It seems like almost everything in our day-to-day lives is powered by electric, so it’s a refreshing change to use a bit of elbow grease when grinding up your coffee and not reliant on simply pushing a button.
The Hario company seem to agree, and that’s why they have put their efforts into creating some excellent coffee grinders that require no electric, are simple to use, and are designed to last for years. Some of the best manual grinders in today’s market are produced by Hario, such as the Skerton grinder which I reviewed, and their newest addition the Hario Mini Mill, which I will be reviewing in this article.
There are a lot of choices when it comes to choosing the right coffee grinder, and it can be intimidating trying to weed out the fluff to find the true gems. Hario’s solution to these large, loud and expensive coffee grinders is an inexpensive, small, but efficient manual coffee grinder. Is the Hario Mini Mill the grinder you’ve been searching for? I suggest that you read through this review and then decide if this small piece of equipment is the best coffee grinder for you.
Hario Slim Grinder Standout Features
When you first get your hands on the Mini Mill manual coffee grinder one of the first things your love is its simplicity. Unlike electric coffee grinders, there are no unnecessary features or confusing dials and you won’t need an afternoon studying the instruction manual to grind up some beans. The Hario Mini simply does one thing, and it does that well – grinding coffee.
Yes, using the Hario Slim will require a little bit of elbow grease, and yes it’s going to take some effort. But in my opinion, all of this extra effort actually makes your coffee taste better (or that might just be my brain playing tricks on me).
The Hario Mini Mill is about as simple as it gets with a grinder and comprises of three main sections: the bottom collection chamber, the top hopper, and the grinding arm. Obviously, there are more parts than that, but for the everyday coffee drinker, these are the parts you should care about unless you want to start breaking the grinder down to its nuts and bolts (not recommended).
The Hario Slim uses ceramic grinding burrs just like its bigger brother the Skerton. Ceramic burrs are usually only reserved for higher-priced coffee grinders, so it’s great to see that Hario has added the best burrs that they could while still keeping the price to a minimum.
If you are not sure of the benefits of ceramic burrs, over steel or even plastic, here’s a quick bit of coffee knowledge. Unlike steel, ceramic burrs do not produce any heat while in use, the elimination of heat helps to retain the essential coffee oils and also to note ceramic won’t rust like steel can.
Operating the Hario Mini Slim is simple enough (step-by-step guide further down this page), and the box does have simple instructions written in English (unlike the Hario Skerton). The grinding process is super easy, from the moment you add your whole coffee beans to the top section it then typically only takes around 1-minute to grind up 20 grams of coffee.
The Hario Slim Mini grinder is fully capable of knocking out various coffee grind sizes from extra fine espresso grind to a much more coarser French Press grind. Setting the grind is as easy as turning a dial on the base of the top section. Turning the dial clockwise will give you a finer grind, turn the dial anticlockwise will produce a coarser grind, see I told you it was simple to use.
In my opinion, it’s down in the finer grind settings where the Hario Mini Mill really shines. So if you regularly brew using an AeroPress, Moka Pot or even some pour over brewing methods, you’ll be happy with the Mini Mill Grinder. For the Turkish coffee drinkers, If you want to go extra fine the Hario is fully capable of keeping up, so you’ll have no problem producing a grind as fine as powder.
The three most important sections of the Slim come apart for easy cleaning, I recommend that you use a brush only to clean the ceramic burrs rather that soapy water (repeated washing could cause the ceramic burrs to become brittle over time) and a quick rinse is all the bottom collection chamber requires.
Hario Mini Mill Instructions
As I mentioned above operating this Hario coffee grinder is super easy, below I will walk you through how to use the Mini Mill.
Before you start make sure that you have put the mill together: the black top hopper screws onto the bottom chamber, the round plastic lid fits onto the top section, and the crank arm then attaches to the bolt located on the very top as below.
Add your coffee to the top hopper, replace the lid, flip upside down and adjust the grind setting if required. Changing the size of the grind is easy using the nut on the underside of the black hopper section. You twist the dial either left (coarse) or right (fine), it clicks, and the burrs are then pulled inwards or outwards.
Starting out, I recommend tightening the dial as tight as it will go, this is your starting point (zero), a very very fine grind. Each click to the left will make your grind more coarse. I typically set the Hario Mini Mill from anywhere between 8, and 10 left clicks for a pour over, and up to 15 clicks for a French Press. I suggest that you play around with the settings until you find a sweet spot that you’re happy with, If you lose track of how many clicks you’re currently at, you can always quickly tighten the dial to point zero which will bring the burrs all the way up and then start over.
Next, screw the top black hopper section onto the bottom chamber. Place your crank arm onto the top and start to turn clockwise, I suggest holding the lower chamber in one hand and crank the arm with your other hand.
As you start to grind the arm the hopper on top will feed the beans down through a duo of ceramic burrs. The grounds then fall into the clear bottom container. It shouldn’t take much more than a minute for 20 grams of coffee. If you’re finding that the coffee grounds are a little inconsistent and uneven make sure you check out my Hario Mini Mod.
In this price range your not going to find a better manual burr grinder than the Hario Mini Mill, I challenge you to find one! The grind produced by the Slim is perfect at the lower finer settings, but as the grind gets more coarse, it does tend to become less unified.
This is due to the burrs becoming loose the coarser they go and wobble around. With that said if you are using this grinder for a French Press coffee brewing (remember 15 clicks) then you shouldn’t have a problem, even the best French Press is going to be very forgiving with the coffee brewing ratios and grind size.
Also, keep in mind that the size of the Mini is rather small and it’s really only suited for grinding up coffee for 1 or 2 cups. If you don’t mind adding in more coffee beans and grinding some more for larger batches then the size isn’t going to be a concern. If it is a concern, I recommend you take a look at the larger Hario Skerton manual grinder.
All in all, the Hario Mini Mill is an extremely economical and robust, little grinder with a price that makes it hard to turn down!
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