September 15, 2019
For the last year or so, I’ve stopped going out for coffee every morning and have been relying more on making it at home. At first, I had an espresso machine and was shopping for a decent grinder before I realized it wasn’t needed to brew a good cup of coffee. Instead, I opted for a more straightforward pour-over approach using a Hario hand coffee grinder, some locally roasted beans, and a classic Chemex brewer.
I’ve been happy with my setup so far, but after noticing the new Hario Olive wood and ceramic hand coffee grinder (model MCW-2-OV), I spoke to my local coffee supplier Eight Ounce Coffee, and they generously let me borrow one for this review. I’ve been using the Hario Skerton grinder for the last 6 or so months, so I was curious to see if spending double the amount was worth it, or if it was mostly an aesthetic improvement over the other Hario hand grinders.
Well, it’s an improvement in visual design compared to the Skerton. The transparent plastic top and bottom are instead a beautiful combination of white BPA-free plastic and natural olive wood. The stainless steel lid extends out into an arm topped with a turned wood handle.
Looking at the grinder from the top, you’ll see a small opening into the main chamber which is handy for a few reasons – first, it’s easy to load the grinder with beans without having to take the top off, and second, it’s nice to see how much coffee there is left remaining to grind.
The top half of the grinder directly screws into the bottom half with a few turns. I have a couple of small issues with how this is designed which I’ll touch on shortly.
My favorite part about wood is the uniqueness it offers. In this case, there is some gorgeous grain visible near the bottom, and needless to say, each one will be different from the next.
The bottom has four little rubber feet to give it a bit more grip than the wood would offer on its own. I use it while holding it with my left hand, so I’ve never found the need to set it right on the counter while grinding.
Another one of my favorite parts of this design is the subtlety of the branding. There isn’t any branding visible on the grinder except the Hario logo debossed into the metal of the underside of the handle, which is evident, but out of the way.
Taking it apart is very straightforward, which is essential since it requires hand washing. A nut holds the handle in place, the top and bottom halls screw apart, and the grinding mechanism itself is quickly taken out as well.
I wish the threads themselves were plastic, similar to the lid of the Soma Water Bottle I reviewed here. Olive is a hard and durable wood, but screwing the plastic piece into it can take a bit of finesse.
I prefer the grind adjustment on this compared to what I have now – all you do is twist the adjustment piece which varies from somewhat fine, to coarse. If you’re looking for something extremely fine like espresso grind, a hand grinder probably isn’t what you’re going to want to use.
The burrs are conical ceramic, which are resistant to rusting, shattering, and becoming dull. I find the 20 grams of beans I need to brew for my Chemex takes about a minute and a half to grind.
In total, the main compartment of the grinder can hold up to 30 grams of beans.
I did notice on one occasion while grinding, a few of the beans popped out of the opening at the top. It’s one of the drawbacks of having that easy accessibility, but it shouldn’t be a big deal if you’re paying a bit of attention.
A piece of rubber lines the top piece, making it easy to remove, but still secure enough to hold everything in place.
Since I’m grinding for pour over in my Chemex, the consistency I’m looking for is similar to something like coarse sea salt. This grinder does a perfect job of attaining that. One thing I did notice – you can feel a bit of play between the top and bottom halves of the grinder while holding it with one hand, and grinding with the other. It’s pretty easy to notice since you’re holding it directly over where the two pieces connect. It’s not a deal breaker by any means; it just feels a touch sloppy.
Compared to my current Hario grinder, this one wins in the design department. Since I use it every day, I typically have it out on my counter, so I do prefer the simplicity of it. The adjustments are much easier to manage, but the build quality and performance of the two are very comparable. If you’re looking for something a little bit more pleasing to the eye for around $80, I think the Hario Wood and Ceramic grinder would be a serious contender. If you’re looking for more information on what type of mill you think you’ll need, check out this article on Your Best Coffee Machine where they did a thorough explanation on some of the more delicate details.