New Gear: BruTrek Camp Hand Coffee Grinder
Coffee is all about repeatability, and there's nothing more repeatable than cold, hard numbers. If you nail your extraction and your cup is perfect, you're going to want to replicate that. Unless winging it is your thing, putting yourself at the mercy of guesstimates, taking careful notes and keeping track of numbers is the best way to ensure your coffee is on point every time. We've talked about the importance of measuring by weight instead of volume, so we're going to dive into the next step: grinding. Specifically, we're talking hand grinders and the level of control they afford.
A Brief History of Coffee Grinders
Grinding has been a thing since coffee was a thing, dating all the way back to before 1000 AD. Mortar and pestle, spice mills, and that boxy mill that grinds your beans into a little drawer, with many variations between and certainly beyond. In its infancy, coffee grinding was efficient at best. If nothing else, the coffee got ground, but uniformity was tough to come by. Fast forward to today, where there's no shortage of fully automated sleek, stylish, and sometimes insanely expensive options on the market. It's 2023, after all. While these do-it-all grinders are cool, they don't necessarily keep the process mindful.
Hand Grinders Keep Coffee Mindful
Say you're a pour over fan. You weigh the beans, you prep the brewer, you pour the water, you enjoy the coffee. You're putting all your attention and physical effort into your brew. Automatic grinders kind of disrupt that tactile flow. Enter hand grinders. They take up less space than a drinking glass, are packable and durable, feel good to hold, give you a little workout, are precise, and, more than anything, keep you in the coffee zone. Using a hand grinder feels like what lo-fi hip hop sounds like. It's relaxing and pleasantly repetitive. A solid hand grinder is honestly unlike any experience you've ever had.
We were lucky enough to get in a lovely hand grinder from BruTrek. All blacked out with a steel handle and wooden knob, this grinder is a stone-cold stunner. Grinding is a breeze, the screw-on grind cup holds up to 40g of grounds, the handle is easy to remove and reattach, and the adjustment clicks are music to our ears.
Brutrek Grind Settings By Number Of Clicks
- Fine = ~25 clicks (espresso)
- Medium-fine = ~30 clicks (pour over)
- Medium = ~40 clicks (drip)
- Coarse = ~50+ clicks (cold brew, French press)
Speaking of which, the clicks are key to dialing in your grind. If you take nothing else from this article, remember the clicks.
How To Use the Brutrek Hand Grinder
- Start by unscrewing the grind cup. Underneath the grinder body will be the adjustment dial. The COARSE and FINE text are really only there to tell you which way to turn the dial. Don't rely on them.
- Place the handle on top and hold it in place, as the dial will not turn without it.
- Turn the adjustment dial all the way clockwise until it no longer turns. We'll call this zero (0).
- Starting from zero (0), turn the dial counterclockwise, counting each click. (As you turn the dial, the grind will get coarser.)
- If we're grinding fine, count 25 clicks. Once you hit 25, stop, and screw the cup back on.
- Remove the handle and load your pre-measured coffee.
- Replace the handle and turn clockwise until there's no more resistance.
- Unscrew the cup and make your coffee.
Hand grinding your coffee may take a little extra time, but it serves as an important reminder to slow down and enjoy what you're doing. You love drinking coffee, so why not make every aspect of making it feel even more real.