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Friday, September 4, 2015

A Cheaper Coffee Grinder

When Your Coffee Grinder Breaks...

Mr. Coffee Burr Grinder with Bean Storage
Mr. Coffee Burr Grinder with Bean Storage

The other day, my coffee grinder failed, and it threw my day into chaos.  I had a nice Mr. Coffee burr grinder with a built-in storage container for the coffee beans.  It had worked well for about 3 years, but something broke and it would no longer grind.  I tried emptying it and cleaning it, but still no luck.  I suspect that one of the safety switches that prevents the grinder from running if everything isn't closed had failed.

The reason losing my coffee grinder was so chaotic is that it happened in the morning, and I didn't have any coffee grounds around.  I thought about trying to crush some coffee beans by putting them in a zip-lock bag and hitting them with a meat tenderizer, but that seemed like a lot of work.

I ended up stopping at a coffee shop on the way to work.  This is so expensive compared with making coffee at home that I rarely do this.  Plus, I can make better coffee at home.  Not to mention that I had to wait about 30 minutes longer than usual to get my coffee.  Chaos!

You can see why getting another coffee grinder was number one on my list of things to do.  Since I was pretty unhappy with my old grinder since it failed on me, I didn't want to get another one just like it.  If fact, I was ready to try something simpler and cheaper.

What I ended up with was also a Mr. Coffee product, but it is a simple blade grinder without a coffee bean dispenser.  The coffee bean dispenser on my old coffee grinder would sometimes get jammed up, so I was ready to try one without built-in bean storage.  I have glass coffee bean jars from my days using a hand grinder years ago, so I already have a good place to store beans.

Simple blade coffee grinder for $17
My Replacement Coffee Grinder: Simple blade coffee grinder for $17

The cost of the cheaper grinder was $17 instead of $35 for the burr grinder.  My main concern with getting a blade grinder is that I worried that the blade would heat up the beans during grinding and damage the flavor.  So far, I have not found this to be a problem.  This model has an adjustable timer based on how much coffee you are grinding.  You just hold the grind button down, and the grinding automatically shuts off after enough time has passed for adequate grinding.

I have tried both light roast Kona and dark roast French Roast with my new coffee grinder, and both taste great with no loss or distortion of flavor from using a blade grinder instead of a burr grinder.

It takes a bit more effort to scoop the coffee beans into the grinder, but this provides an opportunity for me to make custom blends of coffee from different kinds of coffee beans.

One nice feature of the Mr. Coffee blade grinder is that it has a "chamber maid" feature.  Someone had fun naming this...  The dispenser for coffee grounds has some built-in scrapers, and you can twist the housing to easily get all of your coffee grounds to pour out.  Otherwise, you would need to use a brush to remove all of the coffee grounds that stick to the sides of the dispenser cup that holds the grounds.

So far, simpler is better.  I have had no trouble with my new coffee grinder and hope it will last for many years.  I decided that saving $18 and having a simpler piece of equipment was the way to go.

Copyright © 2015 Dr. Penny Pincher. All Rights Reserved. Coffee Maker Journal

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