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The Daily Grind

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For me, it’s done by the Braun Coffee Mill, a superb product. It combines excellent function and ease of use with a great appearance.

I’ve used this particular grinder for many years, because there is none better for my purposes. Let me enumerate its strengths:

Most important, it’s a burr rather than a blade grinder. This alone sets it apart from most others in its price range ($50 at Bed Bath and Beyond). Burr grinders work by “slicing” the beans without creating heat and static electricity, preserving the integrity of the flavor, texture, and essential oils of the coffee beans. A blade grinder essentially “cooks” the coffee as it grinds, destroying the bean.

Second, it’s hands-free. I am amazed by the number of friends of mine who continue to stagger down to their kitchens, put beans in their grinders, and then stand there holding down some control or switch to grind the beans. With the Braun, you simply turn the dial, and it automatically grinds for as long as you’ve set it, stopping automatically.

Third, you can adjust the grind from superfine to coarse, for whatever you’re making, espresso or anything else. And the adjustment actually changes the size of the grounds, unlike some machines I’ve seen that basically have a “dummy” switch that in fact doesn’t do a damn thing.

Fourth, it takes from a few up to a half-pound of beans, and does the same great job no matter how big the quantity.

Fifth, it looks good, and its parts can withstand my “drop test” onto a Mexican tile floor far more often than not. If one of the pieces cracks – as can happen – Krazy Glue does the repair and returns full functionality.

Sixth, the grinder’s parts are easily disassembled for cleaning. My coffee, I believe, is superior to any I can buy at even the very best coffee shops in town, or any other town, because I clean my grinder daily. Most stores rarely do it, ’cause it’s a huge deal with commercial-style grinders: you basically have to take them out of service and devote a couple hours of employee time to the task. Ain’t gonna happen.

Coffee is exquisitely sensitive. It absorbs odors from anything in the vicinity, and it is essentially destroyed by contact with used grounds and rancid oils, unavoidable contaminants if the coffee is ground in a machine that’s not meticulously maintained.

Corby Kummer’s book, “The Joy of Coffee,” is the single best book ever written about coffee. I guarantee that if you read it, you will buy a burr grinder. Quickly, too.

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  • Dwaine AKA Scooter AKA D.J.

    I tripped off a scooter and fell down a large hill when I was younger. Does that count as a daily grind?