Stoha Coffee Mill - Where East Meets West
I have been paying attention to Stoha brand grinders for a while now since a model similar to the Hario Skerton was discovered for less than $20 at Marshall's and TJ Maxx before Christmas. I dug a little deeper to find the source. I figured since the burrs are ceramic, the origin is likely found in Asia somewhere. My guess is Ningbo Fukang Electric Co., Ltd. or some company similar to them makes this mill for Stoha, and probably they made the mill I picked up recently on eBay too.
With shipping I have $25 tied up in this mill (which looks like it hasn't been used), so it is similar to the price of a Hario Mini or even a little bit cheaper. The style is unique since the design mimics the European mokka mills with the spring loaded hopper door and rectangular shape. This mill's style departs slightly though with a more modern looking geometric and angular design instead of the curves common to these knee mills.
The ceramic inner burr is not supported by a bearing on the bottom so coarse grinding will suffer, but the upper bearing (found under the large adjustment nut) is large and provides more support than I thought it would. Since the adjustment is stepless, fine grinding for espresso is a given. This one will grind 16g in 80 turns (a leisurely 45 seconds) for the coarse grounds. Not a speed demon, but not too slow either.
One thing to note about mills like this one that have a very short inner burr drive shaft: They do a great job of transmitting torque. The Skerton (unmodified) will come to a screeching halt more times than I care for - especially if the bean is light roasted - as it jams up for a moment. This Stoha and other mills with a similar design do not jam nearly as easy and the effort to turn while grinding is less as well.
This one isn't the best hand grinder in the world, but for the price it is pretty nice and easy to use.
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