In our family, we’ve always enjoyed a good cup of coffee. In fact, if you believe a family legend, my great grandmother was said to be one of the finest coffee makers this side of the great lakes. So when great grand mother passed away at the age of ninety two, all of us were understandably unhappy.
Well, such things are bound to happen and while life had to go on, a couple of us started packing up her worldly belongings. It was then that we first found the antique coffee grinder. As far as antique coffee grinders go, it was a pretty nondescript one. Now I have no real idea what an actual antique coffee grinder is supposed to look like, but there it was! A genuine antique coffee grinder that sat staring at me right in the face.
So this was the secret of great grand mother’s great tasting coffee!
Now my mom has a collection of many things related to coffee. She has mugs and old cans from long ago brands, but the coolest thing she has in her collection is that same old antique coffee grinder that she keeps on top of the fridge. She doesn’t use it because it has a hand crank and you have to use quite a bit of force to hand-grind the beans. And there are electronic devices out there that can do the same thing that the antique coffee grinder can do, except in a fraction of the time and using only a fraction of the physical energy.
But there’s something about that old antique coffee grinder that makes me think of really great coffee every time I see it. I imagine that the beans aren’t as pulverized when they’re ground up in the antique coffee maker, and maybe this difference would be evident in the resulting cup of coffee. Eager to test my theory, I decided to taste test coffee brewed with grinds ground in the antique coffee maker and those ground in a cheap electric grinder. I evaluated the coffee side-by-side and the results were somewhat surprising.
First of all, it took me quite a while to grind up enough beans to make a pot of coffee using the antique coffee grinder. It took me about five minutes of constantly cranking the handle to move the blade at the bottom of the grinder, and even after five minutes the grinds weren’t as fine as I had hoped they would be. The electric grinder took ten seconds to grind the same amount of beans and they were course enough so that they weren’t powder, but not so course that they would cause the coffee brewed from them to be weak.
Once I had the grinds ready, I brewed two pots of coffee. I prepared each cup of coffee identically, and then I did a taste test. And the final result was coffee that tasted exactly the same whether the beans were ground in the old-fashioned antique coffee grinder or the high-tech electronic grinder. At the start of this experiment I thought the results would show at least some difference, though I wasn’t sure which method would be favored. But I guess I was wrong, because there was no noticeable difference between the coffee made from grinds prepared in the antique coffee grinder and the electronic one. The taste of the coffee probably has more to do with the beans than the way you grind them up.
The funny thing was, I seemed to enjoy the coffee from the antique coffee grinder more, even though it tasted exactly the same. There’s something to be said for history.