Typically if you want to invest in a grinder for espresso you will have to sink a substantial amount of money into it. The only way to get around this is to consider a manual grinder. While it is not ideal to grind manually for espresso, it is a way to achieve high grind quality on a budget.
The KINGrinder K6 is one of the latest manual coffee grinders to hit the market. And it comes with some pretty lofty claims. This grinder is marketed as an all-purpose grinder capable of grinding for espresso or Moka Pot all the way through to French press. But perhaps the most remarkable thing is that this grinder is very affordable, costing just over $100. Today we are going to take a deeper look at this grinder, to see if it is a worthwhile investment or waste of money.
KINGrinder is a Taiwanese company that focuses on producing quality hand grinders at an affordable price. They currently have 7 grinders in their lineup, each optimized for different brew methods. The KINGrinder K6 is their most popular grinder, however, they do have a couple of other decent options. The KINGrinder K2 is an affordable travel grinder. It has 48mm burrs and an internal grind adjustment system. This grinder is suited to manual brewing methods, excelling at medium fine to coarse settings. The KINGrinder K4 is one of their other popular grinders which is targeted at espresso. It has 48mm titanium-coated burrs that excel in the fine to medium-fine range. This combined with an external adjustment ring, and small steps of 16 microns make it ideal for espresso.
KINGrinder K6 Review
Design and Build
While this grinder is not perfect, as you would expect at this price point, it does have a lot to recommend it. By all accounts, the KINGrinder K6 has a durable build that will last. The body of the grinder is made from anodized aluminum, which deals well with the knocks and bumps of daily use. A silicone band encircles the middle, providing grip when grinding, and the handle spins easily and has a wooden knob on the end to grip. The plastic lid on top of the hopper has an o-ring that seals well to the grinder.
Unlike some of the more premium grinders, the KINGrinder doesn’t have a magnetic catch cup, but rather a thread on one. While this is not as nice, it is perfectly functional, and some users prefer this as you do not run the risk of accidentally knocking the catch cup off. The KINGrinder has a hopper volume of 30-35 grams, although most users recommend using the lower end of this.
All-in-all the KINGrinder K6 has a high-quality build, however, there are a few quirks with the grinder. Interestingly, the grinder has been designed to be used either for hand grinding or with a drill. It comes with two o-rings; a white one for hand grinding, or a black one for drill grinding. The grinder ships with the black o-ring installed so if you are intending on using it as a hand grinder you will need to install the white o-ring first, otherwise the handle will fall off mid-grinding.
The other quirk of the grinder is that the burrs don’t zero at the zero setting on the exterior dial adjustment. This doesn’t in any way affect the performance of the grinder, it just means that the grinder can’t be calibrated.
The KINGrinder K6 is a great value grinder, but it doesn’t have the fit and finish, or niceties of some other grinders like the 1Zpresso range. Small corners have been cut, like the unfinished wooden knob on the handle, or the burrs that don’t zero at the marked setting.
Burrs and Grind Adjustment System
The KINGrinder K6 is an all-purpose grinder, that excels at grinding from espresso to filter. It is loaded with 48mm heptagonal conical steel burrs. Interestingly, these burrs are identical in geometry to the burr set of the 1Zpresso K Plus and very similar to the Commandante burr set (albeit bigger). But before you hit the buy now button, these grinders do NOT produce identical cup profiles. For whatever reason, the 1Zpresso K Plus does a better job of grinding, and producing cleaner cups. Still, given the price point, this is an appealing feature.
The burr set is attached to the shaft and held in place by dual bearings, which keep the burrs locked firmly in place. This aids in producing consistent, uniform coffee grounds. As mentioned above, the handle is smooth to turn and the large burrs help the grinder chew through coffee beans quickly. Grinding takes around 30 seconds for filter or 1 minute for espresso.
The KINGrinder K6 has an external grind adjustment system, which is pretty impressive. There are 60 settings per rotation, with each click adjusting the burrs by 16um. The grind adjustment dial allows for 3 rotations with a total of around 180 grind settings ranging from extra fine to coarse. Each grind size is well-marked making it easy to switch between coffee brewing methods, while also offering the fine adjustments required to dial in espresso.
KINGrinder recommends the following grind settings as starting points for each grind size:
The burr set and grind adjustment system make the KINGrinder K6 a versatile grinder capable of grinding for a range of brew methods.
KINGrinder K6 for Espresso
As mentioned above, the grind adjustment system of the KINGrinder does work well for dialing in espresso. In addition, the grind quality is excellent considering the price. This makes it an excellent option if you are looking for a budget espresso grinder to pair with your espresso machine. Bear in mind that grinding manually for espresso is not that fun! Grinding takes around 1 minute and requires a decent amount of elbow grease.
KINGrinder K6 vs Timemore c3
The other main competitor at this price point is the Timemore C3 grinder. Remarkably, the Timemore grinder has an even lower price, so how does it compare to the KINGrinder K6?
The Timemore C3 has a solid build and performs well for drip coffee and espresso. It is packed with 38mm burrs that produce consistent grinds and has a stepped grind adjustment system with 36 settings. While the Timemore is very affordable, we think there are some weighty reasons to invest a bit of extra money and purchase the KINGrinder K6 over this. The small burrs mean that the Timemore is slow at grinding, in addition, the limited grinding range means that while it is capable of grinding fine enough for espresso, it is very difficult to dial in the grinder accurately. While the Timemore C3 is a great grinder for budget-minded coffee lovers, the KINGrinder does surpass it.
KINGrinder K6- The Verdict
The KINGrinder K6 is an impressive hand grinder with a very attractive price. While it lacks the finesse of other grinders, it has a lot of features to recommend it. It is solidly built, has large burrs that perform well at a range of grind settings, a simple grind adjustment system, and grinds quickly and consistently. If you can look past the small design quirks, this is an excellent value hand grinder and well worth considering. If you aren’t convinced, check out our guide to the best manual coffee grinders for some other options.