I need advice on using my grain grinder

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I decided to try out my Back to Basics grain mill by grinding some coffee beans today. It ground OK at first, but then quit, even though there were plenty of beans in the hopper. I turned the handle but nothing happened. I tried various adjustments to the fineness knob and I tried pressing down on the beans. Nothing helped much. Finally I took the beans out, pounded them with a hammer (in a baggie), and tried again. It worked better, but not great. Are coffee beans just too large? (An unexpected strange effect was that the ground coffee had been charged with static electricity. When I picked up the bowl of ground coffee, grounds danced and jumped everywhere.)

-- Pearlie Sweetcake (storestuff@home.now), March 10, 1999


Grinding coffee in a grain mill is not a good choice. The coffee has a lot of oils and will plug up the mill. Use a coffee grinder not a mill for coffee (the little electric coffee grinders are also good for oilly grains like flax seed.

-- helium (helium@avid.com), March 10, 1999.

Does the BTB mill have stone or steel burrs? Stone burrs will load up with anything oily, steel is much better for that purpose.

-- sparks (wireless@home.com), March 10, 1999.

Must be frustrating to buy a nice new grinder and then be reduced to using a hammer.

-- Shimrod (shimrod@lycosmail.com), March 10, 1999.

Next time the coffe grounds start dancing around, turn off your java, see if it helps.

-- Jolt! (jerkenbeck@aol.com), March 10, 1999.

Clean it thoroughly to get rid of residual oils, odors, and contaminants.

Try at least two different seeds - preferably grain-based - then check the results. If you're still not happy, consider returning it ASAP - you are running the risk of "30-day trial" periods, and also of losing the papers, box, and wrapping material needed to return it.

Also, identify the brand - as a reference to others, and ask which other grinders people have had success with.

Remember - the results from a hand mill are rarely as uniform and "easy" to do as you would think from those who despise store-bought grains and who dislike plain white bread. Those guys are paying a price for their preferences.

-- Robert A. Cook, P.E. (Kennesaw, GA) (cook.r@csaatl.com), March 14, 1999.

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