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Old 12-23-2013, 11:19 PM   #1
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Default Using a Grain Mill to Grind Coffee like a Coffee Snob?

Ok, so I was browsing Serious Eats today and ran across this article ( http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/1...-trifecta.html ) about the state of coffee equipment in 2013. The article starts off talking about roller mills for coffee and how they can get you the perfect grind but since they are for industrial/commercial use they are tens of thousands of dollars. The author then goes on to say that the next best option is a $3000 burr grinder which he has purchased.

I looked at the PDF info sheet from one of those coffee roller mills and it looked pretty similar to the roller mills we use for brewing, with a different pattern on the rollers. I posted a comment/question there asking why can't you use a grain mill to grind coffee? I know you can use a corona mill which is really cheap. Is there any reason you couldn't use a barley crusher to get the "perfect" coffee grind? Or even step up to a 3 roller mill if you had to?

I thought I would ask the gang here to see if you had an answer for me.

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Old 12-24-2013, 01:46 PM   #2
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You don't want to crush coffee beans to grind them. You should cut the beans instead. This needs a very different pattern on the burrs, so that chips are cut off of the beans. Burr grinders come in two common types - flat disc grinders that look a bit like traditional flour mills, on a smaller scale and with a graded series of cutting edges that draw the beans outwards through the burrs, and conical burr grinders, with a fixed cutting burr and a spiral rotating burr that pulls the beans into the cutting edges.

For use in a Trifecta (single cup) brewer, you shouldn't need to spend more than about $150 on burr grinder (e.g. Baratza Encore), unless you are using it every few minutes, when a shop type grinder is fine. Go and look at coffeegeek.com's grinder section...

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Old 12-24-2013, 07:04 PM   #3
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It's an interesting idea, but I wouldn't crush coffee with my homebrew grain mill. The trouble I foresee is coffee oils getting into the knurled crevices and going rancid if not cleaned extremely thoroughly. I might just be an alarmist but I can't imagine that doing future brews any favors. If we are talking about a dedicated coffee mill then I guess that's a different story, but you will still have to clean it thoroughly. I'd go with stainless so that I could hit it with Simple Green and never have to worry about rust.

My Capresso burr grinder seems to do a good enough job. I have been roasting my own beans for ~7 years now and that plus proper brewing practice make for a sufficiently mind-blowing cup. Look into roasting if you haven't already...worth the trip!

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Old 12-30-2013, 09:34 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies guys. I'm not actually a coffee drinker so I wasn't planning on using my grain mill to grind coffee. I just thought it was insane to spend $3000 to grind coffee for residential use.

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