Why Are Manual Coffee Grinders So Expensive?

Most coffee enthusiasts understand that the positive subtleties of coffee are best defined by the freshness of the coffee grounds. But not everyone has a bean-to-cup espresso maker. If you thought of a manual coffee grinder as a cheap coffee grinding option, you might be surprised by the actual price tag on most manual coffee mills.

Manual coffee grinders are so expensive because their producers take a risk making such a niche product and their customers are willing to pay more to get the best grinder. People are willing to pay more for the manual grinder because it produces more flavorful coffee.

In this post, you’ll discover inexpensive manual coffee grinders alongside the reasons why manual coffee grinders are so appealing to coffee lovers. You will also find out why you should not buy an expensive coffee mill and the hidden mental health benefit of grinding your own coffee.

The factors that affect manual coffee grinders’ price.

  • Materials and engineering – The biggest pricing factor for most products is the cost of making them. But that’s not the case for coffee grinders. Most grinders can be made for 1/8th of their selling price. The engineering of these mills is not too complicated either. 
  • The demand – The main reason for manual coffee grinders’ price is that not many people want them, but the ones that want them want them badly. 
  • The stock risk – When companies make a niche product, they incur a stock risk as it is possible that the entire inventory won’t sell out. The higher mark-up on manual coffee grinders prevents the producers from financial loss when not enough units sell.

Benefits of Manually Grinding Coffee

As mentioned above, coffee grinders are not expensive because of material factors but are priced higher because of business reasons. Demand intensity makes up a major portion of the pricing rationale. Here is why people are willing to pay more for manual coffee mills.

Produces Better Coffee

Espresso shots are supposed to be pulled from fresh grounds. It is routine to have coffee grounds stored in a jar, and that doesn’t do any favors to the espresso made from them. But can’t one simply use a machine to grind coffee beans right before pulling an espresso shot? Yes, and that would produce fresh espresso, but if you use a manual coffee mill, you can produce the grounds over a longer period.

The longer you take to grind the coffee, the more aroma is released. And as long as you use the grounds immediately, the aroma gets locked into the resulting beverage giving it a much richer feel. If you like bean-to-cup machines, then you’ll love espresso made from hand-ground coffee.

Can Be Therapeutic

One of the advantages of taking your time to grind your coffee with a manual mill is that the process can be therapeutic. The flow state is described as a period of intense focus where the passage of time goes unnoticed. It usually happens when you’re engaged in an activity that isn’t too challenging yet gives you a lot of pleasure.

For many people grinding their own coffee can be that. If you’ve never ground your coffee before but smelling a fresh batch of coffee grounds gives you a positive feeling, you’ll probably enjoy using a manual coffee grinder. In contrast, if you cringe at opening a bag of coffee grounds, you will not like the grinding experience.

You Get More Control

While there is a therapeutic reason to grind your coffee manually, there’s also a good material reason to do so. Using a manual grinder gives you more control over grinding coffee, especially when you’re trying to get perfect-sized coarse grounds. Electric grinders use speed to grind, which is better for yielding finer coffee grounds.

Some people simply feel more in control when they grind their own coffee. This is more of a psychological effect/feature. When you feel like things are outside your control, one of the recommended therapies is to focus on what you can control and exercise it. Grinding coffee can be that.

Best Manual Coffee Grinders on a Budget

Primula Adjustable Coffee Grinder

While manual coffee grinders can command prices higher than one hundred dollars, this product doesn’t even reach a quarter of the average price. Some people assume that the coffee mill that is cheaper than a hundred dollars is not a high-quality product. 

But as mentioned earlier, the engineering and the material of the manual grinders are not that expensive. It is simply the niche stock risk that businesses take that causes the per-unit price to go up. So the low price of the Primula grinder should not be treated as a negative. It remains a net positive.

This is a highly-portable hand grinder that produces minimal noise. But despite being easy to transport and use in other environments, it’s likely to be used at home. The feature that actually counts is that you can adjust this grinder’s component position to get coarse to medium-fine coffee grounds. And while that sounds hard, it is quite easy.

Fox Run Adjustable Grinder

This grinder is not as portable as the previous one but is better at grinding coffee. It has a traditional mill structure and can even be used as a decor item. What matters more than its appearance is its adjustability. This coffee grinder can be used to produce coarse to fine grounds. Its performance is among the higher-rated ones for this product category, with an average of 4 out of 5 stars.

TCOOME Mini Coffee Grinder

If you’re on a very tight budget, this coffee mill costs around the same as two cups of premium coffee. It is a little tacky and produces only coarse grounds, which is a serious disadvantage, but for people on a tight budget, it can be an interesting purchase.

Final Thoughts

Manual Coffee grinders are expensive not because of the materials that need to be used (though some feature very expensive materials) but command a higher price because of their customers’ willingness to pay more. The manufacturers of coffee mills risk not selling their entire stock, so they price each unit in such a way that even selling a few units can pay for the entire stock.

Tim S.

Tim loves roasting, brewing, and experimenting with coffee. After years of perfecting this craft, working as a barista, and owning a small coffee service in college, he has decided to share his knowledge with the world.

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