How to Adjust a Manual Coffee Grinder: Useful Hacks and Tips

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If you’re wondering how to adjust a manual coffee grinder, you have come to the right place.

We will outline the whole process for you step by step.

We will also discuss other ways for you to maximize its potential.

After reading, you should be able to get more out of this coffee accessory.

So if you do not own a manual grinder yet, we recommend that you get one.

It can elevate your coffee experience in ways that even electric grinders can’t.

It is a cost-effective way to enjoy a great cup of coffee on demand and wherever you go.

What Are the Benefits of Manual Over Electric Coffee Grinders?

Every caffeine aficionado knows that the fool-proof way to make a perfect cup of Joe is to use freshly ground coffee.

Doing this unlocks the oils and other substances in the beans at the right time before some of them evaporate.

This way, you can maximize the flavor and aroma.

So if you really love coffee, you need a reliable coffee grinder that offers a consistent grind size.

While electric grinders can get the job done, they have some limitations.

For instance, you cannot bring them along if you go camping, hiking, or vacation.

In these situations, you have to make do with instant coffee or whatever they offer.

Another factor that you need to consider is the cost.

Electric coffee grinders are generally more expensive than manual grinders.

That is especially true if you want a model with a wide range of grind settings.

These brands could run you up to hundreds of dollars, if not more.

A high-quality electric grinder is a good investment, but if you don’t have the budget for it, your options are limited.

You could try gambling on cheaper models, but you might end up with a very expensive paperweight.

Either way, a manual coffee grinder offers a better alternative.

How to Adjust a Manual Coffee Grinder

Most manual coffee grinders come with two possible grind size adjustment mechanisms.

The first one features a ring adjuster, while the second involves a step dial or knob.

Identify the Mechanism of Your Manual Grinder

Before we discuss how to adjust a manual coffee grinder, you need to learn how to identify what adjustment mechanism it uses.

Ring adjusters are typically located at the top of the burr grinder assembly, while step dials are usually at the bottom.

To access the ring adjuster, you need to remove the nut, locking ring, and crank handle above it.

You have to remove the bin right below the burr that collects the coffee grounds to see the step dial.

Both mechanisms are easy to adjust, so it does not really matter which one you have.

tips on how to adjust a manual coffee grinder

Adjust the Ring

Does your grinder have a ring adjuster?

If so, there are a few things that you need to get out of the way before you can make an adjustment.

Note that you do not need any tools as you can perform all these steps by hand.

First, remove the lock nut at the top of the device.

It is right above the axis or the part of the handle that rotates in place when you crank it.

Next, pull out the handle. Once you do, you will see a locking ring below it.

It is a part of the mechanism that secures the ring adjuster in place.

Take it out to expose the ring adjuster below it. Once you see the adjuster, you can rotate it to change the grind setting.

A clockwise turn will decrease the distance between the two burrs, making the grind size smaller.

Turning the ring in the opposite direction makes your ground coarse.

After adjusting, reinstall the parts you removed earlier in the reverse order.

Adjust the Step Dial

Changing the grind size setting with the ring adjuster is easy, but using the step dial is even easier.

In the previous section, you need to remove the handle before making the changes.

The opposite is true for the step dial—you should install the handle to adjust the burr gap.

After this, remove the detachable bin that catches the coffee grounds below the burr.

You will see the step dial if you turn the burr assembly upside down.

Next, hold the handle in place as you make the necessary adjustments.

The same principle applies to the step dial: rotate clockwise for a finer grind and counter-clockwise for a coarser grind.

After making the adjustment, reinstall the bin, pour your beans into the hopper, and get cranking.

How to Mark the Zero Setting on Your Adjuster

Whatever mechanism your hand grinder has, adjusting the grind size requires some learning curve for several reasons.

First, most adjusters do not have markings that you can use as a reference.

If you like experimenting with different brewing methods and grind sizes, switching from one to the other is challenging.

Second, finding the right grind size may require some trial and error.

You might have to test a certain setting and see if it churns out the grind size that you actually want.

To make things easier, try identifying the zero-gap setting and marking your favorite grind sizes.

For the first part, turn the adjuster or dial clockwise until you can no longer rotate it.

This is when the rotating burr comes into contact with the stationary burr, which is the zero setting.

Mark this position on your adjuster with a permanent marker.

Second, increase the gap incrementally by turning the adjuster counter-clockwise, then test the grind for each setting.

Every time you get the consistency you like, make another marking on the adjuster.

As much as possible, use different colors, so you know which is which.

How to Care for Your Manual Grinder

Hand grinders are tough and can withstand frequent use, especially if you buy them from reputable brands.

You can expect them to last for a couple of years, if not more.

That said, you need to take some steps to ensure that your grinder reaches or even exceeds its life expectancy.

First, you need to clean it regularly.

It is normal for some of the grounds to get stuck between the internal components of the hand grinder. That is due to static and some other reasons.

The good thing is that cleaning a grinder is fairly easy.

Most brands include a soft brush in their product packages, and you can use this to remove leftover grounds.

In addition, hand grinders have removable and washable parts.

You can disassemble your unit from time to time and clean it thoroughly.

When it comes to the materials that you are grinding, stick to coffee as much as possible.

Using your hand grinder on grains that are harder than coffee can accelerate the wear and tear on your burrs.

Finally, keep your grinder in the upright position while using it.

If you tilt the device while grinding, there is a chance that gravity will make the gap between the burrs unbalanced.

Over time, they might wear out unevenly, making your grinds inconsistent.

Get the Most Out of Your Hand Coffee Grinder

A manual grinder is easy to use, and you can make it work even if you are new to home brewing.

However, there are subtle ways to get more out of this coffee accessory.

We have outlined the steps you need to take to adjust the grind size, and we have discussed proper care.

Just follow these simple tips, and you will surely get a perfect cup of coffee with every grind.

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