Even in the 18th century, merchants had to offer ready-ground coffee for sale, because some households didn’t have a coffee grinder. Coffee mills were also popular in coffee houses. For commercial use, large grinders were required. As well as a crank, they often had one or two flywheels to make the job of grinding easier. We have four such commercial grinders in the foyer, where you will have seen them.
Commercial coffee grinders also came in a wide range of different designs. Just take a look at the seat or stool grinder from 1780. It is in the middle display case. A typical feature of these grinders is that they come with a built-in stool. The person operating one would sit on the stool, which provided some comfort if you were grinding large amounts of coffee. Stool grinders are usually made of wood, have a simple box shape and a shallow iron funnel. They belong to the category of lap grinders. As a rule, these simple grinders were operated by servants in the kitchen.
In shops and coffee houses, people tended to use fancy coffee grinders like the one you saw in the middle display case, next to the coffee roaster. Coffee was a luxury – and even then, visual appeal would influence a purchasing decision.
All depictions: © Kaffeemühlenmuseum Wiernsheim