Melanie Jane and I finally realized about a week ago that our old German manual coffee grinder has been AWOL for at least the last twenty years. This one on fleabay looked grungy but fine, and it was nice and cheap. So we bought it, without having any knowledge that we were treading onto the fetid grounds of coffee grinding controversy.
For a few moments, after I hit the inter webs and searched for these grinders, I thought I had broken through the dramatic forth wall, and was sitting in Café Nervosa with the cast of Frasier; but slowly the outlines of the argument became clear. It’s all about the food and volatile oils. The parallel between stone ground corn and metal ground coffee is clear. Corn ground at a high speed has the volatile oil overheated and changed chemically–burned, in fact. Coffee ground with fast spinning blades suffers the same fate, as opposed to that ground slowly in a mechanical mill. I am beginning to side with the snobs, logically, but I will still have my pot of Community Coffee Coffee and Chicory every weekday morning.
At any rate, here is how to refurb an old grinder. I polished the metal parts with some automotive buffing compound, and gave the wooden cabinet a good work over with some Walnut oil wax finish, applied with my high tech old smart wool sock with a big hole in it. I fiddled with the mechanism until I found the adjustment, which is at the bottom of the grinding mechanism, and accessed by removing the drawer. I tightened it down as far as I dared, and this thing began to grind like the German Tier (beast) that it is.
We bought a couple of pounds of Fair Trade, organic coffee to go along with our purchase, and the real competition began. Right now the result is Guatemala One, Peru Nil. The match resumes this weekend.