Heihox Manual Coffee Grinder

Back in 2015 when I was first getting into making coffee at home, I purchased a small Hario grinder. For under $50, it worked well for over five years. I dropped it a few years back, and cracked the outer shell, but it still worked just fine.

As I began to experiment making larger batches of coffee, the Hario became more time-consuming that I felt it should. I considered an electric grinder, such as the high-rated Baratza Encore or Virtuoso+. But I decided I like the manual coffee making process too much to go that route, so I began to look for a higher quality manual grinder.

In my search, I came across the YouTube channel by James Hoffman where he compared a number of high-end hand grinders. This introduced me to a few features I hadn’t considered such as burr material, hopper capacity, and grinder size. I really wanted the Comandante grinder, but I didn’t want to pay $250.

I eventually found the Heihox grinder on Amazon for about $100. The review were mostly positive, but I had a hard time finding any review outside of Amazon. I decided to buy it and try it and then return it if it didn’t perform like I wanted. It arrived in a good quality box which was a good first impression. I’ve been using it almost daily for about two months, and it’s a big improvement over the Hario. The grinding motion is much smoother, the grinds are more consistent and the steel burrs make quick work on the coffee beans.

I haven’t come across many downsides. I wish the hopper capacity was a little more than 30 grams of beans, but that’s not a deal breaker. It feels really substantial and balanced in my hand while grinding. The picture above doesn’t show this, but it comes with a textured grip made of rubber which helps you keep a firm grip on the grinder. This grip slides down the grinder, but it’s easy to pull back up before I begin grinding.

I mostly grind my beans for pour over using a Chemex. Sometimes I’ll grind them a bit finer for AeroPress. And lately, I’ve been using the course grind setting to make cold brew coffee using a Frieling French Press. If you’re looking for a grinder for Espresso, I don’t know if this model allows for that fine of grind setting.

Maybe one day I’ll have a Comandante, but until then, this $100 grinder from Heihox punches above its weight class. I’m keeping it.

My Coffee Subscription

As I improved my coffee-making skills in the French Press, AeroPress, and Chemex, I began to consume more coffee. Coffee I purchased at the grocery store was fine. Here in Southern Utah, we have a few local coffee roasters that sell beans I can grind at home. But over the past year, I got bored with my limited choices. So I began to search for a coffee subscription service.

trade-coffee-new

I decided to give Trade Coffee a try, mostly because I like the design of their website. I signed up, and my first bag of beans arrived about a week later. Besides offering coffee beans from dozens of roasters around the US, they have some features that keep me with the service. Among them:

  • Ability to change order date (earlier or later)
  • Coffee rating system
  • Gift service (sending my favorite coffee to friends!)
  • Tips on different brewing techniques

I didn’t expect to be so satisfied with my first foray into a coffee subscription, but Trade has been fantastic in exposing me to coffees I wouldn’t have otherwise tasted. When I signed up, Trade asked me to answer a few questions to determine the type of coffee I might like along with my preferred brew method. Of the dozen or so bags of coffee, Trade has sent, only one bag wasn’t that memorable.

A couple of my favorite coffees so far: Colombia San Roque and Guatemala Finca Nuevo Vinas.

Interview with Jim Fosina of Amora Coffee

I had the opportunity to interview Jim Fosina, CEO of Amora Coffee. Amora is a premium coffee roaster and coffee subscription service that was founded by Jim and spouse in 2011. By 2015 they added tea to their offering and have served tens of thousands of coffee enthusiasts like myself.

Tell me how you got involved with Amora Coffee. DiJim_Fosinad you work in the coffee industry before Amora?

I started my career 30 years ago working for Kraft General Foods within their Direct to Consumer Home Delivery Coffee Subscription called Gevalia Kaffe, a part of Maxwell House Coffee. Years later, I founded a Direct to Consumer Subscription Advertising Agency called Fosina Marketing Group which I grew over a period of 15 years before selling it but during that time, we Founded Amora Coffee in 2011 as our own Direct to Consumer Coffee Subscription Service.

How would you describe what sets Amora apart from other coffee roasters?

The meaning of Amora is LOVE and the configuration of the Amora name is the reverse spelling of Aroma. You have to LOVE the AROMA of your Coffee as that is your first impression and to have great Aroma, you have to have really FRESH coffee. Amora prides itself on LOVING Coffee and getting it to our customers just as fresh as we possibly can…..Fresh Coffee delivered right to your doorstep, the way you want it when you want it, the coffee subscription service you completely control…..That’s Amora!!

What is the process for selecting the coffees to offer?

Our Master Roaster is always looking and selecting beans from crops and origins all around the world that bring the most balanced blends to your cup based on coffee growing region seasons. The blends are selected for the best delivery of flavor and aroma based on the level of roast intensity

How do you feel about the health of the coffee industry given the state of the country under quarantine right now?

Very healthy. People are not drinking less coffee, they are just getting it differently during quarantine time. More coffee is being consumed at home rather than bistro’s, offices, and schools. So delivery has changed but the needs, wants, and desires of coffee is very healthy.

What does your coffee routine look like? Do you have a favorite brew method? Bean origin or blend?

My personal routine starts first thing in the morning just as the day starts. I like a darker roast so I drink either Vigorosi or Intenso. I prefer to use already ground beans rather than grinding myself as the grinders we use at the roaster are much gentler on a bean than most at home grinders that shatter or overheat versus truly grind the bean to the Roastmaster specification. I use a pour-over for the most optimized extraction and I don’t add anything to my coffee…..straight black.

What is the most challenging aspect of running a coffee roaster?

Amora roasts only in small batches in a highly monitored 9 stage roasting process for optimal quality and then hand packs into small 8 ounce bags to avoid mass production and deliver a product to consumers in smaller bags to minimize prolonged oxygen exposure. Our process is very labor-intensive and not mass-produced.

What trends do you see in coffee right now?

Coffee continues to become the new basis of beverage concoctions that appeal to younger Gen Z and Millennial populations as consumers shift from fizzy sweet sugary drinks to coffee-based beverages.

What are a few items one should look for in selecting a coffee subscription service?

It is important that the consumer is always in control of their subscription. Consumers need the ability to EASILY change the coffee types they receive, how many bags at what interval of time while also being able to skip shipments, suspend service, cancel their subscription or change any part of their account including payment, shipping, and contact information. Live Customer Representatives should be available 24 hours per day every day of the year and easy access to an online dashboard for customers to service their own accounts. Service is paramount in subscription, taking even more precedence than the product itself.

For someone just getting started with quality coffee, what tips would give them?

Coffee appeals to two of your primary senses…..smell and taste. Experiment, Experiment, and Experiment again until you find what suits your fancy. Besides, it’s fun!!

What is your beverage of choice when you can’t have a coffee?

Black Tea

My Coffee Routine

With the coronavirus running rampant through the world, I’ve been making a lot more coffee at home. The Starbucks, Perks and other local coffee shops are open, but only for take out or drive-thru. After several years of using mainly the French Press method, I switched to Chemex. Here is my routine for making coffee each morning for my spouse and myself.

Equipment

Preparation

I begin by measuring 1100 grams of filtered water into my kettle, and then set it on the stove to boil. I then measure 62 grams of coffee beans and hand-grind them at a medium to course setting. I set the ground beans aside and prepare my Chemex. I’ve found folding the Chemex filters down the middle helps keep it in place when I begin my pour-over.

Chemex, Coffee and Chris Botti

One reason I like the Pour Over gooseneck kettle is because it includes a thermometer on the lid. When the water reaches just past 200 degrees Fahrenheit, I pull it off the stove. I then put my Chemex with filter on my scale and tare it before I pour 100 grams of water over the filter. This rinses away any paper taste from the filter and helps warm the Chemex vessel.

Dump the water from the Chemex, and then carefully place your coffee grounds into the filter. Tare the scale again, and slowly pour about 120 grams (or twice the amount of coffee) over your beans, make sure to cover them all. The goal here is to allow the water to release the carbon dioxide from the beans and prepare them for the pour over. Let the coffee bloom for about 30-40 seconds.

Then take your kettle and slowly pour about another 400 grams worth of hot water over the beans. I’ve found making smallish circles with the gooseneck allows for a more even extraction of beans. Take a spoon or bamboo stick and gently stir the slurry to make sure there’s no clumping going on. Then pour the rest of the water using the same circular motions.

The entire pour-over, from start to finish, should take about 3:30 to 4:30 minutes, although don’t stress too much if you take a little longer. I’m probably taking closer to 5 minutes most mornings, but that could be because I’m barely awake before my first cup.

I allow the coffee to brew until I see it begin to drip from the filter before tossing it in the trash. I then give the fresh coffee a quick stir before enjoying it with a few ounces of half-and-half. If you’ve used good quality coffee, give it a taste test before adding a lot of sweeteners. You might find the flavors of the coffee are enough to please your palate.