New coffee toy! It’s a coffee grinder. My grandmother had one of these; I think my aunt (her daughter) has it now. Not exactly like this one; hers was a wooden box with an iron crank on top. If memory serves, she kept pennies in it. The last time I asked her, she said she hadn’t used it to grind coffee in years, which is a pity because a coffee grinder like this one is praised by one and all as the best way to grind coffee. It grinds all the beans to granules of a uniform size, and you can adjust it to make the granules course as sand or fine as powder. The more things change, the more they remain the same.
Mine has a plastic body and the grinding teeth are made of ceramics, but even though the materials have changed, the mechanism is practically identical. I dump a measured amount of beans through the sliding door in the top, and when I turn the crank, ground coffee comes out the black spout in the bottom. It’s simplicity at its finest.
What makes this particular make (or model?) of coffee grinder really wonderful is it cost me only twenty bucks, fifteen to purchase the grinder and five for postage and handling. If you visit a kitchen gadget store you’ll find that most of the coffee grinders like this one, called a “conical burr grinder,” sell for upwards of eighty bucks! I looked, but I could never find one cheaper than forty-five dollars. My cheapskate gene kicks in at a double sawbuck, so I never took one home.
Until I read a tip from the Lifehacker web site about a compact coffee grinder called JavaGrind. For fifteen bucks, I didn’t see how I could pass it up. I ordered it on-line from You Know Who-a-zon and it came in the mail yesterday. Took it out for a spin the first time this morning and I can tell you it does just what they say it does. No missed beans slipped through, no extra-fine powder turned to sludge and clogged up the filter. My only complaint is that there’s no easy way to hold on to the round plastic body, so it tends to pry itself from my fingers whenever I crank a little harder to force a particularly reluctant bean through the grinder. I may have to disappear into the work shop to knock together a wooden box, just like grandma’s, that will hold it firmly while I turn the crank.