual coffee grinder is a great option at home for daily coffee grinding. It is also a great idea to have one to take with you when you go on a trip.

This post focuses on the importance of having a manual coffee grinder at home if you don’t have a professional one. It provides insights into the benefits of using a manual grinder and advises on key factors to consider when purchasing one.

A manual grinder is the best option if you don’t have a professional grinder. The option of having a professional grinder is limited to professionals or people with a high purchasing capacity due to the price of these machines.

Why is it better to grind coffee?

Freshly ground coffee beans will always surpass pre-ground coffee in aroma and flavour. By retaining all their organoleptic properties, freshly ground beans offer superior taste and scent.

This is because ground coffee has more surface area in contact with the air and then begins to oxidise and lose properties.

Coffee is directly affected by contact with air, light, high temperatures and external odours. As soon as it is roasted, it begins to lose its qualities, and this loss is multiplied when the beans are ground.

With a manual coffee grinder, we instantly ensure maximum freshness to enjoy our drink, avoiding the loss of aroma and flavour that ground coffee suffers.

These are some of the basic keys to enjoying a great coffee:

  • You can also go for roasted coffee at a good professional roastery that sells freshly roasted coffee.
  • You buy a few days’ worths of coffee and don’t store it, as it doesn’t do well over time.
  • You grind it just before you start extracting, just after you have ground the amount needed for your extraction method.
  • Also, note the degree of the grind of the coffee, so you’ll be well on your way to having great coffee in your cup.

So go back to the manual coffee grinder, an element that has evolved a lot in recent years; with manual design models, more precise and very easy to use, it is not a bad idea.

What elements to consider before buying a manual coffee grinder?

What are you going to use the manual coffee grinder for?

The manual coffee grinder is interesting for personal or domestic coffee consumption when a professional espresso machine is not used.

If your option is to make coffee for the public, you will undoubtedly need a professional grinder. It is clear then that the manual grinder is always for home use. With the manual grinder, we can also get to the precise ritual of making coffee, whether in a Moka pot, French press, Chemex, Siphon, etc.

What do we look for in a manual coffee grinder?


You have to choose one with a conical burr grinder and one that allows precise adjustment. The material is almost indistinct; although stainless steel is better, they last longer and are more expensive.

Ease of Grip

As it is manual, it is for making one or two coffees because it would be tedious to use it to make ten or twenty coffees. Grinding with a manual coffee grinder is an effort you must be willing to take on every time you want a coffee.

It is certainly a much greater effort than an automatic coffee grinder. Still, it allows us to control the grind more precisely and in a personalised way, as well as to prepare only the exact amount we need.

They are perfect for individual use, small families, and travelling. They take up little space, can be used anywhere and are much cheaper than electric grinders, plus they make very little noise.

Size and capacity of the manual coffee grinder

With the rise of manual coffee and its preparation on the go, thanks in particular to the popularity of the Aeropress, coffee grinders have been modernised with very compact models. In general, they are small devices, but there are some really small ones, with a tank of just 20 grams, which are ideal for preparing a single coffee for yourself.

If you prefer to make coffee for two or more people, or if you plan to serve more than one cup quickly, invest in a model with a 60-100 g capacity. You can prepare all the coffee you need in a single grind.

However, if you plan to take the grinder with you on trips, remember that the larger it is, the heavier and the more space it will take up.

Design and user-friendliness of the manual grinder

Here we have to strike a balance between personal taste, ease of use and the model’s overall quality.

You will find everything from grinders that follow the classic antique style, with their wooden drawer and everything in the form of a tank, to much more modern, minimalist and elegant products. Choose the option you prefer.

Materials and shape of the coffee grinder

The body of the manual grinder should be resistant to daily use, even more so if it is a portable model to take on trips or excursions. They can be made of hard, opaque or transparent plastic, metal or a combination of both, occasionally with pieces of glass or wood in vintage models.

The grinding burr and handle material are more important, as they will do the most work and must perform without breaking or being damaged. Therefore, it is best to opt for grinders with solid metal handles with a good grip.

The crucial aspect of a grinder is the grinding burr, which must grind without damaging the coffee. The best ones are made of high-quality ceramic or stainless steel, preferably with a double bearing, not a smooth profile.

Grinding control

Since each coffee machine, the type of preparation, the coffee varieties or personal taste require a different degree of grinding; the grinder should offer the option of graduating the grind.

At least three levels of grind thickness are the best way to play with the possibilities offered by each grind.

  • Coarse: When the grind is coarse, the coffee does not stay on your fingers. Suitable for coffee machines such as the French press or pot coffee.
  • Medium: Coffee with a medium grind slightly soils the fingertips, and much of the coffee does not stick to the fingers. This is the type of grind used in filter systems such as the Chemex or the V60.
  • Fine: This is fine-grind coffee when the coffee sticks easily to the fingertips and stains them. This would be suitable for the Moka pot.

There are no exact values that determine each type of grind. But there is a simple method that can help you. To do this, take some ground coffee by pinching it with your index finger and thumb and rub them together carefully.

Then there are degrees; for example, if both grinds are fine, the espresso machine needs a finer grind than the Moka pot. And it must be said; this is very difficult to achieve with a manual grinder.

Extra details 

To decide between one model or another, small details such as:

  • The inclusion of measuring marks for the volume of cups.
  • You can see what you are grinding without opening the manual grinder.
  • That it comes with cleaning accessories, maybe you can use a toothbrush or a paintbrush, but if it comes with these accessories, it is appreciated because there are places that are difficult to access.
  • Ergonomics or comfort of grip.
  • It includes spare parts or a bag or box for storage.

Advantages of the manual coffee grinder

  • The quality manual grinder can be precise without spending much money on it.
  • They are beautiful and decorative.
  • They are also portable, we don’t need electricity, and we can take them camping.

Disadvantages of the manual coffee grinder

  • The main disadvantage is that they require a lot of effort to grind.