It’s been a topsy turvy year for high-end home coffee grinders, as electric grinder makers rolled out manual machines and vice versa.
More than anything else, the year in home grinders can be characterized by some big commercial names entering or re-entering the home kitchen.
Mahlkönig, Mazzer, Fiorenzato, Ceado and Etzinger were just a few of the established brands making big moves into the home kitchen this year. Interestingly, the trend came just as a number of established commercial espresso machine makers — SanRemo, Mavam, Nuova Simonelli, Rancilio and Faema among them — all launched single-group, home or light commercial machines this year.
As we clear the chutes of 2021 and get ready to load 2022 into the hopper, here’s a look back at the year in home and prosumer coffee grinding news.
[Editor’s note: This feature is part of our ongoing 2021 year-end coverage. Click here for additional stories, updated daily through Dec. 31.]
Yet hidden beneath the surface of the Weber HG-2 is a plethora of new features. Chief among these is a gearbox transmission housed between the crank and the drive shaft, allowing users to select the original one-to-one gear ratio or to downshift into a smaller gear for lower RPM per manual crank. The latter results in a slower grind, but with less physical effort.
Allground’s adjustment collar offers a range of settings with markers for “espresso,” “moka” and “filter.” The grinder’s body, offered in numerous colors and materials, houses a set of 64-millimeter, titanium-coated, flat M340 steel burrs designed specifically for this grinder, according to the company. The burrs are expected to grind up to 1,400 kilograms of coffee before requiring replacement.
The Allround’s name references both form and function. As its cylindrical body recalls the German manufacturer’s current lineup of commercial espresso grinders, the Allround has been explicitly designed as an all-around grinder for home coffee enthusiasts.
The concept of variability also extends from the HG-2 to the Key. Whereas the HG-2’s gearbox transmission allows the user to shift between easier cranking and slower output versus higher resistance and faster output, the Key Grinder maintains a variable-speed electric motor with speeds from 50 RPM to 300 RPM. The slowest setting on the Key is roughly the speed at which a person might turn a crank manually, and it goes up from there, Weber said.
The 64-millimeter flat-burr grinder features variable RPM and a short grind path intended to minimize retention, all while running on a 5000mAh rechargeable battery. The company says one charge of the battery can power the grinding of up to 3 kilograms of roasted coffee.
Italian coffee grinder maker Eureka has revealed the Eureka Oro Mignon Single Dose, featuring a notably tilted design to minimize grind retention in high-end home or other lower-volume settings.
The Lucca Atom 75 comes additionally equipped with a patent-pending combination of hardware and software called TrueGrind technology that provides continuous recommendations for optimal grind settings as conditions change.
It centers on a conical burr set where the outer ring burr rotates while the inner cone burr remains fixed. Akin to the system designed by engineer Christian Etzinger and first brought to the electric grinder market by Baratza in its Sette mechanical grinder line, the Knob Grinder inverts conventional burr grinding action in which the inner cone burr is spun within a fixed outer cone burr.
As the Bellevue, Washington-based company sunsets the original Vario models — first developed in partnership with Mahlkönig, which previously offered a version to European buyers — improvements sought by Baratza in the new generation are in the areas of durability, consistency and user experience.
The EtzMAN Basic and EtzMAN-W are essentially hand-cranked, motor-free versions of the EtzMAX grinders that the company launched in 2017. They are built within the same exterior cases as their electric forebears, but with suction cup feet for added stability.
Coffee grinder manufacturer Mazzer has rolled out its first grinder explicitly for the home market: the Mazzer Omega. The Omega is also the first manually operated, non-electric coffee grinder ever produced by the 73-year-old Italian company.
“For Ceado, ‘all-purpose’ doesn’t mean compromising the quality of coffee,” Fabrin told DCN. “Life can be the first step inside the world of coffee, but also the definitive grinder. It has been designed for consumers, not necessarily expert home baristas, who love beautiful objects.”
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.