How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder: An Easy 5-Step Tutorial

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Coffee lovers everywhere are utterly devoted to their morning brew. From that first delicious sip, your mug of morning coffee warms you up, makes you more alert, and gets you ready for the busy day ahead. More than that, however, are coffee’s health benefits. Did you know that drinking coffee helps curb appetite, which may help in weight loss? Furthermore, recent research shows that drinking coffee just might protect against illnesses like Diabetes and Alzheimer’s.

Coffee aficionados know that using a manual coffee grinder is an essential part of making a great pot of coffee. If you’ve never used a manual coffee grinder before, this quick and easy tutorial will get you off on the right foot! Grinding fresh beans before brewing your coffee is vital for getting the most flavor and depth from your coffee. As you’ll see, using a manual coffee grinder is simple, quick, and it allows you to create the perfect coffee for your flavor preferences. Whether you like strong, bold coffee or something milder, a manual coffee grinder is a tool that’s indispensable to your morning routine.

Step 1: Get the right tools and beans

Begin your manual coffee grinding journey by assembling the essentials. Take these considerations and nuances involved in choosing the right equipment and beans for a truly satisfying brewing experience.

Selecting the right tools

The right manual coffee grinder. By that, we mean one that suits your lifestyle and taste preferences. Although handheld manual coffee grinders are cheaper than other types, grinders that sit on a counter offer bigger bean capacity and stability. Browse through the selection of grinders offered by your favorite online kitchen tools store, or go shopping at a brick-and-mortar store in your community. Go exploring! You may be surprised by the array of manual coffee grinders available today, and there’s sure to be one that’s perfect for the size of your kitchen. And look for one that’s easy to use, and is made of sturdy materials

Buy top-notch beans. There are lots of places where you can buy large quantities of coffee beans in bulk, but that’s not always a good idea. Buying high-quality beans in a flavor you enjoy ensures that your coffee has the freshness, depth, and deliciousness you want. Try different beans if you like, but don’t let cost be the sole basis on which you buy them. Once you settle on the type of bean that gives you the taste you love, you’ll enjoy every cup of coffee you make each morning.

Optional Scale. While not mandatory, using a scale enhances precision in measuring coffee beans. It is a good idea for folks who want an exact amount of beans for their manual coffee grinder. Necessary? No, not really. A bonus? Absolutely!

Choosing coffee beans

Type. Try different beans and you’ll soon know which one makes coffee you love. Arabian? Colombian? Every bean on the market has a unique flavor profile, so have fun and brew a few different types.

Freshness. Check the best-before date on any beans you’re considering buying. Remember, the fresher the bean, the fuller and richer the taste.

Grind Size Relevance. Keep in mind that brewing methods largely determine the size of the grind setting you’ll choose on your manual coffee grinder. Select the setting that’s right for your brewing method. For example: making an espresso demands a different size grind than making coffee in a French press.

Other things to consider

Storage. Keep your beans in an airtight container in a dark, dry spot in your kitchen – a pantry shelf, for example, away from heat and light.

Grinder maintenance. Keep your grinder clean and free of bits of beans. Even little pieces of old beans can impact the flavor of your next grind.

Holar - Blog - How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder An Easy 5-Step Tutorial - Get the right tools and beans


Step 2: Add coffee beans

Now that you’ve chosen the tools and beans, it’s time to add the star of the show – your coffee beans. This decision determines everything about your coming pot of coffee – the richness, depth, and boldness of every cup. How do you know how many beans to use? Read on!

Considering your taste preferences

What kind of taste are you aiming for? A rich, strong brew or one that’s milder, with less punch? The quantity of beans you put in the grinder is largely the determining factor in the coffee’s taste and depth. Experiment a little, and you’ll soon discover just the right balance that suits your taste preferences.

Use fresh beans

As we mentioned earlier, the fresher your beans, the better. Freshness impacts flavor in a big way, so pay attention to the best-before date when you buy your beans.

Measure precisely

Ensure that your chosen amount of coffee beans aligns with your taste preferences. Whether relying on a scale for exact measurements or trusting your intuition, the quantity plays a crucial role in determining the strength and flavor of your coffee.

Load the beans properly in your grinder

Open the lid of your manual coffee grinder and add the coffee beans you’ve measured. Be aware of just how many beans your grinder holds. Don’t jam it too full of beans, because that affects the quality of the grind.

Holar - Blog - How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder An Easy 5-Step Tutorial - Add coffee beans


Step 3: Adjust the grind size

Once the beans have been added, it’s time to set your grind size. This step is crucial! The setting affects the flavor, strength, and depth of your coffee, so be sure to get it right.

Brewing methods and grind sizes

Understanding how the brewing method and the size of the grind work together is essential for making a delicious pot of coffee. Here are a few examples:

Coarse grind. Coarse grind is best for brewers like the French press. This grind size allows flavors to disperse in the coffee more slowly, so you get a deep, bold cup each time.

Medium grind. This size is suited to pour-over or drip coffee makers. Medium grind produces a well-balanced, rich brew that isn’t too strong.

Fine grind. You need a fine grind for coffees like espresso. It’s ideal for one-shot coffees, like Americanos, that contain one or two shots of espresso and, sometimes, added flavors like vanilla, to make it truly unique.

Adjusting the grinder

Examine the settings on your manual coffee grinder. Choosing the right one means you’ll make the perfect cup of coffee, depending on the brewing method you’re using and your individual tastes.

Check it visually

When you’re grinding, don’t just assume the size is right because the setting is right. Inspect it for size consistency – that’s important. Coarsely ground coffee should look a little like bread crumbs, while finely ground coffee resembles powdered sugar. This is another key step in ensuring your grind is right for the coffee you’re about to make.


Trying different grind sizes is a good way to familiarize yourself with which grind suits different types of coffee. For example: Try a slightly coarser grind when you’re using a drip filter brewing method, just to see how the flavor is affected. You’ll never know what coffee types you love until you try them!

Holar - Blog - How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder An Easy 5-Step Tutorial - Adjust the grind size


Step 4: Grind and check consistency

Once you’ve chosen a grind setting, you’re ready to grind! Here are a few tips for making the most of your manual coffee grinder.

Keep it steady

Be sure to place the manual coffee grinder on an even surface, one that’s flat and stable. Grasp the grinder firmly, which keeps it from swaying or moving around while you’re operating it.

Begin grinding

Get into the smooth rhythm of the mechanism when you start operating the grinder. Move your hand clockwise to get the grinding underway. You will feel the resistance a bit, but when you smell the dazzling aroma of freshly ground coffee coming out of your manual grinder, you’ll be transported!

Keep a steady pace

Make sure you go at a smooth, steady pace while operating your manual coffee grinder. Focus on the task at hand, and enjoy the way your hands are part of the grinding process.

Pause and look

It’s important to take a moment to check that the grind is consistent in size and shape. It should be all one size. For example, let’s say you’re grinding the beans quite finely to make yourself an espresso. Remember the tip that it should look a little like powdered sugar? Now’s the time to notice that!

Adjust the grinder setting if needed

If you see anything that is a miss in the size of the grind, pause to double-check the setting on your manual coffee grinder. Remember: every single ground is going to impact the taste and depth of your coffee, so pay close attention and adjust the setting, if necessary.

Holar - Blog - How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder An Easy 5-Step Tutorial - Grind and check consistency


Step 5: Brew and enjoy

Now that you’re happy with the size and consistency of the coffee grounds, you’re ready to move on and brew a pot in whatever mechanism you use – a French press, an electric brew pot, etc. Take the grounds from your manual coffee grinder and place them in your coffee maker.

Open the bottom of the grinder and voila! Perfectly ground, aromatic coffee grounds ready for your coffee maker.

After you brew your fresh pot of coffee, take the time to sit and sip this delicious brew. Relish the aroma, the deep richness, and the warmth and freshness of your just-made coffee. Does anything taste better first thing in the morning than a freshly brewed pot of coffee, made precisely the way you love it most? We don’t think so, and we’ll bet you don’t either!

Holar - Blog - How to Use a Manual Coffee Grinder An Easy 5-Step Tutorial - Brew and enjoy


Bottom line

Following these five easy steps ensures you make the most of your manual coffee grinder, and that means you’ll get the most flavourful pot of coffee possible, no matter how you brew it. Making a truly fine pot of coffee is almost an art form, and using the right manual coffee grinder is like using the right canvas and paints. Start brewing, and enjoy!

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