My friend, Tim Wu, is a journalist in the tech start-up world and writes for TechZulu
. I recently let him borrow the new Hario Clear Coffee grinder in exchange that he helps me write a review for it. Thanks Tim! Anyways, if you're interested in the start-up world in Los Angeles, checkout TechZulu. I've had the privilege of attending some of their events, and it's always been a fun time. Tim's been getting more and more into specialty coffee over the years, and I'd like to think I've played some sort of roll in exposing him to this strange world. I plan on taking him to a Barista Competition soon haha. He talks a little bit about what he thought of coffee before really knowing it, and then goes into the grinder review. For me, it's always interesting to hear how people get into specialty coffee because the stories are all kinda similar but different. If you don't know what I mean, you will after you hear a lot of people's "origin" stories. Hope you enjoy it. Enter Tim...
Hand grinding your own coffee?
A past-time I'd observed inquisitively, but poked fun at and personally ridiculed as an otaku interest. "Unnecessary, too extreme." I assure you, things are different now, which brings me to today. It took a number of years, but my original relationship with the black, acidic beverage has also drastically evolved over time. Let's start at the beginning.
The Dark Ages
As an ignorantly "caffeine free" individual up through my mid-20's (due in part to my refusal to be inquisitive on sensationalist "COFFEE IS THE DEVIL" articles in trashy mainstream media), my worldview of coffee culture was extremely narrow and limited. "Coffee's bad for you." I'd spout nonsensically. "Caffeine is addictive and causes headaches" I'd spew, as I regularly demolished Jagerbombs and Redbull-vodkas on weekend nights out. Not sure when it happened, but something eventually clicked. I underwent a personal renaissance. A brief period of light shedding where I started doing my own research and allowing myself to learn of the multiple benefits of a nice cup of black to start my mornings. I began realizing that the vilifying health claims associated with habitual coffee drinking were actually due to high sugar-cream content from frappablends: The sweet, foamy desserts that our Starbucks generation furiously consume, with the steady diligence of baleen whales, grazing in the open seas. Wait, Where the Hell Am I Going With This? Sorry for the major digression. I'm actually here to review the Hario Clear Coffee Grinder
(ref: Hario Clear). Cliff notes: It's a great product and I enjoy having it in my home Grinding your own coffee is somewhat of a calming experience for me. As new age hippy dippy as it sounds, I believe in the benefits of following steady, morning routines. In addition, I've acutally been too cheap to purchase a fully powered grinder and have also found personal value in manually grinding my own cofee: "Hand grinders get the job done and double as a morning shoulder pump."
A Substantial Upgrade
All jokes aside, prior to the Hario Clear, my grinding option was a little wooden piece that mysteriously entered our household from a roommate's signifcant other. Quaint in appearance and feel, it was something you'd find in the housewares section of Goodwill (or the corner of your Grandmother's kitchen). It did the trick, but was woefully inefficient and hitched every 4-5 rotations. With little quirks and hiccups, the experience was like driving an early 90's domestic. Lots of character, but frustrating as all hell. By a stroke of luck (or misfortune), the little vintage grinder disappeared and the Hario Clear was (thankfully) introduced into our household. Sleeker than an Italian mobster's hairdo The smooth, glossy box immediately gives away its Japanese roots. A coffee grinder that'd fit right in within an Apple "Genius" Bar's breakroom, the sterile acrylic build is light, but still feels nice and solid. The sturdy grinding arm has a smooth aluminum finish, and the bearings feel smooth. No roughness or hitching during the grind.
Features Features Features
I'm a sucker for details, so here's an interesting list of little features that give the Hario Clear some extra cool points (does anyone say that anymore?) The Hario Clear is geared towards small (maybe cluttered kitchens). You can physically remove the handle and tuck it away into a neat little slot in the top. The grinder's bottom is lined with an awesome rubber seal. Place the box on a smooth, non-porous surface (unfinished wood won't work), flip the switch, and the Hario will secure itself onto the surface, saving your non-dominant arm from extreme stabilizing duties. Grinding quality is easily adjustable from coarse to ultra fine. Keep in mind the finer you go, the more raw grounds you'll need to add. Finer grounds will also yield a stronger, thicker extraction. My brewer of choice is this stovetop Italian Press. *Noting here that wooden Goodwill grinder didn't have adjustability setting*
So Uhh.... What About the Grinder?
Since the first day of use, I immediately noted the smoothness of the turns in comparison to the the Hario Clear's predecessor. From 1-5 on the fineness scale, my Hario is set to ~ 3.5. It takes a little while longer on this setting to ground my coffee each morning, but overall, the experience is still enjoyable. Out of a 3 star system, I'd give the Hario Clear Grinder a 3.