What Is The Best Manual Coffee Grinder For Espresso

It’s been more than three months now since I first posted about my desire to buy a good manual coffee grinder. You would have thought I’d have bought it by now but you would be wrong, I’ve been slacking off.
Best Manual Coffee Grinder For Espresso
In any event I haven’t bought one yet because I haven’t really decided which one to get.

A little over a month ago I looked into manual french press coffee grinders as I’ve been using my Bodum Brazil quite frequently but unfortunately manual grinders are not all that fun if you have to change the grind size. I also make stovetop espresso just about as often and a coarse grind simply doesn’t work as well in my moka pot.

Today I wanted to revisit the topic of grinders and decide which are the best for making espresso because as you may or may not know, good espresso is a byproduct of a perfect grind. Sure the bean and machine have a lot to do with it but a really good grind size (and uniformity of grind particles) really allow espresso to be great.

Ideal Grind For Espresso

The good folks over at Coffee Review have a nice page detailing the ideal conditions for great espresso. This is what they say about grind size. An espresso grind should be:

  • sized just bigger than a powder
  • as uniform in size as possible
  • and the grit should be shaped like flakes shaved from the bean rather than ripped or compressed chunks.

Without a fine grind the pressure required to brew a shot of espresso would be lacking as the fine coffee particles actually create resistance especially as they are packed down.

Grind consistency is nearly just as important because any larger particles will create a path of least resistance. They decrease pressure and water will pass by these particles before going through the finer particles resulting in an altered extraction.

Of these the grit shape was a new concept to me. I’ve known for a long time now that conical burr grinders are far better than blade grinders but I didn’t know they created this “shaved” shape. Blade grinders tend to tear and break beans apart resulting in grind sizes that fluctuate and shapes that are all but uniform. Burr grinders however grind beans against a burr to break it apart. The good burr grinders will have sharp burrs and will produce a flaky type of coffee particle which is best for soaking up water and releasing flavor and oils. Dull burrs however tend to simply crush the beans leaving rounded and crushed particles which may well be good for making espresso but aren’t the best.

“It is true that a grind that is correct and uniform, albeit compressed rather than shaved, will produce decent quality espresso, but the finest beverage will only be produced by a properly flaked grind.” -CoffeeReview.com

As I’ve pointed out before I am in the market for a hand mill coffee grinder. I want it to be able to adjust to either coarse grind or fine grind but I want it to make good grind too. The Hario Mini Mill is on the top of my shopping list because it’s probably the best hand crank grinder for making french press grind but it’s also going to be best for the espresso grind for many of the same reasons that make it great for coarse settings – the burrs are spring loaded so they aren’t going to slip as much.

As you should expect with any manual espresso grinder it will take a lot of cranking to grind the bean down to the correct size. It will be no different with the mini mill either. You’ll really have to exercise a bit of patience to get good fine grind every time you want to make a bit of espresso. For many this is fine but for those that need a break it may be best to spend a bit more money on a manual box cranker so that you don’t have to hold it. You will have to turn the crank just as long but the box sits on a countertop making it a much easier task.

As is the case for all hand crank burr grinders you will get best results with sharp burrs so make sure to replace burrs once in a while or have them sharpened periodically. It will make a difference.

Below I’ve listed my favorite manual crank grinder along with a few alternatives. I’ve included a few comments on each one as well. Any of these would be fine for making espresso grind, so long as you understand that you’ll be working a bit harder for your espresso than you would for a press pot.

Best Manual Espresso Grinders

Hario Coffee Mill Slim Grinder, MiniHario Coffee Mill Slim Grinder, MiniHario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton  Storage Capacity (100g)Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton Storage Capacity (100g)Hario Ceramic Canister Coffee Mill Manual GrinderHarioZassenhaus Coffee Grinder - 156BUZassenhaus Coffee Grinder – 156BU

Of all these the Zassenhaus grinder is probably going to be the grinder that is of the highest quality. It is beautiful and will make excellent grind for your espresso drinks but it will be the priciest. I still favor the Mini Mill for quality at a low price point but to each his own.

You can see more coffee products in our store and definitely check out our gifts for coffee lovers page if you are buying something as a gift.

The 5 Best Manual Coffee Grinders for Espresso Machines

​Are you on the lookout for a manual coffee grinder that would make the perfect grind for your espresso? Well your search ends here because Gamble Bay Coffee brings to you a list of the best models you can employ for this purpose.

We’re going to take a look at  the main models that you might check out and how you can compare them or any other models that you might have in mind. We’re also going to take a look at the most commonly asked questions so that you can be free from any and every sort of confusion.

Manual Espresso Coffee Grinder Reviews – The Top Consumer Models Sold Today

Of course, it’s never easy to find the best model for you, but there’s no reason for you to worry because you have Gamble Bay Coffee on your side to help you out with any problems that you might have. In fact, we’re here even if you don’t have any problems to ensure that you only get the best models!

So, the main models that we have shortlisted for you are these:

JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

It often happens that the bestselling model does not deserve all its fame. But here’s one of the examples where the best model earns its reputation. The JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder is one of the bestselling models out there and one of the best choices for you to go for the following reasons:

  • Naturally, it’s a manual model. No batteries, power, or long plastic cords needed to operate your portable, compact coffee grinder, allowing you to travel with, and brew, freshly roasted ground coffee beans
  • It has a removable crank mechanism that makes this model much less noisy than electric grinders available out there, making it a great choice.
  • This model comes with an in-built grind selector with 18 options to ensure you get exactly the kind of grind you’re looking for- this machine is bound to satisfy every coffee drinker out there.
  • This model is also famous for its super high level of durability. Quoting what the company has to say about this model: “Crafted with the same essence as traditional Japanese cookware, our ceramic combo burrs are design tested through three professional grade inspections to last 5x’s longer than stainless steel blades.”

Youlanda Ceramic Burr Manual Coffee Grinder Grinding Mill for Espresso

And then comes the Youlanda Ceramic Burr Manual Coffee Grinder, another model that has been received really well by the market. This model also boasts of a huge number of functions that almost any coffee lover would go for. The main features of this model can be summed up in the following points:

  • This model provides you with quite a few options as to how you want your grind. You can select from fine to coarse size and easily get the kind of grind that you love.
  • The ceramic burr ensures that you’re always going to have your coffee in perfect condition- without any changes to its taste.
  • This company, incidentally, is one of the most responsive companies out there, providing you support from before you buy a model. So you can directly contact them about any inquiries that you might have.

KONA Manual Coffee Grinder

Next in line is the KONA Manual Coffee Grinder. KONA is one of the most famous line of products in the coffee product market and has proven to be a reliable choice in the long run. The main features of this model are:

  • This model has a really handy capacity, this makes this model fit for people with slightly lower needs as well as for people who want a model that’s easy to carry around. You could say that it’s also a sort of travel edition for manual coffee grinders.
  • But of course, the crank axle and the quality that goes into making this model ensures the fact that this model is long-lasting and pays for itself with its durability in the long run.
  • The glass jar is able to store up to 50 grams of ground beans for 3 cups of coffee.

Steel Coffee Manual Conical Burr Coffee Grinder

The Manual Conical Burr Coffee Grinder from the Steel Coffee line of products is yet another product to keep in mind when planning to go for a manual coffee grinder for espresso. This model claims to give you a lifetime warranty because of its high level of durability, but even that is not all that there is to it. This model also boasts of:

  • This model offers you an adjustable grid so as to confirm that you get to make exactly the kind of grind that you’re looking for- making this model pretty versatile.
  • Tthis model is also a small and portable option. A good model for people who plan to carry it around.
  • This model is made of stainless steel, as the name makes clear. And as we have already mentioned the quality of this model can easily be understood by the fact that they offer you a lifetime warranty.

The Precision Bean Coffee Grinder

And let’s conclude the list with the Precision Bean Coffee Grinder. This is one of those models without which the list simply cannot be complete. The Precision bean coffee grinder, according to those who have had the chance to use it, is the best choice for making espresso. However, let’s take a look at the main features that this machine offers you, overall:

  • This model has no plastic parts- the whole model has been made from metal and, as such, the company claims high durability.
  • This model doesn’t have ceramic burs like other models. It has hardened steel burrs that claim to cut the coffee instead of crushing it, reducing the effort it takes to manually grind coffee.
  • You can easily select the grind size you want and adjust it in this machine, allowing you to prepare the perfect coffee grind for your espresso whenever you want.

Buyer’s Guide

Of course, there are always a few things that we must take into consideration while buying. So, before you decide on buying any model, you must always judge it a couple of times by yourself.

These are the main things that we kept in mind while compiling this list:

  1. The first thing that we kept in mind while compiling this list is that it was a manual espresso grinder. Some of these can grind courser than espresso, but they can all grind to the fine level espresso demands.
  2. Then comes the matter of durability. That’s another thing that has been kept in mind because of how important it is. A durable model not only pays for itself in the long run, but also ensures that you’re free from the hassle of having to run to the consumer care center all the time.
  3. Finally, we’ve also taken into mind the economic aspect. While it might seem lucrative to just go for the most functional model, it’s important to be aware about one’s budget. It’s not a good decision to stray from it, so that’s something we kept in mind.

Also, don’t forget that no matter how good your grinder is the espresso you make will only be as good as the beans you grind. See our list of the best coffee for espresso here.

Manual Espresso Coffee Grinder Comparison Information

Now, all these facts have been kept in mind while compiling this list. The main aim of this is to save you from the tedious process of having to go through all the models that are available out there to find some of the best among which you might choose. However, that doesn’t really mean that no other model can be the best for you.

You must keep in mind that we can only give you advice from a generalized perspective and that your specific needs are entirely dependent on you. So, you must judge every model according to those if you want to find the best model for yourself. Gamble Bay Coffee is always here to help you find what you need, so you don’t really have to worry too much.

Related: You have a way of making espresso at home and grinding the beans but can you make your own milk foam too? See the following posts for our thoughts on:

Manual Espresso Coffee Grinder FAQ

Now, I know your mind must be flooding with questions. As your host, it’s my duty to answer them., but honestly, it’s more of a pleasure than a responsibility and so here I am. Feel free to contact us if you have any specific questions. For now, I’m going to answer a few questions that are often asked at this point. Once again, if you have any more questions, feel free to contact us and we’ll try our best to help you out with that!

  • Should I go for a specific brand?
    A question that’s really common is whether there’s some company that’s specifically better. While there are bestselling companies, there’s no way to say that they are the best by far. The best one for you, as we have already seen earlier, depends on you. So, you have to judge what would be the best product for yourself, regardless of the company that makes it. However, it might be mentioned that experts often recommend sticking to larger companies because they have a greater validity. You’ll also find that most grinders that make good espresso don’t make the best coarse grind. If you want both we recommend also owning a smaller (and cheaper) manual grinder for french press coffee specifically.
  • Why would I  want to go through the hard method of manually grinding my coffee?
    Some people just love to stick to traditional methods and to the taste that they offer. You might also be one of those people who just wants to give it a shot. There’s also the factor that electric grinders can make a lot of noise and generate too much heat… unless of coarse you spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on the best grinders on the market today.
  • How important is the economic factor in this case?
    Well, in most of the cases here, it isn’t really too important because these machines aren’t too expensive, though some listed are on certainly more expensive in comparison. But of course, you must be aware about how much you can spend. So, you have to take care of that and buy a model that fits your budget.


You must always be aware of your specific needs and judge the product according to that. You must keep in mind that the best model out there isn’t always the right one for you. The best one for you is the one that serves all your specific needs at the most reasonable price. Keep that in mind and you’ll be good to go!

Gamble Bay Coffee is here for you all the time and you’re free to reach out to us for any help you might need! We hope you learned at least something from this article and we promise to be back with more, really soon!

Brian Mounts

Head blogger, editor, and owner of "Top Off My Coffee", a website that has been educating readers about coffee brewing techniques and equipment since 2012.

Wait, Wait...There's More!