The Greatest Handheld Espresso Grinders of 2022

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Straight to the Level

Whereas the 1Zpresso JX Guide Espresso Grinder excelled comfy of use, grinding pace, and taste high quality, the Comandante C40 MK4 gained on brew high quality alone. For a extra entry-level possibility, the Timemore C2 Max Guide Grinder delivered usability and taste with a extra approachable (underneath $100) worth level.

After I used to coach baristas as my full-time job, I traveled so much. Some months I’d fly off to a few completely different cities, and each morning, even after I was going straight to an espresso coaching, I made positive I packed my trusty handheld grinder and a pourover rig so I may get pleasure from a morning espresso by myself time. 

Or, perhaps, get pleasure from isn’t fairly the fitting phrase. I’ve had the identical handheld grinder for nearly a decade, and whereas it does the job, the ensuing espresso is simply satisfactory. However, as I stated, it’s been a very long time since I purchased that little, transportable grinder. It was time to judge the advances in transportable grinder expertise.

After I got down to begin testing these handheld espresso grinders, I knew there could be all kinds to select from. As a result of individuals may need completely different motivations for buying a handgrinder, I attempted to pick out quite a lot of espresso grinders at completely different worth factors. Given my historical past with handgrinders, I used to be skeptical that any of those fashions may obtain cup-quality that rivaled my Virtuoso+, which additionally occurs to be our high burr grinder. After the primary few rounds of testing, nevertheless, I used to be able to eat my phrases, or fairly, I suppose, grind them up, brew them sizzling, and drink them. 

The Winners, at a Look

The Greatest Handheld Espresso Grinder: 1Zpresso JX Guide Espresso Grinder

manual coffee grinder against a white background

Not solely was the 1Zpresso JX Guide the quickest grinder I examined, however the cup high quality matched that of our favourite motorized burr grinder. With sturdy supplies and exact manufacturing, the 1Zpresso JX Guide was simple to grind with and easy to regulate. 

The Greatest Splurge Handheld Espresso Grinder: Comandante C40 MK4

Comandante Grinder

The Comandante C40 MK4 is costly, however for critical espresso of us, it might be value it. The Comandante boasts customized burrs made out of a high-nitrogen metal and the espresso grounds it produced brewed a few of the best-tasting espresso I’ve ever had.

The Greatest Price range Handheld Espresso Grinder: Timemore C2 Max Guide Grinder

the Timemore grinder against a white background

For individuals searching for a grinder that produces great-tasting espresso at a worth level decrease than most motorized grinders, the Timemore C2 Max was simple to make use of and almost matched our general decide in each check. 

The Assessments

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

  • Consistency Take a look at: With a view to consider the consistency of every grinder, I used a Kruve sifter to evaluate particle distribution, identical to in our motorized grinder evaluation. The Kruve makes use of completely different screens with various gap sizes rated by micron. Based mostly on our earlier testing, a variety of 600-800 microns is extra preferrred for drip and pourover espresso brewing. I chosen a smaller display screen at 500 microns to sift out fines, and a bigger display screen at 1400 microns to sift out bigger boulders. I floor 30 grams of espresso in every grinder after which sifted the outcomes, weighing out whole particles above 1400 microns, between 500-1400 microns, and fewer than 500 microns. The highest-performing grinders have been then re-evaluated after being dialed in to supply higher tasting espresso.
  • Pace Assessments: With a view to check the pace of every grinder, I floor 30 grams of a medium roast espresso and timed the outcomes. I then floor 30 grams of a light-roast single origin espresso and timed the outcomes. Lighter roasted espresso tends to be denser, and handgrinders can generally get caught briefly on a dense espresso bean, slowing down the entire grind time and even dislodging the deal with out of your grip. I famous the grind instances for every espresso together with what number of instances the grinders received hung up throughout each assessments.
  • Pourover Style Take a look at: To guage style, I made a pourover from every grinder with the medium roast espresso. I adopted our customary pourover information, utilizing 30 grams of espresso and 500 grams of water, and made be aware of how rapidly the espresso brewed, general circulation of the water via the espresso, and tasted the outcomes to judge which grinder brewed the best-tasting espresso. The highest-performing grinders have been additionally re-tested with grind changes as a way to dial-in the very best pourover for every grinder. 
  • Cupping Double Blind Style Take a look at: With a view to additional consider style, I created a double blind cupping style check. Cupping is a straightforward immersion brew technique that permits you to brew a number of cups at the very same time underneath the identical circumstances, making it the business customary for espresso taste analysis. A double blind cupping would each let me style espresso from every grinder side-by-side with out figuring out which grinder I used to be tasting, and would additionally do a strong job at mimicking how every grinder would carry out when brewed as a French press. Every grinder was assigned a quantity, and every corresponding glass was labeled with that quantity on its base. I weighed out and floor 12 grams of the medium roast mix into every 7-ounce glass after which shuffled the glasses till I could not keep in mind which one was which. Every glass was then assigned a letter, after which I stuffed every glass with water simply off the boil. At 4 minutes, I broke the crust with the again of the spoon and eliminated any floating espresso particle, and started evaluating every cup for taste on the 15-minute mark. After taking notes, I tied every letter to the quantity on the underside of the glass, and assigned the flavour notes to every grinder.
  • Usability Assessments: Every handgrinder was evaluated for the way simple and intuitive the grind adjustment mechanism was, how properly each bit match collectively, and the way simple every deal with was to crank. Total supplies, weight, consolation, and portability have been additionally examined.

Why Does a Good Espresso Grinder Matter?

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

Crucial piece of kit in brewing espresso is a high-quality grinder. And as a 16-year veteran of the specialty espresso business, it’s the identical piece of recommendation I give to anybody who likes to brew espresso at residence. There’s a serious purpose a terrific grinder issues, and it’s associated to how they work. Whereas a part of espresso grinding is breaking down huge, rounded beans into particles to ensure that the brewing water to dissolve solids out of them extra simply, it additionally issues a terrific deal how these beans are damaged down. 

One main aspect of espresso grinding is attaining constant particle sizes, and that is one thing that will get harped on so much when evaluating a burr grinder to a spinning blade grinder. Blade grinders are likely to pulverize greater than lower, which works properly for spices you wish to flip right into a powder. Espresso, nevertheless, doesn’t wish to be a powder. As a result of each espresso bean incorporates tasty acids and sugars and un-tasty bitter and astringent compounds, pulverizing espresso ensures extra of these disagreeable flavors are going to finish up in your cup. Cease in need of utterly dustifying your espresso in a blade grinder and also you’ll discover your grinds include loads of massive, jagged items (boulders) together with super-fine dust-like particles (fines). Whereas there may be all the time going to be some stage of various particle sizes in a grind profile, the extremes a blade grinder produces offers you underextracted, bitter flavors from the boulders together with super-bitter and dry flavors from the fines. 

Burr grinders function with two adjustable burrs: one static, and one which spins. These two burrs function quite a lot of enamel and will be adjusted nearer or additional away from one another, making certain that as espresso passes via them and is floor up, each particle is comparatively the identical dimension. However that’s not the entire story. 

A very good-quality burr grinder doesn’t simply break up particles into related sizes, it really cuts the espresso with sharp, chopping edges on the burrs themselves. There are many low-cost burr grinders on the market and even industrial, crushing burr grinders which might be designed to, once more, pulverize espresso, solely this time right into a extra constant particle dimension. When espresso particles are crushed as a substitute of lower, they’ve jagged inconsistent surfaces that extract erratically, making it tougher to get simply the sweeter, extra balanced flavors out of every particle. Coffees brewed from these grinders tends to be muddled and murky, dropping all nuance and taking over a dry, ashy end. Clear, advanced flavors require precision, and that idea—precision—is a good segway into discussing handgrinders. 

Why Purchase a Handheld Espresso Grinder?

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

There are quite a lot of causes to contemplate a handheld espresso grinder—quite a lot of fashions are cheaper, they’re normally a lot smaller, they usually’re far more transportable than their motorized counterparts. And for a few years, the handgrinder was the favourite of backpackers, old-school collectors, and budget-savvy espresso nerds trying to enhance their residence recreation with out breaking the financial institution. As of late, there’s a brand new view on what handgrinders are able to: precision. Motorized grinders can warmth freshly floor espresso, inflicting the standard to degrade. Most good motorized grinders promote high-torque motors that may grind slower because of this. Handgrinders, nevertheless, generate approach much less warmth and don’t want half as a lot torque to get via espresso. Due to this, there’s a brand new wave of precision-designed handgrinders which might be marketed as the final word grinding platform for consistency and high quality, besting a few of their motorized counterparts. 

It is value noting that we nonetheless advocate motorized grinders for day by day espresso brewing, based mostly on ease of use, grind high quality, and the power to regulate grind settings simply. A handheld espresso grinder could be a welcome addition to your espresso shelf, nevertheless, particularly for those who like to journey, are on a funds, are brief on area, or are simply searching for the occasional arm exercise. 

What We Discovered

Particle Distribution Cannot At all times Predict Taste High quality

A double blind cupping was key to figuring out the grinder that produced the very best tasting espresso.

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

The most effective tasting espresso got here from the Comandante C40, which constantly had the bottom share of fines amongst all grinders examined, round 3% by whole weight. It additionally produced the very best share of espresso particles within the preferrred drip vary, 500-1400 microns. However that didn’t carry over for our general decide, the 1Zpresso JX, or our funds decide, the Timemore C2. 

Each of these grinders carried out nice in our style assessments, however neither of them mirrored the particle distribution of the Comandante. Over half of the particles produced by the 1Zpresso JX have been thought of boulders, or bigger than 1400 microns, and the fines produced averaged 7% by whole weight. Whereas the Timemore C2 produced fewer fines the 1Zpresso JX, it nonetheless ranked third in style assessments, exhibiting that the uncooked knowledge doesn’t all the time correlate to flavors within the cup. 

To verify this wasn’t a fluke, I examined my Baratza Virtuoso+, our high motorized decide, as a management grinder. The Virtuoso+ excelled in each style check, going face to face with the Comandante C40, however its grind particle distribution chart was all around the map. It produced a whopping 7.5% fines by weight, and solely 33% of the espresso was within the preferrred pourover vary

Like I discussed within the intro, it’s not simply particle distribution that has a bearing on cup high quality—the model and high quality of the grind itself issues. The Hario Mini Mill Slim had the very best share of particles within the preferrred 500-1400 micron vary throughout our first spherical of testing at 61% with 6% fines by weight, however in each the pourover and cupping style assessments, espresso from this grinder tasted uninteresting and murky. The trivia of espresso grinding will be actually onerous to parse out by knowledge alone, and there so many components in grind high quality from burr design to burr materials to how the burrs are seated and the way the drive shaft is connected that it’s difficult saying for positive why one grinder performs a sure approach in particle distribution assessments and a special approach throughout style assessments. Nevertheless it’s additionally a terrific purpose why I weighed style assessments greater when selecting our winners.

It’s Very Tough To Gauge Grind Measurement By Sight

White paper comparability assessments have been useful, however did not inform the entire story.

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

The human eye is fairly wonderful, however my first few instances attempting to gauge an ordinary grind dimension to check every grinder with have been all around the map, and particle distribution knowledge confirmed me why. Even when espresso from two completely different grinders appeared similar on a white paper check, the particle distribution may present that one grinder produced far more boulders than the opposite in a approach that was imperceptible by sight alone. That even begs to query: what’s a grind dimension measurement? If each grinder goes to supply quite a lot of espresso particles of various sizes and completely different concentrations, can one even measure two completely different grinders towards one another and declare that you simply have been utilizing the identical grind dimension for each?

The scientific reply is, after all, no. The lifelike kitchen testing reply is, properly, positive: the general common particle dimension distribution may need been barely greater or decrease for every of the three classes separated by the 2 sieve filters, however throughout the board, each grinder produced a grind that was round 40-60% above 1400 microns, 40-60% between 500-1400 microns, and round 3-7% under 500 microns. These are very, very small measurements, and so the granular stage of precision evaluated in these assessments will seemingly have little or no impact on anybody’s precise utilization of those grinders to brew espresso. Actually, what these assessments have confirmed is that every one of those grinders can produce a reasonably correct particle distribution check and function with a baseline precision that many decrease grade motorized burr grinders or spinning blade spice grinders can’t.

A Twin Ball Bearing Drive In The Crank Was An Absolute Necessity

The ball-bearing driveshaft saved grinding from being a chore.

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

All three of our successful grinders featured a twin ball bearing system within the hand crank meeting, and to be completely trustworthy, I’d by no means think about using a handgrinder with out this function ever once more, even when it produced the best-tasting espresso I’ve ever had. Whereas most traditional grinders require a little bit of pressure and energy to get the deal with to show in any respect, the ball bearing cranks are in a position to spin freely in a circle a number of instances simply with a light-weight push. And when espresso begins so as to add resistance to the cranks, it’s simple to construct momentum and energy via even the densest, light-roasted single origin coffees with out breaking a sweat. The identical can’t be stated for our decrease scoring grinders, with each Hario grinders and the Porlex leaving me a little bit hotter and in need of breath after a marathon grinding session.

Our Three Favourite Grinders Had Extraordinarily Related Design Options

Virtually each grinder featured a guide click on wheel adjustment on the underside of the burrs, however our three favorites had clear illustrations indicating which course was coarser or finer.

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

When it got here to person expertise, some grinders (like the 2 from Orphan) had needlessly difficult grind adjustment methods. On the similar time, the 1Zpresso Okay-Max ought to have been an improve over the JX Guide, however I discovered its exterior grind adjustment ring too simple to unintentionally regulate, and the magnetically connected grinds bin felt like an accident ready to spill espresso all around the flooring. The three winners, nevertheless, all featured an offset crank with a big spherical deal with that connected to a hexagonal drive shaft mounted on two ball bearings for straightforward cranking. Every of those grinders additionally featured a firmly held in place spinning burr that doesn’t wobble facet to facet. Different fashions had a little bit of give, which may trigger the grinding burr to lean left or proper barely and create extra inconsistencies in particle dimension.

All three of our winners additionally featured a primary, cylindrical type with a textured physique for straightforward grip and a screw-in grinds bin to remain firmly connected even throughout essentially the most aggressive cranking. And at last, all three of our winners featured a clicking adjustment lever on the underside of the burrs, each making certain that the grind dimension can lock into place simply and never be unintentionally moved when selecting up and placing down the grinder.

The Standards: What to Search for In a Handheld Espresso Grinder

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub / Grace Kelly

A very glorious handgrinder will ship amazing-tasting espresso for any drip or immersion brew technique. It ought to be simple to gauge a basic grind adjustment to make it easy to dial in to your most popular brew technique and supply high-precision at quite a lot of grind settings. The most effective handgrinders are made out of sturdy supplies and may have easy, easy-to-crank handles and a grinds catching bin that sturdily screws into the underside of the grinder. And to guarantee that a terrific handgrinder is a software designed for constant utilization, the very best handgrinders can grind via espresso rapidly and with little or no effort.

The Greatest Handheld Espresso Grinder: 1Zpresso JX Guide Espresso Grinder

manual coffee grinder against a white background

What we appreciated: Grinding with the 1Zpresso JX was a dream, and it constantly labored 40-50% quicker than it’s opponents. The rubber grip on the physique of the grinder made it simple to carry onto when grinding, and the massive rounded wood deal with on the crank supplied nice leverage. On high of its excessive efficiency in each the pourover and cupping style assessments, the 1Zpresso JX was only a easy and intuitive grinder to function with only a few shifting components. Its grind adjustment wingnut was simple to learn and locked into place, firmly securing your chosen grind dimension, and its grinds catching bin was completely machined to screw onto the bottom of the grinder tightly. Whereas the worth level might sound excessive to some, the grinder felt extraordinarily high-quality. It’s my private opinion that as a result of a grinder can have a such a dramatic affect on the standard of espresso in your house, it’s a worthwhile funding. 

What we didn’t like: The most important downfall of the 1Zpresso JX Guide is that it didn’t totally dwell as much as our motorized management check grinder, the Virtuoso+. That is smart: the Virtuoso+ is a precision grinder and a workhorse in the next worth class. I don’t assume that’s an enormous knock towards the 1Zpresso JX Guide: if I used to be completely happy with the standard of the cups I used to be brewing from it, most residence espresso customers will probably be too. The one different potential draw back is its weight: at 1.5 kilos, it’s a considerable piece for any residence, however for weight-skimping backpackers, it would tip the scales throughout lengthy haul hikes.

Key Specs

  • Capability: 30-35 gram hopper and grinds bin
  • Weight: 1.5 kilos
  • Peak: 7 inches
  • Burrs: 48mm chrome steel
  • Time to grind 30 grams of espresso: 23 seconds

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

The Greatest Splurge Handheld Espresso Grinder: Comandante C40 MK4

Comandante Grinder

What we appreciated: The Comandante C40 MK4 delivered one of many best-tasting coffees I’ve brewed, ever. It’s a premium grinder at a premium worth level, nevertheless it delivers. Successful out a number of pourover style assessments in addition to skyrocketing above the competitors within the double blind cupping style check, the Comandante was the one grinder examined that rivaled the Virutoso+ and even in some instances excelled above the motorized grinder’s efficiency. Operationally, the Comandante was simple to make use of with a twin ball bearing hand crank, and featured a easy grind adjustment knob. The actually nice innovation right here is the burr set: the Comandante makes use of an in-house designed burr set made out of a custom-selected high-nitrogen content material chrome steel. Whereas it is perhaps simple to put in writing off this advertising materials as hype for the grinder, the truth is that the Comandante is unbelievable. It’s really a uniquely exact grinder the delivered the bottom percentages of fines in each particle distribution check. 

What we didn’t like: The most important difficulty with the Comandante C40 MK4 is the worth level. It’s onerous to advocate a grinder this costly to anybody however true espresso of us, and on the similar time, ignoring its dominance in our testing simply because it was dear felt disingenuous. Whereas nobody actually wants a grinder that performs this properly for themselves, some individuals may need a grinder this exact, and for these people who find themselves ready to pay for it, the Comandante will ship.

Key Specs

  • Capability: 30-35 gram hopper and grinds bin 
  • Weight: 1.25 kilos
  • Peak: 6.3 inches
  • Burrs: 39mm patented high-alloyed high-nitrogen chrome steel
  • Time to grind 30 grams of espresso: 42 seconds

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

The Greatest Price range Handheld Espresso Grinder: Timemore C2 Max Guide Grinder

the Timemore grinder against a white background

What we appreciated: Almost a clone of our general high decide, the Timemore C2 Max delivered the identical nice grinding expertise and easy design I’d gotten used to. The slimmest and lightest of our three winners, The Timemore C2 Max is the very best decide for campers, and the textured cylindrical physique is each extraordinarily eye-catching and supplied glorious grip whereas grinding. Sporting style check outcomes that almost matched that of the 1Zpresso JX, most residence espresso drinkers couldn’t decide up on cup high quality variations until they have been doing a side-by-side style check. And at a extra approachable worth level seemingly with out sacrificing sturdy development, The Timemore C2 Max seems like a strong deal all-around. 

What we didn’t like: It could be choosy, however the grinds bin screws on in the identical course of the hand crank, and since the grinds bin is textured just like the physique of the grinder, it’s simpler to unintentionally loosen it when grinding. The Timemore C2 Max additionally had extra dryness and fewer complexity than our different winners within the style assessments, however the variations have been minimal.

Key Specs

  • Capability: 30 gram hopper and grinds bin
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Peak: 7 inches
  • Burrs: 38mm chrome steel
  • Time to grind 30 grams of espresso: 28 seconds

Severe Eats / Jesse Raub

The Competitors

  • Porlex JP-30: The Porlex has been an ordinary for light-weight journey for years, however its crank design was tough to make use of and the espresso it produced was flat, dry, and lacked sweetness. 
  • Orphan Espresso Fixie: Although it brewed a pleasant espresso, the Fixie makes use of a collection of disc spacers added to the drive shaft to regulate the grind dimension. With an odd side-loading system and a set deal with that wasn’t simple to take away, it was a baffling person expertise that will be onerous to advocate. 
  • Orphan Espresso Lido 3: Giant and hulking, the Lido 3 from Orphan Espresso had a tough to handle collection of grind adjustment rings together with a brief crank that lacked the leverage different fashions had. The cup high quality was good, however the person expertise was not. 
  • Hario Mini Slim Plus: Light-weight and small, the Mini Slim Plus appeared like one other good journey possibility however produced dry, flat, and chalky-tasting espresso. 
  • Hario Skerton Professional: The bulbous design of of the Skerton Professional made it onerous to know onto, and the cup high quality was additionally missing. 
  • 1Zpresso Okay-Max: Marketed as an improve to the JX Guide, I discovered the Okay-Max’s exterior adjustment ring too simple to unintentionally regulate, dropping your most popular grind dimension. I used to be additionally cautious of the magnetic grinds bin as a substitute of a screw-on kind: it appeared too simple to unintentionally bump and drop onto the ground. 


Is a handheld espresso grinder value it?

Within the big selection of burr grinders, many guide handheld espresso grinders can supply a high-quality precision grind for a decrease price than their motorized counterparts, and are simpler to retailer for individuals with restricted counter area. A handgrinder is particularly helpful for individuals who journey usually. Handgrinders are simple to pack, and are nice for lodge room mornings, cabin getaways, and prolonged mountaineering and tenting journeys.

How lengthy does it take to grind espresso with a hand grinder?

In our testing, high-quality handgrinders may grind 30 grams of espresso between 22 and 45 seconds with minimal effort. The worst performing grinders have been tough to crank and generally took as much as two-and-a-half minutes. A well-made handgrinder will function a twin ball bearing system within the drive shaft, making it simple to crank and grind espresso rapidly.

How lengthy does a guide grinder final?

The burrs in most prime quality handgrinders are rated for round 1500 kilos of espresso earlier than they’d have to be changed, which could possibly be wherever between 5 to 10 years for many espresso drinkers. Whereas high-quality handgrinders are made out of sturdy supplies with precision manufacturing, it’s finest to contact the producer about repairs or burr alternative. As compared, our favourite motorized grinders from Baratza are designed with simple alternative components in thoughts and will be repaired at residence simply.

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