Porlex Mini Hand Coffee Grinder Review: A Tiny Marvel?

After working as a professional barista for many years, Arne Preuss founded Coffeeness.

As part of the “great gadgets for achieving super-defined arm muscles” (aka hand coffee grinders) series I’m running, I’m devoting this review to the tiny version of one of my favorite models: the Porlex Mini hand coffee grinder

As part of the “great gadgets for achieving super-defined arm muscles” (aka hand coffee grinders) series I’m running, I’m devoting this review to the tiny version of one of my favorite models: the Porlex Mini hand coffee grinder

Unassuming and flimsy, this stainless steel grinder hardly looks capable of the convincing results you get. But there’s more than meets the eye.

While I certainly won’t be unfaithful to my Comandante hand coffee grinder, any newcomers to the wonderful world of freshly brewed coffee from equally freshly ground beans will definitely appreciate the Porlex Mini stainless steel coffee grinder. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s available on Amazon for less than $70.

Before I go on about all of this grinder’s features, here’s the short of it: the Porlex Mini grinder creates mega results while really living up to its name.

well-built and compact

Porlex Mini

Great little hand coffee grinder.

Rugged stainless steel housing

Very affordable

High-quality ceramic grinder

Compact dimensions

Easy to clean

Not suitable for large quantities of coffee

Unboxing the Porlex Mini: No Second Chances for First Impressions

By looking at the (old) Porlex Mini packaging, you probably wouldn’t have gotten the idea that there was real quality in the box — it was Japan-kitsch as Japan-kitsch can be. But that was before. 

It’s not just the design of the grinder that’s changed, either. There’s also new packaging, and it’s much more elegant and stylish than it used to be.

But feeling the grinder’s weight in my hand, and after a quick first look at all the individual parts, I can tell you that Porlex did well to fire the packaging designer. The company should also definitely give the product designer a raise.

A close-up of the Porlex Mini hand coffee grinder.

Sure, the grinder isn’t much bigger than a pepper mill, but that’s exactly how hand coffee grinders you take on the road are supposed to be. All the connections are correct, the crank sits smoothly but firmly on the top of the grinder and it feels great.

One small flaw, though: if you get too excited with the crank, the collecting chamber rotates very slightly in the opposite direction. But you can easily turn this off, thanks to the good grip from the plastic sleeve. Like I said, it’s a small flaw.

Inside, a noble ceramic grinder awaits its use, safely enclosed in the practically indestructible stainless steel housing. The surrounding plastic sleeve’s holding loop, into which you can insert the crank handle when not in use, is also pretty cool.

You can tell I have a bit of a crush on the product design, despite the Porlex Mini’s price. It’s currently available for just under $70 on Amazon, which is still pretty reasonable, though this makes it a bit more expensive than the front-runner Hario Skerton. Then again, the Porlex Mini is also much more robust — the keyword being “glass” container.

But I’m not the only one. 

The fact that there have been times when it’s been completely sold out on the manufacturer’s website just goes to show you how much of a cult following this machine has. Is it a coincidence? I don’t think so.

Porlex Mini At a Glance

First things first: here’s a snapshot of what you get out of the box. The Porlex Mini:

  • Has a robust stainless steel case
  • Displays good build quality
  • Uses ceramic burrs
  • Comes at an acceptable price
  • Is small and compact

About that last point: I have to add a small but because when the Japanese say “mini,” they really mean it. You get a maximum of 30 grams of ground coffee — just about enough for you and your travel companion. Still, it’s more than enough for solo backpackers, too.

On the other hand, I can confirm what many reviewers and professionals say about this compact burr hand grinder. With the crank removed, it actually fits perfectly in the hollow of an AeroPress — giving you more space in your backpack.

The Grinder: Now, We’re Talking!

In my detailed article on the subject of coffee grinders and in numerous reviews, I’ve already explained to you several times that when it comes to the grinder, the best-case scenario always comes down to the decision between ceramic and steel.

The Porlex Mini relies on ceramic for its conical burrs and as result, on a material that is quite resistant, hardly stores heat and doesn’t affect the aroma of the beans. More importantly, you can adjust the grinder by hand pretty easily.

All you have to do is turn a small wheel at the bottom of the grinder head, and you’re done. The adjustment isn’t stepless but is sufficient for all typical preparation methods when traveling — after all, who would lug around a hand lever machine anyway?

Arne cranking the Porlex Mini hand coffee grinder.

Like I mentioned earlier, the crank turns smoothly and comfortably, which suggests that, unlike the previous model, Porlex didn’t just improve the suspension. The grinder also seems perfectly balanced and neatly finished.

Putting the Porlex Mini to Good Use

So, what’s the point of all this rambling on? Well, the point is that the Porlex Mini hand coffee grinder makes killer ground coffee — at every setting and with manageable effort when cranking. Plus, thanks to the rubber sleeve, you can get a grip on it in any position (as my photo impressively shows).

After a few rotations, I had really homogeneous ground coffee in my hand, with only a few lumps. (In case you’re wondering, yes, that’s what hands look like that are busy every day trying out the best coffee equipment in the world.)

The Porlex Mini also manages an espresso grind, which (interestingly) almost all hand coffee grinders do well. 

But over time, many hand grinders tend to weaken when used for coarse ground coffee. I can’t confirm whether or not this is the case with the Porlex’s small steel adjustment screw. Here, too, the granulation succeeds almost perfectly.

Cleaning the Porlex Mini

At this point, I have to give a shout-out to my hero: the Porlex Mini product designer because they also put a lot of effort into making the cleaning process a breeze.

Now, in theory, you can take the grinder completely apart and clean out the coffee grounds with ease.

I say in theory because I think there’s a good chance you’ll misplace an important component along the way or forget how to put it back together.

That’s why I advise practicing how to clean your hand coffee grinder before you travel!

Mini vs Tall: Which Porlex Grinder Gets the Job Done Best?

For those of you with more substantial coffee needs, the Japanese manufacturer also produces a larger coffee hand grinder, the Porlex Tall (also known as the JP-30). 

Yes, both models essentially share the same features, but the differences couldn’t be clearer — as the names suggest — in size and the capacity of each grinder.

CategoryPorlex MiniPorlex Tall (JP-30)
ManufacturerPorlexPorlex
NamePorlex Mini Hand GrinderPorlex Tall (JP-30) Hand Grinder
TypeHand GrinderHand Grinder
GrinderCeramic conical burrsCeramic conical burrs
Bean container capacity20 g30 g
Grinding13 levels13 levels
Ground coffee capacity30 g 40 g
Weight249 g281 g
Color optionsStainless steelStainless steel
ExtrasRubber sleeve with crank holderN/A
Dimensions (height x width x depth)6 x 2.3 x 1.8 in1.89 x 7.6 x 1.89 in

So, naturally, the Porlex Tall has a larger capacity than its little brother, but in my opinion, is still far from deserving of the title “Tall.” Sure, it’s a good candidate for a travel companion — if you have a little more space in your suitcase and more than one coffee fanatic in your travel group.

In terms of price, the Tall and Mini Porlex coffee grinders are almost the same: the larger version currently costs around $74 on Amazon, which is only a few bucks more than the Mini.

The Porlex Tall also doesn’t come with a neat rubber sleeve, so when considering the Porlex Mini vs JP-30, you just have to decide whether you want ultra-compact dimensions and a great crank holder or a little more coffee all at once. 

Conclusion: Who Is the Porlex Mini Hand Coffee Grinder Suitable For?

You can probably guess that the conclusion of my Porlex Mini coffee grinder review will be something along the lines of “recommended purchase” or “great gift idea for all of your loved ones.” But if I were to get more specific, I’d say the $70 Porlex Mini hand coffee grinder would be ideal for anyone who appreciates quality and attention to detail.

well-built and compact

The Porlex Mini

Great little hand coffee grinder.

Rugged stainless steel housing

Very affordable

High-quality ceramic grinder

Compact dimensions

Easy to clean

Not suitable for large quantities of coffee

Here’s a recap of the highlights: 

  • Provides freshly ground coffee beans without the need for electricity
  • Gets good results in many degrees of grind
  • Uses high-quality materials and a top grinder
  • Offers great handling
  • Allows for thorough and easy cleaning
  • Comes at an acceptable price
  • Has compact dimensions
  • Includes clever details like a rubber sleeve with crank holder

But only those who want to make more than one cup of coffee at a time probably won’t be quite as happy with the Porlex Mini. So, point deduction!

I will say, though, that the Porlex Tall does manage to get rid of the mini flaw of its little brother and prove that small hand grinders at a reasonable price are possible without compromise.

Do you already have experience with the cult crank called the Porlex Mini? If so, I look forward to your comments. As always, feel free to ask me for more details about this and other reviews. Thanks for reading!

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