Unfortunately, a month ago I managed to ruin my grinder's lid. In the past, I've ground all sorts of spices in the grinder without incident - black peppercorns, cumin, crushed red pepper, and the like (spices with moisture like garlic I reserve for the food processor as it's easier to clean). However, while preparing a batch of spiced molasses cookies, I ground some whole cloves in the grinder and found that the transparent plastic lid had become rough textured and opaque on the inside. No amount of washing restored the lid to it's previous condition or removed the smell of cloves. It looked to me as if the oils in the cloves had reacted with the plastic and altered its properties.
If you choose to grind your own Cloves, do not use a grinder that has plastic parts. Clove oil can cloud some plastics.It turns out that allspice also has the potential to ruin some plastics. So, learn from my mistakes and don't use cloves or allspice in a plastic grinder. Otherwise, for $20, the Krups is a versatile tool to have in your kitchen.
Mortar and Pestle?
I find that the small amount of extra effort it takes to use a mortar and pestle doesn't seem to yield better results than my Krups Grinder. In fact, for dry spices, all I manage to do it smoosh them and scrape them around the bowl, while the spice grinder in two seconds has chopped them into a potent powder. However, for herbs and undried spices, the mortar and pestle does a great job crushing and releasing flavors. If I had to choose between the two, I'd take the Krups and use a Meat Pounder (the smooth head of a meat tenderizer) or a large hammer for crushing other spices.
I contacted Krups by calling their customer service line at 800-526-5377. I explained what happened to my grinder's lid and asked if I could get a replacement part. The customer service agent, named Taly, explained that lid damage is considered normal wear and tear and I would have to purchase a replacement part. The replacement parts will most likely need to be purchased directly from Krups since a retailer or dealer won't carry them normally. He gave me the telephone number of Krups Parts Ordering.
I called 888-344-0727 and inquired about the part I needed (Part #04847 it turns out) and was told that it was $5.55 for the part and $4.25 for shipping. It seemed that $9.80 was quite a bit to pay for a grinder that costs less than $20. He suggested that I find out if there was a service center near me and I could try to see if they had the part in stock. I called the first number back and found out there was service center in Concord, California (a little more than an hours drive from me). I called California Electric and was told that they don't have the part in stock, but could order it. The part was $4.99 and ordering a part from the factory carries a flat shipping charge of $5.00. I asked if there was anyway to waive the shipping (i.e. if they bundled my lid in with their next order from Krups) and was told this was not possible.
Would I still recommend the Krups Fast Touch Grinder? Sure, just don't grind cloves or allspice in it.}?>