the Coffee Journal

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder – 169DG [REVIEW]

Earlier this year, I wanted a cooler kitchen and decided to renovate it with a fabulous vintage décor. To go with the theme, I decided to try out the Zassenhaus’s top of the line, the Zassenhaus 169DG Coffee Grinder. Here’s the detailed account of what I think:

The Zassenhaus 169DG Coffee Grinder Features

The German manufactured Zassenhaus 169DG Coffee Grinder is a high-end hand-crank coffee mill. The burr mill comes in two parts; the bottom is a meticulous set of draws made from high-quality hardwood that comes with a rich, walnut finish. The top part is a high-duty, black cast iron hopper that comes with a brass coned shape cover. After adding the piece to my collection, it became an instant classic and an irreplaceable part of my kitchen. All together, the Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder measures 12 x 12 x 12’ (30.5 x 30.5 x 30.5cm) and weighs 2.2lbs (1kg).

Other than the beautiful exterior, this coffee grinder also performs exceptionally well. It produces excellent grinds throughout the entire range, which makes it a good choice for any espresso and French press reading this.

Who's The Zassenhaus Grinder Suitable For?

Being an antique coffee mill, the Zassenahaus 169DG will be a great addition for any vintage collectors. The 169DG is not the only antique grinder Zassenhaus produces, but this one trumps them all in design. This device is truly exquisite.

As a hand-crank coffee mill, this burr grinder is also perfect for people who want to immerse themselves fully in the world of coffee and get the true artisan experience. You won’t get any closer to the process of coffee-making than grinding coffee with your bare hands.

The Advantage Of This Coffee Mill

Other than the performance and beautiful, what I like about the 169DG is its simplistic designs inside (which makes it easy to use too!). This coffee mill doesn’t come with electric parts or random plastic cover lying around. The machine doesn’t come with any buggy “extra” features that stop you from grinding when there’s nothing wrong with the grinder.

When you combine the simplistic designs together with Zassenhaus’s superior build quality (it’s German-made after all), this coffee grinder should last a while. In fact, Zassenhaus is so confident about this product’s longevity, that they’re offering a full 25-year warranty. You don’t see a lot of that nowadays.

The Zassenhaus Burr Mill's Negatives

When I first used the mill, I immediately noticed the hopper doesn’t open all the way. The small angled opening made it slightly difficult when I poured the beans in, but once you find the right position, it’s no problem. Heck, you can always just tip the grinder and pour the coffee beans that way.

After grinding coffee for a bit, I noticed the ground container was already full. I was quite surprised as I was only preparing for two cups! I also noticed that the grinding mechanism, the nut controlling the grind size jumped every time I started to grind.

The jumping suggests that the grind adjustment nut is secured in place, which doesn’t affect consistency. But the unstable screw makes it more difficult for the user to control the precise grinds of the coffee that the gadget produces.

However, the biggest issue I have with this hand grinder is that you can’t disassemble it. By not having the option to dismantle the grinder, it also means that you can’t clean the burrs inside. Luckily, we don’t have to clean the steel burrs too often, and Urnex came up with a coffee cleaning tablet solution. As such, we can easily resolve the cleaning problem.

Alternative & Similar GRINDERS

There are several other hand grinders that are similar to the Zassenhaus 169D.

If you’re looking for a hand-operated grinder just for the novelty, it might be better to go with other less expensive models, such as the Zassenhaus Santiago or the Zassenhaus Brasilia.

Alternatively, if you want to look for a hand-crank mill that’s more powerful and easier to use, then check out the ROK Coffee Grinder.

Last but not least, if balancing cost and value is important to you, or you’re looking for a travel grinder, then I’ll recommend going for the Hario Skerton – the blog’s favorite hand-held burr mill.

The Coffee Barrister's Verdict [CONCLUSION]

Overall, I liked the designs of the Zassenhaus 169DG – the polished exterior and simplistic designs really sold it for me. And to top it all off, the coffee mill produces high-quality grinds for a hand-crank coffee mill. Of course, there are some problems with the ground container and adjustment nut, but these problems are pale in comparison to the positives.

As such, I would recommend this product to a coffee lover who appreciates the importance of quality grinds, and at the same time, enjoy collecting vintage goods.

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