Creating a “Power” Grinder with a Manual Burr Mill and a Power Drill

manual grinder power drill

It’s time for a confession. I don’t have much money. I don’t. And, because of this, the specialty coffee industry (and the rest of modern industry and technology, for that matter) doesn’t smile on me.

Just about every piece of hardware really breaks my bank, empties my wallet, bends me over a barrel, stretches my dollar, takes the shirt right off my back, takes food out of the mouths of my hungry children. (Should I keep going…?)

the problem

A Hario Buono Kettle costs anywhere from $50-75; a Chemex costs around $50; and burr grinders? Whoa. The preferred grinder in this industry is the burr grinder; the “standard” burr grinder is the Baratza, whose models range anywhere from $130 to nearly $600!

Granted, these price tags aren’t… terrible. But, for a guy like me, even $50 isn’t exactly “chump change.” I mean, who am I—Mitt Romney?

So, for people like me, burr grinder production companies often manufacture manual burr grinders which are a fraction of the cost. I purchased a Hario Slim Mill from a local shop here in Chicago for about $35—that’s right around what I spend on a solid piece of equipment.

However, you do get what you pay for. So even though I’m saving almost a hundred bucks, I am putting a lot more effort into a single cup of coffee. One cup of coffee—about 28 grams of beans—takes about three to five minutes to grind and, after a while, my wrist really starts to hurt. And, to be totally honest, I actually almost dread making more than one cup of coffee per day.

the solution

Prima Coffee released an image on Twitter earlier today that blew me away—a Hario Slim Mill attached to a cordless power drill.


It’s such an easy solution: attach a nut to the top of the grinder, put a socket adapter in your drill, and connect the two with a socket.

A nut costs less than a dollar, a socket adapter costs a couple dollars, an adapter costs a couple dollars, a manual burr grinder costs about$30-40, and you can a really good power drill new or used for $20-30. All told,  you’re spending about $75. That’s a lot of greenbacks for a guy like me, but it is significantly less money than you’d spend on the “industry standard” Baratza—even if it is refurbished.

  • Randy

    A Baratza for $3,000? Their top tier grinder, the Vario-W, comes in at $575.

    This “powered” grinder idea is neat, but I would worry about stripping the nut, and other such physical downfalls. The burr carriers, and in fact the entire body of these manual grinders, were not built with the intention of running at those speeds. I don’t think they’d hold up in the long term. A fun experiment though, and maybe useful for the times when you need to grind more than 1 cup’s worth of coffee…for instance when you have a few guests.

    • Drew Moody

      I need to edit this post, too many people are getting confused. The $3000 grinder is actually that’s the Mazzer Robur E (which clocks in at $2779).

      I was thinking about the nut situation, too – but I reckon that would be easy enough to fix every so often. I want to give this a try and see what happens. It’s better than carpal tunnel, after all…

  • Samantha Gardner

    I got something like that done using my dewalt tools in Australia. Talk about awesome life hacks. Awesome blog!

  • Amos

    I am soooo trying this… If you keep the speed of the drill at low (#1 setting) the speed shouldn’t be greater than what the mill can handle… also not depressing the switch as much will also keep the speed down.

  • Ganesh

    Thanks for the suggestion. This worked awesome