The makers of Handground, a manual grinder that was creatively crowd-developed, has nearly quadrupled its initial $35,000 production funding goal on Kickstarter, with weeks still remaining.
Home brewers Daniel Vitiello and Brandon Warman created the “Crowdsourced Coffee Experiment” after feeling dissatisfied with their existing manual burr grinders. From the beginning, they looked outward for product development help, from the name — the initial concept was Kaizen Coffee — to the actual design.
Hundreds of freelancers submitted designs on the 99 Designs platform, with a model from Joaquin Herlein winning out. Working for seven years with an Italian design consultancy, Herlein has actually had a hand in developing numerous coffee equipment products for companies including Bialetti, Lavazza and La Cimbali. He’s now stayed on as a full member of the Handground team, which is currently in the midst of a West Coast product tour that will conclude at the US Coffee Championships in Long Beach, Calif., at the end of this month.
The grinder itself will be composed largely of ABS plastic, while nickel and copper variations will have an electroplated finish. The handle will be composed of wood, while the main vertical axle and all the screws and washers will be stainless steel. The team is still experimenting with the shape and the exact material treatment for the conical burrs, which will be composed of aluminum oxide ceramic. The grinder will have a 100-gram capacity and will include 20 different grind settings at 125 micron intervals.
Current estimated retail pricing, including a refrigerator magnet for recipe logging, is $80 for the basic model, up to $120 for the plated models.
We recently hit Vitiello with various permutations of one essential question: In a world full of manual grinders, why this one?
“One of the main differences of Handground versus other grinders is the side-mounted handle,” he told us via email while on tour. “This makes grinding easier and provides a more ergonomic motion compared to most grinders, which have a handle mounted on the top. We are working to source coffee wood from a farm in Costa Rica to make the knob for the handle of the grinder. The wood will come from coffee plants that are no longer producing quality coffee cherries and are usually cut down and burned to make room for new trees — coffee wood is almost never used to make products.
“A huge frustration that people have with other coffee grinders is that it’s difficult to choose a coarseness setting. Usually you have to remove multiple pieces just to change the setting, and there is typically no reference point for returning to a previous setting. We have simplified this process by drawing inspiration from a performance camera lens. With one twist you can choose from 20 different settings, each adjusting the coarseness by just 125 microns.”