Bella Barista asked me to test 2 hand grinders from China made by 1ZPresso. I’m lazy and the thought of testing 2 Chinese hand grinders didn’t exactly fill me with enthusiasm. I mumbled that I haven’t used a lot of hand grinders, won’t do espresso and they’re Chinese. The reply was an enthusiastic, “I think you will be surprised, will you try them”. I wasn’t going to get out of this so easily and agreed.
The first test I planned was espresso and using the most expensive one…I figured that if it failed this test I could give up and say they are no good and send them back….no such luck.
As is the case with reviews though, the non pro hand grinder is covered first, even though I tried the more expensive one first, couldn’t help myself.
It’s a little shorter than it’s pro brother because of the fine adjustment mechanism, however the burrs are the same and the bearings are the same high quality fitments, so it actually grinds to the same quality. The key different is 24 levels of adjustment vs 40 and a slightly simpler disassembly and maintenance procedure.
Below is some video of the JX in action on some fairly standard prosumer kit. I am not using any special pressure profiling and in this video showed that the adjustment levels are not as fine as the pro for the real espresso purists who want tighter shot timings. If you can accept that this gets you very close to the timings you, then the grind quality is as good as the pro version.
It had my interest, out of the box and let’s get testing. I decided to start with espresso.
To summarise my feelings about this grinder for espresso vs the JX-Pro. They both have the same burrs and basic construction differing essentially only in the degree of fine adjustment each can do, 24 adjustment detents vs 40 on the pro. 1 detent adjustment on the JX (depending on the coffee), could give up to 8 seconds on the pour. For the espresso purist this might be the deal breaker for the cheaper grinder. e.g. if you have a 33s espresso shot and you want it a bit faster, 1 detent adjustment might reduce the time to 26s, when in reality you wanted a 28 or 29s shot. If you are OK with that then saving around £50 makes a lot of sense and the grinder is a little more compact
As far as using it with an espresso machine, I was surprised how well it worked. In fact, I have been using hand grinders for almost a week and not used the electric grinder at all. The espresso shots were good and tasty as were Americanos. There appeared to be no real downside to using this except for having to turn the handle for 30s. I think if you have a pressure profiling espresso machine, the cheaper grinder probably isn’t going to give you the fine adjustment you would want.
I’m not hugely experienced in this area but I know a man who is. I turned to my friend Mark to help me here took both grinders to him. As they are exactly the same burr and construction inside, the essential difference being the adjustment mechanism in the top cap (which also makes the pro a bit bigger and heavier), we only really needed to test the cheaper grinder.
Mark has quite a few hand grinders, I knew I was in the right place. you can see the JX and JX-Pro hiding at the left of frame, hidden amongst the other 12 hand grinders.
Mark had hand grinders from £50 to £200 and explained that for pour over the differences were not massive, if they could grind even reasonably well, they could make good pour over and a lot of the times the difference was in how hard they were to turn and how easy to use, plus of course the general quality of construction.
We made quite a few pour overs and the JX performed fine. It’s obviously a lot easier to turn at the coarser grind settings and much faster than grinding for espresso. It’s results were in line with grinders costing from £150 to £200. Overall it performed well with no glaring problems. I don’t have video from the sessions, because I feel it can be a bit intrusive to video in someone else’s home.
We didn’t bother testing the JX-pro as it’s the same grinder with even finer levels of adjustment and Mark said the standard JX had more than enough fine adjustment for filter coffee etc..
Of course I took it to bits (as usual)
Grabbed the box and opened it…mmm, not one for unboxing Vids but it actually deserves a photo or two..All metal with Silicone grip ring, felt great, good heft and quality construction.
So does the JX-Pro work for espresso?
Oh yes, it works very well indeed. Taking around 30 seconds or so to grind 17 grams of coffee for a double shot. Almost twice as much adjustment than the standard JX, but the same great grind quality. If you are an espresso purist, who occasionally does some drip, this is for you, assuming you want to use a hand grinder.
My experience of these hand grinders has changed my opinion of them. In the past, the few cheap hand grinders I tried did not exactly fill me with joy. They certainly gave me a negative view of hand grinding until I tried these. I thought they were really expensive, again I was wrong, you can spend a lot more and not really get any more, in some cases less!
Did I enjoy hand grinding? Sometimes yes, it was quite Zen, if someone gave me one for my Birthday or a Christmas present I would actually be quite pleased. They are simply very nice things, nice to own and use.
Both grinders would be very well suited to the pour over/filter/carafe user, although if you didn’t make and never planned to make espresso, go for the JX and save some money. If espresso comes into the equation, then either will do, but you might want to lean towards the more expensive JX-Pro.
The JX holds a maximum of about 27g of coffee beans the JX-Pro about 33g. They are easy to use and I have been hand grinding all week, making around 10 espressos per day. Initially I was dreading it, but actually it’s not been too bad at all and a fun change from pressing a button.
Note: If you do have health problems with wrist and elbow joints, shoulders, arthritis, your grip, or lack upper body strength, you might find this grinder (or any hand grinder) hard work and unpleasant to use.
The biggest surprise of all to me was how well they worked for espresso. I was told they worked well but didn’t believe it until I tried them myself. If you are on a super tight budget and want a grinder that’s cheap and can do it all quite well, perhaps hand grinding is an option….especially if you don’t drink very much coffee. Some things I thought about when grinding, as you get more time (and silence) to think why you might want one:
- On a boat RV or holiday home
- Student at university
- small apartment or limited space
- someone who uses multiple methods to make coffee
- someone not super fussy about espresso timings
- Likes the idea and the calming quietness of the hand grinder
- Wants an espresso/pour over etc.. when everyone else is asleep
- Power failure – if you have a gas cooker
- As a spare just in case
- It’s just a nice thing to own…even if you don’t need one
- Please buy me one as a Christmas/Birthday present.
- Buy someone you know who loves coffee one as a present (although you might end up keeping it yourself)
- If you do espresso and pour over and wanted an electric for espresso and a hand grinder set for pour over/filter that acts as an espresso backup etc..
Bella Barista will be stocking these in the UK £139.95 for the JX
£189.95 for the JX pro. I realise this is a lot of money but in quality hand grinder terms this is actually keenly priced. I didn’t understand that at the time but my friend and Brewing/hand grinder expert Mark completed my education in this area.
Watch the videos carefully, see how they are used by someone with little experience of them, decide if they are for you or not based on what you see. Espresso is demanding, it’s great that these grinders can step up to the mark and deliver. The shots were not just meh, they were actually good.
If you have £139.95 or £189.95 burning a hole in your pocket and a need for a hand grinder, consider one of these two 1Zpresso grinders. I think like me, you will be very pleasantly surprised.
Note: Prices correct at the time of writing