At its core the Porlex Mini is a grinder for the restless. While it can work perfectly well in a kitchen setting, it really comes into its own on the road, in the outdoors, and in all those places where good coffee is hard to come by.
In fact this grinder is so compact that it can even fit inside your Aeropress! Which is why we are excited to finally do a run down on this now well-known burr grinder.
The Porlex Mini is our go to hand grinder to introduce people into the world of specialty coffee. It is affordable, portable, well-made, and produces a surprisingly good cup of brew. If you have been using pre-ground coffee and want to take your brew to the next level, the Porlex is a great option!
Porlex Mini Review
The single most important question to ask of any grinder is what is the grind consistency like? The short answer to why this is the case is that if a grinder has poor grind consistency it will produce a wide spread of particle sizes (ie some really small pieces and some really big pieces). This in turn will mean that some of the particles will under extract producing sour tastes and others will over extract producing bitter notes. If you want to really geek out see our article about grinding here. Basically good grind consistency equals delicious coffee, bad grind consistency equals horrid coffee.
So how does the Porlex Mini perform? And the answer is, exceptionally well for its price. The spring-loaded ceramic conical burrs are of a high quality and produce a very consistent particle size especially for medium-fine, medium, and medium-coarse grind sizes. As with most other hand grinders it does struggle both with very fine and very coarse settings. This makes it ideal for most manual brewing methods such as Pour Over, Aeropress, and Moka Pot.
This grinder probably produces the best grind consistency when compared to majority of the entry level hand grinders on the market (as the video below demonstrates). However, it is important to note that this is an entry level grinder. So if you are looking for a grinder to use for espresso or are used to using a high end grinder such as the Commandante or the Lido, then the Porlex Mini is probably not for you.
So great grind consistency, tick.
The Porlex Mini also rates well for build quality in relation to other similarly priced grinders. The grinder is entirely made in the Porlex factory in Kagoshima, Japan and is simply made to last. The body of the grinder is stainless steel which makes it highly durable and means you can chuck it in your pack or bag without really having to worry about it breaking or incurring damage. As mentioned above, the Porlex uses a set of high quality ceramic burrs which seem to last well even with heavy usage. There is also some BPA free plastic in the interior of the grinder.
In addition, if any parts do break or just suffer general wear and tear, replacements are easy to get and can be easily installed. The vast majority of users have found the Porlex to last well and many are still using their original Porlex many years down the track.
As with most hand grinders, the Porlex is very simple to both operate and change grind settings. To grind you simply remove the cap, pour in the desired amount of beans, replace the cap, place the hand crank on, and grind away until you can feel no more resistance.
The Porlex uses a winged nut to switch between grind settings. So if you remove the grinds container and look at the burrs from below you will see a winged nut which can be turned clockwise for finer grinds and anticlockwise for coarser grinds. Each time you turn the nut you will hear a little click which indicates a change in grind settings. So it uses an unmarked grind adjustment system with around 13 grind settings from very fine to very coarse.
We recommend the following are a good place to start with your Porlex:
Overall the 12 grind settings will be more than enough to deal with most manual brewing methods. As mentioned above, however, we wouldn’t recommend the Porlex for the careful grind adjustment required for espresso.
In terms of actually using the Porlex it performs well but does take a while. The compact size of the grinder does mean smaller burrs which in turn means more elbow grease. But that is really part and parcel of using a hand grinder. When used rightly there is little slippage and it grinds well. It also comes with a handy rubber sleeve into which you can place the handle when not in use which is a helpful feature.
We also recommend a brief clean after every use as well as a more thorough clean every month or so. Even just using a toothbrush to clean and wipe down the grinder after each use will help ensure best performance and longevity.
Probably the single greatest both strength and weakness of this grinder is its size. It comes in at 47mm wide by 130mm tall and about 8 ounces weight. This does simply make it one of the smallest grinders out there. As mentioned earlier it is even small enough to fit into an Aeropress! This makes it really THE hand grinder for those who are often on the road or on the trail.
However, the downside is a small grinding capacity. On average the Porlex can grind a maximum of 20g of beans at a time. This equates to between one and two cups of coffee depending on the brewing ratio used. So it should easily be enough for one Aeropress or a small pour over but will take multiple goes (as well as far too much time grinding!) to do any larger brews. So more than sufficient for those brewing just for themselves or themselves plus one, but less than ideal for brewing bigger batches.
If the size is an off putter, then the Mini also does have a big brother the Porlex JP-30 which has the same burrs and construction but a larger 30g capacity.
Takeaway: Who is the Porlex Mini For?
So who is the Porlex Mini coffee grinder for? Our answer is; the growing coffee lover who wants to take his brewing to the next level and will often be brewing on the road or trail.
The Porlex is a terrific introduction to the world of burr grinders. It is easy to use, good quality to price ratio, highly portable, and is just a good grinder. Also somewhat obviously it really is designed for travel. The small bean capacity and compact size make this the ideal grinder for the coffee lover on the road. Because let’s be honest, the coffee quality you find in some places …
So we highly recommend the Porlex Mini as really THE entry level manual grinder. If you are not sure if the Porlex is the right grinder for you, check out our guide to the best manual coffee grinders for some other options. We hope you have found this review informative and if you do have any questions feel free to post them below and we will get back to you.