Can a hand coffee grinder save you from a hurricane? Of course not, in fact no appliance can do that, but it can provide a little comfort. There are thousands of electrical appliances, gadgets and gizmos to be found in kitchens. From vacuum sealers to knife sharpeners to electric can-smashers, pretty much every task we used to perform by hand we can now use an electronic device. What do all these time and effort saving devices have in common? They won't work during a power outage! A hand coffee grinder, however, will. Even with the power off you can still enjoy your favorite fresh ground coffee.
I live in Colorado, we don't have hurricanes, we have snow. Every year, I can count on two or three days where heavy snow fall knocks out a power line. A manual coffee grinder means less drain on my back up generator. Most models are small and compact, easily fitting into an emergency kit. Whether you live in storm country, tornado country or, like me, face the occasional blizzard, there is no reason you can't still grind your coffee in the morning. There are other, non-natural disaster situations where you could benefit from a hand coffee grinder. Many home owners that utilize solar power are always looking for ways to conserve electricity. If you frequent the outdoors, you can take your grinder camping or backpacking. In fact there are designs that are small enough and light enough to take on a multi day backpacking trip.
Coffee grinders use two different mechanisms to grind a coffee bean, a blade or a burr. A spinning blade chops up the bean into smaller and smaller pieces. This is faster than a burr, but produces an inconsistent grind. A burr, usually ceramic, smashes the beans between two surfaces. The amount of space between the two controls how fine the grounds are. This allows you to change the coarseness of your coffee grounds to match your brewing method, such as espresso or a French press. The richness of flavor in coffee comes from the oil trapped with in the bean. A burr grinder releases more of this oil because of the increased surface area. Most hand-coffee grinders use a burr grinding mechanism. They provide a more controllable consistent grind that ultimately gives more flavor. More importantly, they still work when the power goes out. So the next time you find your self in a situation where there is no electricity, you can still get the most out of your morning cup of coffee with your hand-held coffee grinder. Of course you still have to come up with hot water! That, however, is for another article and another day.