Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton Review

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Bottom Line

While slower than an electric grinder, and not as easy to use in some ways, reviewers say the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton is a great alternative to more expensive electric burr grinders. Speed, as noted, is an issue, but the Hario isn't super slow -- taking from 30 seconds to six minutes for a full grind, depending upon the serving size. It does takes some muscle, so this grinder is not for the weak-armed. However, it gets very good feedback for versatility and its grind consistency; although it does better with coarser grinds.

ProsGrinds evenly; consistently, Versatile, Small footprintConsDifficult to adjust, A learning curve, Grinding takes some muscle

Breaking it down

Performance

Very consistent grind. The Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton is an excellent choice for those who want to own a high-quality burr grinder but can't afford an electric model. Experts say it grinds with the same precision and consistency as pricey ceramic burr grinders. Plenty of espresso lovers say it's a great grinder for their daily espresso, but others disagree, saying it's not the best for the finer grinds. It does seem to get its best reviews from French press and drip coffee drinkers than from espresso fans, although we did see a few complaints that it doesn't grind coarsely enough either, so, apparently, the results are very much in the eye of the beholder.

Ease of use

Highly portable; but grinding is a grind. Using the Hario Skerton is a great way to build up your forearms, say reviewers, because it takes some muscle to grind the beans. It also takes time -- 30 seconds to six minutes or so, depending upon the grind and the quantity. Many liken the process to meditation because it's fairly mindless yet satisfying. It's hard to adjust for grind, many reviewers point out, not only in finding the right grind settings, but also in physically doing the adjustments. The grinder does not include any instructions either, but most users turn to helpful videos and posts on the internet -- and there are plenty of those. Fiddling with grind settings also isn't an issue if you don't change brewing methods very often, or ever, as some don't. You can take the grinder apart and toss it in the dishwasher, but most say that can cause it to break down more quickly and that a rinse with warm water is sufficient.

Appearance/durability

Small footprint, glass container. People without a lot of counter or storage space appreciate the small size of the Hario Skerton. It fits nicely in a drawer or cupboard. The burr grinders are of an exceptionally high quality (ceramic), reviewers say, and it seems sturdy when in use. In fact, we found very few durability complaints overall. One issue: the container is glass, and it can break. The good news is that if it does, it can be replaced with a standard size Kerr mason jar, which cost just a couple of dollars -- or a few cents if you pick one up at your local thrift store. There is no manufacturer warranty, but the distributor may offer a limited warranty. Be sure to purchase this grinder from a reputable retailer as some reports of knock-offs being sold by certain vendors have cropped up at Amazon.com.

Our Sources

1. Eater.com

Gadget Review: Six of the Best Hand Coffee Grinders, Matthew Kang, March 20, 2015

Matthew Kang makes the Hario Skerton his top pick in this test of six hand grinders. He says that it's versatile and easy to use. However, he notes that is takes a good amount of elbow grease to grind a full ounce of coffee beans and it's challenging to adjust the Skerton for grind size.

2. Lifehacker.com

Five Best Burr Coffee Grinders, Alan Henry, Nov. 2, 2014

The Hario Skerton is chosen by readers of Lifehacker.com in this reader round up of the best burr coffee grinders. They say this manual coffee grinder is a great alternative to more expensive electric grinders. Another plus is that it fits over a standard mason jar.

3. Wired

Slave to the Grind: 7 Coffee Grinders Tested and Rated, Lauren Crabbe, April 12, 2013

The Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton is included in this roundup of seven popular coffee grinders. Lauren Crabbe personally owns one, but says she uses it only when camping because it's too much time and effort for everyday use. However, she says the grind consistency is very good and ultimately gives it a rating of 7 out of 10.

4. GearPatrol.com

Grind It Out: 10 Best Coffee Grinders, Scott Packard, Feb. 25, 2013

In consultation with the experts at Clive Coffee, Scott Packard recommends 10 coffee grinders, including the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton. He says it's not the best for espresso lovers or high-volume users, but that it's very economical. However, he also says you may end up with "forearms like Popeye's."

5. Amazon.com

Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton Storage Capacity (100g), Contributors to Amazon.com, As of October 2015

In more than 1,650 reviews, the Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill earns an overall rating of 4.3 stars out of 5. Owners say it's very easy to use and clean, and to adjust the grind. Most love what they call the almost "meditative" process of grinding their own beans. Some complain that it's very hard to grind, others disagree and say that, while it requires some effort, it's not inordinate.

6. SeattleCoffeeGear.com

Hario Skeleton (Skerton) Coffee Mill, Contributors to SeattleCoffeeGear.com, As of October 2015

The Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill Skerton earns an overall rating of about 4.1 stars out of 5 in around 25 reviews. Most say it's a great value, but it takes time to use; although many don't mind the time or effort. A few say it's not great for espresso, and is a better choice for coarser grinds like drip or press brews.

7. MinimallyMinimal.com

Hario Skerton ceramic coffee mill, Andrew Kim, Sept. 15, 2013

Andrew Kim gives the Hario Skerton a thorough overview in his Minimally Minimal blog. He chose this grinder because it was highly affordable compared to electric burr grinders. He says it's convoluted to adjust and the lid seems like an afterthought, but has a perfectly uniform grind.