For a long time, the Porlex Mini coffee grinder has been one of the most well-regarded travel-sized hand grinders. There are plenty of reasons for this, among them, the fact that it doesn’t weigh much, making it incredibly easy to carry with you. It’s also surprisingly hard-wearing.
If you’re a coffee lover but travel regularly, a reliable, easy-to-transport hand grinder is essential. As well as being lightweight, the Porlex Mini – as its name suggests – doesn’t take up much luggage space and is even small enough to tuck in an AeroPress brew chamber.
But what else does the Porlex Mini hand grinder offer? Should its use be reserved for when you’re on the road, or can it be used as an everyday coffee grinder? This Porlex Mini review will answer all these questions and explain why this Japanese unassuming grinder is so well-loved by so many coffee enthusiasts.
Porlex Mini Grinder Review
Porlex Mini Summary
Things we like:
- Great portability, your reliable travel companion
- With 16 clicks grind settings, Porlex Mini works well for many brewing methods
- Small capacity for only 20g per grind
- More expensive than other hand grinders
Porlex Background – A Japanese Brand
Porlex has been at the forefront of the design of ceramic products since its formation in Osaka, Japan, in 1978. Indeed, the company uses a one-of-a-kind technology that ensures its ceramic burrs are the most precise of all.
Porlex produces each of its coffee grinders to the highest build quality in its factory in Kagoshima.
Fans of minimalist designs will love the Porlex Mini hand grinder. It also has a sturdy stainless steel cylindrical body with a detachable handle and a rubber grip that can store the hand crank.
Another thing that sets the Porlex Mini grinder apart from its competitors is its small size, with a height of just 5 inches (130mm) and a diameter of fewer than 2 inches (44mm). To help you visualize it, this is even smaller than a can of soda.
Of course, because the Porlex Mini hand grinder is so compact, it has its limitations in the number of beans it can grind in one go. It can grind around 20g of coffee in a single batch, which equates to one to two cups of coffee.
This will be more than sufficient if you tend to favor AeroPress or pour over coffee. However, if you’re accustomed to preparing coffee for the whole family, or you are used to making in the region of a liter of French press every morning, either a hand grinder or an electric grinder with a larger capacity might be better options.
With measurements of just 6 x 2.3 x 1.8 inches, no hand grinder is available that is easier to transport than the Porlex Mini. So, if you have limited luggage space, it’s ideal and will even fit comfortably in an average-sized backpack.
It’s perfect for traveling because of its sturdiness, too, meaning it can endure the inevitable knocks that come when traveling substantial distances. That’s because of its exterior or stainless steel, which offers ample protection to the all-important ceramic burrs inside. So, there’s no need to pack your grinder in lots of protective packaging before you head off – pop it into your travel bag and get on your way.
The stainless steel exterior makes the Porlex Mini robust, but doesn’t that mean it weighs more than its competitors? Well, no. Despite that material’s prominence, it’s still exceedingly lightweight at just 8 ounces, which is lighter than even the all-plastic Hario Slim.
There’s a real sense that a lot of thought has gone into the Porlex Mini’s design, too. For example, it has a detachable hand crank that would make the grinder useless if you lose it. To solve this issue, the grinder comes equipped with a rubber sleeve, which lets you place the handle in. What’s more, it provides enough grip when grinding.
Just like other entry-level hand grinders, Polex Mini uses a set of ceramic conical burrs. While the high-quality stainless steel burrs are usually used in the more expensive burr grinders. The good news, ceramic burr grinder also some distinct advantages.
One of the significant drawbacks of stainless steel burrs is their tendency to expose the coffee beans to unwanted heat – a problem that ceramic burrs avoid. As a result, the Porlex Mini’s burrs are naturally more suited to protecting the beans’ aroma and natural oils. Indeed, rather than become too hot, the ceramic burrs of the Porlex Mini will stay cool throughout the grinding process, leading to a fresh, exquisite cup of coffee.
There’s even more to recommend the Porlex Mini’s ceramic burrs, too – they will be static-free, while they won’t absorb either water or the aroma of the beans. Neither will they rust.
One disadvantage over stainless steel burrs is they’re not as sharp, which will slow down the grinding process and take some elbow grease. However, it will still only take around a minute to grind coffee beans to a medium-coarse consistency with a full chamber.
If you invest in a Porlex Mini hand grinder, one thing you won’t be short of is grind settings, and, thanks to an intuitive and easy-to-use dial for changing between them, you won’t have any hassle choosing the perfect grind size you need.
There are approximately 16 clicks per rotation of the dial, which is precise enough to allow you to choose a fine or coarse, with plenty of options in between. The wide grind settings let you easily get the perfect ground coffee for Aeropress, French press, Pourover, and even espresso.
Indeed, the adjustment changes per click are around 37 microns, so you can find the sweet spot you’re looking for when following a recipe.
Let’s go into a bit more detail on the grind settings:
- Fine: 0-4 clicks
- Medium Fine: 5-8 clicks
- Medium: 9-12 clicks
- Medium Coarse: 13-15 clicks
- Coarse: 16 clicks
Grind Consistency and Quality
So far, this Polex Mini review has found almost nothing to dislike about this burr grinder. However, one area it does fall short in is the grind consistency. Having said that, it’s not the worst on the market, making it a middling performer.
Despite lacking some grind consistency when compared against more expensive hand grinders, it’s definitely one of the better ones for the price. A significant reason for this is the spring-loaded burrs that reduce the ceramic grinding mechanism’s wobble to virtually non-existent. This helps ensure that whether you’re going for a coarse or fine grind, each will have a similar consistency level.
Because of this, the Porlex Mini is an excellent choice for people who like to employ different brewing methods, as you can rely on a relatively consistent grind whichever you choose.
Is It Easy To Clean?
Taking regular care of any coffee grinder will help its longevity, and the Porlex Mini is no different. Thankfully, it’s not difficult to clean as all the parts can be removed and washed, including the inner burr set.
It’s good practice to run warm water over the burrs and remove any excess coffee grounds with a soft brush. Doing this regularly will ensure your coffee remains fresh and tastes perfect every time.
Value For Money
There are cheaper portable manual grinders on the market that share similarities with the Porlex Mini, including the Javapress and Hario Slim Mill. However, a vital aspect of brewing satisfying coffee is the grind consistency. While the Porlex Mini can’t compete with the most expensive products, it still offers greater consistency and build quality than these grinders at similar price points.
If you need a coffee grinder that you can easily pack away for your travels, there’s nothing better than the Porlex Mini.
The most significant disadvantage is its small capacity, meaning that if you’re traveling with a group of coffee lovers, making more than a couple of cups will take a while.
However, there is another Porlex model that you might want to consider if that describes you. The Porlex JP-30 has a 30g capacity (as opposed to 20g). While the JP-30 isn’t quite as convenient as Mini for travelers, that extra 10g of capacity will save you precious minutes if you regularly brew more than two cups of coffee at a time. If you need a grinder with a larger capacity, we tested the Hario Skerton Pro, which can hold 100 grams. However, it’s made of glass and not as portable as Porlex.
The Timemore Chestnut C2 grinder has high-quality steel burrs to shave time off the grinding process for even faster speed and is a similar price to the Porlex Mini. One drawback is it’s not quite as compact as Porlex Mini, but it’s still portable enough to make it well worth considering. We tested Timemore C2, here is the on-hand review.
If you’re not planning to take your grinder with you when traveling and instead would just like an easy-to-use hand grinder, there are a range of other grinders on the market that will suit both your needs and your personal design tastes. Here is a list of our top-pick hand coffee grinders.
For people who want to enjoy a cup of perfect coffee when they travel, the Porlex Mini grinder is the best grinding tool you could wish for, and there’s little wonder it’s proved so popular.
It is incredibly lightweight while being strong and sturdy, offers a range of precise grind settings, and a better than a reasonable degree of consistency whichever grind you’re brewing. Even with all these advantages, it’s still tiny enough to fit in an AeroPress chamber.
Of course, that capacity is also one of its disadvantages, as it means if you’re brewing for several people, it will require more than one batch. It’s also more expensive than similar entry-level hand grinders.
However, whether you’re taking it camping, on vacation, or just generally want to enjoy great coffee away from your home, it’s well worth that jump in cost and will be one investment you’re not likely to regret.
- “PORLEX Ceramic Coffee Mill Mini” by m-s-y is licensed with CC BY-NC-SA 2.0. To view a copy of this license, visit https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/
- Photo 2, 3 Credit: Porlex.co.jp