The Knock Aergrind hand grinder was a staple in my coffee gear arsenal after its initial release in 2017. Fast forward to 2022, and Made By Knock rolled out an updated version that promised not just refinements but significant upgrades.
Born from a successful Kickstarter campaign and designed to fit snugly inside an AeroPress, the Aergrind has always aimed to be the perfect travel companion. Now, with an all-metal construction, titanium nitride-coated burrs from Italy’s Italmill, and a more user-friendly, stepless grind adjustment mechanism, the latest model raises the bar even higher.
Having spent several months putting the latest model through its paces, I’m eager to delve into the nitty-gritty details. In this comprehensive Knock Aergrind review, I’ll explore the new features, assess the grind performance, and evaluate whether the updated Aergrind continues to hold its own in today’s competitive hand grinder market.
Summary: Knock Aergrind Hand Grinder
- Significant upgrade over the original model for enhanced versatility
- Low static build-up minimizes coffee retention
- Ideal choice for those who enjoy varying their coffee brewing methods
- Compact and travel-friendly design fits seamlessly inside an Aeropress
- Excellent value and performance for the price
Design and Build Quality
The latest version of the Knock Aergrind exudes a sense of craftsmanship that elevates it from its predecessor. One of the most striking changes is the shift from plastic components to an all-metal construction, complemented by natural wood accents. This model stands 6.6 inches tall, has a 1.8-inch diameter, and weighs a travel-friendly 15.7 oz (445g), making it a compact yet substantial piece of equipment.
The main body is crafted from stainless steel and is available in either a matte silver or black finish. A new walnut wood pommel graces the handle, replacing the original plastic knob. This addition not only enhances the aesthetic but also adds a tactile warmth to the grinding experience, although I did find the plastic handle to provide a slightly smoother rotation.
Gone is the plastic snap-on lid, replaced by a metal one featuring laser-etched grind settings for easier readability. The grinder ships with a silicone band for improved grip. This comes in a choice of colors – orange, pink, or black. There is a silicone travel band as well, to secure the detachable crank arm. The handle is designed with a “D” shape to prevent incorrect re-attachment.
For me one of the standout features is the new catch cup which screws securely onto the body. From a UX perspective, this feels just right. It feels really smooth when attaching and is very secure with just a single rotation. The hopper is capable of holding up to 25 grams, while the catch cup can hold up to 40.
Aergrind Better UX And Workflow
The Aergrind’s grind adjustment mechanism is thoughtfully designed for ease of use and precision. Like many of the best manual coffee grinders, the adjustment system is located externally at the top, just beneath the handle and lid, this stepless system allows for a seamless transition between grind sizes, ranging from ultra-fine Turkish to coarse cold brew.
The grinder boasts 38mm titanium-coated conical burrs from Italy’s renowned Italmill. These burrs, when combined with a newly reinforced, thicker crank arm, make the grinding process not just easier but also more satisfying. This setup significantly enhances both the workflow and user experience.
For me, what sets the Aergrind apart is the stepless grind adjustment that gives lots of range for dialing in espresso at finer sizes. Although it doesn’t specify micron adjustments for each rotation, it does feature a laser-etched aluminum plate on the lid to help you remember your preferred settings.
Upgraded Titanium Nitride Burrs and Grind Performance
One of the things I liked the most about the upgraded Aergrind is the new Italmill burr set. They are 38mm, made of titanium nitride and chew through light roast beans, even at finer grinder settings. In fact, using it for espresso was some of the smoothest grinding I’ve experienced with any manual coffee grinder. The new burrs are also much faster than the original model.
When it comes to grind uniformity, the Knock Aergrind coffee grinder performs exceptionally well. The distance between the internal bearings has been increased, which minimizes burr wobble and contributes to a more consistent grind. While no grinder can claim 100% uniformity, the Aergrind comes close, delivering a grind quality that rivals many electric grinders.
For espresso, the grinder’s fine setting produces a consistent and even grind, which is essential for a balanced extraction. On the coarser end, suitable for French press or cold brew, it also performs well, offering a uniform grind without too much dust or fines.
The grinder’s performance remains consistent across different roast profiles. Whether you’re grinding a light Ethiopian roast or a dark Sumatran, the Aergrind delivers a reliable and uniform grind.
Knock Aergrind Grind Settings
The Aergrind grind settings use a two number system. The first number represents full rotations from the zero point, and the second number represents individual numbers from that last full rotation. For example, a grind setting of 2.4 would mean two full rotations from the zero point, followed by four additional numbers to reach the desired setting.
Here’s the settings I use as a starting point for dialing in.
- Turkish coffee: 0.9
- Espresso: 1.2
- Moka pot: 1.8
- Aeropress: 1.4 – 2.4
- Pour over: 1.8 – 2.8
- Drip coffee maker: 3.0 – 3.4
- French press: 3.5
- Cold brew: 4.0
The setting for Turkish coffee is essentially the point where the burrs open.
Coffee Taste Experience with the Aergrind
The Aergrind’s precision and uniformity in grind size contribute to a coffee experience that is both complex and nuanced. The body of the coffee is full and rich, a testament to the grinder’s ability to minimize fines and produce consistent particles. This results in a cup that allows the inherent characteristics of the coffee to shine through, from the subtle tasting notes to the more overt flavors.
The complexity of the cup is remarkable, offering a layered experience that evolves as the coffee cools. Whether it’s the fruity notes of a light roast or the chocolatey undertones of a dark roast, the Aergrind captures them with clarity. The grinder’s performance ensures that each sip offers a clean and distinct profile, allowing for an appreciation of individual flavors without muddling.
As for acidity, the Aergrind does an excellent job of preserving it in a way that complements the overall cup. The acidity comes through as bright and lively, but not overpowering, adding another layer to the coffee’s complexity.
I brewed everything from espresso to French press with the Knock Aergrind manual grinder and the coffee was consistently excellent. Aeropress and V60 are my daily drivers and both of these are delicious with this grinder. This was a pleasant surprise.
Is The Knock Aergrind Worth it?
The new Aergrind is a significant upgrade over its predecessor. Unlike other older grinders like the Lido 3 by Orphan Espresso, it performs admirably across a wide range of grind sizes, from the fine consistency needed for Turkish coffee to the coarser grounds suitable for cold brew. This makes it an excellent all-rounder and an ideal choice for those who like to brew and drink different types of coffee.
Additionally, its compact design and the fact it fits inside an Aeropress make it perfect for travel and on-the-go brewing.
While the Aergrind excels in many areas, it’s worth noting that if you exclusively brew espresso or filter coffee, there are specialized hand grinders that might offer a slight edge in performance for those specific styles.
However, these minor limitations don’t overshadow its overall capabilities. In conclusion, the Aergrind is a fantastic grinder that I wholeheartedly recommend, especially for those looking for a versatile and portable option.
Coffee expert and industry insider, I’ve dedicated years to mastering the art and science of coffee making. From scrutinizing particle fineness to evaluating burr shapes, I delve into the minutiae that elevate coffee from good to exceptional. Whether it’s a complex pour-over or a robust espresso, my insights cater to those who don’t just drink coffee, but experience it.