REVIEW: Porlex Mini Mill vs. Hario Slim Mill
There is nothing quite like a fine well-brewed cup of coffee before…during…and after a bicycle ride. Many of my close friends will attest for my near obsessive love of coffee. In our apartment, I have a little “coffee corner” which has no less than 5 ways to make coffee as well as a small pile of gadgets and doodads (digital scale, measuring spoon, small artisanal drinking cups). At the heart of all the coffee paraphernalia and coffee making process is our grinder, the Porlex Mini Mill.
The Porlex is not cheap. I had lusted after one for a while, but was quite content with my Hario Slim Mill that was half the price. However, after about 9 months, my Hario broke at the handle in a place that couldn’t be easily fixed, so I gave myself the green light for the Porlex.
The Hario is small as far as hand grinders go, but in comparison the Porlex is tiny! Side by side, the Porlex is dwarfed by the Hario. The Porlex also has an all metal body whereas the Hario is plastic. The Porlex feels very dense for its size but is surprisingly lighter than the Hario.
Perhaps the most noticeable and meaningful difference between the two seems to be the build tolerances. The Porlex feels like an overall tighter machine. It would be similar to riding a bike with a traditional square taper bottom bracket compared to some new modern 2 piece crankset plugged into an oversized bottom bracket. Things just feel more efficient in operation. The Porlex has a substantially beefier crank arm which is stiff and doesn’t flex. In use, the Porlex seems to take less effort and spins than the Hario because of the added efficiency. I’ve read that the burrs used in the Porlex are sharper, but have no real way to verify this.
Functionally, they work about the same. You load beans into the top hopper. Close and turn the handle. The ground beans are caught by the bottom half of the grinder. Adjustments to grind size are made the same way with a wingnut-ish type of attachment at the bottom of the ceramic burrs.
In my non-scientific testing, I’ve found the grind to be more consistent coming out of the Porlex. That’s not to say there is perfect granular uniformity, because the Porlex still suffers a bit from the floating burr design the Hario does. However, comparing grinds between the two (especially at coarser settings), it is fairly easy to see which is more consistent.
The Porlex is perfect for making enough grounds for a single cup pour over or to make enough coffee to reach the glass belly button on a Chemex (if you really cram the beans in there). I’ve had the Porlex Mini Mill for several months now and it has traveled with us on all our recent tours. I suspect the beefier all metal construction will help it last longer than my Hario. In my personal opinion, I think it’s the best small travel coffee grinder out on the market. There are probably better ones in terms of grind consistency, but they are not travel size.
If you love coffee and can’t travel without grinding your own, this grinder is for you. Yes, there’s a little bit of a price hit up front (still less expensive than a decent electrical burr grinder), but it’s good enough that we use it as our home grinder as well. If you can’t afford it, the Hario Silm Mill is a solid second.
HIGHLY RECOMMEND +++
-Light and small, PERFECT for travel
-Durable construction, tight tolerances
-Good grind quality for small manual grinder
-Price. A little spendy but worth it
-Don’t expect absolutely uniform grinds (esp. at coarser settings)