Pros: cheap, portable, and all the advantages of buying whole bean coffee
Cons: grounds are not of equal size, build up of static
Krups Fast Touch Coffee Grinder 203
This coffee grinder is like any other typical coffee grinder in that it houses a blade attached to a motor. By depressing a button on the side of the unit, you can directly control how long to grind your coffee beans for. There is a transparent plastic lid to allow you to see the consistency of your grounds. The advertised capacity of this unit is 3 ounces which is about equivalent to 15 cups of moderately strong coffee. I have found however, that the less coffee you have in the unit at any one time, the better it works.
Why Grind Coffee?
Coffee enthusiasts all agree that freshly ground coffee has more flavor. This is due to the fact that coffee, after it is roasted, progressively loses it's flavor when it is in contact with air. The theory behind keeping coffee in its bean form is that there is less surface area to react with the air. Therefore, freshly ground coffee should be more flavorful. As an aside, there has not been any evidence that freezing your beans can protect its flavor.
Why Should I use This Unit?
A typical "coffee grinder" is the cheapest way to have fresh coffee. This specific unit sells for approximately $20 and is lightweight and small. It can be stored away when not in use and is relatively easy to maintain and clean.
So What's Bad about This Unit?
With respect to this specific type of coffee grinder, the blade types grinder do not grind your coffee to the same size. This will not matter too much if you are using this grinder for making espressos or drip coffees (which require a fairly small ground size). However, if you use a french press or any other methods which require larger grounds, this unit is not for you. Since this unit does not grind to equal size, you will inevitably get fine grounds that escape the netting of your French Press and into your cup. If you are using a French Press, I would recommend getting a "burr" type grinder, though more expensive, grinds the beans equally.
Another thing you have to worry about with this unit also inherent to its architecture is static buildup. Since the blades rotate at a fairly high speed, your grounds will tend to "stick" do to electrostatic forces to the sides of the unit and especially the plastic lid. Of course, an easy fix is to clean it with a brush (incidently, Starbucks sells "coffee brushes" for just this scenario).
Final Thoughts & Tips
This is a good grinder for people who use the autodrip coffee makers and people who make espressos. For those who need a larger ground size, a "burr grinder" is in order. Those types of grinders however are much more expensive and for the casual coffee drinker, it is not worth the money. Some tips to try to minimize on the size variations of the grounds include not filling up the grinder more than halfway and using a pulse grinding technique (in other words, don't just hold the button down, but grind in one second intervals). For French Press users, 4-5 one second pulses should be more than adequate.
If you have any further questions, please don't hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. There's just nothing better than a nice cup of coffee in the morning.