by Jeanette Kierstead
Tammy, and her husband Matt, lived for a time in the Peruvian Amazon studying coffee agriculture.
From the time of the ancient Egyptians people have been grinding coffee beans into powder to enjoy the delicious drink they could make from the powder.
For many years, a stone, wooden or iron mortar and pestle were used to grind the beans.
The first spice grinder was invented in the fifteenth century. It was also used to grind coffee.
In the eighteenth century, coffee grinders underwent many changes and improvements. For example, Turkish grinders were refined to include a cylinder, a pocket, and combination grinder with a folding cup.
Some grinders were made of gold and jewels like the beautiful example of an early oriental coffee grinder which is housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It is made of teak wood and brass. This magnificent nineteenth century coffee grinder, also known as a coffee mill, is decorated with red and green jewels. Within the teak wood are inlays of ivory and brass forming an exquisite pattern.
Popular manufacturers for coffee grinders/mills of today are Arcade, Enterprise, Logan and Stonebridge in the U.S. and Armin Trosser of Germany and DeVe of Holland.
Once you've equipped yourself with a good grinder, the there's only one thing to do: grind some beans and brew up some top-quality coffee ! This is how I go about it:
Turning coffee beans into a delicious, hot beverage will probably include these three basic steps…beginning with the arrival of these little green beauties at my local coffee shop.
Ok, so firstly…
After the beans are processed, they are then roasted, which is something I always left to the pros, until recently I started experimenting with this nifty little roaster I picked up. Its definitely an art form unto itself, but it can be done! Now, I pretty control almost every stage in this game, from the roasting, to my cup, which I really like. I must be a control freak or something At any rate, if the coffee isn't up to snuff, I have no one to blame but myself or my husband, who sometimes is in charge of the whole procedure. And let me tell you, at least once he's had to sleep on the coach after a particularly horrendous job he did once. Its funny in retrospect, but as you can see, it is possible for a couple who roasts together to get into a few ugly tiffs!
This is where I think burr grinders are the far better option over blade grinders. I mean, if I really have to, I can make due with a blade grinder, but its not my preference. Since my days of traveling in Peru, I've gotten used to having a coffee mill on hand, because they are, for one thing, burr grinders. Secondly, and as important to me personally, is that you can take them with you. Yes, they're quite portable. I tend to avoid ones made of glass or anything that will break too easily, because I've taken a few tumbles, and one time it was my glass burr mill that paid the ultimate price. Since my days as "Jungle Jane" are now behind me (until the next time), I tend to opt for something a little less durable than, say, a handy dandy Porlex.
Ok, so now we come to one of my most favorite parts of the whole process of making coffee.
Once the beans are ground to my satisfaction, I then plug in this old workhorse (AKA my Mr. Coffee) and away we go! At our house, this thing is practically going all day brewing up coffee for somebody, and we tend to use the cool thermal carafe it comes with to keep coffee hot while we're working, then coming back to grab a cup of coffee. Whether its me, my husband, our college-aged daughter, or our fifteen year old budding coffee addict Alex, we definitely put our coffee maker to the test during the week.
Making coffee is definitely ingrained in me, and its a ritual I basically can't live without at this point. There's really nothing like that first cup of coffee in the morning just as the sun is coming up to get me feeling like I'm ready to face the day. I think at least 50% of my well-known work ethic can be allocated to coffee. I personally drink about 4 cups a day, which I think is fairly moderate, especially if you brew your own and you're working from home a lot like I am. I tend to be outdoors a lot as well, plus I run a café myself during the summer months, so I'd say my energy output is fairly high.
Many of us put a lot of money into the coffee beans we buy and the machinery we use to brew it, but think nothing of the humble grinder that sits between them. It's a shame-a good grinder can make a world of difference.
Here are some grinders you might want to consider purchasing that should help you make a great cup of coffee. It was a tough call for me to pick my all-time top three, but since I was asked (his exact words were "Oh, come ON!") I eventually came up with three grinders that I think are pretty stellar, as well as some reasons why.
(BTW If you click on the name of the grinder, I will actually get a small cut of the sale)
If I had my choice of one of the 3 reviewed above, I would choose the Hario Skerton. That's my desert island grinder, mainly because its the only one of these grinders that would actually function on a desert island haha. The price is right and I like the fact that it is hand operated. And, like I said, I have a thing for hands-on, portable stuff. I feel like a coffee pioneer and putting in physical effort in preparing my morning coffee. It makes the brew taste that much more wonderful!
About Jeanette Kierstead
Jeanette has been testing and reviewing kitchen appliances for over six years now, so she knows her stuff when it comes to finding the best ones. In her spare time, she loves nothing more than baking cakes and cookies – especially if she can do so with one of her favorite stand mixers! When she's not in the kitchen, Jeanette is usually looking after everything homes-related; from garden tools to smart home products.