Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder Reviews - Consumer Files

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder Reviews 2020

In Coffee Accessories by Consumer FilesLeave a CommentLast Updated: December 22nd, 2020

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder In 2021


If you are interested in embracing the age-old act of hand milling your morning coffee, use our Zassenhaus coffee grinder reviews to help you choose a grinder that will serve you well for years to come. Zassenhaus coffee grinders give you grind quality on par with electric burr grinders 5 to 10 times the price. You just have to put in a bit of hard work when it comes time to grind!

Zassenhaus Grinder Review

Let us find out what are the characteristics and unique points of each Zassenhaus grinder through the following reviews:

Winner - Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Grinder

Coffee is loaded into the bean hopper using a spring-loaded door on top of the grinder. The bean hopper holds approximately enough coffee beans for a 6-cup pot of coffee. The inside of the bean hopper is coated with a white porcelain type material that limits oil accumulation.

With a coffee grounds drawer made entirely of wood, there's no risk of static build up, and you can completely remove the drawer to add your freshly ground coffee conveniently to your filter or espresso machine.

The gently curved body shape of the Zassenhaus Santiago coffee mill grinder is designed to be held between the knees while grinding, giving you tremendous stability, especially when grinding denser coffee beans in finer settings. The grinder is available in three finishes: natural birch, mahogany-stained birch, and black-stained birch.

COLOR VARIANTS of Zassenhaus Santiago

Pros and Cons

  • Solid wood birch body
  • High-carbon steel conical burrs
  • Smooth and quiet operation
  • Stepless grind adjustment
  • Grind adjustment nut needs to be frequently adjusted
  • As with most conical burr grinders, as you move into the coarser grind sizes, the grind becomes slightly uneven; the Santiago is no exception and does best in the fine to medium range.

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder 156bu

Shopping online for a Zassenhaus grinder can get confusing, as there are often multiple names for the same grinder. Such is the case with the Zassenhaus 156BU. This grinder is simply the natural birch version of the Zassenhaus Santiago as covered above.


Zassenhaus Brasilia

The Zassenhaus Brasilia coffee mill is a high-quality box mill, otherwise known as a lap mill. It has similar components to the Santiago, but is larger, and more closely follows the original Zassenhaus grinder design and aesthetic.

The grinder's body is made of hardwood beechwood and is available in three finishes: natural beechwood, dark-stained beechwood (dark brown), and black-stained beechwood.

Beechwood is the traditional material used to build European coffee mills as it is widely available throughout Europe, and it doesn't splinter which makes it perfect for a hand-held device! Beechwood also has naturally occurring oils within the wood that act as a preservative and help the wood age beautifully.

The Brasilia features the standard Zassenhaus forged and hardened steel conical burrs along with stainless steel ball bearings for incredibly smooth and quiet operation.

If you're an early riser and don't like waking up your entire household by turning on the coffee grinder, the Brasilia has you covered.

The top piece of the grinder is made of chrome-plated steel (gold-chrome on the mahogany model). A sliding lid opens giving access to the bean hopper that holds enough beans for a 6-cup pot of coffee. The grounds drawer is made of wood offering static-free operation and slides out completely to easily add your fresh grounds to your coffee maker or espresso machine.

The Brasilia grinds coffee very uniformly at fine sizes for espresso and is great paired with a classic lever espresso machine or semi-automatic home espresso machine.

COLOR VARIANTS of Zassenhaus Brasilia

Pros and Cons

  • Hardwood beechwood body
  • High-carbon steel conical burrs
  • Smooth and quiet operation
  • Traditional box-mill design that's both highly functional and decorative
  • Grind adjustment nut needs to be
    frequently readjusted
  • Uneven grinding at the coarsest settings

Zassenhaus 151 Coffee Mill

Another example of confusing labeling, the Zassenhaus 151 is identical to the Zassenhaus Brasilia as covered above.


Zassenhaus 169DG Coffee Grinder

The Zassenhaus 169dg Coffee Grinder is the original Zassenhaus grinder design. It’s an eye-catching piece that will look great on the counter and grind your coffee extremely well.

The globe-like contraption mounted on the beechwood body contains the entire grinder mechanism. This was the standard design of coffee grinders in the late 1800's, and the fact that Zassenhaus has decided to keep this grinder in production speaks highly to their legacy in the world of coffee grinders.

Steel conical burrs give you an even, consistent grind, and stepless grind adjustment gives you a considerable grind size range, though this grinder really shines in the fine to medium sizes. The wooden pullout grounds drawer gives you easy access to your freshly ground coffee and is one of the largest you'll find on any Zassenhaus grinder.

Beans are added to the grinder by pulling open the hinged door on the front face of the globe-shaped grinder mechanism. The long handle with an ornate wooden knob gives you an excellent advantage for easy grinding, especially when used in the lap as originally intended.

While this grinder certainly is beautiful, note that it may not be as durable as the other box-mill style grinders made by Zassenhaus. With the entire grinder mechanism located outside of the wooden body, it’s more vulnerable to damage if dropped than the other styles that have the majority of the mechanism located inside the wooden body.

Pros and Cons

  • Historical design
  • Beechwood body
  • High-carbon steel conical burrs
  • Large bean and grounds capacity
  • Not as durable as other box-mill designs

Zassenhaus Guatemala M041071 Hand Grinder

The Zassenhaus Guatemala is the company's most modern box-mill design. It has a body made of wenge, a rare African hardwood, with a stainless base that conceals a glass grounds container.

The Guatemala features Zassenhaus' signature high-carbon steel conical burrs and stainless steel ball bearings that keep the grinder running smoothly. The grinder has stepless grind adjustment that is controlled by a dial located beneath the burrs and accessed by removing the glass grounds container.

To load coffee into the Guatemala, remove the handle to give you access to the bean hopper that holds roughly enough beans for 3-4 cups of coffee.

The handle is long enough to provide adequate advantage while grinding, but some users report that the square body of the grinder is somewhat difficult to hold. The grinder can be held between the knees for stability, but the smooth, straight sides won't give you as good of a grip as the curved body of a knee mill will.

Wooden, Wengue wood and stainless steel, Zassenhaus Guatemala M041071

Zassenhaus Guatemala M041071

Pros and Cons

  • Hardwood wenge body
  • High-carbon steel conical burrs
  • Attractive, modern design
  • Glass grounds container
  • Square body can be difficult to 
    hold while grinding

Zassenhaus Quito Hand Grinder

The Zassenhaus Quito Coffee Grinder is the best hand-held grinder made by Zassenhaus. With the same stainless steel burrs and ball bearing guided drive shaft as Zassenhaus' larger traditional models, the Quito gives you exceptional grind quality and smooth action in a relatively small package.

This Zassenhaus hand grinder has an outer body made of stainless steel, giving the grinder a very sturdy, rigid feel. Unscrewing the grounds container gives you access to the stepless grind adjustment nut. The clear glass grounds container beautifully displays your freshly ground coffee and is free of any static build up.

The long handle with wood knob gives you a great advantage for more grinding power but isn't removable which makes the grinder slightly less ideal for traveling. However, on the positive side, the handle is essentially a continuation of the drive shaft, which gives you a better transfer of energy when cranking and a greater overall durability.

The Quito grinds coffee of the same high quality as the other Zassenhaus models, perfect for use with espresso machines, stovetop espresso makers (Moka pots), manual brewing methods, and automatic drip brewers.

Pros and Cons

  • Stainless steel outer body
  • Glass grounds container
  • High-carbon steel conical burrs
  • Handle can't be removed
  • Uneven grind at coarser settings

Zassenhaus 041064 Panama Coffee Mill Review

The Zassenhaus 041064 Panama coffee mill is perhaps the best Zassenhaus hand-held grinder for travel. It has a much smaller diameter body than the Quito and has a removable handle, which makes it easy to slip into a suitcase for high-quality brews on the road.

With Zassenhaus' signature steel conical burrs, the Panama has one of the nicest burr sets you'll find in a hand-held grinder in its size range. It also features stainless steel ball bearings that help the drive shaft rotate smoothly for easier grinding.

Removing the handle gives you access to the small bean hopper that holds enough for 1 or 2 cups of coffee. The Panama features stepless grind adjustment, which is accessed by removing the grounds container on the bottom of the grinder.

One of the only drawbacks to the Panama is the acrylic coffee grounds container. The friction of the burrs can create static that builds up in the plastic, causing the ground coffee to fly out upon opening.

This generally only happens when filling the grounds container all the way to the top and can be avoided by emptying the grounds before it gets too full.

Pros and Cons

  • Durable stainless steel body
  • High-carbon steel burrs
  • Compact and portable, good for travel
  • Acrylic (plastic) grounds container
    that can build up static

Zassenhaus Lima Coffee Mill

The Zassenhaus Lima handheld grinder is the lowest priced grinder offered by the company. It's also one of Zassenhaus' only grinders to feature ceramic style conical burrs in place of steel.

The ceramic burrs do a fine job grinding coffee but are likely to produce more coffee dust (fines), which can over-extract in the brewing process resulting in bitter coffee.

Still, if you're looking for an upgrade from a blade grinder, ceramic burrs will be a huge step up regarding grind quality, and the Lima is a very affordable option.

The Lima has a stainless steel body with a clear bean hopper and grounds container both made of acrylic. The benefit of acrylic is that it's less breakable than glass, but the downside is the static build up mentioned above.

Adding coffee to the grinder is done by simply twisting and popping off the lid. The handle is fixed to the drive shaft and can't be removed, but doesn't seem to get in the way while loading beans or cleaning.

One of the most common complaints about the Lima is that the plastic tabs which secure the grounds container to the main grinder body are a bit fragile and are prone to break, resulting in the container falling off.

Pros and Cons

  • Low price point
  • Lightweight
  • Stainless steel body
  • Ceramic conical burrs instead of steel
  • Acrylic grounds container
  • Plastic tabs that hold the grounds container on are fragile and can break

Making Sense of Zassenhaus Grinders

Zassenhaus has been making high-quality coffee grinders for over 150 years, but surprisingly, little information can be found online about what makes these grinders so unique. Now, let us go over some Zassenhaus coffee grinder basics.

Body Styles

There are three main styles of Zassenhaus coffee mills: box mills, knee mills, and handheld mills. Box mills and knee mills — the more traditional styles — have remained largely unchanged since the company first started making grinders. The modern styles, or handheld mills, offer the same reliable functionality and high-quality grind of the traditional styles, but with more contemporary materials and design.

Box Mills

Box Mills style grinders are the most traditional form of hand-powered coffee grinders offered by Zassenhaus. They are also called "lap mills" because they are designed to be used while held in one's lap for easier grinding.

Zassenhaus box mill grinders are prized for their high-level craftsmanship and classic appearance.

Knee Mills

Knee mills are another traditional style of hand grinder and are designed to be held between the knees while grinding in a seated position.

When used as originally intended, knee mills are some of the most stable and easy-to-use hand grinders available.

Handheld Mills

Steel, Compact Sixe, Zassenhaus Handed Grinder

Handheld mills are some of the more modern offerings of Zassenhaus but are similar in design and function to traditional Turkish coffee grinders. Handheld mills are held in one hand while the other hand rotates the grinder’s handle arm.

Many coffee drinkers favor handheld mills because of their small size, which makes them very easy to travel with, take camping, or tuck away in a cupboard. They're a great option for small kitchens, or if you simply don't want another appliance cluttering your countertop.

Component Variations

Beyond the differences in body style and appearance, all Zassenhaus coffee mills utilize the company's time-tested grinder mechanism design. However, there are several variations in specific components, which give each model a unique feel and user experience.

Steel or Ceramic Burrs?

Zassenhaus is famous for their high-quality, German-made, high-carbon steel conical burrs. These burrs are known among coffee enthusiasts to create a very even, uniform grind rivaled only by high-end electric burr grinders.

They are also known to last a very long time, as evidenced by Zassenhaus' 25-year grind mechanism guarantee.

It's important to note not all of Zassenhaus' grinder models feature steel burrs. Rather, some of their lower-priced modern models use ceramic burrs.

In general, ceramic burrs produce a very high-quality grind; they just don't grind the coffee with as much precision as steel burrs.

Coffee Loading Apparatus

A minor difference between Zassenhaus grinder models is how you load coffee into the grinder. While this doesn't affect the grinding of the coffee, it does affect the grinder's overall usability. The more traditional models feature either sliding or spring-loaded doors, and the modern handheld models have tops that pop or twist off.

Coffee Grounds Container

Each Zassenhaus model has a slightly different coffee grounds container, and while it might not seem like a big deal, it can make quite a difference in your overall experience with the grinder.

The traditional models have slide-out grounds drawers made of wood - no trouble there. Some of the more modern models use glass containers to collect the ground coffee; again, no trouble.

However, the lower-priced models use acrylic (plastic) grounds containers, which is not ideal.

The problem with these acrylic grounds containers is that static builds up from the burrs and collects in the plastic. Then, when you open the container, the built up static can send coffee grounds flying all over you and the counter. Just something to be aware of:

Grinder Capacity

Each grinder model holds a different volume of beans and coffee grounds. The traditional box mills and knee mills are the largest, holding enough coffee for a 6-cup pot of coffee. The handheld models have the smallest capacity, holding roughly enough for 1 or 2 servings of brewed coffee.

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder History

In 1867, Robert Zassenhaus started his company, Zassenhaus, as an export store supplying tools and steel goods in Schweim, Germany. The company began making coffee mills in 1887, patenting their signature grinder mechanism design that is still in use today.

Antique and vintage German coffee grinder Zassenhaus demand high prices among dealers, and much of the time, grind just as well as they did when they were new!

For the majority of Zassenhaus' history, all of their grinders were made in Germany, and many of them still are. But in recent years, in an effort to compete with lower-priced hand grinders on the market,

zassenhaus-coffee-mill-grinders-review-Consumer-Files

Zassenhaus began manufacturing some of their entry-level grinders in China, replacing their high-quality stainless steel burrs with ceramic burrs. While the Zassenhaus name is synonymous with coffee mills in the U.S., the company manufactures a broad range of kitchen tools, knives, and spice mills that are popular throughout Europe.

Final Thoughts on Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder Review 2021

Thanks to Zassenhaus coffee mill, you don't have to shell out hundreds of dollars to get a high-quality burr grinder. What Zassenhaus coffee mills lacked in electrical power, they more than made up for with their high-quality grind, robust design, and classic style. We hope that our Zassenhaus coffee grinder reviews gave you some insight into the world of hand-powered coffee grinders and helped you find the right model for you.


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Sources and Official Brand Websites:

Zassenhaus | Coffee Grinder | Coffee Forums | Coffee Geek


Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder Reviews 2020 was last modified: December 22nd, 2020 by Consumer Files