After using a generic Skerton-style hand grinder every morning for years, I experienced this Hario slim coffee mill at a friends home and was immediately converted. It solved numerous issues I had with my original mill in a simple, elegant, and affordable design. The only problem was my reluctance to create waste that causes me to be effectively incapable of throwing away products that technically still function (aka slight hoarding tendencies). As such, this grinder was on my wish list for quite some time, but finally an excuse arrived and I pulled the trigger. So, now that I’ve had the pleasure of using it daily for the past 4 months, here is the review.
The Hario slim mill easily covers all the basic requirements of a hand grinder:
- ceramic conical burr grinders naturally operate at cool temperatures (as opposed to electric blade grinders which can burn your beans while slicing through them) and last for a very long time with no maintenance
- easy adjustment of ground size from fine for espresso to coarse for pour over & french press
- ergonomically comfortable grinding
- priced affordably
And then there are a few features that make this coffee mill really shine:
- a clear lid
- portion indication markings
- removable handle
- compact size
Most manual grinders have lids, but my previous one didn’t and it drove me crazy that near the end of a grind session bean fragments would explode out of the burrs onto the floor. With the press-fit lid on this Hario that never happens and it’s easy to keep an eye on the supply. On the other end, the portion indication markers on the side of the base work perfectly for pour overs as well as an Alessi 9090 espresso maker, which requires a far more precise ground volume for a perfect brew. The removable handle and small diameter are great for minimizing shelf footprint, allow for an easy pour into an Aeropress, and make it easy to pack for weekend adventures. The handle also cleverly hangs off the mill when in the cupboard.
The only things I’d change would be to swap the plastic base for glass and for it to be manufactured in the USA for improved quality control, but besides those two small qualms (which could be negatives in that they’d add weight and cost), this is a damn fine hand grinder. If you’re also in the market for a kettle read my review of the Hario V60.
The slim Hario coffee grinder should a great product, but is hampered by manufacturing quality issues. Read the update below to learn more.
UPDATE [Jan 20, 2015] My friend has bought the same grinder and has had trouble removing the handle after grinding. This occurs because the handle has cut into the hexagonal drive shaft and created notches that prevent the handle from sliding back off the top. This is due to a small contact area in the handle combined with an unacceptably soft metal used for the center axis shaft. A simple work-around is to fully attach the handle and then lift it 1/8″ (3mm) before grinding, allowing the handle to bite the shaft above the notch, providing for an easy release. Being forced to modify behavior to successfully use a product isn’t ideal, and the problem could easily be solved through a design modification or stronger shaft metal, but this fix works and I anticipate the handle to become uniformly worn in a couple months such that the problem is no longer present. Below you can see a side by size image of a smooth issue-free hex shaft on the left and the notched shaft on the right.
UPDATE [Apr 17, 2016] I thought the drive shaft issue would go away as the shaft wore down uniformly, unfortunately that was not the case, and rather the problem has become far worse. The hex drive has now completely stripped. If my friend goes to crank the handle it just freely spins without grinding the beans at all. He’s submitted a manufacturing defect claim with Hario, so we will see how their customer service handles the situation.