Any owners around here selling grinders in your stores? I have carried Bodum in the past, but the price point is too high and the quality not quite what I have in mind. The Baratza stuff is obviously great, but a bit too expensive for the small-city market I'm in. Any ideas?

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Krups, whrirly twerl.  They are great.   Just kidding.
Hario grinders are solid, inexpensive and easy to use.
This is a question ive thought about quite a bit, and to be honest there really isnt an option under a hundred that is any good. At least not one that im aware of. Ive used the hario skerton and slim hand grinders, and they are ok at best. The lower burr is not supported, so at every setting but fine the grind is inconsistent.

It really sucks telling customers that it would be better if they ground there coffee right before drinking, but then not offering a reasonablely priced grinder.

The ceramic conical hand-mills branded by Hario, Kyocera, and others is a good option. Stability of grind is far better than any alternative within 20$ +/-.  And you have the bonus of being able to travel easily with it. For ~$50 or less, you can't go wrong.

 

As far as an electric grinder goes, the Baratza Maestro Plus for $129 is the lowest price grinder worth buying. All the Baratza grinder are the best in their categories for home grinders at the most reasonable price. People who are unwilling to pay for a decent grinder really aren't interested in grinding fresh, they just want to seem cool to their less than savvy friends.  

 

An i-phone is $200-$500, a laptop is $350-$1800, a flat screen is $600 to $3000... The notion that $150+ for a grinder is expensive is ridiculous. If they enjoy your fresh roasted coffee and make a cup or so every day, it's a worthy investment. Purchasing one good grinder is far better than three or four cheaper grinders.

 

Offer your customers something great. Explain why it's great, and why it's a good deal. If you've earned their trust, they will buy it.

 

 

Have to admit I've never tried the Hario, probably should. It's not practical for people who make multiple-cup pots in the morning though, right?
As to the Baratza comment, I have to disagree, and here's why. In my personal experience, coffee improvement has been gradual, and it seems unreasonable to me to expect people to invest more than $100 in a single item based solely on my recommendation. The Bodum conicals are actually pretty good grinders (find David Walsh's review if you don't believe me) but even at $85 it's a hard sell for most customers. Carrying Baratza as the only available grinder is, IMO, too purist, considering even a Krups flat-burr and beans two weeks off roast is going to be a huge improvement over preground. Some of us (maybe only few of us) run serious cafes in small towns where carrying Baratza as the only option would do almost no good at all.
That said, I probably will try to get the Baratzas in at some point, and work hard to get my customers that interested. But for as many Clevers and presses and AeroPresses as I've sold, I never managed to get rid of even one $80+ grinder, and I don't think my market's going to change that drastically anytime soon.
(This is a really interesting topic though. May post more thoughts at my blog, regurlur.wordpress.com, sometime next week. Would love everyone's input there as well.)

Hey Justin.  I feel your concerns, as even in Louisville no one will buy a $100+ burr grinder as their first burr option.  Most of our Baratza sales are off the heels of Hario manual grinder users.  I recommend selling the Mini Mill, or Skerton, or both in your shop.  This will give the customer an affordable entryway into burr grinding, as it did for me when I first got my Skerton a couple of years ago.  Then, if they find that they are really becoming serious about coffee, brewing it enough to find manual grinding tiresome, paying $129 for a Maestro Plus won't be a big deal to them, because they have learned enough to understand the importance of a burr set, and they enjoy brewing coffee enough to invest into an automatic grinder.

 

I will say, there are a few good options under $100.  I don't consider Capresso as high of quality in Baratza, but these may be a good price point for your customer base:


http://www.amazon.com/Capresso-560-01-Infinity-Grinder-Black/dp/B00...

http://www.amazon.com/Capresso-559-04-Coffee-Burr-Grinder/dp/B004DA...

 

I've used both of these and found them suitable, aside from too much grind retention.  Hope that helps man!

 

R. Justin Shepherd said:

Have to admit I've never tried the Hario, probably should. It's not practical for people who make multiple-cup pots in the morning though, right?
As to the Baratza comment, I have to disagree, and here's why. In my personal experience, coffee improvement has been gradual, and it seems unreasonable to me to expect people to invest more than $100 in a single item based solely on my recommendation. The Bodum conicals are actually pretty good grinders (find David Walsh's review if you don't believe me) but even at $85 it's a hard sell for most customers. Carrying Baratza as the only available grinder is, IMO, too purist, considering even a Krups flat-burr and beans two weeks off roast is going to be a huge improvement over preground. Some of us (maybe only few of us) run serious cafes in small towns where carrying Baratza as the only option would do almost no good at all.
That said, I probably will try to get the Baratzas in at some point, and work hard to get my customers that interested. But for as many Clevers and presses and AeroPresses as I've sold, I never managed to get rid of even one $80+ grinder, and I don't think my market's going to change that drastically anytime soon.
(This is a really interesting topic though. May post more thoughts at my blog, regurlur.wordpress.com, sometime next week. Would love everyone's input there as well.)

You have to remember that many people have no idea what burrs are, let alone the difference between flat and conical. Many people who are just starting to know coffee, ratios for brewing and self grinding might be looking at 'swirling blade' type grinders, for $20. It is our job as retailers to gently educate what is necessary to make coffee like we do. Bodum, it has a familiar name because of the press. Harios are the best step up from blade grinders at a good price. Baratza, fantastic if they have that sort of disposable income or becoming a coffee geek. Simonelli also has their home model, too.

You are not buying a grinder for yourself, and for most of your clientèle this will be their first grinder. Grind retention, stability of lower burr carrier, clumping will not be things MOST consumers care about. They will be looking towards making a drinkable coffee, from your beans, on their own.

What's the difference in Skerton and Mini?
Ive owned the compresso infinity and grind retention as an issue is a bit of an understatement. Im talking between 10 and 20 grams stuck up in between the burrs and the grinds shoot. Almost enough to make a french press!

I really want to like hand grinders, i own a couple of them. But i have yet to see reasonable results for anything but expresso. (They are for sure the best entery level option for espresso) But from french press to pour over its just not happening. I think i could get compairable results from shaking a blade grinder. I would recomend a 40 dollar krups burr grinder before the skerton.
The promised blog post is here. Would love to hear what you guys/gals think on this topic.

Not a bad post. 

 

We're (as in most of us selling) not trying to sell Mini-Mazzer or Anfim Best or even Compak K-Touch (but these are grinders that many of my customers have). We're not pushing too many Vario, Preciso, or Vario-W.  I couldn't stand behind the $60 to $80 grinders out there. They're not terrible grinders. They're just not up to par.

 

It's not a cost issue or a money issue, it never is. It's a "how important is it?", "How important can you make it?", or "How much do customers trust your judgement" kind of thing. For those of you who mistakenly think it's a cost issue, I would guarantee you that those same customers have spent more money on items they use with the same or less frequency than they would use a ~$150 grinder. As I mentioned before. Cellphone, food processor, cooking items, a couple of good dinners or one really nice one, books, music, GPS for the car, etc. 

 

The reason there is a disconnect with many customers is that not everyone has made that leap to clearly understanding the difference between QUALITY fresh roasted coffee and coffee from the supermarket, a chain, or any number of lower caliber local competitors.

 

The first step to lovingly nudge the customers in the right direction is to make the need for a grinder obvious. And the obvious, and correct, solution is to only offer whole bean coffee ... fresh roasted of course. (or fresh and shipped immediately from your roaster).

 

[RANT] I have a huge problem with any place that says anything about quality, Third Wave, progressive, yada yada... and then proceeds to sell ground coffee. Charlatans. Either you understand what happens to coffee after it's ground, or you don't. Or worse, you don't care about the customer, you care about the sale. Ugh. [/RANT]

 

So the next step is to offer adjustable burr grinders for sale. Now what you offer is up to you, but lets say you offer a tiered approach, The Hario hand mill, a Baratza Maestro+, and a Baratza Vario. For the one-two cup a day drinker, the educated coffee novice, and the enthusiast who needs a grinder for both espresso and coffee. You are looking at $50, $129, $429. From a marketing standpoint, this is golden. Three choices is best. Most people looking for a simple grinder will buy the Hario, those looking for an electric will buy the middle priced one at $129, and this will seem quite reasonable next to the higher priced option. The enthusiast will buy according to their needs. Money will never be an issue as they may have a $200 Technivorm or a $1000+ home espresso machine.

 

If you only offer one grinder, whatever the price, it's more difficult to sell. Although from my experience, a solid hand grinder is easier to sell, and a better value, than a mid priced $60 electric because of portability and lack of space-sucking on the counter. 

 

That's our approach. We haven't added the Vario yet, wanted a good excuse to have the new one for myself first. In the past two and a half years we've sold about 24 Baratza grinders Maestro and Maestro+ and about 50 ceramic hand mills. We sell so many hand mills because we buy direct from the manufacturer and can offer them for a lower price than the Hario or Kyocera (same grinders, but branded). We tend to sell a lot more electric grinders in the Fall through early Spring. Summer, not as many. I think it's hard for people to start a hot beverage ritual in the Summer.

 

As you alluded to in stressing the importance of grinding to your customers, it's about educating them. Education doesn't happen in one day. But it needs to be consistent and comprehensive messaging. You need to believe what you tell your customers and you need to practice it by what you do and what you offer in terms of coffee and equipment (if you choose to offer equipment). 

 

It's our job as coffee professionals to LEAD our customers. They are coming to us as experts. Care enough to guide them. They will follow.

 

 

another vote for hario and baratza.

these are the two grinders that i use at home and when i do a catering pourover bar.

 

the idea of 'coffee as ritual' and taking the time (30-60 seconds) to hand grinding coffee (this pairs well with the folks who are willing to brew with a pourover or french press); the quietness and good looks of baratza's line (which can also complement the idea of entertaining guests with some less typical brewing methods and equipment)

 

i don't think there's much else honestly. we either need to be serious enough with something that we can invest in it (baratza line) or be willing to take the time to work a little bit for what's important. maybe we should start sharing grinders with our neighbors.

 

 

 

 

 

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