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Equipment & Gear: Krups Spice Grinder
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Joined: 10 May 2005
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:41 am    Post subject: Equipment & Gear: Krups Spice Grinder Reply with quote


Article Digest:
I love my Krups Fast Touch Coffee Grinder, [IMG]but not for grinding coffee (I get my caffeine through sodas). I use this handheld grinder for grinding spices quickly and efficiently. The metal blades spin at very fast speeds on this grinder and chop spices anywhere from a coarse to a powder fine grind depending on how long you push the button. The design is safe (a momentary switch on lid ensures the unit can't be activated when open) and convenient (the lid doubles as a carrying vessel for the ground spices). Cleaning the device could be easier, but using a small paint brush to brush out the grinding bowl and then wiping with a wet cloth or paper towel does the job. The lid can be rinsed and washed with warm soapy water easily. Best of all, this grinder takes up less than 3-1/2 in. (9 cm) round of space in my cupboard.

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.

I did some googling and found several spice shops that seemed to have cut and pasted the same statement:
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.

Replacement Parts?
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 <!--(925) 827-1011--> (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.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hmmm, well the mortar & pestle can be used for other things too. Not only does it allow one to pound out some aggression, but it also is GREAT for making guacamole. Or olive oil pastes with garlic and herbies for meat rubs. Plus the fresh basil pesto it is able to produce cannot be done in an electric machine. There's something about pounding the medium that releases loads of flavor that a high rpm blade simply cannot do.
I do use my krups grinder for cumin seeds, celery seeds and related. Oh and coffee beanses, I think that's it though.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/
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Frank
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did the same thing, caused the same problem, and being a cheapskate, fixed it myself.

First, I put some rock salt in and ground it to dust. This mostly got rid of the clove smell and remaining discoloration. I washed the lid with water to remove the remaining salt. I wiped down the inside of the lid with a rag moistened with acetone. (Careful you don't use too much or the whole thing will melt!) This smoothed out the dings left from the rock salt. Wash it again with hot soapy water, and you're left with a once again useful grinder. Note that this does cloud up the clear plastic cover, which doesn't matter to me.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OH WAIT !!!

I forgot another use for those fancy eelectric grinders. I usually end up with leftover dry rubs, which can sit around for a few weeks or more getting stale. Take that dry rub and whiz it a few times and the bright aroma of the spices/herbs/chile comes back to life. Along those same lines I've found that when I'm forced to use pre-ground coffee outside of the home, I'll see if I can't find a grinder to brighten up the pre-ground grounds. You bet.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

A good way to remove spice residue from the grinder is to grind up a handful of raw rice in it before you wipe it clean.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use a pastry brush to clean it, but the smell of spices just doesn't go away. I could try the rice idea, and afterwards wipe it with vinegar.

But because of the sheer hassle, I would instead recommend getting two, one for coffee and one for spices.

I have a granite mortar and pestle (available from any Thai store). Cleaning is a breeze, and I use it mainly for coarse-grinding spices, or bruising herbs. Anyone who prefers making pesto in one of these instead of a food-processor is misguided.

Gopi
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh my,

I'm not misguided. I know better and have 28 years worth of pesto making experience to back it up. Tried it all and put it to the test of others.
It isn't up for debate, there are too many books, magazines & teevee shows to prove otherwise. If you enjoy it and find it helpful, that's fine and great that you've found a path that you find helpful. I'm all for that. But don't put forth your point of view being the one and only way to make perfect pesto, it just isn't so.
I'll take it both ways and enjoy it to the ends of the earth. But those are two very different ways of doing the same thing and they don't produce the same product.
Also keep in mind I'm not a fan of the modern machine. I'll outbake you on bread over a bread machine. I'll out render you on home rendered lard versus grocery store crap.
I buy wheat berries to make my own flour for bread and I'll out smoke you with your gas grill versus my apple wood fired pit.
I'm a card carrying lunitic food snob and food processors blow chunks. I'm not misguided, just out of my mind in love with food and pay attention to way too many details. I let Michael know a few months ago I was trouble and I aim to prove it. Take your modern electric deevices and put them back where they belong, in the trash.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang,

That's lunatic. Ya know, having something to do with the moon. Sorry about the typo.

Biggles
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Michael Chu



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 1635
Location: Austin, TX (USA)

PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dr. Biggles, you're no trouble at all! You've got to try harder!

Seriously, I'm glad I've got active posters and commenters on this website and the forums like Dr. Biggles - otherwise we couldn't have a dialogue about food. CfE would just be another recipe site with some kid writing webpages on topics he has no expertise in and no one to keep him honest.

I appreciate everyone's comments and opinions and love to hear about how others are tackling cooking (with or without modern "conveniences" - regardless of if it's done simply for survival or for the sheer love of it.
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Paul W.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Krups Coffee grinders are so cheap that I have 2 of them. One I use for chillis and spices that are more pungent. The other I use for everything else. This way I do not have to be so fussy about cleaning the dried chillis and peppers I often use in my cooking. As for the cloudy lid - this also happens if you heat the spices up before putting them in the grinder. Frankly, I don't really care, it still works the same, cloudy lid or not. One more note: If you grind hot-dried chillis in this thing it is best to let it sit for a minute or two before opening. I ground some particularly hot dried Thai chillis a while ago and pulled the lid of too soon. It took me about 30 minute in the shower to get the sting out of my eyes. I took an hour with the fan blowing and windows and doors open before I could stand being in the kitchen.

I've been lurking for awhile - My first post.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey Michael,

Try harder? Jeez, I thought that was a pretty good effort back there. I'll see what I can do for ya.

I used an electric thing yesterday at work. One of those home deep fryer rigs. I've been persuing a special type of fried chicken and thought I would have more time to deal with it at work. You see, I have 2 small kids at home and don't have a lot of time for kitchen work.
Anyway, this type of chicken has been elusive to say the least. The long & short of it is the damned fryer is about 50 degrees F short. I used that new fancy Thermopen (badass rig to say the least) and it was obvious what my problem was. Dang electric fryer. I'm thinking I might order that really nice cast iron chicken fryer KIT from Lodge. It comes with a large deep cast iron fry pan, basket (I don't use the basket) and a nice thermometer. At least this way I can make sure I have at least 375 if not closer to 400.

Biggles / http://www.meathenge.com/
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh man, I totally ground some cloves in my grinder just before xmas. hehe... imagine what happened. ::shrug:: I can make due with a cloudy/clovey lid... cause I'm sure as hell not paying $9 bucks for a new one. Teasing They should make a metal alternate lid. That I might be willing to get for 9. ::shrug::

-Dranore
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I picked up a cheapo Toastmaster grinder for less than your replacement lid. It was around $8 before the holidays (I guess a cheap coffee grinder makes an excellent gift in someone's eyes). I haven't tried it yet, but I'm not looking to turn my spices into powder anyway, so how bad can it be?
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have had this grinder for 10+ years. I use it for coffee and it works great. It is worth much more than it costs!
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Richard
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 27, 2005 4:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for writing about the Krups grinder. I've been using it to grind spices and coffee for ten years, and it's good to see the advice about clove oil.
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