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This mini grinder by Wahl was something I saw while I was browsing on Amazon. I liked the idea that it would allow me to grind up spices and nuts which are both ingredients I use a lot in curries but mostly I was attracted by the idea of having freshly ground coffee in the morning. As it was only £15 I thought this was pretty reasonable and decided to give it a go.
The grinder has a unique shape and reminds me of the gherkin building in London every time I look at it! Despite this it is quite a stylish little gadget with shiny, silver steel on the outside which is covered on top by a clear dome which acts as a viewing window to see inside. The blade located inside is made of stainless steel and is both robust and durable. The grinder is pretty small and lightweight so it can be moved around the kitchen and leaves plenty of space for other things or it is equally as easy to shove in a cupboard when not in use which is what I do.
The grinder is super quick and simple to use. All you have to do is tip on your coffee beans, nuts or spices - it can hold a maximum capacity of 10 cups or 70 grams of ingredients - and then you just have to close the lid and hold down the black button on the front until it has been ground sufficiently. You can keep grinding for as long or as little as you need depending on how fine you need the item to be. I find that the blade is really effective at grinding the coffee beans and the nuts in particular. I don't get quite as good results with spices, maybe as they are already quite fine and the grinding can be a little uneven. The only spices which it does a good job with are cinnamon and mixed herbs. The 150 W motor is quite powerful and means that grinding is quite fast although the more you put in the longer it takes. The grinder is a little noisy but not overly so.
Cleaning is quite simple as you can easily get to the insides and give it a quick wipe by taking the lid off.
I've had the James Martin Wahl Mini Grinder ZX595 for the past six months, having bought it after seeing it advertised on a daytime TV show where I thought it seemed like a really handy but luxury gadget to have in my kitchen. I drink coffee regularly, probably far too much coffee if the truth be told, but I really liked the idea of having fresh ground coffee to start my day - and see me through the day! I had never owned a coffee grinder before and so I wasn't exactly sure what to look for when I was thinking of buying one, and because of that I simply went for the James Martin one that I saw advertised in the hope that it was as good as it seemed to be (and who wouldn't want a little bit of James Martin in their kitchen?!). The Wahl Mini Grinder ZX595 cost me £17.99 from Amazon, but I see that it is currently being sold on Amazon for just £15.23 - which seems like a really inexpensive price to me.
The Wahl Mini Grinder ZX595 is a small device and so it really doesn't take up much room on the kitchen worktop. It looks stylish, being black and silver, and so I think it would not look out of place in any kitchen to be honest. It is electric and so it will need to be near a lug socket, but it is worth mentioning that the cord can be stored away within the grinder when it is not being used and so this means you don't have cable trailing across the work surface.
As I've said, the device is actually quite small, but it is small in terms of the fact that it is compact and actually it has a fairly large coffee capacity. It can hold up to ten cups (70g) at any one time - although I tend to do it in smaller batches because I find that the the quicker it is used after grinding, then the fresher the coffee tastes. In theory, you can do a big batch and then use this until it's used up, but I prefer to do it on a daily basis.
Using the grinder is very simple - and I couldn't really imagine a simpler device really. It is reliable and comes with a two year guarantee and so it feels quite robust and like it is built to last. In order to grind the coffee beans, it's just a matter of adding the coffee beans of your choice into the grinder and then replace the lid before pressing the grinder on button. There is a blade inside which grinds the coffee - and it grinds it as fine as you want it to be. The top is transparent and so you can look through and see when the coffee is ground sufficiently and so you don't need to keep stopping and starting. Once ground, it's just a matter of lining the lid up with the base and then removing the lid to be able to get at the freshly ground coffee. It doesn't take long to grind the coffee - just a few minutes - and hey presto!
The inner chamber of the Wahl Mini Grinder ZX595 can be wiped over - and I find this is all that is necessary, especially as I tend to not grind anything other than coffee. It can be used to grind other things like nuts and spices if you wish, but I have another device for this purpose.
Overall, I think this is a neat little gadget and I'm really pleased that I bought it.
I purchased the James Martin by Wahl Mini Grinder because it is listed on the Whal UK website as "ideal for coffee and dry spices" and I was particularly after a grinder for use with spices. Many coffee grinders you could imagine would be suitable for grinding spices but I wanted a model that stated this for certain. I often buy whole spice seeds such coriander, fennel, cardamom and peppercorns.
When the ZX595 mini grinder arrived I was pleased with how it looked, although perhaps a little 'space mission' style with its pointed domed shape, it appeared easy to clean and seemed to be of good quality in build. It stands 21cm high including the lid and is approximately 10cm wide. Amazon's product dimensions for this item (15.2 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm) do not make sense to me at all.
It has a black and brushed stainless finish, a transparent window at the top within the lid and a large circular black control button on the front for easy use. The grinder blade and inner chamber are made of stainless steel. It has a 150 Watt motor and the cord can be neatly coiled and stored within the base for when not in use. It boasts a 70g capacity.
So then began a series of varied attempts at grinding spices. At first I half filled the chamber with dry whole spice seeds and pressed to grind in short bursts but the result was disappointing, the spices were not ground evenly at all. I gradually reduced the quantity, this however failed to make an improvement. I experimented with different spices. I pressed to grind in long bursts as well as short. I removed the spice half way through and then replaced it to try again. I'm sure I must have tried everything there was to try but the result was always the same; a combined gritty and dusty mixture. I had to resort to sieving the semi ground spice and placing the lumpy and gritty contents of my sieve back once more into the grinder. It was a disaster, the spices would have been ground more efficiently using a pestle and mortar.
At least I found the Whal mini grinder straightforward to clean by simply wiping the inside thoroughly with a damp cloth. However only after a short amount of use (although it hadn't felt that way to me) the transparent window in the lid had lost its transparency and become opaque. But due to unsatisfactory results and a huge amount of wasted time in the kitchen I gave up on this grinder and packed it away in a cupboard
I have since purchased a Krups coffee mill and this grinds spices beautifully. The James Martin Whal mini grinder now belongs to a friend who has reported it is reasonably good at grinding coffee beans.
Whal now produce a grinder specifically for grinding spices, but I'm afraid I wouldn't even consider it. I'll stay loyal to my little Krups mill.
If you are looking for a coffee grinder that will also grind spices then look straight past this one.
For those who would like to know it is currently priced between £14.33 (Amazon) - £23.00.
Thank you for reading this review!
© Lunaria 2012
I bought this grinder for my father, who adores 'proper' coffee but would never dream of spending money on a device of this nature. He is also a great fan of Saturday Kitchen, and I am forever being given updates on the culinary knowledge James Martin has imparted to his audience of a weekend, despite my limited interested in said topic. Since this product combines two of my father's great passions then, I considered it to be an ideal gift for his birthday this year.
The Wahl grinder measures 15.2 x 15.2 x 7.6 cm, and its compact design, combines with its cord storage mechanism, makes stowing the device a doddle. You probably won't want to keep the grinder out for most of the time, being as it isn't the kind of essential kitchen device (such as a kettle) that you will use every day. Even if you do choose to keep it visible however, its sleek, brushed-steel appearance is easy on the eye and versatile in terms of kitchen design. One thing that I really like about the grinder, and was one of the features that attracted me to it given my father's haphazard track record with sharp implements, was the limited sharpness of the blades. Far from being a drawback, for the blades are exceptionally efficient in terms of their grinding capacity, this unusual bluntness will appeal to those who are accident prone or have children in the house. The blade is not entirely blunt, of course, but it is certainly less sharp than those contained in other similar devices I have laid eyes on. That is not to say that you could not do some considerable damage should you get too close to it, but the risk is diminished somewhat.
The grinder boasts a 70g or ten cup capacity, and if you live in a small household you will find that you will not need to use it on a day to day basis. You can merely process a large bath of coffee and make it last for up to a a week. My father drinks several cups of coffee a day, and uses the device between two and four times a week. The grinder is very easy to use. You need to remove the lid, tip the coffee beans into the body of the device, screw the lid back on and press the operation button. To remove the contents after grinding is complete you must align the lid with a point on the base, and you can simply pull the lid free (this is another beneficial safety aspect that those with children may appreciate). While not exactly silent, the grinder is surprisingly more hushed that many other similar products I have encountered, but the process is so rapid anyway that a bit of noise is not something that will bother most people.
For just under £15 this is a fantastic compact grinder that is both stylish and versatile. As well as using it to grind coffee beans you can also use it to process spices and nuts. For Christmas I bought my father a spice rack and it contained, amongst other things, whole coriander. He had not used the coriander until he acquired the James Martin grinder, but the gadget enabled him to make use of the spice. Similarly, when I have cooked Pad Thai at his house I have blitzed some peanuts for a couple of seconds in the machine, and it is a lot easier than crushing the nuts by hand. My father enjoys using the machine and has got a lot of use out of it, and as well as being aesthetically pleasing you will have a lot of fun experimenting with it.
Ideal for grinding coffee beans, nuts and spices / Short name: James Martin ZX595