Kaffee Handmühlen Guide

Coffee hand mill guide

How do I find the best hand mill?

On the coffee hand mill horizon there is a wide range from no-name products for €20 to grinders that cost several hundred euros. We want to help you identify the right hand mill for you.
In this article we will also discuss the hand mills available in our online shop, but the criteria and information discussed are also generally valid and applicable to other hand mills.

Which hand mill is right for me?

Choosing the right grinder depends largely on which coffees you drink and which preparation method you use. Espresso, filter coffee, French press or mocha pot.

The general rule is: the finer the grind required, the higher quality the hand mill and the grinder must be. Fine espresso grinds are the Champions League, so to speak.

This also means that the more espresso capability you want, the higher the purchase price will be.

Important factors for using a hand mill are the quality of workmanship, longevity, suitability for everyday use and the grinder.

Processing quality and durability of hand mills

We carried out a large test of hand mills in the under €100 range in 2020. Many of the various mills tested are no longer available today. During the test, we also noticed that some hand mills showed signs of dissolution the first time they were used.

Tip: ask the seller before buying whether he offers spare parts or repairs for the mill.

Which is the best hand mill grinder?

You will find different materials from which hand mill grinders are made. When it comes to hand mills, we have not been able to find any convincing ceramic grinders in our tests.

All manufacturers of high-quality hand mills such as Comandante, Timemore, Etzinger and Kinu rely on stainless steel grinders.

A look at electronic mills shows that ceramic grinders are sometimes used and not exclusively stainless steel grinding discs.

Timemore hand mill

The shape of the grinding cones used in hand mills varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, as the manufacturers have each developed their own patents and have them produced by large grinder manufacturers.

The suitability of hand mills for everyday use

The right ergonomics

A very important factor is the suitability of a hand mill for everyday use. Even if a hand mill manages to achieve the right degree of grinding for the preferred method of preparation, that does not mean that grinding is easy by hand.

For example, many of the very cheap mills have a very thin crank, which does not allow for ergonomically comfortable grinding. This means that it is not suitable for everyday use and the mill quickly gathers dust in the cupboard because it is simply no fun.

The grinding speed 

The second important factor in daily use is speed - how long it takes for the beans to be ground.

As a rule, you will not find any information about this from the manufacturer or seller. The background is that it is not uncommon for a hand mill to require more than 5 minutes for 18g of espresso-fine ground material. It is important to add here that the most transparent method of specifying the grinding speed is the number of crank revolutions required. However, how fast you turn is very individual.

Tip: Find out the number of revolutions required for an espresso grind.

Which hand grinder for espresso?

To prepare an espresso, very fine grinds are required. It is therefore imperative that the hand mill can grind finely enough.

ATTENTION: this is not the case with every hand mill (even if this is sometimes advertised by the manufacturer).

It is also important that grinding is easy to do by hand. This means that ergonomics, ease of movement and grinding speed must result in a functioning overall package.

Tip: Look for hand grinders that have both a recommended setting for espresso AND a rotation or time specification for a standard amount of beans (18g).

Setting the grinding level on a hand mill

Almost all hand mills work with a click system. The challenge is to find the right click setting for the desired preparation method in combination with the coffee you use.

It sounds complicated, but with the right information and support it's not that difficult. Basically, the smaller the click number, the finer the ground material. However, you should not use the lowest click levels, as grinding could cause the grinder to wear out more quickly (as the grinding discs touch each other).

Which grind level for espresso?

Setting the hand grinder for espresso takes place in the following steps:

  1. What is the grinder manufacturer's click recommendation for espresso? This is a good basis, but it may very well be that this is not the setting for “your” espresso.
  2. What is the desired extraction ratio? A standard recipe, for example valid for our APAS espresso, is 1:2.5 in 25 seconds. This means that 18g of ground material becomes 45g of drink in the cup for a double espresso (for two simple espressos you place two cups underneath and have 2x 22.5g as a result). The whole thing in 25 seconds.
  3. If the espresso in the portafilter machine ran too quickly, the grinding level must be adjusted finer. If the espresso runs too slowly, the ground material has to be coarser, so you increase the number of clicks.
  4. If you don't get a recipe exactly right, click level 7 is too fine, but click level 8 is too coarse, you have two options: On some mills, the click wheel can be placed between two click levels. If that doesn't work, you can use 0.5-1g more coffee and adjust the ratio accordingly. This ensures a little more ground material in the portafilter, which also reduces the flow.

Tip: Ask the seller about the recommended grind setting for your type of preparation

Which grind level for filter coffee?

Setting the hand grinder for filter coffee is done in the following steps.

What click recommendation from the grinder manufacturer or seller is there for your fliter coffee method?

From the AeroPress to the classic V60 hand filter to the stamp pot, i.e. the French Press, an increasingly coarse grind is required.

The seller or grinder manufacturer should provide click recommendations for these grind sizes.

Which hand mills do we sell?

We deal intensively with the topic of hand mills every day. Based on our experiences, we have put together our range of hand mills.

There are many hand coffee grinder manufacturers and many more different models. We consciously chose the selection we offer because we want to make your decision easier. In our opinion, it makes no sense to offer dozens of hand mills - that would only make the decision even more complicated.

The current range:

The Timemore C2 and Timemore Slim Plus are no longer produced by Timemore, so we have added the two successor products Timemore C3 Pro and Timemore Slim 3 to the range.

Tip: All Timemore hand mills mentioned come from the Timemore Chestnut series. You will occasionally find the name Timemore Chestnut Slim 3 or Timemore Chestnut C3 Pro. This is the same hand mill as listed above.

Our range of hand mills

These four hand mills cover a wide range of coffee options.

The Timemore C3 Pro offers a very strong price-performance package with good manufacturing quality.

Timemore Chestnut C3 Pro

The Timemore Slim 3 offers a very good price-performance ratio, is made from one piece of aluminum and impresses with its design and quality.

Timemore Chestnut Slim 3

The Comandante C40 MK4 is a high-quality hand mill from the premium segment and is produced in Germany.

Commander C40 MK4

With the optional RedClix extension, the Comandante C40 MK4 can make very fine settings in the espresso range. When it comes to the ability to adjust a precise grind, the Comandante C40 MK4 with the RedClix extension achieves full points.

Comandante C40 MK4 with Red Clix update

The newest hand mill in our range is the Comandante X25 Trailmaster . The Red Clix axle can also be installed here. The grinding properties are comparable to the Comandante C40 MK4 .

The Trailmaster is particularly suitable for outdoor use. We took a closer look at this mill in this video.

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