Melitta Molino Burr Grinder
As a whole-bean only subscription service, one of the questions we get asked most is what grinder to buy.
Now, this can often open a can of worms as everyone has their own preferences and budgets… then chosen brew method will also impact your choice.
When you have a few hundred pounds or so to spend, the choice is quite big and you can get a decent multi-purpose grinder for around £200 (we quite like the Sage Smart Grinder Pro at this price point) or if you head up towards £500 then you can look to pick up something like a Niche Zero…. Or if you really want to splash out you can come and join us in Mahlkonig EK-43 or Mythos One club - though you will certainly have found yourself buried quite deeply down the rabbit hole by the time you reach these levels :-).
We find the bigger challenge comes when you are looking at basic, entry-level grinders for people starting out on their coffee journey. These obviously come with a much smaller price tag but also a lot more caveats about what they can achieve and how.
The challenges usually fall into two main areas:
- Grind Consistency (an issue for all brew methods)
- Grind Size (typically only an issue for espresso users)
For a while now we have been looking to find a decent, small, entry-level grinder to help people get into speciality whole-bean coffee. This month we started testing the Melitta Molina and were pleasantly surprised by it’s build quality and grind action (please do remember though that this is a £40 grinder and can’t be expected to perform as well as a £200+ electric grinder or a £100+ specialist hand grinder).
How was it for Filter Coffee?
We found the grind consistency to be pretty good and it was more than capable of handling the majority of brew methods with it’s available grind size options – we had no problems brewing with a Moka Pot, Aeropress, French Press or V60.
How was it for Espresso?
However, as will always be the case, the story is a little different for espresso. As espresso requires a much finer grind for extraction, it is difficult to configure a small burr grinder to achieve the required fineness. As expected, when making espresso with this grinder we didn’t really move away from the finest grind setting available to us in our testing. For the more traditional espresso-roast profiled coffee we tested, we sometimes found ourselves moving the grind setting down from ‘1’ to ‘2’. For the ‘usual’ profiled coffee that we typically include in the main subscription we found that with a few recipe tweaks - typically moving from 1:2 ratios to 1:2.5 or 1:3 (i.e. heading into Lungo territory giving more extraction and sweetness but less strength) - we could get a well-enough extracted espresso from our Sage DTP espresso machine. Moreover, across multiple shots, the extraction distribution was pleasingly stable. The challenge came when we encountered the much lighter / less well developed roasts… and for us, the acid test was the North Star Nicaragua that we included in the July subscription edition. This is a great coffee, but it definitely required more work to dial-in, even on our EK-43…. so, it was not a surprise to us that we just couldn’t reach the desired extraction level for this coffee with the £40 Melitta.
In short, we really like this grinder as it is well built for an entry-level grinder (mainly decent quality plastic with small, high-speed burrs as is typical at this price-point) and it can easily handle filter brew methods and Moka Pot. It also performed admirably with our Espresso testing and coped with a lot of our test coffee OK (after tweaking recipes, at least).
We think this is a decent starter grinder to begin your whole-bean journey (which we firmly believe is the only way to get the best out of your coffee) however, as you progress you will probably find yourself upgrading to the next tier of grinder at some point… but don’t worry, that is a journey we have all made during our coffee journeys 😊. However, if you are passionate about your light roast espresso coffee then you might want to look at a more dedicated espresso grinder straight off, as this grinder just won’t be able to do those types of coffees justice.