One very important tool I always recommend as a first purchase is the coffee grinder. Today I want to share my experience with a basic manual grinder.
Here I present the Hario Mini Slim, in the Plus version that replaces the previous model and has some minor improvements, mainly in aesthetics and functionality in the handle.
Presentation of the Hario Mini Slim Plus
The unboxing is quite simple; inside the box, we find the body of the grinder, its handle on the side, and a small instruction manual.
Components of the Hario Mini Slim Plus
The grinder consists of two separable parts, the hopper, where we place the coffee beans and contains the burrs, and the container, where the ground coffee falls.
At the top of the hopper, there is a very useful lid that prevents the beans from flying out while grinding. The mouth of the hopper is super wide, which facilitates dosing, and has a capacity of approximately 40 grams, depending on the size of the bean.
At the bottom, we can see the conical burrs, as in many manual grinders; they are 38 millimeters of ceramic. At the bottom, we can see the burrs and a nut that regulates the grind size using clicks. To adjust it, we have to place the crank with a hexagonal socket and hold it in place; we turn the hopper.
To grind finer, we turn the nut to the right and grind coarser to the left. You have to remember this, as there is no indication, but it is quite simple, think of it as a screw that turns to the right and inwards; the same thing happens here.
We have a fixed grinding burr at the base of the hopper and a burr that, when we adjust it towards the other, leaves less space between them, grinding finer, and to the left, we adjust it back, it leaves more space and moves coarser. It was my first grinder in its previous model, so I had a few years of experience with it.
Advantages of the Hario Mini Slim Plus grinder
- It is resistant and constructed mostly of hard plastic, such as polypropylene and methacrylate resin. I have dropped mine a few times over the years, and nothing has happened, not even a scratch.
- It is also very light, just over 250 grams, which makes it ideal for taking it everywhere and putting it in the backpack without fear of breaking.
- It has a good size, it is not the smallest grinder, but it has a good capacity to grind for up to two people.
- It does not require electricity or recharging, so you can use it wherever and whenever you want, with a little exercise included.
- Another advantage is its accessibility, as it is a well-known brand and is available worldwide.
- Its price is also an advantage. Within the “entry-level” category, it is the best that we are going to get about price-quality, I know that for many, it is not economical, but within what is a grinder that allows you to taste a good quality coffee decently, it is the cheapest that we are going to get. Think of it as an investment. But if you have a bigger budget, you can get some great options that we’ll look at below.
- It also produces a decent grind for methods such as the Moka pot, the siphon, the Aeropress, and the V60, among others. It looks very even and is excellent for its price.
- Lastly, it is very easy to disassemble for cleaning, and since it has ceramic burrs, they can be washed with water to eliminate the oils that accumulate on them.
Disadvantages of the Hario Mini Slim Plus grinder
As nothing is perfect, this grinder also has its cons. Here are its disadvantages:
- Because the hopper is so wide, the last coffee beans do not weigh the other beans, pushing them down, then they move quite a bit to the sides, up and down, bouncing and making this last part grind unevenly, especially in large pieces.
- In addition, the outer burr, which should be fixed, has a lot of play and moves and affects the consistency of the grind.
- Another disadvantage is that, although the grind is fairly even for the methods we mentioned, once we go to the coarser side from Chemex, French Press, and Melitta-type filters, a quite pronounced variation is noticed, and their burrs start to show flaws. But, even so, for the price of this grinder, it is acceptable, and you can enjoy a good coffee with this grind, although we will have some very fine and some very coarse pieces, which will not contribute to the clarity of the flavors.
- Finally, when grinding the coffee, we will notice that it sticks a little, so it is not a superfluid grind. But again, for the price, it is acceptable compared to other grinders.
Cleaning the Hario Mini Slim Plus
To clean this grinder, you must follow the following steps:
- We remove the bottom bowl.
- Holding the crank in place, turn the grinder nut to the left to the coarsest setting and remove it.
- Remove the inner grinding burr, the outer burr, and the shaft spring.
- Now, on the other side, we take out the crank and remove the shaft with a washer, do not lose it.
- We take the plastic lock to the burr by tightening it and pulling it backward.
- With this, we have completely disassembled and washed all the parts.
- Once we have dried everything well, without leaving any moisture, we reassemble it by placing the lock on the internal movable burr, the washer on the shaft, and inserting it into the hopper.
- This may cause another washer to come off at the bottom of the hopper; put it back in place.
- At the bottom, we add the spring to the shaft, and the fixed outer burr, matching the side holes in the hopper. Now the inner grinding burr and the grinding nut are very easy.
There is no established period for cleaning; it will depend more on the use you give it and the roasting level of the beans you use. For example, those with a higher roasting level release more oils; therefore, you will have to clean it more often.
As always, the cleaner, the better, the better flavor and maintenance of the grinder.
Calibration of the Hario Mini Slim Plus grinder
With most manual grinders, we don’t have a visible grind setting number, so there is a system for counting the number of clicks for reference.
While I don’t use it myself as it will depend a lot on the beans you use, the variety, and the roast level, I have to say that it is quite useful in case, with the same coffee, you prepare different methods.
With this system, you can go back and forth to the setting quickly; for this, you have to turn the grinding nut to the finest setting until you can no longer go to the right, which is when the grinders touch, and you can no longer rotate the crank. From this position, every click you make to the left will be the reference set.
You can find on the internet tables the number of clicks needed for this grinder for each method; as I mentioned, they are not very efficient, but I will leave here my guide in case you are just starting to use it.
What I do is grind a few beans and adjust based on texture. The benefit of manual grinders like this one is that they have virtually no retention, so you can change the grind a little at a time without having to take coffee out to avoid mixing grinds and wasting it.
This grinder is excellent for those just starting in the world of coffee. Those who are just starting will notice a huge difference in the quality of the coffee and the brightness of the flavors and aromas they will obtain from grinding it at the moment of consumption.
It is perfect for methods that require a medium-fine grind and is ideal for taking everywhere, so I highly recommend it as a first grinder. Within the basic entry-level category, it is excellent value for money.