I love waking up when it’s still dark and brewing myself a coffee. It’s a habit from my time as a coffee trainer, when I’d have to taste so many espressos throughout the day that my eyeballs would start to twitch. If I actually wanted to enjoy drinking coffee, I’d have to make time for it before my day started—and when I was traveling, that meant pulling out a hand grinder. 

At the time, hand grinders were creaky tools of necessity: they were hard to crank, the grind quality was so-so, and they were loud. Thankfully, hand grinders have much improved, and these days, I reach for the Timemore Chestnut C2 when I travel. While testing hand grinders, I was thoroughly impressed with how precise its burrs were. It had one of the highest percentages of coffee particles in the ideal pourover range, and the coffee was on par with our favorite burr grinders. Its crank has dual ball bearings attached in two different places on the shaft for stable, quiet, and smooth action. It’s also fast—twice as fast as the hand grinder I used to have— grinding through a full serving of coffee in less than 30 seconds. 

The other reason I really love the Timemore Chestnut C2 is its price point—while it’s certainly more expensive than some other hand grinders, it’s also almost half the cost of its equivalent motorized grinder, the Baratza Encore. While it does take more effort to manually grind your coffee, a good quality hand grinder can be a more affordable step towards better coffee at home (or on the go).

Serious Eats / Russell Kilgore

To buy: Timemore Chestnut C2 Handheld Grinder is $80 at amazon.com

Good to Know:

  • Capacity: 30 gram hopper and grinds bin
  • Weight: 1 pound
  • Height: 7 inches
  • Burrs: 38mm stainless steel
  • Time to grind 30 grams of coffee: 28 seconds
  • Notable features: Comes with cleaning brush


Is the Timemore Chestnut worth it? 

Absolutely—the Timemore delivers excellent grind quality that was on par with motorized grinders nearly twice as expensive. Its dual ball bearing crank is smooth and quiet, and it can grind through a full serving of coffee in under 30 seconds. It’s an excellent handheld coffee grinder, especially for the price. 

Can I use a Timemore Chestnut for espresso? 

While it can technically grind fine enough for espresso out of the box, it’s highly recommended that you purchase and install the titanium coated burrs for the Timemore Chestnut C2 if you want to pull espresso shots with this grinder. We don’t usually recommend hand grinders for espresso because of how long the process takes and the overall lower grind quality compared to our favorite espresso grinders, but it is possible.

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