I’ve had it easy these last few weeks. Just pushing buttons and letting the machine do all the work. But now I’m back working with a manual grinder, and boy are my arms tired. The Culinary Prestige Premium is certainly a very well designed product, and when it arrived I was struck by the perceived value in it.
I’ve only got the one manual grinder under my belt, and while it simply could not match the competition in terms of features, it more than made up for it with its presentation and the end result. These things all have burr mills in them, and if you know a little bit about coffee grinding methods you will know that the burr mill is the best option across the board.
I have a bit of confession to make. I do not drink coffee. My partner does, and it will be she who drinks the fruits of my labors. I spent a number of years as a barista, and took pride in my work. I love the smells of coffee, and the ritualistic nature of making an espresso type drink. I bought a moka pot and stove top foamer just so I could practice at home, and they will be my primary tools today.
I usually have a section devoted to spice grinding in my reviews. But I feel that with a manual grinder it might not be the best idea. I am sure you can use the Culinary Prestige Premium to make spice rubs, but the difficulty in cleaning a burr grinder, which I know from experience, dissuaded me from trying it this time.
I use three types of ground bean in my coffee making. A coarse grind, a medium grind and a fine grind. Moka pots get the best result from a fine grind, but so long as the coarse and medium grind are uniform you can get a drink that, while not as robust as the fine, is still well rounded. It’s how we find out the difference in quality of the grinder here. Eventually I might get a drip machine, just to check out the coarse ground beans in their preferred environment, but until then I have to wing it a little.
So let’s take a look at the build quality.
Culinary Prestige Premium Manual Coffee Grinder Design and Build Quality
Always best to look at the surface before we get to the good stuff. Just look at this thing, it is beautiful. A clean stainless steel design, a simple tube with a handle, but it would fit into any kitchen. You can see a small window at the bottom of the device, letting you know how much beans you’ve ground. I love the weight of this thing, which seems to be standard with the manual grinders. It might be small, but there is no risk of it slipping, due to that heft. Makes the actual grind a little easier too, from my perspective. There are 18 size settings to choose from, and which one you use will depend on the flavor you are trying to achieve.
I have mentioned that this is a manual grinder. This means that in terms of ease of use it’s a breeze. There is no timer settings, all you have to do is set the mill and grind grind grind. That is the primary issue for me. I don’t like spending near a minute grinding up beans, and the elbow grease required makes this a niche product. I mean, if you can get an auto burr mill grinder for the same price, why would you fork out for this? Aesthetics. If you like the idea of manual coffee making then you buy this.
A brief word on the mechanism. There are two main types of grinders on the market at the moment, bladed grinders and burr mill grinders. Burr mills are, from my perspective, the ones to go with. The main difference in the end result is the uniformity of the grind. You want a nice even grind for the best coffee. Why this is, is simple, the speed with which the coffee releases the flavor and chemicals is dependent on the size of the grain. When they are all random sizes then a simple timed brew will lead to random results, with a uniform grind you end up with the same flavor every time, letting you dial in the time scales and make a brew you love. That’s not to say that bladed are all bad, sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t care, and so long as you hold the button in long enough, you can get an extra fine grain that is excellent for moka pots.
So we have a lovely looking product that uses a burr grinder. If we ignore the inherent difficulty in manually grinding the beans, then we have a contender for one of the bets on market, in terms of end result alone. The only thing we have to figure out now is how good the grind tastes, so moving right along to the actual coffee making part of the review.
Culinary Prestige Premium Manual Coffee Grinder Testing
We have finally reached the main section of the article. The taste test. As mentioned before, my lovely partner will be the one doing the actual drinking. She is a ten year coffee drinker, and is at least able to tell a terrible coffee from a merely very bed one. An issue with the Culinary Prestige that might put some people off is the relatively limited capacity for beans. You can only really fit enough for one or two cups of coffee. Now, that’s perfect for a moka pot guy like me, but for those out there with a bigger pot you will have to look elsewhere. You might have enough time to grind out 4 cups worth of beans, but beyond that you run the risk of exposing the grind to too much air, leading to a lackluster brew.
Moka pots are great. I cannot recommend them enough. I bought one back when I was working as a barista, so as to practice the drinks at home. I don’t drink coffee, so I knew I had to keep at it until I got the beverages right. Moka pots appealed to me for two reasons. The price, sub $20 for a good one, and the end result is a crema topped espresso esque joy. Add in a manual milk foamer and you can make all the classic Italian, and not so Italian, coffee drinks.
So the drink. I make a low calorie latte, that is vanilla extract, stevia and skimmed milk. Low fat milks might not taste quite as good as the full fat variety, but they foam a lot faster. If you are making a macchiato then it can be a real time saver. The drinks themselves were as expected. The coarse ground was considered weak, but palatable. Same goes for the medium, it wasn’t until the fine grind that the drink became both fully flavored and well rounded. The fact that the coarser grind was still a decent drink was a minor surprise, but that is a benefit of a uniform grind.
I mentioned before my penchant for hand made spice mixes, ever since I got my first bladed grinder I have been doing all sorts of things in the kitchen. I love to cook, so I tend to need a grinder that can do coffee and spices, not to mention purees and the like. A burr grinder is not your friend here. They are really only for coffee. Historically the mechanism was used to make flour, but I don’t recommend you try it with this one. If you do decide to grind up a rub then be sure to clean it well. A combination of plain water and specialty soap will get rid of the worst of the coffee ground, then just grind up a round of bread to remove the left over smells and you’re good to go.
Now we look to the price. And it is a great one. You can usually find it for sale in the Mid $20 range. The price tends to flucuate a bit on Amazon so if you can get it with a discount for something close to $20 you should really scoop it up. You can check the current price with all the discounts auto applied by clicking here.
Culinary Prestige Premium Manual Coffee Grinder Conclusion
I have a major bias that needs to be pointed out. I dislike the extra work involved in using the manual grinder. I already have a manual foamer, I don’t need something extra to add to the list of things I have to do to make coffee. In saying that, I can certainly see the appeal of this grinder. It has a professional looking finish, and the act itself is remarkably old school. At that price it’s a bargain as well. There are two big name manual grinders on the market at the moment, and between the two this is my favorite.
If you want a classic experience then you can’t do much better than the Culinary Prestige. The grind is nice and uniform, and the wealth of sizing options available make it suited to a whole host of brewing methods.
To check out the current discounts and deals available on the Culinary Prestige Premium Grinder at Amazon.com Click Here.