Monday, June 6, 2011

Coffee, How Do I Love Thee? (Coffee Grinder Road Test)


I vaguely remember a time I did not need a coffee in the morning as an essential part of my routine, but that memory is about as dark as my morning cup of coffee poured steaming hot out of the plunger, which, frankly, smells pretty darn good. Most of you would probably agree that life begins after the first cup of coffee and those of you who don't, I shake my head at thee!

There was a time when the first coffee of my day had to be milky and frothy and, preferably, made by a slightly surly barista at my nearest decent cafe.  More recently my routine has adapted to include 20 minutes first thing in the morning wrapped up in my fluffy robe and ugg boots, pottering around in the kitchen, boiling the kettle, setting up the plunger and breathing in the heady scents and flavours of my morning brew.  I still add milk, but I prefer the stronger flavour of a freshly plunged cup of joe.


My favourite sources of coffee beans are two local Canberra roasters who specialise in both small batch roasts and single origin beans.  Wagonga Coffee sells their wares (and a particularly tasty latte made with their bean-of-the-day) at the local farmers' market at EPIC on a Saturday morning.  I strongly recommend high-tailing it directly to their stall for a heart-starting brew first thing on arrival at the markets, and then popping around to their sales counter to nab yourself some Cuban Turquino beans.

I also love the slightly earthier blends being roasted by the Lonsdale Street Roasters at their rather "Melbourne" cafe in Braddon, and it's their Honduras single origin beans that I am grinding up today in my new coffee grinder road test.  Grab a panini while you're there, if you can find a table!



Now, I have to confess that - sans coffee grinder - I have always requested the Wogonga and Lonsdale Street Roaster fellas (pretty) please grind up my beans for me to the perfect consistency for my plunger.  *True coffee aficionados insert gasp here*

I have resisted buying myself a grinder for a number of reasons. Firstly, laziness.  Grinding up your own coffee is a great idea on a weekend when you have the time to spend getting out the machine and doing your thing, but on weekdays, when it's a choice between using something pre-ground or having time to put on makeup, I know which one I choose.

Also, my kitchen cupboards (and most of my living room storage) is already groaning with gadgets, food mixers, processors, burners, weighers, mashers, slicers, dicers and freezers.  It is now instinctual for me to resist the temptation to buy yet another single use machine to add to the pile.  And, finally, I have actually been trying to save some money.  Another shock-horror moment, I know.  But when a wonderful gift voucher from my personal kitchen-crack-house of choice (Essential Ingredient) came my way, it seemed time to give into the inevitable and buy myself a grinder.

Luckily, they had a pretty reasonably priced Bodum option in a pretty cherry red (yes, I am indeed that shallow) at just on $70.  I should point out that the next price point was around the $300 mark - a Kitchenaid coffee grinder the colour of clotted cream.  This, however, was not only ridiculously out of my price range, but was also about three times as large as my new Bodum.  I figured if I was going to give over precious storage space to this new gadget, then I could at least be sensible about it.  The choice was pretty easy (although I still find myself staring longly in the window at the Kitchenaid from time to time).

So this is my new Bodum coffee grinder...


It's pretty straightforward to use.  Insert beans (the lid is a helpful measure for the maximum amount to add), plug in, pop on the lid and press the black button on the side.  You can see through the clear lid to check whether it's hit the consistency you want.  Done and done.  It's relatively easy to clean too.  No water or soap, just a brush or soft cloth.  I would note that the rubber external casing has a bit of static to it, which makes it hard to get it 100% clear of grinds, but it's not an insurmountable issue.




I am pleased Bodum's kept this so intuitively easy to use.  I already have a Bodum stick blender in a gorgeous duck egg blue, and it's a reliable and aesthetically pleasing addition to the kitchen.  As with the stick blender, which doesn't get used every day, I can't say that I will be brushing off the grinder every morning to grind my coffee up fresh, but it will definitely be whipped out on the weekends for some fresh ground java while I potter around in my robe.

Finally, one last little feature I love is the small winding do-hickey underneath the grinder for the electrical cord - it even has a little mouse-door for the last little bit of the cord to peek out of.  It's a thoughtful design detail I appreciate.



Oh, and the freshly ground coffee was pretty darn good too!  Smoky, flavourful and heart-startingly good.  Just as coffee should be.


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