Almost everyone can agree that a solid grinder is essential to making a good cup of coffee. And that makes sense. When brewing a fresh batch of an Ethiopian natural or sharing a killer Costa Rican honey with your friends, you want to be sure that your equipment will do the coffee justice. But there are a lot of different kinds of grinders out there, at a lot of different price points, and it can be difficult to know where to start. Thankfully, Hario built a reliable, versatile grinder that will bring the best out of your coffee without breaking the bank: The Hario Skerton Plus.
Specialty coffee is all about precision, which is why the number one thing to look for in a grinder is adjustable burrs. Whether the burrs are steel or ceramic, the important thing is that the distance between them can be changed. This is what allows one grinder to output both fine grounds for a moka pot and course grounds for a french press. At the same time, the burrs should fix rigidly in-place once the grind size has been selected, so that the ground coffee is consistently the same size. This will lead to more even extraction, and better tasting coffee. Making something both adjustable and rigid is a tough engineering challenge, which is why many grinders can be fairly expensive or difficult to maintain and clean. Thankfully, the folks at Hario have designed a great entry-level grinder that has become a staple in the specialty coffee community.
The Hario Skerton Plus is beloved for many reasons, chief of which is its price. Depending on the sale, you can pick one of these up new for around $50, which is well worth it for such a versatile piece of equipment. The adjustable burrs are easy to take apart and clean, and since they are ceramic they cut down on static that can make coffee grounds stick to your grinder. The glassware is high-quality and durable, tough enough to throw in a backpack and travel with an Aeropress. The Skerton Plus is also a bit larger than many other hand-grinders, which means it has the capacity to grind enough coffee for larger brewing methods like Chemex or french press. Easy to adjust and use, the Skerton Plus is a great machine to consider when making the leap to a burr grinder, or looking for an alternative to a more expensive electric system.
Nobody’s perfect, and while a standard Skerton is a great machine, it does have its flaws. The standard Skerton is great for grinding fine coffees, but consistency at larger grind sizes quickly becomes an issue that only exaggerates with more use. The inner burr on the standard Skerton is attached to a shaft fixed to the top of the grinder, which on larger grind sizes wobbles about, introducing a degree of play between the two burrs. This makes coarse grinds inconsistent, with big and small grinds escaping the wobbly burrs. Thankfully, the kind folks at Hario have corrected this problem with a single stabilizing brace on the Skerton Plus model. If you have a standard model Skerton, feel free to drop us a line and we will guide you through to upgrading the grinder yourself.