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Need a Heavy Duty Spice Grinder

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
I make chili powder from 8 different chili's and in 2-3 pound batches. I need a spice grinder that can handle the whole dried pods along with cumin etc. Whats out there?
post #2 of 25
Burr coffee grinders come to mind.... (Bunn-omatic, etc.)

With those kinds of amounts of spices you will have a problem with overheating in the grinder--burning and scorching the volatile oils of the spices. Try freezing or chilling the spices first.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #3 of 25
what about using a granite mortar and pestle that you just use for those spices , gives your arms a great work out and a much better flavour than machine ground
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires
when life hands you lemons, make lemon gelee, lemon meringue pie, or any other dessert your heart desires
post #4 of 25
Thread Starter 
Me do manual work? :lol: Actually I have torn rotator cuffs in both shoulder so not an option. The burr type grinder creates way to much heat so not an option. They also need the spices to be broken up to small.
post #5 of 25
The mill attachment for the KA works fairly well. Depending on the types of chillies you're using is the trouble is the dust that it can create. Ouch!!!!!;)
post #6 of 25
Thread Starter 
Been there done that, that stuff is worse than tear gas! Especially grinding the habenero!
post #7 of 25
Small commercial spice operations use burr grinders very much like the "Bunn-o-Matic" only slightly adapted. You might want to take a look at the Mahlkonigs -- just to look, though. Mahlkonigs are beaucoup expensive.

I think you may be confusing burr grinders with propellor grinders. Propellor aka blade grinders have a little blade that whirs around like blender. Blenders have a set of grinding wheels mounted on a shat, set inside a tube above a lip. The spices or beans or whatnot, are ground against the lip by the wheel, and fall as "grinds" or "fines" down the shaft and out a chute.

At small quantities, even restaurant quantities, most people would use a propellor grinder for grinding.

Burr grinders generate far less heat than they're cheap cousins, blade aka propellor grinders. And good burr grinders come with a very precise and extensive range of coarse to fine control. There are hand operated burr coffee mills but they're way too slow for what you're planning -- not to mention the stress on your rotator cuffs.

Large commercial operations grinding continuous large lots use custom grinders with exotic cooling like liquid nitrogen. However, for your purposes, you should be okay running several batches through a decent burr grinder. If I were you, I'd contact Chris Coffee and ask them if they thought the Barzata Maestro could handle spices. Barzata's the minimum level of burr grinder I'd think about 100. I wouldn't consider a Kitchen Aid or a Cuisinart -- they're too poorly made. The next step up would be something along the lines of a Rancilio Rocky doserless, about $370, A bottom of the line Bunn without a doser is about $600 new.

If you buy a burr grinder, you'll have to go to some effort to keep it clean after grinding chilies. There's a product called "grindz" which you put through the grinder and does a fairly effective job. I use stale bread sometimes, which is almost as good. But sometimes you just have to take it apart and clean it. Which is a nuisance.

If you're not grinding spices in this amount in order to start selling your own dry rubs... Hey, wait a minute. You are, aren't you? [Ahem] As I was saying, if you're not going into the dry rub business, you might want to grind them "the Mexican way," which is to use a little liquid and make a paste in a blender, maybe with a few aromatics and seeds for good measure. If you use oil and "can" the paste it will keep a looooooooong time. I see blenders used these ways all the time in the joints I frequent. Commercial blenders run a few hundred bucks, They're nice for daiquiris also, which is a good thing for healing rotator cuffs. The other "the Mexican way" is to just put small quantities in the food processor and che sera, sera (okay, so that's Italian. So sue me).

Based on what you said you wanted, I'd be looking for a used, supermarket style (big, easy access top hopper, no doser, lot of grind adjustment range, runs cool) burr grinder. In other words, "Bunn" was a great suggestion to begin with. The only drawback is the do-re-mi.

Anyway, give Chris a call 518)-452-5995, they know as much about grinding as anyone on the planet. And they're friendly. They won't yell at you because it's a non-coffee question. They may not be able to help you, but they won't yell. That loud. Also start checking ebay for used, high quality burr grinders with a lot of grind adjustment range, and preferably without a doser. A supermarket size, type, style grinder would be the perfect amount of overkill.

Small quantities = Propellor grinder
Medium quantities (chili circuit quantities) = Inexpensive burr grinder, like a Barzata (if it will work)
Medium quantities for sale = Better burr grinder -- up to Mahlkonig
Regularity of grind not important = Blender
Paste = Blender or processor

Good luck,
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
I do supply chili powder to a few friends and a couple of restaurants (I do all work in their kitchen to avoid the health regulation headaches). 30-50 pounds a year isn't unusual. I currently use a small blade type coffee mill and it is a pain in the *** :lol: I was surfing ebay last night and nothing that is close to what I want except a grinder by Sumeet thats $175.
post #9 of 25

Grind rice in the grinder to clean it out. Cheap and pretty darn effective
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
post #10 of 25
Thread Starter 
Just made a batch of chili powder today, I HAVE to get something better than the coffee mill. Nose is still running from the dust :lol:
post #11 of 25
I searched ebay and found a lot of good burr grinders. I saw a pretty good deal on a Rancilio Rocky doserless for $255. If you don't want to spend that kind of dough ... well ...

I hate to suggest it after what I said before, but what about a Kitchen Aid burr grinder? No doser, and the fines go into a jar. Looks like a slightly smaller version of pro spice grinders. I saw a few for around $150 including shipping.

The alternative -- and priced right in the middle is the Sumeet you were talking about. I see them all over the net for $200 new. At least you know it's the right tool for the job.

post #12 of 25
Thread Starter 
I might have to bite the bullet and spend that much. Eyes and nose will thank me for it :smiles:of course I forgot to order Mexican oregano so I still have that to grind. Luckily I ca get that locally and not have to wait on Penzeys.
post #13 of 25

chili powder

I was thinking of the same thing here in Alaska. Did you ever find a spice grinder?
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
Nothing in my budget.
post #15 of 25

spice grinder

So do you make 2 pounds at a time?
post #16 of 25
Thread Starter 
Closer to 3 pounds. The base is 2 pounds of dried ancho pods.
post #17 of 25
So you nust use passilla and some others. About how much do you charge per pound?

Don't worry, I will not be your competitor, as I am in Alaska, 400 mile West of Anchorage.
post #18 of 25
Thread Starter 
I don't charge I usually barter :D bunch of free meals works
post #19 of 25

I have smoked and dried some of the hottest exotic peppers for years and ground them into a shaker using an oyster blender. Sometimes as much as 30 pounds a year. I am looking for a better way so I don't have to work ask hard to process my peppers. I have considered a Waring WSG30 commercial spice grinder for this task. my product needs to be the consistancy of medium to coarse black pepper. Any ideas?

Waring Commercial Electric Spice Grinder 

post #20 of 25

If you're looking for a consistent grind coarser than very fine, you're probably better off with a low-end burr grinder like a Cuisinart, Capresso, KitchenAid, etc., than any "propellor" grinder -- even one which is supposedly commercial. 


You'll get controllable and uniform sizing without pulsing, and will transfer less heat as well.  By burr grinder standards of duty cycle of 30bs a year is very light, so you should get more than a few years of service out of the lower priced models; and there are any number of choices clustered right around the price range of the Waring. 


But alas, no free lunch.  The downside is that cleaning a burr grinder is more complicated. 


Hope this helps,


post #21 of 25

Thanks for the info.

post #22 of 25

Mary, have you looked in the smaller industrial types of grinder/mills? Take a look at this one, seems perfect for you; Hammer Cutter Mills 

post #23 of 25

Do you have Indian/Asian stores around you?  My wife is Indian, and we have several grinders large and small.  One is huge that had huge granite rollers that crushes very large quantities of things like lentil/rice for dosa.  Our spice grinders are like nothing I've sen in the states, but we use it to make all of our spices.


So, that would be my recommendation.  Check the Indian supply stores...

post #24 of 25

hi mary b,


" I need a heavy duty spice grinder."


You wrote this plea about 4 years ago.

Are you still using one?

What did you find best for the job.

I want to grind about 5kg per week mostly fennel seeds,garlic flakes, chilli flakes pimento.

Any advice appreciated.


post #25 of 25

I want to grind about 5kg per week mostly fennel seeds,garlic flakes, chilli flakes pimento.  Any advice appreciated.


5kg (11 lbs) per week is too much for anything other than a commercial grinder/mill.  You won't get anything other than heartache with a residential coffee grinder -- and even that was beyond the heights of Mary B's ambitions and budget. 



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