Best Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder – Comparison & Reviews

Compiling a list for the best Zassenhaus coffee grinder isn't actually such an easy task, as all Zassenhaus grinders are of the finest quality you can get. It basically comes down to aesthetics and price tag, as you're always ensured of high-quality grinds and extreme durability.

Zassenhaus is a high-end brand making some of the finest vintage coffee grinders. They only use high-quality materials which last almost forever. They trust their products so much that a typical Zassenhaus coffee mill comes with a 10 year guarantee, some even with 25 years on the mechanics. 

Zassenhaus grinders aren't cheap, but if you just want simply the best vintage coffee grinder you can't go wrong with any of them.

About Zassenhaus coffee grinders

Zassenhaus is a German purveyor of finely crafted hand mills for coffee, spices, pepper, and salt. Although not as well known in North America, the Zassenhaus brand has been around for almost 150 years, with many of their older products selling as high-priced antiques. Based out of Solingen, Zassenhaus continues to manufacture finely crafted, high-end hand mills for the consumer market.

Founded in 1867 by Robert Zassenhaus in Schwelm, Germany, the Zassenhaus brand has always been synonymous with high-quality hand-operated mills. Historically, all Zassenhaus mills have been made in Germany, and the vast majority continues to be made in Germany today. Zassenhaus is so confident in their fine German craftsmanship, in fact, that the company offers guarantees of up to 25 years on the grinding mechanisms found in their mills. Some of the newer, cheaper Zassenhaus models are manufactured in China.

The Zassenhaus design philosophy does not seem to have changed since the company’s inception in 1867, with even recent models looking like fine antiques. This old world feel is a throwback to a time before massive Chinese production plants, before enormous landfills were flooded with mass-produced plastic products.

The antique-style design typically features finished hardwood for the body, and high-quality metal trims made from iron, copper, or steel. It's a showcase excellent German craftsmanship, giving the illusion that each mill is a one-of-a-kind treasure from the distant past.

The Best Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder of 2016

After going through many existing coffee grinder reviews, we have compiled a list that shows you the best Zassenhaus grinder.
Based on features, convenience, performance, excellent build quality and great value for your money, we present you:
The Best Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder of 2016

WINNER

Zassenhaus 169DG

The Zassenhaus 169DG is simply the best looking vintage coffee grinder, while also offering excellent grinding capabilities. It is pricey, but in return you get both perfect quality and design you'll love.

RUNNER-UP

Zassenhaus Santiago

At a bit more friendly price you can get the Zassenhaus Santiago. This grinder has a more common design and color scheme, while featuring all the excellent qualities Zassenhaus grinders are known for.

NOTEWORTHY

Zassenhaus Brasilia

The Zassenhaus Brasilia is technically identical to the Santiago, but using a dark stained finish gives it a more premium look. Keep an eye on promotions to get it at a lower price than the Santiago.

1. Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder - 169DG

The Zassenhaus 169DG is a high-end hand-operated burr mill. This tiny device is a marvel to look at, and its elegant design is reminiscent of pre-industrial revolution craftsmanship. Its body gives appearance of a finely crafted piece of furniture, featuring a beautiful hardwood construction with a rich walnut finish. Its black cast iron hopper has a bell-shaped lid, which features a subtle golden accent that contrasts the dark shades of the other components. This is a beautiful device that produces excellent grinding results.

Aside from the device’s beauty, the 169DG is also known for excellent grind consistency. Its high-quality grinding mechanism can be adjusted for coarseness by rotating a knurled nut below the handle. This allows the device to produce almost any level of coarseness, from French press to espresso. The 169DG features fantastic build quality and craftsmanship, and its grinding mechanism comes with a 10-year guarantee.

As to be expected, grinding your beans with the 169DG can be a little time consuming, up to 2 minutes per cup of coffee. A further limitation is the tiny grinds chamber, which holds a maximum of 2 cups of coffee worth of grinds (depending on the grind setting). The chamber is also not entirely airtight, meaning that you should use your grinds right away. Unfortunately, the adjustment mechanism does not feature any markings to gauge coarseness, and trial and error is to be expected. Because there is no easy way to take this device apart for cleaning, maintenance can also be a little annoying. Finally, this unit is still a little pricey.

Conclusion
The Zassenhaus 169DG is an excellent hand mill, produces uniform grinds, and boasts a very sturdy, high quality mill. However, it is not supposed to make your coffee grinding experience as convenient as an electronic mill. If you are avid coffee drinker, like the intimate experience of milling by hand, and are willing to pay extra for elegance and build quality, this may be the unit for you. However, if you are merely interested in purchasing a hand-mill for the novelty value, you should look at one of the less expensive Zassenhaus or Hario models.

Pros

  • Beautiful antique-style design
  • High quality materials like hardwood and iron
  • ​Excellent build quality
  • High quality, low RPM grinder comes with 10-year guarantee​
  • Easily adjustable grind settings​
  • Great for any coarseness, from French press to Espresso

Cons

  • Slow grinding times, up to 2 minutes for each cup of coffee
  • Tiny 2-cup grind capacity
  • ​Grind shelf is not airtight
  • ​Coarseness adjustment requires trial and error
  • ​Cleaning the device can be a challenge
  • This unit is pretty expensive

2. Zassenhaus Beech Wood
Closed-Hopper Coffee Mill - Model 151BU

The Zassenhaus 151BU is a high-end hand mill for grinding coffee at home. It is not as fancy as the 169DG in appearance, but is still quite nice to look at. Despite being much simpler in aesthetics than other Zassenhaus hand mills, the 151BU maintains the standard high quality wood finish. This model uses beech wood for its cubic body, and a chrome finish for its short, cylindrical hopper. These elements add up to a fairly attractive device, one that is adept at producing delicious grinds.

Like other Zassenhaus hand mills, the 151BU uses high quality stainless steel burrs to produce a very uniform grind. The burrs can be easily adjusted by twisting the knurled knob between its hopper and handle. This gives you full control over coarseness, making this device suitable for any grinds from French press to Turkish. Combining the high fidelity materials with sturdy construction, this device has great build quality. Given the high performance and aforementioned build quality, this grinder’s price tag is very reasonable.

Without surprise, the grind times are long on this hand mill. Due to the small size of the device itself, the grinds chamber has very limited space to store grinds. The chamber is also not airtight, so grinds should be used right away. The knurled coarseness adjustment knob lacks increments or markings, so trial and error is required to achieve your ideal grind. Finally, as with the other Zassenhaus grinders, taking this unit apart is not easy, nor is it advised. This makes cleaning a bit of a challenge.

Conclusion
This Zassenhaus coffee grinder is an excellent find for coffee connoisseurs who don’t mind a bit of a forearm workout in the morning. It is aesthetically pleasing and functionally superior to most grinding products in its price range. As long as you aren’t shopping for the most fancy looking hand mill on the market, the 151BU is a great choice.

Pros

  • Attractive, high quality design
  • Great build quality
  • Easily adjustable burrs
  • Produces very good grind uniformity
  • Reasonable price
  • Great for any grinds, from French press to espresso

Cons

  • Long grind times
  • Low capacity grinds drawer
  • Trial and error required for coarseness adjustment
  • A challenge to clean

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Top 10: The Best Antique Coffee Grinder

It probably doesn't come as a surprise that Zassenhaus takes spot #1 - #4 on the best antique coffee grinder. The Zassenhaus grinders are simply so good they take top spots on any list they're in.

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Top 10: The Best Manual Coffee Grinder

If you're into manual coffee grinding but are not sure whether you want a Zassenhaus grinder or not, this list will probably help you out. We listed only the best manual coffee grinders.

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Top 5: The Best French Press Coffee Grinder

Considered by some experts as the best coffee you can get, getting the right grinds can be a tedious task. Luckily there are some excellent coffee grinders available well suited for making French press grinds.

3. Zassenhaus Brasilia Dark Stained Beech Coffee Hand Mill Grinder - 151DG

The Zassenhaus 151DG is a high-end hand-operated burr mill for coffee. As the model number suggests, the 151DG is very similar in appearance to the 151BU. The main difference lies in the finish Zassenhaus used for this device, which replaces the lighter beech wood for a dark stained alternative.

All other parts seem to be identical to the 151BU. The dark stained wood of the 151DG gives the device a more high-end aesthetic.

The 151DG has identical features to the 151BU. It uses the same high fidelity grinding mechanism and produces a grind just as uniform. Its grind coarseness is adjusted using the exact same knurled knob beneath the handle. It features the same excellent build quality.
As its advantages are the same, so are the disadvantages. Grind times are still long. The grinds container is still tiny. Coarseness adjustments still require trial and error. The device is still hard to clean. An additional disadvantage of this model is its price, which is notably more expensive than the light version.

Conclusion
Since we have already given a recommendation for the 151BU, the same applies for this model—with one caveat. Because the dark beech wood model is slightly more expensive, only purchase this one if you strongly prefer the darker finish.
 

Pros

  • Attractive, high quality design
  • Great build quality
  • Easily adjustable burrs
  • Produces very good grind uniformity
  • Reasonable price
  • Great for any grinds, from French press to espresso

Cons

  • Long grind times
  • Low capacity grinds drawer
  • Trial and error required for coarseness adjustment
  • A challenge to clean
  • More expensive than the light colored model

4. Zassenhaus Santiago Coffee Mill Grinder -
Mahogony - 156MA

The Zassenhaus Santiago 156MA is a hand-operated knee mill for coffee. It is constructed from a beautiful mahogany hardwood. Unlike many of the other Zassenhaus grinders, the 156MA does not feature a protruding bean hopper, and instead has a small bean chamber within the main body of the grinder.

The concave form of the grinder’s walls is designed for comfortable knee milling, the practice of holding a hand mill between your knees while grinding.

As mentioned, this grinder is simply beautiful; its mahogany hardwood finish and chrome bean lid are just fantastic. Its burrs produce a very uniform grind of any desired coarseness, including French press, cold brew, drip, and espresso. A knurled knob allows you to choose the coarseness, and is easily rotated to modify the distance between the burrs. Its fantastic build quality is exemplary of Zassenhaus products, and the device radiates quality.

As previously mentioned, its form is ideal for stabilizing the grinder with your knees while you crank the mill. The final notable feature is the incredible 25-year guarantee on this device’s grinding mechanism, which will ensure you’ll be using this mill for years to come.

The 156MA has long grind times, with up to 2 minutes of milling required for a single cup of coffee. Its lack of dedicated bean hopper also means that you might have to refill it more than once to get enough grinds for a stronger cup of coffee. The grinds drawer on the 156MA is also small, severely limiting the quantity of grinds that can be produced in each grinding session. Adjusting the coarseness on this grinder can be a bit of a guessing game if you aren’t familiar with the device. Because this device should be held between your knees while grinding, tabletop grinding can be a very frustrating experience.

Conclusion
This Zassenhaus coffee grinder is beautiful, consistent, precise, and exceptionally sturdy. While the mahogany model is slightly more expensive than the lighter design, it is still very reasonably priced, and the included 25-year guarantee makes this device worth every penny.

Pros

  • Beautiful mahogany design
  • Great build quality
  • Easily adjustable burrs
  • Produces very good grind uniformity
  • Reasonable price
  • 25-year guarantee on grinding mechanism
  • Great for any grinds, from French press to espresso

Cons

  • Long grind times
  • Low capacity grinds drawer
  • Trial and error required for coarseness adjustment
  • A challenge to clean
  • Tabletop grinding is a pain

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Hario

Hario has a number of affordable manual coffee grinders, including vintage looking grinders. Its grinders are mostly composed of plastics though, which however are good grinders if you first want to try out manual grinding before getting a Zassenhaus.

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Mazzer

Mazzer is the equivalent of Zassenhaus for electric grinders when it comes to grind quality and durability. A Zassenhaus grinder can be a bit tiring when you make multiple coffees and a Mazzer makes the perfect companion if you want only the best of the best. 

Espresso Beans vs Coffee Beans

Tip: Espresso grinders

If you want to make the perfect espresso, you are going to need a perfect grinder, as not every coffee grinder is perfectly suitable for making the proper grind needed for espresso. Rest assured, Zassenhaus grinders are easily up to the task though.

5. Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder - 156BU

The Zassenhaus 156 BU is a high-end hand operated knee mill for coffee grinding. It features an identical silhouette and build to the 156MA, but distinguishes itself with a light finish beech wood. Although not as sleek as the mahogany version, this device is still quite nice to look at, and has all the same excellent features of the slightly pricier model.

This device features high-quality stainless steel conical burrs, which produce a very uniform grind on any coarseness. The coarseness is adjusted by twisting a knurled knob below the handle, closer for finer and farther for coarser. The 156 BU’s build quality is fantastic, and the quality construction makes this feel like a premium device.

This tiny device can produce great grinds for any method of brewing, including French press, drip, and espresso. A 25-year guarantee on its grinding mechanism means that you’ll be using this device for years to come.

The 156 BU has all the same shortcomings of the other Zassenhaus grinders, including long grind times, a small grinds drawer, and a form that makes cleaning the device difficult. Like the other Zassenhaus 156 model, the BU’s hopper is located inside the main body, which decreases the amount of beans the device can hold. Finally, because this is a knee grinder, tabletop grinding is a practice in frustration.

Conclusion
Given the 156 BU’s price, it is the easiest Zassenhaus grinder to recommend. It is an attractive, high performance, high durability device that will service you for years on end.

Pros

  • Beautiful beech wood design
  • Great build quality
  • Easily adjustable burrs
  • Produces very good grind uniformity
  • Great price
  • 25-year guarantee on grinding mechanism
  • Great for any grinds, from French press to espresso

Cons

  • Long grind times
  • Low capacity grinds drawer
  • Trial and error required for coarseness adjustment
  • A challenge to clean
  • Tabletop grinding is a pain

6. Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder - 156ESSW

The Zassenhaus 156ESSW is a high-end hand operated knee mill for coffee grinding. It is nearly identical to the previous 156 models, with two main distinguishing characteristics: the ESSW’s hardwood finish is stained black, and the front panel now has the word “espresso” printed on it.

The 156ESSW is identical in build and design to the other Zassenhaus 156 grinders. It features the same high-grade stainless steel conical burrs, and produces the same uniformity in grinds.

Its build quality is just as excellent, and its form is identical. Despite having the word “espresso” printed on it, the 156ESSW will work just as well for grind beans for French press, drip, or any other method.

Since the 156ESSW has all the same mechanical shortcomings of the other 156 line grinders, the two that remain to be discussed are its hardwood finish, and its price. The matte finish of the hardwood is simply not as attractive as the mahogany or beech wood found on the other models.

At a first look, the black finish could easily be mistaken for plastic, and that takes away from the premium aesthetic that Zassenhaus is known for. The price of the unit is 10% higher than the mahogany, and a whopping 20% higher than the beech wood. For a version that lacks the premium aesthetic of the other models, this increase is unjustified.

Conclusion
The only reason you should be buying this model instead of the mahogany or beech wood variations is if you are in love with the matte black finish. Or, of course, if you like the idea of grinders being stamped with the word “espresso.” Otherwise, the modest price difference should steer you towards the other Zassenhaus 156 grinders.

Pros

  • Attractive wood design
  • Great build quality
  • Easily adjustable burrs
  • Produces very good grind uniformity
  • Great price
  • 25-year guarantee on grinding mechanism
  • Great for any grinds, from French press to espresso

Cons

  • Long grind times
  • Low capacity grinds drawer
  • Trial and error required for coarseness adjustment
  • A challenge to clean
  • Tabletop grinding is a pain
  • Black wood finish is not as attractive as the mahogany or beech wood

Our Best Pick: Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder - 169DG

Zassenhaus Coffee Grinder - 169DG
List Price: $129.99
Price: $129.99
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