October 7, 2009

Hand Coffee Mill: Mechanism and Usage

A traditional manual coffee mill’s outer shell is made of solid brass or wood.

Design of a hand-crank coffee mill can be box or cylinder. In this article, I mainly talk about cylinder-shaped grinders.

On the top of the mill, you can see a crank handle, which can be lift off to put coffee beans into your mill. Working mechanism of a hand coffee mill is based on same mentality with that of a pepper mill. Just turn the crank to rotate crankshaft in order to grind coffee beans.

(crank handle)
(the upper body of the mill - the crank handle and crankshaft was removed)

The inner conical burr is similar to that of a pepper mill. The burr can be steel or iron. Of course, steel ones last longer than latter one.

(the burr - you can see the residue from the coffee I drank while I was writing this article :-)

(bottom of the upper part - the burr and crankshaft together)

There is a nut (screw), which not only keeps burr stable but also gives you the opportunity of adjusting coarseness. You can change the adjustment by screwing up or down the nut. So, your grinder can be adjusted for ultra fine coffee (for Turkish coffee), or a coarser grind suitable for other brewing methods, such as French-press or espresso. For example, if you want to have Turkish style fine coffee, you should screw the nut as tight as possible without breaking the joist.

(the nut - the model above has an external tool to adjust it)

(bottom of the crankshaft)

Bottom of the mill is a kind of canister. You can easily remove that part to get your ground coffee. Shape of the bottom part can be cylinder or globe. Actually, there’re no differences between two shapes. It just depends on your choice. Some people think globe ones are more ergonomics.

There’re two final tips about using your hand coffee mill. You shouldn’t keep extra beans in your mill. Otherwise, you may get a metallic aroma from your ground coffee. Also, you shouldn’t adjust the nut when there’re coffee beans inside of your mill.


Ed said...

I have a question about the grinder in the picture. It is a Hon. I have one like this. How do I get a finer grind out of it? I ordered one, and it grinds well enough, but no matter what I do, the grind seems quite coarse.

when you say "screw up" or "down", do you mean to screw it so the crankshaft is higher/ /lower? or do you mean tighten/loosen the joist? and should the shaft be pulled up high, or should it be like in your picture, and lowered to where the bottom of the crankshaft is lower than the bottom of the burr, and not flush with it?

I hope I can make this grinder work - it took so long to arrive from Turkey =/

Thank you!


Turkish Coffee Blog said...

Hello Ed,

I meant tightening & loosening it. The shaft should be like in the picture.

While writing this I'm drinking my Turish coffee, hope you can make your grinder work and drink a cup of great Turkish coffee too :)

Good luck..