“YOU CAN’T USE THAT GRINDER FOR SPICES!
MY COFFEE WILL TASTE OF CURRY!” *
That desperate wail will be familiar to any of you who share your house with a coffee lover.
We used to have an old blender with a spice grinder attachment but it wasn’t very good so we threw it out years ago. We now have a burr grinder that Pete uses for his precious coffee beans (and occasionally, for grinding his home grown wheat).
It is not to be used for spices.
Even running a bagful of rice through afterwards doesn’t entirely remove the taint of spices, so I’m told. And masala coffee just doesn’t appeal, apparently, though I’m sure it’s the next big thing.
Time to look for a second grinder then, one of the bladed variety, to use for grinding spices, chopping nuts and anything else verboten. There are many models on the market, but I ruled most out. Some specify that they can be used for dry ingredients only, whereas I like the idea of being able to make somewhat sloppy spice pastes including ginger, garlic, lemon grass and even onion. Others are just too difficult to clean. Some have been reviewed by other customers as being too fiddly to use or having poor build quality and hence poor durability.
After spending a frankly ridiculous number of hours on internet research, the model at the top of my list was the Cuisinart Electric Spice and Nut Grinder (SG20U), RRP £50. Luckily for me, Cuisinart have really connected with bloggers over the last few years, so I was able to obtain a review sample.
Why did I want this particular grinder?
Firstly, I have a bit of a thing for brushed stainless steel. The shiny chrome look leaves me cold but brushed metal… oh yes!
But actually, that’s not the main reason. (Obviously). What I really like is that this grinder comes with two (decent sized) detachable bowls, each provided with an airtight lid so freshly ground contents can be stored in the bowls. And – this is the best bit – they’re not only easy to clean, they are dishwasher safe!
Having two bowls means, if you don’t already have a hallowed coffee grinder, you can set one bowl aside for coffee and use the other for everything else. Or if you make a spice paste and only use half, you can leave the rest in the fridge for a few days, without losing use of your grinder.
It’s very easy to assemble. The bowl clicks in easily and the clear lid pops over that. I was worried I wouldn’t like the push down operation, having used and disliked a different make and model of that style, but actually it was very easy – press down to grind, release to stop.
For fine grinding of small volumes of spices, the grind is a little uneven, even if you continue to grind for longer. This is because the centrifugal action throws the light fragments up the sides of the bowl. Whether or not this is an issue depends on how fine and even you want the finished powder to be. When I made garam masala, I chose to sieve the powder with a tea strainer to remove larger fragments but I could have left them in – they were small enough not to be an issue.
The same goes for coffee – you’ll need to use a higher volume of coffee as the larger fragments won’t extract as effectively.
Where it comes into its own is for making spice pastes such as the Thai-inspired red curry paste we concocted. Lemongrass, onion, garlic, ginger, whole cumin seeds, powdered spices, soy sauce, dried chillis were quickly and effectively pulverised into a paste.
After being washed in the dishwasher, we couldn’t even tell which bowl had been used for coffee and which for the ground spices and spice paste, so there’s no danger of previous ingredients tainting the next.
For spices and pastes, this grinder is a great choice. I’ve not yet used it for nuts. It’s simple to use, feels robust and the two bowls with storage lids make so much sense.
For coffee drinkers, I’d suggest investing in a burr grinder so you can better control the exact size of the grind and ensure that the whole batch is evenly ground too.
Kavey Eats received an Electric Spice and Nut Grinder courtesy of Cuisinart.
* Actual words were more ferocious and peppered with choice expletives!
Please leave a comment - I love hearing from you!18 Comments to "Review: Cuisinart Electric Spice & Nut Grinder"
I ADORE my Cuisinart grinder, I searched for years for one which had a detachable grinding bowl that could be washed, and the fact there are two is a bonus.
We keep a sticker on the spice one so we know which is which.
We do use ours for coffee, space in the kitchen it tight!
I think if we were going to use one for coffee, we might do same actually… though Pete conceded that dishwasher really did take smells of spices away.
I have two grinders – one for spices and one for baking (we don’t grind out own coffee otherwise I’d need a third!) and I can’t recommend it more highly! Great review – this looks like a good one for when one of mine dies!
Because the dishwasher seems to remove smells really well, it’s less important to keep separate with this model. With some grinders, you can’t wash all the parts so the only way to clean them is to run some rice through and hope it pushes through any remaining spices or such…
This looks really good – especially for making the curry paste. I have a ninja blender which is awesome for most stuff but it doesn’t always get things quite as fine as I’d like. Might have to save some pennies for this…
Yeah I was really impressed with the paste!
This looks like a great spice grinder. I know I will need a new one soon as someone cracked the lid on mine. This looks like it will be an ideal replacement.
Hope you like it too!
I never grind my own coffee (Mr Delancey St does that for me) but I grind more and more of my own spices and nuts so this sounds fab. Now, just need to earn some money to pay for one ;).
Or put it on your birthday or Christmas list?
I love Cuisinart products – will have to try and source one of these. We grind coffee in one grinder and spices in the other but in a small house this means extra space is wasted!
Yes, having one makes a lot of sense. I wonder if they also sell extra bowls and lids?
‘Dishwasher’ safe and ‘stainless steel bowl’ sold it to me. My next grinder is going to be this one. Plastric lids get cracks easily, especially when making garam masala.
Hi mum, the grinder lid is plastic. The lids for the bowls are not used during grinding, but afterwards, for storage, I think. Though I’ll try and find out if you can grind with the black lids in place…?
Wish I’d seen this review earlier
My burr coffee grinder has just expired, and I have been considering getting something for spices & pastes for a while, so I’m thinking one of these could do coffee and spices until I decide on getting a new coffee grinder
Only thing is, both John Lewis & Lakeland have discontinued this, not sure if this means I should wait for an imminent new model or grab one while there is still stock elsewhere; decisions, decisions!
Just checked, and Cuisinart UK currently stock spare bowls and “activation lids”
The activation lid must be the plastic lid one uses when grinding – as opposed to the storage lids which can be used to seal the pots if keeping the paste/ spice mix inside them after grinding.
Does anyone knows the watts on this griding machine?
200 watts, I believe. Check in the product page specifications, if this is key for you.