Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Daily Grind - my entry-level Bodum and Hario coffee grinders

When I started freelancing in December last year, one of the first issues I had to resolve was coffee. You see, I'm an addict (the doctor actually told me that), and there was a Nespresso machine in my old office, so it was never a problem. Weekend coffees at home were random - I have a Bialetti stovetop maker, filters for drip/pour-over, and even the lazy Japanese single-serve pour-overs from UCC (don't laugh, they aren't half bad, and have saved my sanity many a time, especially on travels to Mainland China).

I had bought myself a Hario Mini Mill Slim hand grinder whilst in Fukuoka last year, and while I (as an entry-level coffee brewer) reckon it does a great job, it also requires time and strength on my part, both of which I lack first thing in the morning. My friends came over to my place a couple of times before Christmas and watched me grind their coffee painstakingly by hand.

Hario Mini Mill Slim
We all decided I needed an electric grinder. (When I say "all", I sort of mean it - two of my friends got the exact same grinder for me for Christmas, one has since been exchanged for a Cuisinart hand blender, woohoo more toys!)

The UCC single serves I survive on when in China (in Hong Kong you can buy them at CitySuper. I last stocked up in Taipei where it's a lot cheaper!)

They both bought me the same one because I love the colour purple, and Bodum has these super-pretty ones that are the perfect candy-like purple. I'm very, very grateful for the love and thought, and I'm still using the Bodum, but if you're considering buying one, let me tell you a few things about it that sort of affect my daily routine...

- No fineness adjustment. This also means that the grind isn't of consistent fineness. I need to shake the thing or stop, open and push the grinds around before grinding again.
- The grinds stick to the bottom of the dish (see second photo). Maybe it's static, maybe its moisture, either way, the grinds won't come out no matter if I shake or tap the machine. I end up using the back of a chopstick, then a brush.
- Messiness - despite the compact design, a lot of the grinds actually get into the little crevices and gaps of the machine, which means more brushing...
- The transparent top is not so transparent when it's dusted with a layer of grinds!

That said, I still appreciate the efficiency of an electric grinder, and I like the weight and "solid" feel of the Bodum - I saw some at Target in the US (ok, ok, not the most professional place to go for coffee equipment, but I really only went in to buy towels, and I'm not a zillionaire you know!) and they were a little too toy-ish for my liking.

The Hario slim allows me to adjust the fineness, albeit manually, which is the only thing that trumps the Bodum, but I really can't be bothered to stand in the kitchen idly every morning pushing at my grinder. And when I have guests - whoah! I haven't tried any other electric grinders, and probably won't until this one breaks down, because despite its shortcomings, I've "learned" to use it to suit my needs and now it "works"!

Plus it looks pretty. Until I get a purple Kitchenaid mixer, it'll be the only purple thing on my countertop.


  1. This grinder is very pretty. Prettier than the traditional one with a transparent lid. I don't use it everyday. I ground the beans in advance and put it in the fridge. It keeps very well and save time in the morning. I also use my grinder for almonds and sugar! :)

  2. Grinder is SUCH A pain. It was easy figuring out I wanted the "Clever" dripper, but I'm still grinding every morning at home, and bringing grinds into the office to drip. There's just no way I'm hand cranking beans (those crappy hand grinders are just absolutely inefficient), but the conical grinder at home is much too loud for the office.

    I still don't have a way to grind fresh beans at the office without spending US$200+. The bodums are absolutely useless.

    Might want to look into a Baratza. There should be similar clones in HK.

  3. Hi, i am looking for the "Hario Coffee Grinder Mini Mill Slim" as yours, can share where you bought it? Appreciate it. :)