Like pretty much everyone, I just want things to work. And also like everyone, the more I pay the more upset I am when the don’t work. Which is why, this burr grinder from the normally-solid Cuisinart is so frustrating.

Let’s go back to before the pandemic when I, like many folks, would stop by my local coffee shop on my way to the office to grab my daily jolt of caffeine. I’m no coffee snob€”I’ll happily go to Starbucks or JJ Bean, and even find the super-elevated spots that are all beakers and pretension not too my taste.

But obviously Covid put an end to that, and I found not only did I miss the coffee, but the ritual as well€”and it was then that somebody suggested I get a Chemex pour-over coffee set up. I was familiar with the product€”it’s a mainstay in almost every hipster store I’ve ever been to€”and it was priced at a more than reasonable $45, so far, so great. It would pay for itself in 2 weeks!

But then came the kicker. I also needed to get a grinder, because only a hillbilly would buy pre-ground beans. Ok, fine another $30 or so for one of the ones they sell at Starbucks. Not so fast€”I needed a fancy burr grinder, because that was the only tool that properly ground the beans to the degree needed for proper pour over coffee.And they we’re $100.

Not a dealbreaker, but I couldn’t figure out why my grinder would be double the price of the coffee makers. It’s like the tires being more expensive than the car, but whatever€”I was still in for less than the price of a Nespresso, so who’s worried.

Let’s start with the positives. I love the process of making pour-over coffee. I love the taste of the pour-over coffee. And the Cuisinart that I bought€” a conical burr grinder no less€”does indeed grind them to what seems like the perfect grain for perfect java. So where’s the complaint?


It’s that I’ve never had a kitchen appliance that makes as much mess as this burr grinder does. Not only does its clunky design mean that every time you pull out the receptacle where the ground coffee lands, you spill coffee grounds on the counter and floor.

And it also produces some feather-light coffee bean byproduct that gets airborne, dirtying the surrounding area and also somehow holding a static charge so that it sticks to your hands, your mug, almost anything in the nearby vicinity. It’s like a two-stage mess creator.

I have never once ground coffee with this thing and not immediately had to not only wipe the surrounding counters, but also fetch a vacuum to hit both counters and floors in the surrounding area.

I chalked this time-consuming ordeal to something that the French just put up with, but then I found out Cusinart is as French as a Cadillac Coupe de Ville is (it was founded in 1971 in Stamford, CT). 

But I don’t want to beat up up on Cuisinart. The food processors are great and this coffee grinder is actually really good at its main job of grinding coffee. It just makes such an ungodly mess that I’m wondering if it’s meant for coffee shops where they pay kids to sweep up.

Still, I’m on convert to the pour over, so I’m not going to change the ritual even now that the few remaining Starbucks have reopened. I’m just thankful that I have a kick-ass vacuum