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I've needed a coffee grinder for years but have really struggled finding a decently priced grinder that is also good quality. I managed to find this little gem at John Lewis for £19.95. I used the click and collect option for delivery, and chose to collect the grinder from Waitrose. All I had to do was print off my conformation of delivery letter and bring my ID with me and I was able to collect the grinder. I had read very positive reviews about this grinder on the John Lewis website and decided to buy it because I was in desperate need of a good grinder. I unpacked the grinder and inside it included the guarantee, instruction booklet which had the instructions in various languages, and the grinder itself. The grinder did not require any assembly, and the instruction booklet told you how to use the grinder. However, I did wash the lid of the grinder before use as recommended by the instruction booklet in warm soapy water. I made sure the lid was dry, put my coffee beans into the machine and put the lid on the machine. All you have to do is press the grind button and away you go! The machine is so simple to use as all you have to do is insert beans and grind. The cord on the machine is a little short so you might have to buy a extension lead if you have no plug sockets near your kitchen counters. The machine lid is very easy to clean, just wash in warm soapy water, but the actual grinder with the blade mechanism is a bit more difficult and you can't wash it in water so what I've been doing is getting a very slightly damp tissue and just giving it a wipe and letting it dry before using again. The coffee you get from this is brilliant, its so fresh and tastes brilliant, although obviously that depends on which coffee beans you buy. You get what you paid for, and what I paid for was great! Would recommend to anyone who likes fresh coffee quickly in the morning.
I decided to look for an electric grinder when I began buying whole spices and found my little stoneware pestle and mortar a little too time consuming. This review is therefore about the grinding of whole spices rather than coffee beans. I first purchased a James Martin by Whal mini grinder as it was advertised as being suitable for coffee beans, dry spices and nuts. It turned out to be almost useless for grinding dry spices, despite many various attempts with different seeds the result was always a very disappointing combined gritty and dusty mixture. I found the machine awkward to use and the plastic 'viewing' window at the top of the lid nothing more than a tiny peep hole. My next choice was the Krups Coffee mill as I noticed on the Krups website, under specifications, it is stated for use with dry spices. ~ Description ~ I really liked the straightforward oval cylinder shape of this mill with its black plastic shiny finish and slanted clear plastic lid with a black rectangular switch at the side. The unit stands 17cm high and is approximately 10cm wide. The very robust clear plastic lid lifts off and locates back onto the grinder base smoothly and securely. Inside is a stainless steel lined grinding chamber and a sturdy 6cm stainless steel double blade. The overall feel is of a quality product designed to do its task rather than an emphasis on looking flashy or fashionable in the kitchen. 'Krups' is written in grey on the front at the base and directly behind this at the back is where the 70cm cable is connected. The mill runs at 180 watts. ~ Whole spices ~ Whole spices are of course dried seeds. I had read somewhere that many spices can lose a certain amount of flavour as well as nutritional or medicinal properties if stored in a ground form for long periods of time. Until this point I had usually bought spices ready ground. I experimented with dried dill and coriander seeds collected from our vegetable garden and ground a few with my pestle and mortar, then used within a few days either in baking or cooking. I was so impressed by the richer and fresher flavours of these spices, I've since then bought most of the spices I like to use in whole form or made sure I have plenty of seed produced in the garden to dry and then store in airtight jars. ~ Use and Efficiency ~ I have been using the Krups mill for nearly a year and am thoroughly impressed with its performance in terms of finely grinding the dried seeds of dill, fennel, cardamom, coriander, cumin, cloves and caraway. Also peppercorns, mustard seeds, cinnamon sticks (broken into pieces), dried thyme and sea salt. I usually place a heaped tablespoon of seeds into the mill, slide the lid into position and then simply press down on the black switch, the grinder will not operate unless the lid is located fully, a good safety feature. With a combination of pressing the switch down for two and four second periods the spices are quickly ground to either an evenly coarse or a very fine texture depending on which you require. The motor after over 11 months of fairly regular use still sounds as strong and powerful as it did when new. ~ Cleaning and storage ~ I use a little wooden spoon to remove the ground spices out of the mill so as not to get the mill scratched. The lid can be washed with warm soapy water and the grinding chamber carefully wiped clean with a damp cloth. At times it can be a little tricky to clean around and under the blade but this I would imagine is no different to other similar grinders. I have found it easier to clean than the Whal grinder, this is due to the oval shape which allows easier access with a cloth. The plastic lid has lost its transparency and become slightly opaque over the months of use and this does seem to be the case when spices are ground, an effect on the plastic from the oil vapours in the spices I would guess. This however I don't mind at all as the whole lid still provides an adequate view of the spices whilst grinding. The 70cm cable is in my opinion a sensible length for use on a kitchen surface, too much cable could be a nuisance whilst using the grinder and also cumbersome to store away. I tend to wind the cable around the base of the grinder but find due to the shiny plastic base, the cable slips and I need two hands to hold the base, cable and plug altogether as I put it away in a cupboard. A clip for the plug to attach to the cable would make this much easier, especially for those of us without large hands (my husband can deftly hold it all in one hand). ~ Conclusion ~ An efficient, well designed grinder for use with spices. I feel confident that after nearly a year of use this grinder will continue to perform well for a long time yet. Currently available at Amazon for £19.99 which I believe is excellent value for money. Thank you for reading this review x © Lunaria 2012