Dustin, great hand grinders can be had for less than $100. I wouldn't bother with any of the new ones. Visit Orphan Espresso and see what they have available for "espresso." The find good hand mills, refurbish them and grade them based on quality.
Bryan, hand mills grind based on how aggressive the burrs feed. There are hand mills that will crank out 14 grams in 40 turns MAX, which takes maybe 30 seconds. I use a 50+ year old KyM hand mill and I can easily do 16 grams in 80 turns, so maybe 45 seconds. If it takes you 6 mins. to hand grind you do need electricity.
No Zassenhaus aren't the best by any means, just the most commonly thought of when hand mills are mentioned.
How long have you used hand grinders for? Ill also check craigslist for any good deals on electrics right now.
Dustin DeMers said:How long have you used hand grinders for? Ill also check craigslist for any good deals on electrics right now.
I have a coupla Majors, a Rocky, (sold my Ricky doser) and a small stable of various hand grinders. The Hand grinders are for when I find myself off the grid, or in a parking lot, or whenever I'm not going to be near an outlet, but would still like and espresso. And I like to refurbish them for my friends. I do, however, travel with a DeWalt Cordless Hand Grinder Motor™, and that usually does take the grinding chore down to a minimum.
Zass is the nearest thing to a current manufacturer of really good hand grinders, though they are nothing like the Zassenhaus of old. KYM, PeDe, DeVe, Armin Trosser, Lehnartz, all of these made great quality grinders. SOme of them have been cared for well enough to still work wonderfully, some, not so much. 'Mokka' or 'Espresso' on the label is a clue that they're great for espresso, but the lack does not always indicate that they aren't up to the task.
If I'm buying on Ebay or CL, I always ask how it performs for espresso. If the answer is anything other than 'It's great!', I either pass, or make it a condition of purchase.
I rate mine on a scale of 0 to 6. 0 means that it won't choke my machines, 6 means that it beats my Mazzer Majors all to heck and back, and the rest fall somewhere in between.
See here, for a comparison of a hands grinder to a Mazzer Robur:
And here is a great discussion of hand grinders in general, with a lotta pics.