What’s the most important step a person can take in the direction of objectively better coffee at home? It’s not a pour-over, it’s not switching to single origin roasts and it’s certainly not gold-plated filters. No, it’s making coffee from freshly-ground beans.

The different between pre-ground and fresh-ground cups of coffee is immense — where the former make for an overwhelmingly bitter, plain cup, the latter is brighter, sweeter and more complex. After grinding, the coffee grind only has so long before it loses its flavor-filled oils and dries out. Those oils are stored inside tiny holes in the porous coffee bean, and once ground is broken apart and exposed to air and movement that easily shakes them from their chambers. Hence, the grinder is more important than just about any other coffee-improving tool. And this hand grinder by one of the biggest names in coffee is the ideal starting point.

Hario’s Skerton ceramic conical burr grinder has every tiny detail you need in a grinder, but what’s most important is it uses burrs instead of blades, which creates a more even, consistent grind (inconsistent grinds lead to an inconsistent coffee extraction, which creates overly bitterly coffee). Blade grinders work by chopping the beans up, where burr grinders slowly chew them (like a cold-press juicer). Burr grinders also allow for simple adjustments in grind size to experiment with flavor profiles or for different coffee prep styles (espresso included). It’s also small enough to fit just about anywhere and doesn’t generate heat like some electric grinders will (some believe this heat to be detrimental to coffee flavor). Operating is as simple as loading in beans, adjusting grind size and turning in a circle for a few minutes.

If you want to get into coffee but don’t know where to start, this grinder is for you.

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