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Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder Reviews 2018

Zassenhaus makes epic coffee grinders. If you love coffee, and are looking in the market for a top-notch manual grinder that’s designed to last a lifetime, then you’re going to love this brand review of the company’s products.

It’s a happy dilemma, but one of the problems with the company is that they offer so many that it can be hard to choose! We’ve helped take the guesswork out of the equation, and have identified the best of the best from the venerable manufacturer.

Before we dive into particulars, we’ll display all the finalists on a series of two tables, just below.

We’ve broken them into two distinct sections because although the company makes manual grinders, they come in two very different flavors:

  • Hand Grinders
  • Box Mills

Zassenhaus hand grinders are meant to be highly portable, “take anywhere” designs, while Zassenhaus box mills, also known as “knee grinders” because they’re meant to be used sitting down, with the box between your knees as you grind, are optimized for use in the comfort of your home.

Whichever type you gravitate toward, you’ll find their elegant styling to be a great addition to your home kitchen décor.

Zassenhaus Grinder Review Comparison Charts

Let’s start by taking a top-level view of the cream of the crop, in both categories:

Zassenhaus Box Mills

OUR WINNER

Honorable Mention


OVERALL BEST

Zassenhaus Knee Grinders

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm

Price

$$$

$$$

$$- $$$$

$$$$$

Dimensions

6.2” x 6.2” x 9”

3.9” 3.9” x 7.1”

8.2” x 3.5” x 8”

12” x 12” x 12”

Weight

2 pounds

1.9 pounds

2.1 pounds

4 pounds

Materials

BOILER

Offered in Dark Beechwood, or a natural finish

Constructed with a blend of Walnut and Pear

Offered in Mahogany Beechwood

Finished Hardwood

Zassenhaus Hand Grinders 

OUR WINNER


OVERALL BEST

Zassenhaus Portable Hand Grinders

Espresso Machine Under 600 Dollars
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm
-4% Zassenhaus Quito
$104.98 $109.95
Buy this item
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm
Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm

Price

$$

$$$

$

Dimensions

1.8” x 4.9” x 7.2”

5.8” x 3.5” x 9.5”

2.8” x 5.8” x 12.2”

Weight

1.1 pounds

1.6 pounds

1.4 pounds

Materials

BOILER

Stainless steel and acrylic

Stainless steel with a wooden knob on the handle

Stainless steel and acrylic

Before we start talking about individual grinders, there’s one thing that all of them share in common, and it deserves a special mention here, right at the start.

If you buy a super automatic espresso machine, the grinders that come built into those machines have bean hoppers that hold several ounces of beans (eight ounces is a pretty standard starting point, and the capacity rises from there).

These machines aren’t like that.

All the models presented here have a relatively low capacity, only able to grind enough beans for 2-3 shots of espresso, and the drawers which capture the freshly ground coffee only hold about half that amount, so if you completely fill the bean hopper, you’ll invariably have to empty the drawer before you’ve finished grinding the beans in the hopper.

Ready to learn more about our overall winner and other finalists? You’ll find our selected Zassenhaus coffee grinder reviews just below. Let’s go!

Box Grinder Category

Our Top Pick: Zassenhaus Brasilia

The Zassenhaus Brasilia coffee mill is modestly priced, being about middle of the road as the company’s box mills go, with several cheaper, and more expensive models being offered by the company.

In our view though, the Brasilia offers one of the best value propositions for the money, and it seems Zassenhaus’ customers agree, as this is one of their bestselling models, coming in two varieties (stained beechwood or natural finish, though note that you’ll pay about five dollars more for the naturally finished variant).

An image of the Zassenhaus Brasilia, our top pick in the knee category of our Zassenhaus coffee grinder reviews

Using the box mill is a lesson in simplicity. Just slide the lid open, add your favorite beans in the top of the unit, close it back, sit down and place the box mill between your knees and turn the handle. Your fresh grounds will drop into the collection drawer at the bottom of the unit for easy and convenient collection when you’re ready to brew!

That’s all there is to it!

In user conducted Zassenhaus Brasilia tests, it only takes about a minute of grinding to empty the hopper, although as we’ve noted earlier, the collection drawer only holds about half as much as the hopper, so if you fill the machine to capacity with beans, then you’ll have to empty the collection drawer at least once before you work through a full load of beans.

The box itself looks like something from another era, featuring simple, clean lines and Old World elegance. You won’t find any plastic here. It’s all wood and chrome highlights, and the grinding mechanism itself is conical, and made from high-grade carbon steel, carrying a staggering 25-year guarantee, as is the case with all of Zassenhaus’ box grinders.

It’s German designed and engineered, and proudly manufactured in the Czech republic, and either offered variant would make a fabulous addition to your home kitchen. Simply a superb grinder.

Zassenhaus Montevideo Coffee Mill

This is an amazing design with a decidedly antique look and feel. The decision to blend two types of wood gives the Montevideo a unique look and feel, and its simple tongue and groove construction adds to the sense that it’s something from another era.

While it will look out of place if you’ve got an ultra-modern kitchen, it should fit right in with most people’s kitchen décor, and is an incredibly handsome machine.

It should be noted that the main reason this one costs a bit more is a combination of the materials used, the construction technique, and the fact that unlike our top pick, it’s manufactured locally, in Germany. The Montevideo is the quintessential Zassenhaus piece, and captures the essence of the company’s traditions.

In our view, no collection of Zassenhaus grinder reviews would be complete without it.

An image of the Zassenhaus Montevideo, an amazingly designed coffee grinder

Zassenhaus Santiago

The Zassenhaus Santiago coffee grinder is fairly similar to the bestselling Brasilia, but the dimensions are different, and the Santiago is offered in more varieties.

People who have tiny kitchens with really limited countertop space will love it because it’s only 3.5” wide, so even if your kitchen is cramped, there’s sure to be enough room to give it a permanent home and display it proudly.

The other big thing to note about the Zassenhaus Santiago coffee mill grinder is the fact that it comes in three different varieties, with the varnished Beech/chrome accents variant being among the lowest priced box grinders you can buy, while the Mahogany with brass highlights being among the more expensive.

In any case, this is good news for you, as a potential buyer. With several variants to choose from, you can find something that will blend in seamlessly with your home’s décor.

An image of the Zassenhaus Santiago mill grinder which is offered in three varieties

Zassenhaus 169DG

An image of the Zassenhaus 169DG, an antique-looking box mill

Although it did not take top honors, we have to admit that the Zassenhaus coffee grinder 169DG is one of our personal favorites, mostly because it’s the most antique-looking box mill the company makes.

It’s larger and heavier than most of the other knee grinders the company makes, but don’t be daunted by that, it still only weighs in at four pounds, so it’s not like it will be a struggle to operate it!

This design is all about aesthetics. Despite being slightly larger than other models, it doesn’t have a notably higher capacity, so if you choose this model, it will be on the basis of its look and feel, rather than the fact that it offers something unique in the way of functionality. It doesn’t, and that’s fine with us because it just looks so cool!

Constructed from a mix of hardwood, brass, blackened steel and chrome, it’s got a vaguely nautical appearance. If you were watching a movie based on a Jules Verne novel, this is exactly what you’d expect to see being used as a background prop, and even better, it’s amazingly functional and practical, giving you the best of both worlds!

The main reason that it didn’t win top honors is that not everyone will appreciate its aesthetic, but if we were going to buy one, this would be our pick, for certain.

Other Model Considerations

We wanted to draw attention to two models not covered on the table above: The Zassenhaus 151, and the Zassenhaus Guatemala hand grinder.

Despite the fact that these have earned more than a few negative reviews on Amazon and other sales portals, we can confirm that both are excellent, and well worth your consideration, if none of the models on our list of finalists appeal to you, for whatever reason.

The 151 is a close cousin of the popular Brasilia and is very similar in shape, size, and construction, but it comes in a wider range of variants, which may be helpful if you’re looking for just the right “fit” given your home’s décor.

An image of the Zassenhaus Guatemala hand grinder

The Zassenhaus Guatemala is something of a departure where the company's knee grinders are concerned because it’s got a decidedly modern appearance. While that’s not for everyone, it might be just what you’re looking for if you’ve got an ultra-modern kitchen, so again, both are well worth considering!


Portable Hand Grinder Category

You won’t find any antique Zassenhaus coffee grinders in this section. All of these designs tend to have a sleek, modern look. The main thing to note about grinders in this category is the fact that all of these models use stainless steel, conical burrs.

Normally, this is where we’d quip that we’d prefer to see ceramic burrs, but in a manual grinder, since you’re controlling the pace of the grinding function, the heat problem that stainless steel burrs sometimes have in automatic grinders is a non-issue.

Our Top Pick: Zassenhaus Panama Coffee Mill

Overwhelmingly, the Zassenhaus Panama reviews on the web sing the praises of the unit, and with good reason. It’s one of the company’s most popular, best-selling designs in its class, offering exceptional performance at a surprisingly modest price.

Although the design and engineering are both German, this model is manufactured in Romania. Don’t let that dissuade you from making the purchase, however. We’ve found almost no complaints about faults or flaws that shorten the life of the machine.

The Zassenhaus Panama coffee mill is the heaviest of the models on our short list in this category, but that’s a somewhat subjective term, given that the unit weighs in at a scant 1.6 pounds.

It’s still small and portable enough to take it with you when you’re traveling, so you’ll never be farther than a few cranks of the handle from a blissful cup of your favorite brew, and its adjustment knob is easily accessed, so you won’t have to fiddle with the unit unnecessarily, any time you want to change your grind setting.

Speaking of grind settings, the Panama’s stainless steel, conical burr grinding mechanism can handle anything you decide to throw at it, producing coarse grounds just as flawlessly as Turkish powder, so whatever your tastes and preferences are, the Panama has you covered. Highly recommended.

Zassenhaus Quito

This is one of the most expensive models in the portable, hand grinder category, which is the main reason it didn’t win top honors on the list. Our view is that the Panama offers a slightly better price/performance value, but the Quito is undeniably an awesome grinder, crafted with care and pride.

It’s also made in Germany, and you can feel the quality, every time you hold it to grind beans.

The Quito uses a two-stage grinding process that separates it from most of the other mills in this category and results in a more consistent grind overall. It’s also notable because the adjustment mechanism is conveniently located on the bottom of the unit. A quick turn and lock, and you’re all set.

You’ll pay a premium, but if you can afford it, this is an exceptional Zassenhaus coffee grinder, and although it’s also relatively modern looking (as are most of the models in this category), the wily Germans couldn’t resist the urge to toss in a small wooden highlight, giving it just a trace of the Old World elegance that their box mills are so well known for.

An image of the Zassenhaus Quito,  which uses a two-stage grinding process

Zassenhaus Lima

An image of the Zassenhaus Lima, a portable hand grinder

Tall and slender, the Lima rounds out our portable hand grinder finalists. It is the least expensive of our top picks in this category, and the reason for that is the fact that although the design and engineering are of German origin, this model is manufactured in China.

Ten years ago, the fact of this model’s Chinese manufacture would have given us pause, but these days, the country’s overall manufacturing quality has risen quite nicely, and while it’s still not on par with European or American products, it’s quite solid and should hold up well to daily casual use.

There have been sporadic mentions of problems with quality in a few Zassenhaus coffee grinder reviews relating to this model, but in our view, these are somewhat overblown, and not common enough for us to consider them to be an alarming trend.

This is a solid model offered at a reasonable price, and we recommend it to anyone looking for a good portable grinder with modern styling. As the least expensive option in this product category, it’s perfect for anyone on a budget, looking to get their hands on a piece of German-engineered excellence.

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder History

Zassenhaus began life in 1867 as a small export store that supplied small steel goods and tools. It quickly gained a reputation for quality which has only grown since then.

The company began its own manufacturing some twenty years later, when it began producing coffee “knee mills,” and expanded to pepper mills and other kitchen products in 1904.

In 2000, Zassenhaus patented a continuously adjustable grinding mechanism, constructed with high-quality ceramic (later also offered in high-grade carbon steel), that serves as a mark of distinction in and is one of the hallmarks of their manual coffee grinders today.

Known for Old World styling, paired with world-class German engineering and manufacture, Zassenhaus makes some of the finest kitchen accessories being sold on the market today.

An image of the Zassenhaus brand logo

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder Reviews Conclusion

And that wraps up our short Zassenhaus coffee grinder reviews. While we regard all the models that the company makes as excellent, the ones we’ve highlighted here are, in our view, the best of the best.

All of them are masterfully engineered and exquisitely designed. Those things, combined with the company’s time-tested, precision German manufacturing techniques guarantee that whichever one you feel is the best fit for your home, you’ll be getting a grinder that lasts a lifetime. There’s a reason the company offers an unbelievable 25-year warranty (on its knee grinders), after all!

Whatever direction your tastes and preferences run to, from Old World elegance to sleek modern styling, you’re sure to find a German coffee grinder Zassenhaus that’s just perfect for you.

Best Online Offers for Our Top Pick Box Mill

Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm
Last update: December 10, 2018 2:33 pm

Best Online Offers for Our Top Pick Portable Grinder

Last update: December 10, 2018 9:47 pm

Last update: December 10, 2018 2:33 pm

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