Okay, I've always heard that a great cup of coffee begins with grinding your own beans. I finally believe it . . . and love this grinder!

Coffee Grinder

One of the things that Dave and I really came to love while cruising was a really good cup of coffee while sitting in the cockpit . . . particularly if it involved an anchorage with leaping dolphins, breaching whales or soaring birds.

When we were cruising aboard Que Tal, I used a Melitta cone drip coffee system and eventually picked up a small coffee grinder at a flea market.  The beans that we just bought at the local store produced a fantastic cup of coffee (admittedly, I’m not from Seattle and perhaps don’t have the most sophisticated palate).  I didn’t realize how spoiled I was getting.

Then we sold Que Tal and the coffee grinder stayed aboard.  In moving back to the US and buying kitchen equipment, I didn’t buy a coffee grinder — I’d never had one before cruising and the store sold ground coffee and we were spending money on enough other stuff and . . . well, you get the picture.

And numerous times, I tried different brands and roasts of coffee, looking for something that was as good as what we’d gotten used to in Mexico.  There, when I’d grind the coffee and make it in the morning, the aroma would fill the boat.  And that first sip would be heaven.  I never could get the taste again.

Until I went to my brother’s last fall.  Their coffee tasted like, well, coffee.  It was great.  And then I found out that they weren’t buying some fancy brand . . . they were simply grinding it fresh every morning.

So when we got home, I bought a small coffee grinder.  And yes, it makes all the difference.  Local stores didn’t have anything that looked suitable, so I got it from Amazon, after doing a LOT of research.  After using it for over 3 years (at our house and now on Barefoot Gal), I highly recommend the model I bought.

Krups 203 Coffee and Spice Grinder

  • I haven’t used it for spices so can’t comment on how well it works there.  Several reviewers on Amazon remarked that it’s very difficult to clean after grinding spices.
  • It draws 200 watts, so you’ll need at least a 300 watt inverter (there’s an extra load at startup).  In all my research, I never found a battery operated or 12volt grinder that people were really happy with . . . so it looks like you have to have an inverter to have one that actually works.  Or read this article and this one about manual coffee grinders that other TBG readers love.
  • Okay, I've always heard that a great cup of coffee begins with grinding your own beans.  I finally believe it . . . and love this grinder!This electric one only runs for about 10 seconds (usually slightly less), which means it uses less than 0.1 amp-hour at 12 volts . . . small enough to satisfy most amp-ogres!
  • All-stainless bowl and blade won’t rust.
  • It does a nice job grinding (many don’t, it turns out).
  • Easy to wipe out with a rag or paper towel so that coffee oils don’t turn rancid.
  • Holds enough for up to a 12-cup pot (I learned that many are much smaller).
  • Small size — slightly larger than a 12-ounce soda can.
  • The plastic housing seems tough.
  • Easy to pour the ground coffee out of (this was a problem with the grinder I had on Que Tal)
  • Clear top so you can see how finely ground the beans are and stop when it’s right for your system.

Buy it on Amazon:

I’m not a gourmet and not a coffee snob, but Dave and I found a good cup of coffee to be a nice “little luxury” aboard Que Tal.  We still think it is aboard Barefoot Gal.

Enjoy your morning!

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  • James Almond on Facebook
    Posted at 05 April 2012 Reply

    Prepare for comment bombardment from the manual grinder crowd!

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 05 April 2012 Reply

    If I could find a manual grinder that really worked, I’d be thrilled!

  • James Almond on Facebook
    Posted at 05 April 2012 Reply

    I use this. It is glass but so far that is the only weakness I have found. If anything ever happens to it, I would be devastated!http://www.amazon.com/Kyocera-CM-50-CF-Ceramic-Grinder/dp/B003S9XF7K/?tag=theboagal0a-20

    • Robert
      Posted at 05 May 2012 Reply

      Thanks, James; I’ve been searching for a manual machine, as my boats’ electrical system doesn’t have an inverter

  • The Boat Galley on Facebook
    Posted at 05 April 2012 Reply

    Great to know that there’s a manual one that does work well!

  • Laryssa @Heaven In The Home
    Posted at 05 April 2012 Reply

    I’ve been really happy with my new Kyocera Ceramic Coffee Grinder. I use a french press and my old electric grinder would leave some beans almost whole and grind the others to powder. So glad to have my new one! Since it’s a hand crank it’s going to be great for cruising.


  • Steph Marsh
    Posted at 18 July 2012 Reply

    I have one of the grinders mentioned in the article that I use for grinding spices for curries. It works very well and is easy to clean by adding a piece of bread at the end and running the grinder for a couple of seconds.

  • Michael
    Posted at 07 February 2013 Reply

    Some interesting choices… I found a campers coffee grinder at Mountain Equipment Co-Op… $20, compact, adjusts for different grinds and fits over a coffee mug to catch the ground coffee…

  • Diane Ericsson
    Posted at 25 February 2014 Reply

    We have that model too. Love it!!

  • Carolyn Risch Folk
    Posted at 25 February 2014 Reply

    I just picked up the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton to use with our much loved French press.

  • Heather Braun
    Posted at 25 February 2014 Reply

    We have a Krupps also, and love it! It’s 20 years old and still works well.

  • Heather Braun
    Posted at 25 February 2014 Reply

    We have a Krupps also, and love it! It’s 20 years old and still works well.

  • Steve Sears
    Posted at 25 February 2014 Reply

    Same here:-)

  • Dave Skolnick (S/V Auspicious)
    Posted at 26 February 2014 Reply

    If you’re going to use electricity you might as well get a burr grinder. The spinning blade types (like a tiny lawn mower) get up to pretty high speed and can burn coffee beans and spices. Burr grinders do tend to be a bit bigger but not much and the result is worth while, even from another non-coffee snob.

  • JP Pedro
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

  • Ken
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    If you like the way coffee tastes in that blade grinder, wait til you try it from a burr grinder. We made the switch a few years ago and the difference is amazing. We use a Capresso Infinity purchased from Amazon: http://amzn.to/1JKogA8. Yes, it’s more expensive. But we think the improved taste us worth it.

    Of course, we’re coffee fanatics. 🙂

  • Rodney Lewis
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    Found one of those Krups grinders at teh Dennis, MA dump’s “swap shop” a few years back.

  • Tony Gariepy
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    I have a small, manual burr grinder that works wonders:-)

  • Tony Gariepy
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    I would recommend getting a second grinder for spices… Imagine your coffee after grinding curry.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

      That’s why I’ve never tried grinding spices with mine . . .

  • Robin Jean Mangione
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    For saving energy, we use a Hario coffee grinder on the boat. It’s part of our routine to grind the beans the night before we need them. It’s a manual grinder but nothing is better than freshly ground beans

  • Adventure World Sailing
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply


  • Deborah Ruths-Brown
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    I’ve had my Krups grinder for over 25 years now (on land, not sea), and it still works great!

  • Patti Holma
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    We have a Kyocera manual grinder which we love!

  • Lori Steinbrunner
    Posted at 13 January 2016 Reply

    Love our Hario Mini Mill manual grinder + a Melita pour over filter. Great coffee no matter where we are, no power required. On dirt, we did like the Krups, but you definitely want to have a dedicated one for spices.

  • D and Don
    Posted at 13 July 2016 Reply

    CAROLYN – My husband has been using your same system for many years. As you say the Krups grinder is on for such a short amount of time that it is not noticeable to the reduction in amp hours. We were given an insulated pitcher years ago and still use it for the coffee to go into from the Melita funnel. It keeps the coffee hot for a long time like your thermos does but probably hold a bit more. As you say, grinding the beans every day makes the difference. Another thing I do to help preserve the beans since we buy a bunch at one time, is to use a vacuum sealer for one pound qualities.

  • Stanley Sokolow
    Posted at 07 February 2017 Reply

    Good morning! Right now I’m drinking the first cup of stove-top espresso I made using my new hand coffee grinder and a stainless-steel version of the Moka pot. The grinder is a small hand-cranked machine made by GSI, the camping equipment company, called the “Javamill” It has a ceramic conical bur grinding mechanism which is easily adjusted for grind fineness. The handle pulls off and can be flipped around to store in a compact format, making it easy to pack into not much space. It’s cylindrical, 2″ diameter by 6.3″ tall. Weight 9.3 oz. When the bean section is filled, you crank about 300 revolutions (varies with grind fineness you’ve chosen, course = less cranking; a lot, but it’s easy turning) and the grounds cup fills just enough for the Moka pot to make a very strong cup of coffee, which can be diluted with milk or water and still be a coffee-house quality. It looks very well made. Cost US$30 at your local camping store..
    You can find video reviews on YouTube.

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