I have been having a blast with this series of reviews. I love making coffee, and my partner loves drinking it, so getting to use all these different kinds of grinders, in an attempt to find the best one, has been a minor dream come true. The Secura SCG is another excellent grinder, an automatic Burr model, with a plethora of options and excellent core function.
It’s nice to step away from the manual grinders for a while, though I do have another one of them on order, so expect it next week. In mostly related news I got myself another method of brewing coffee. In my other articles I talk about the Moka pot, my preferred method due to its similarity to espresso. The issue with only using that is that only fine ground beans really work with it. Coarser grain tends to leave us with a weak brew, though when the grind is uniform it is at least acceptable as a dessert drink. I got myself a french press, to better test the coarse grind. This will be my first grinder used in it, and I am excited to see the results.
I fairly large point that needs to be made, I do not actually drink coffee. Never acquaired the taste. My partner is an avid consumer of the stuff, she is seldom seenw without a cup. I kdid work for a number of years in a coffee house, and I am the one who makes the coffee in my house, so I feel more than qualified to put these grinders through their paces.
When it comes to the Burr grinders I tend to not make spice mixes. You can, of that I have no doubt, but the last time I tried it I ended up with far too much residue on the grinder, and that was an ass to clean. So I make it a policy to not make rubs with burrs. When I get a bladed build I always try them out.
When I test the grinder I make three kinds of ground. Coarse, medium and fine. In the past the medium and fine were a bit not good. Now, with the french press I can really check out the quality of the coarse grind, and with my Moka pot in hand I can test the fine ground. In the future I might look into getting a medium focused brewing method, but for the time being this will do.
Let’s take a look at the aesthetics and build quality first.
Secura SCG-903B Automatic Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Design and Build Quality
Always start with the look of the build. The Secura is far from a streamlined design. It is a bit of a mess of buttons and sections. It is at least fairly compact, and the large grind window is nice. I am a fan of being able to see exactly how much coffee I have ground. It’s light too, but that is not a boon for me. I prefer a build to have a little heft to it. There are 17 grind sizes here, and you can set the number of cups you want to grind up at the push of a button too. Between 2 and 12, so if you want a single cup you will either need to have it extra strong, or throw a little out. I tend to make a single cup in the morning for my partner, so this does not suit me personally, but I know others are out looking for multi-cup grinders.
This is an electric grinder, so using it is easy as pie. There is an added difficulty in choosing the correct settings, but the knobs on the front are self explanatory, and setting the burr is simple. I love that al I have to do is add the beans and press tow buttons. No standing there holding the button in until the grind is done, makes a nice change from the bladed builds I am more used to.
Let’s talk about the mechanism of action. There are two kinds of grinders on the market at the moment. The bladed grinder and the burr grinder. Bladed grinders are multi use, not only with coffee, but also spices. Burr grinders are mainly for coffee. The main issue with bladed grinders is in the uniformity of the grind. Ground coffee releases its flavor and chemicals at a rate depending on the size of the particle. When it is uniform you get a well rounded flavor, as all the particles release at the same time. When they are not uniform you get a random flavor, either too weak or too bitter from over brewing. That isn’t to say that bladed grinders are all bad. Sometimes you don’t care, and if you use a moka pot just holding the button in for long enough will get you a grind you can use.
So from the outset here we have what appears to be a fine burr grinder. one that will grind uniformly, and should leave us with a fine cup of coffee. The look of the build is not up my alley, but I’m not everyone, so it might be exactly what you are looking for to complete your kitchen. Let’s see how the coffee itself turns out before you rush to buy.
Secura SCG-903B Automatic Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Testing
Finally the core of the article. How does the coffee actually taste when ground with the Secura. I mentioned earlier that it will be my partner who taste tests the drinks, as a ten year coffee drinker she is just about able to tell the difference between a terrible coffee and a merely very bad one, which is more than can be aid about myself. The Secura is for the household, looking to make a number of cups of coffee in the morning. I stress that if you are grinding enough beans for several pots that you use them as soon as possible, and by that I mean within a few minutes, else you run the risk of letting them spoil. I primarily use a moka pot, so I grind on a per cup basis. With the French Press i had to do a few practice runs.
Moka pots are amazing, if you are a fan of espresso I recommend you invest in a small moka pot, under $20. They create a coffee drink that is as close to espresso as you can get in the home without having to spend a couple of hundred dollars. The main reason I recommend them is due to their crema layer. Few other kinds of coffee get that.
I specialize in a low calorie latte, that is my go to moka pot coffee. A combination of foamed skimmed milk, vanilla extract and stevia, along with a hearty shot or two of moka espresso and we’re done. The Medium and the fine grind did well in the moka pot, the fine better than the medium but both were acceptable. The coarse though was a bit of a mess. No matter how many times I tried each coarse grind ended up haphazard and strewn with tiny particles of dust coffee. It left the french press test looking a little unappealing, though it apparantly tasted okay. Not a great end result here.
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 talked about my love of spices on up the article. My personal grinder is a bladed grinder, I can get a fine grind with enough time, and I can use it to make spice rubs without fear of cleaning. With a burr grinder I recommend only using it for coffee. You can use it to make spices but cleaning it is quite difficult. If you do decide to go down that route, be sure to take it apart and clean it with water and specialty soap. To get rid of the flavor grind up a round of bread, that sould absorb the smells.
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.
Finally a look at the price. Usually you are going to be paying around $40, at this price point I expected more from this build. I have been moving through the ranks of the best sellers at amazon, and this is the first time I have been disappointed. It might be time to compile a top ten, or at least look at the most expensive grinders to see if the more you spend the better they get. If you can get it on sale it might be worth it, but as of right now there are better options out there. To see if it is currently on sale or if there are any discount available Click Here.
Secura SCG-903B Automatic Electric Burr Coffee Grinder Conclusion
I went into this review with high hopes. Sad to say that my first foray with the french press ended up a little lackluster, and it was all because of the grinder. The coarse grind was fairly uniform, but the residue left us with a mulch. For the fine grind it was great, but there are better options out there, at lower price points. I love the options, and the automation on offer, but if the end result is a mixed bag of a cup of coffee I can’t really recommend it unless you can get it for closer to $30.
To see the current price with all available discounts you can click here.
If you are in the market for a coarse grinder you will have to look elsewhere, and there are cheaper options out there for the finer grinds. Be sure to check out my other reviews for better options, and keep an eye out for my top ten coming soon.