|Zassenhaus are the grinders Ken David's calls "technically excellent" and are not to be confused with less functional, decorative box-type mills.
All of the box mills have nearly the same capacity and it takes between 1 and 2 minutes to grind enough coffee to make 6 cups of filter drip grind. Grinding finer takes longer - i.e. more revolutions of the crank. The grind is extremely even and adjustable in medium and fine settings. You can use all of these mills for a range of grinds, from stovetop espresso, filter coffee, and French press coffee. Zassenhaus grinders have a 10-year guarantee on the entire grinding mechanism, and feature conical burrs made from tool-grade hardened steel.
|Someone asked me once if Zassenhaus had a web site, which seems highly unlikely. Zassenhaus is an "old-world" company. Well, times have sure changed since we started this business: Zassenhaus can be found at www.zassenhaus.com! They produce hand-cranking pepper mills and coffee mills.
I have noticed that on the www.zassenhaus.com web site sells coffee mills that say "Espresso" on them. As far as I know these mills are identical on the inside - they are no different in terms of the burrs. But they are not sold in the US - at least our distributor does not carry them.
Can I really use the mill for french press grind? My grinder seems to be very uneven on the coarsest settings - producing large chunks and some powder. Is there something wrong with the mill? What you will find with any conical burr mill - electric or non-electric - is that on the coarsest settings, where the burrs are farthest apart, you will get an uneven grind. This is due to the way that the coffee moves through the burrs. To get an acceptable grind for say french press, you have to set the mill so the burrs are closer together, pushing it toward a finer grind. In my experiments on a 169DG mill, from the point that the burrs are as close together as they can be (the adjustment nut turned all the way counter-clockwise), I turn the knob approximately one full turn clockwise to get a good starting point for french press grind. On these mills, when you go from a finer grind to coarser, you may need to tap on the top of the adjustment mechanism to drop the burr down. What you want in any brewing/grinding situation is to grind as fine as possible for maximum flavor extraction without causing over-extraction or an unacceptable amount of sediment in the cup. Obviously these can be subjective determinations - so you will have to play with the settings to find what you like.
Can these mills grind fine enough for an espresso machine? Yes it can ...you must adjust the burrs so they rub a bit (they won't wear though --mine is 3 years and shows no significant wear). Grinding takes longer when it is finer too - so if you make more than a shot or two a day - you probably want an electric mill. There is also a lot more resistance when you grind fine - so you have to grip the mill more tightly. For this reason, the knee mills are the easiest for to use as they are more narrow.
Can I use the mill on a daily basis? Will I look like a lobster, with one extremely strong arm, as result? Using a Zassenhaus on a daily basis is not for everyone. In the age of convenience, grinding coffee by hand makes sense for some folks, and would be an annoyance to others. If you intend to give a Zassenhaus mill as a gift, please think about this. Depending on how much coffee you make and how (i.e. for espresso or drip), a hand mill might be more of a work out than you bargained for. I know the way we grind and drink coffee here at the warehouse, it would be impractical to say the least.
Is one mill better than another? All the mills except the Turkish mill have identical burrs, so they will not differ in terms of the grind produced. Besides aesthetics, the designs differ primarily in terms of how you load the coffee, the volume of whole bean coffee it can hold (the 169DG has the largest hopper), and the dimensions of the mill, which effect how easy it is to hold it (which is why I think the knee mills are the easiest to hold as they are the narrowest) and how much space it takes up (the 169DG is the largest). The Turkish mill has a slightly different mechanism, and from my perspective has as its main advantage its compact size, which makes it ideal for traveling/camping/backpacking.