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Hario Skerton vs Mini Mill: Review

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We get a lot of questions about Hario's Skerton and Mini Mill. How are they different? Which is better? Is one preferable to the other for my home, my office, my travels? Even here at Prima, we're divided between the two options. But here's everything we know.

Size comparison

Both grinders are the same height, at approximately 18cm or just over 6in. The Skerton is much wider than the Mini Mill. Both carry hourglass figures, but at the middle of the grinder where the hopper attaches to the container, the Skerton is just over 7cm (or about 3in) while the Mini Mill is just under 5cm (or about 2in) wide at the middle. Capacity is the biggest difference between the two. The Skerton will hold about 60g of beans comfortably, but you can stretch it to 75g if needed, and the jar for the fines can hold the full amount placed in the hopper. The hopper on the Mini Mill will hold approximately 50g, but the container can only hold about 30g or so of fines, so you would need to dump them first if you were doing more than 30g.

Functionality

The two grinders are similar but different in functionality. With the Skerton, to adjust the grind you unscrew the top bolt, detach the handle, and adjust the steps to the desired grind. The Mini Mill on the other hand is adjusted from underneath the hopper, so you actually detach the hopper from the container to adjust the step grind. The Mini Mill seems to be more efficient with changing the grind setting in comparison with the Skerton, which takes a few more steps and a bit more effort. The Mini Mill has a lid which is very helpful in stopping those flying beans during grinding, while the Skerton has a larger container to hold more coffee and a rubber grip for stability while grinding. Grinding is simple; by no means effortless but comfortable enough that most anyone could handle it with ease. To grind around 30 - 60 grams can take anywhere from 2-4 minutes, depending on your speed. For a helpful tip on grinding, try placing either grinder between your legs while sitting to provide stability and a controlled rhythm while grinding.

Best uses

The Mini Mill is a better choice for the home barista who...

The Mini Mill is a better choice for the home barista who normally only brews one to three cups of coffee at a time, or enjoys a shot or two of espresso in a sitting. The Mini Mill is a slightly slimmer option for travel, and there are no glass parts to be concerned with breaking in transit. For those who enjoy a french press for their preferred brew method, the Mini Mill edges the Skerton slightly because the burr is spring loaded helping keep a stable, consistent grind at a coarse setting.

The Skerton is preferable for the home barista who...

The Skerton is preferable for the home barista who enjoys brewing larger amounts of coffee. For syphon brewing, medium to large batch pour over brewing (30g-72g of coffee) or for several shots of espresso, the Skerton is the better choice. As for travel, while the glass container is more susceptible to breaking, it should be noted that the hopper on a Skerton will fit any Mason jar (learned that by experience!) which can be found at most any grocery store.

Summary

Both the Skerton and Mini Mill are excellent hand grinders which we recommend highly. Both are nice options for the coffee lover on a budget who wants a high quality burr grinder that can grind with the precision of electric grinders costing ten times the price. Both are awesome for travel and are fully machine washable. They are fun to have in your collection if you appreciate the artisan craft of hand brewing coffee and enjoy being fully involved in every aspect of the brewing process. Hopefully this article will help to give clarity on the strengths and weaknesses of each grinder so that you can make the best choice for brewing at home, the office or on the road!

- Lee

Thoughts From the Coffee Crew on the Skerton and Mini Mill

I've used the Skerton a good deal more than the Mini Mill, but the Mini Mill has been making up for lost time as of late. I really do love both of these little grinders. The Skerton feels sturdier in the hands and the rubber on the bottom glass chamber helps stabilize the grinder when grinding. As many have noted before with this grinder, grinding between the legs sitting down is the easy way to go. For me, the biggest plus for the Skerton is the feel and the ability to grind up to 70 grams.

The Mini Mill is quickly becoming one of my favorite coffee toys. There are three primary reasons that I currently prefer this little guy over its bigger brother. First of all, the way you adjust the grind setting is much easier on the Mini Mill than the Skerton as well as more easily reproducible. The dial you turn to adjust the setting on the Mini Mill actually clicks so you can tighten it all the way down and then count the clicks to have reproducible grind settings. The only question that I've yet to test is whether there are smaller increment adjustments on one grinder or the other. Secondly, the center rod of the Mini Mill has more support as well as a small spring that aids in stabilizing the movable burr. This helps keep the movable burr stable as you grind providing what should be a more consistent grind. With the finer settings this shouldn't be a huge deal but with more coarser grinds (as Lee noted above) the grind consistency should be better on the Mini Mill. Finally, I have a lot easier time grinding on the Mini Mill. This is probably partially due to the less beans going through the burrs ant any given time and partially due to the stabilizing spring and support just mentioned.

Both of these grinders produce excellent results that you won't find in any home grinder under a hundred bucks and can compete with many grinders over that price point. If you're constantly brewing for more than two people then the Skerton is the way to go. If you're brewing for yourself and one other I would recommend the Mini Mill.

- Matt

Editors note: Make sure to check out the Brewing Bundles we offer... of which many utilize the Skerton or Mini Mill at discounted prices.

 

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Read your article after I just ordered the mini mill. I read other reviews on Amazon and in consideration of my needs of 1 to 2 people I chose the mini mill. Your article made me even happier with my choice. Now I must wait for the mail to deliver. That is the bummer part.

From what we can tell, the Kuissential is more or less just a Skerton clone. We haven't had a chance to compare side by side, but it wouldn't be unreasonable to guess that the two are very similar in grind quality. We'll let you know if we get a chance to try out the Kuissential at some point!

I have this exact issue and it is really frustrating. We only had ours for 3 months, and didn't even use it daily, only 2 cups of french press when we did use it. I contacted the manufacturer 3 weeks ago, following up after a week with no reply, and still haven't even heard from them. I feel like I just wasted my money. Which sucks, it was a really great grinder until the bolt stripped. Bad design.

I would love to know what grind settings your using on the ceramic slim. I just picked one up and I am trying to find a good place to start i.e. how many clicks from closed for a v60 or aeropress. 

Hey Alex. As you know, grind setting can be a pretty subjective thing, influenced by a pile of factors. Still, we'd start somewhere within these ranges:

V60. 5-8 clicks from closed.
Aeropress short-brew (60 to 90-second contact). 5 or less clicks from closed.
Aeropress long-brew (90-second or higher contact). 7-10 clicks from closed.

Tell us what you find out, and have fun!

Hey, i've been using my mini mill for about a year now, I use it daily. I'm just wondering what you think the life span of the parts are, especially the burrs. I'm starting to get some inconsistency with my grind size, any tips?

Hey Simon. Ceramic burrs, like those in the Mini Mill, should last a very long time. If any of the components on that grinder were to go out within a year, it shouldn't be the burrs. Are any other parts loose or janky?

How often do you clean the burrs? It would help to run some grinder cleaner or minute rice through the grinder every couple of months. Let us know what this does for you.

So glad, it helped, Gary! We think you'll really enjoy using it. Well worth the wait for sure!

Hi, great review! I picked up a mini mill, and am wondering if you have recommendations for "clicks" from tightest position for french press?

Hey Kyrill. Settings vary from grinder to grinder, especially when you use different coffees, but the best range for a press will probably start around 12 clicks and get coarser from there.

Hi, I really need some help with adjusting the grind setting on my Skerton... I can't seem to dial it in for the Kalita. Any advice?

What setting do you recommend on the mini mill for moka pots / stovetop espresso makers?

Hey Bennett. Moka pots are used a number of different ways. If you're hoping for an intense pseudo-espresso, you'll want to grind quite fine — just about as fine as the Mini Mill will take you. For a "basic" cup of coffee, we prefer a medium-coarse grind. This will probably be around 10 clicks from closed, but you'll want to play with it a bit. Hope that helps!

Hey J. We typically use a medium to medium-coarse grind when brewing with the Kalita (finer for small doses, coarser for large). I'm guessing that this will be somewhere between 8 and 12 clicks from closed on the Skerton, but you'll have to play around a bit. If you're still having trouble, send a picture of your ground coffee to pc.community@prima-coffee.com and we'll try to help.

What about static? Is one better than the other in that regard? Nothing worse then having your coffee fly all over.

Good question, Michele! We haven't noticed a difference in that regard. The two grinders have the same burrs – and the parts adjacent to the burrs are similar, too – so we would think that neither one would cause more static than the other.

Hello, how many clicks from closed would you suggest for espresso on the Mini Mill? Thks

Hey Jose, we'd recommend starting at 5 clicks from the burrs completely touching and adjusting it to your preference from there!

Very cool! We'll have to give this a go.

I am doing spice blends and am thinking that a burr could be the trick for me. But I use some dried peppers in my blends and the skins are leathery. Does anyone know if there is a good grinder for this?

Hey Bruce. I'm not sure about dried peppers in particular, but you'll want to be careful when you grind anything oily. The burrs on these particular grinders are ceramic, so they're more porous than metal burr grinders and may absorb any oil. If you do try the peppers, be sure to clean up immediately afterwards. (To clean, remove the burrs, scrub with a clean tooth brush, and then grind instant rice.) You're totally safe grinding dry products, though!

If anyone is searching for a way to make the Hario Mini Mill more consistent, I wrote a guide on how to mod it! Check it out: http://wp.me/p3Sad8-d5

hello, i bought hario mini mill .. works like charm .. but suddenly that screw is always releasing while grinding.. :/ anybody experiencing same problem?

Hey Lukas. I'm sorry to hear that the Mini Mill is giving you trouble! Are you referring to the wing nut that adjusts the grind setting from the underside? I haven't experienced this issue before, but I expect that you could find a comparable replacement at just about any hardware store. Does that help? –Chris

I like 6 for a melitta style drip. 9 or 10 for 5m French press.

Hi, perhaps a silly question but what do u mean by minute rice ? Is normal basmati rice not ok to use ?

do you know if there are any replacment parts for Skerton... burr item...thanks in advance ;]

Hi, Captmidnightz! Give us a call at 888-837-7892 and our customer service team will track down some parts for you.

I just got one of these yesterday (having my second cup from its grind as we speak) to replace my faithful ol' Zassenhaus. It takes twice as long to grind two (Bodum) scoops...but the grind is *much* more consistent. This guy's method of grind adjustment ( http://fourbarrel.tumblr.com/p... ) is pretty spot on, and I'm wondering if it's even worth modding it for a press (since I rarely use one). But, of course I will, because I like fiddling with things.

Am going to pickup the mini for travel. For use with an Aeropress. No more hotel room coffee. Am wondering if you have any recommendations for settings on the Mini for use with a Technovorm? Thnx.

Denny, it can be tough to say exactly where you should grind for a particular method, simply because we don't really know what else you're working with. Lighter roasts are going to need a bit finer of a grind than dark ones, and you'll want to grind coarser when you load up more grounds into the filter. So, try starting out around 12-14 "clicks" on the Mini, and see if that's coarse enough for your batch size. Adjust from there until you've got some super tasty coffee.

how do these, specifically the Skerton compare to the Kuiessential ceramic burr grinder?
thanks.

Mine stripped after only about half a dozen uses. I was thankfully able to get a refund since I purchased through Amazon but I was plenty angry about it. I also found that it didn't really work for my needs (pourover) as mine gave a shockingly inconsistent grind around the medium range.

Abdul, Minute Rice is precooked and dried rice, which is less dense than uncooked basmati or other rice. We wouldn't recommend using uncooked rice to clean your grinder, as it may be too dense and could cause damage.

We should also say that some manufacturers advise against using any kind of rice at all to clean a grinder. Baratza, for example, has said that using rice is not covered by warranty, and you should instead use a product like Grindz or Full Circle grinder cleaner. Check with your user manual before proceeding, and err on the side of caution if you're unsure.

Hi! Thanks for the helpful comparison and video. How often would you recommend cleaning the Skerton? Should I be taking it apart and rinsing it with water after each use, or is doing that maybe once a week or so perfectly fine?

Has anyone else had a problem with the Mini Mill in which the 5-sided center post wears (rounding over) where the crank arm attaches? After only 2 months of use (4 espresso shots/day) the post is rounded and the crank slips (turns freely), so no grinding occurs.
Will Hario replace the center post? It appears to be a weak design at that point.

Thanks for asking about cleaning Scott. I've been trying to figure that out for the Mini.

I'm guessing once a week may be okay. The only potential worry is oils coating the burrs. Any suggestions?

Mal, oils shouldn't be too much of a problem. They won't permeate the ceramic burrs to any degree that would ruin future brews. Just give your burrs a fairly regular wipe down with a damp cloth, and you'll continue to churn out tasty coffee. Once a week is fine, and we'd say you can get away with just once a month if you like.

Thanks for the tip!

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