Station: [18] Room 9: Grinding Mechanisms

You may find this hard to believe, but despite being famous as the land of tea drinkers, in the early 17th century England rivalled Italy as Europe’s premier coffee-drinking nation! Coffee beans were imported into northern Germany from there. That’s why coffee grinders made in England had to be included in the Scheuermann collection. You’ll find them by the entrance, on the bottom shelf of the first display case on the left. But these simple, rather chunky, table or bench-mounted grinders – sadly lacking the catch cups for the coffee powder – never became widely popular. They were equipped with horizontal burr grinders. But what does that mean? Let us tell you about the various grinding mechanisms.

The burr grinder was, and still is, the most common grinding mechanism in coffee mills. It involves two grinding discs, one above the other. One of them is rotated by turning a hand crank – a task performed by a motor in electric grinders. The discs can be arranged horizontally or vertically, and coffee beans are crushed between the grinding burrs.

In grinders with a cone grinding mechanism, the coffee beans are ground between an inner cone and the outer wall, with the distance between the cone and the wall reducing towards the bottom. 

In a blade grinder, a small stainless steel propeller chops up the coffee beans.

Electric coffee grinders are available with blade, burr and cone grinding mechanisms. Hand grinders only have cone or burr grinding mechanisms. In both, the fineness is adjusted manually.

All depictions: © Kaffeemühlenmuseum Wiernsheim