It has been a fun couple of weeks trying out all these grinders. Even more fun getting to learn about all the different kinds of tech used, and the reasons for certain products being better or worse. Best of all I feel I have my Latte where I want it to be, and over the next two weeks I will be reviewing all the data I’ve collected and drawing up my top ten grinders on the market right now. Today though, I have one last product to review, the Gourmia GCG195. A burr grinder.
So many of the grinders I’ve reviewed over the last few weeks have been manual grinders, and while getting my hands on a manual grinder for review was a painless process, the act of grinding was a little less so. The Gourmia is an electric grinder, with a fair set of options to its name, nice to make a cup of coffee without straining my shoulder for a change.
Usual disclaimer here. I do not drink coffee. I spent a number of years as a Barista, but never acquired the taste for the drink. My partner is the one who drinks, and so I will be relying on her opinion of the end result. One of the things that was important to me back in the day was the quality of the drinks i made. So I bought a moka pot and milk foamer to practice at home. I love the ritual of it all, sorting the grind and brewing the coffee, finishing with flavors and milk, and am well versed in making specialty drinks.
Burr grinders do not lend themselves well to versatility. Bladed grinders can be used for all kinds of things, from coffee to spice rubs to even rudimentary smoothies. I do not recommend you try it with a burr grinder, it can be done, but cleaning it out when changing use is more trouble than it’s worth.
My go to testing method is to make three different coarseness levels of grind. A coarse, a medium and a fine. Back in my early reviews I only had a moka pot, so the coarse grind tended to be a weak drink. A few weeks back I added french press brewing to my repertoire, so as to really test out the quality of a coarse grind.
So let’s look at the build quality and the design of this grinder before we test out the drinks.
Gourmia GCG195 Stainless Steel Electric Coffee Grinder Design and Build Quality
Long time readers will know I have a bias against deisgns like the Gourmia. It’s an aesthetic thing, and has no real impact on the quality of the device, but I like a clean, sleek looking grinder. Electric Burr grinders tend to look like this, bladed and manual grinders all look gorgeous by comparison. The build quality of this one is pretty good though. All the parts fit well, there is little to no rattle, and the stainless steel lower body is a nice touch.
There are 15 coarseness settings to choose from, and setting the number of cups required is as easy as pressing a button. Electric grinders are super easy to use in general, and a quick perusal of the manual is enough to let you know how to get going. One thing I found interesting was the ambiguity in getting the coarseness setting down. I was able to get it right, but my first few grinds were not what I needed for testing purposes.
Let’s take a brief moment to talk about burr grinders, and why on the whole they are better than bladed grinders. When you do a fresh grind and brew your coffee at home there are two things that you need to know. How coarse the grains need to be, and how uniform your grinder leaves those grains. The likes of a french press requires the grind to be quite coarse, espresso or moka coffee needs a finer grind, while the more common drip coffee needs a good medium grind. All of these brewing methods need a uniform grind to get the best most consistent flavor. When you brew the grinds release their flavor and chemicals at a rate proportional to their size, when the grind is not uniform then the grind releases all that good stuff at different times. Thus you will always either under brew or over brew. Bladed grinders cannot do a nice uniform coarse or medium grind, so if you use a french press or a drip pot then you will need a burr grinder. Bladed grinders can do a fairly uniform fine grind though, assuming you hold the button in long enough.
The Gourmia might not be what I am looking for visually, but it is still a fine product, and the overall feel of the build is fantastic. Quality of materials is high, and the options available are varied enough for the Gourmia to be used in multiple places. Finally, using it is a breeze, aside from the slight confusion in the manual regarding levels of coarseness.
Gourmia GCG195 Stainless Steel Electric Coffee Grinder Testing
On to the brew! The Gourmia has a wide variety of settings to choose from, and a large capacity. I make single cups of coffee in the morning, so something like this is a bit big for me. For others it is a real boon. My partner is the one who will be tasting the drinks, and her years of drinking coffee has given her the ability to distinguish a terrible coffee from a merely very bad one, a talent I expect will come in handy.
I mentioned that my primary brewing method is the moka pot, and I cannot recommend them enough. The quality of the brew is very similar to espresso, and if you want to practice making the likes of mochas and macchiatos this is a nice alternative to spending several hundred dollars on a desktop steam engine. Don’t be fooled by the cheaper espresso machines, they are typically only around 1 bar, and real espresso is made with 9 bars of pressure. Moka pots tend to have a little over 1 bar. The reason the drinks are so similar is the crema layer, an oily top layer of real espresso, it changes the flavor, and the look of the coffee, which is important to some drinks. My other brewing method is the french press, which is great for making a nice quick strong morning coffee.
So to the brew itself, the coarse grind came out remarkably uniform, and only took around a minute or so, plenty of time to get it in the french press. I must point out that fresh ground coffee loses its goodness after a few minutes, so if you are making a large amount of coffee be aware of how long the grind has been sitting there. The smells that came off this thig were fantastic, and the flavor was full bodied, though a little simple. Overall I was impressed with the grinder. The Moka pot coffee was made with the fine grain, and I have never seen so good a fine grain. I’ve reviewed well over twenty of these things, and here I found a fine grind as good as the best of them. My moka coffee is a low calorie vanilla latte, vanilla extract, stevia and foamed skimmed milk. The end result was rich, and full flavored. The Cream layer formed easily here, and getting the crema on a moka pot takes a good grind and a specific amount of ground beans. Excellent overall.
Cleaning the grinder after I was done was a little cumbersome. Taking the Gourmia apart could have been easier, but I got the bits that needed cleaned into the sink. Best I think to buy some specialty soap for this one, with other models I got away with just water and grinding a slice of bread, but here the particle build up was a little much.
Now we come to the price, and I for one am a little unhappy to see the Gourmia is in the $90 to $110 price range. There are grinders out there that match the Gourmia in certain areas, and even one that is as good as it across the board, but for the most part this beast can make all kinds of coffee to the same standard.
Gourmia GCG195 Stainless Steel Electric Coffee Grinder Conclusion
The only real downside to the Gourmia is the price. If it is in your range then get it. There is one other grinder that can do a coarse grind as well as a fine grind, but it is more expensive than the Gourmia. For me, I find that most people have one kind of coffee they make, so a device that can make multiple kinds of coffee is a little redundant, but I assume there are customers out there who need a good coarse and a good fine grind.