One cool day when I went to make our dandelion/chicory “coffee,” I found that we were out of ground dandelion. The roasted organic dandelion that we used for our “coffee” was in dried cut form, and extremely hard, like tiny pieces of tree bark. I packed the electric spice grinder with the dandelion, plugged it in, and pressed down the top. “Ergggghhhhhh!” The grinder made a loud screeching noise for two seconds. I immediately released the top of the grinder. What the? I shook the grinder a bit. I pressed down the top again, and this time, a more violent screeching: “Eeeeeerrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhh!” My kitchen filled up with foul burnt plastic smell. My husband came running, immediately saw the situation, and said not to try it again, that the motor had burnt out. It turns out I had filled my grinder too much and it took all of four seconds total to burn out the motor. We went without our dandelion/chicory drink that day.
We had tested our electric grinder along with all the other appliances that we decided to keep or get rid of. Although it did not cause a spike in dirty power, the electric grinder outputted extremely high magnetic fields when running. Since the fields are created from the motor turning, and it is difficult to find a product with a motor that is fully shielded, we felt it would be unlikely that we would be able to find a replacement that does not produce high magnetic fields. Also, the electric grinders only grind while the top is being actively pushed down, so sadly I can’t just turn it on and walk away. The user has no way to avoid or minimize the magnetic fields while running the appliance.
I felt the effect every time when I went to use the machine. I would end up with a dull aching in the arm running the machine. However, it usually took less than a minute to finish grinding whatever I was grinding so we lived with it. We had already replaced so much in our lives and were trying to stall off buying something else. We saw the sudden death of the electric grinder as an omen. Perhaps it was time to let go of another electronic product.
It was decided. We would replace the grinder with a manual appliance. We researched replacement grinders and added tons of potential candidates to our wish list. We considered both manual spice grinders/mills and manual coffee grinders/mills in our search. I pored over user reviews trying to find the perfect grinder. After years of online purchasing, we have found user reviews as an accurate, fair assessment of products. After several days, we still had not come to any conclusion. There were flaws to every grinder that we didn’t feel comfortable with. I started hitting the coffee fanatic forums since the dandelion pellets I was trying to grind are about the same size and hardness of coffee beans.
In all, what we found was a giant assortment of grinders ranging from less than $10 (for the nutmeg grinders) to over $200 for specialized hand built grinders for coffee aficionados. Our deceased electric grinder had cost us about 50 bucks. We did not want to buy something that did not work well and will cause us to have to rebuy and waste money and resources; however, we were reluctant to shell out $200 for a grinder.
This was months ago, and to date, we have not yet picked a manual grinder to replace the electric grinder. We now grind all our spices in our mortar and pestle, which works pretty well and gives you a good workout of the arms. However, the mortar and pestle will not grind my dandelion pellets. They are so hard that they just go flying all over my kitchen when I try to pound them in the mortar and pestle. Alas, the search for a suitable manual grinder or mill for my uncoffee coffee drink continues!
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