5 Things We Love About Ina’s Favorite Pepper Mill (and How It Came to Be)

updated Nov 20, 2019
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Ina Garten Headshot and pepper mill
Credit: Amazon

Loyal Kitchn readers may remember that we’ve written about the PepperMate before. Our Editor-in-Chief, Faith Durand, sang its praises back in 2011. And I wrote about it last year as soon as I realized that Ina Garten loves it as much as I do (see: Ina Garten’s Favorite Pepper Mill Comes from an Underrated Brand We Love). It came up again the other week when I was compiling this list of Ina’s favorite kitchen tools, and it hit me: We haven’t really taken a deeper look at what exactly makes it great.

Figuring it was time to do so, I made a list of all the reasons we love the PepperMate and then I talked to Joseph Rosenblatt, the owner of the company, to get a little more info. Here’s what we love about the pepper mill — and what Joseph had to say!

Credit: Peppermate

Buy: PepperMate, $30

Note: It now comes in black, white, red, and aqua blue.

1. It’s incredibly easy to load.

The loading hole for the PepperMate is the width of the entire gadget. As someone who doesn’t have the best hand-eye coordination, I really appreciate this feature because I can pour the peppercorns in without sending a shower of sneeze-inducing balls onto the floor. (Something I have done in the past.)

“The loading hole was designed large for two great reasons,” Joseph says. “First off, it makes it easier to pour peppercorns or other spices into the device without making a mess. Secondly, it allows you to grind larger products — like a coffee bean — that many smaller pepper grinders would not be able to do.”

2. It can grind more than just pepper.

This brings me to our second point. Yes, it’s called the PepperMate, but it can be used on more than just pepper — anything up to the size of a coffee bean, actually. (And the adjustable grind can easily be turned from coarse to fine.) How’d they come up with the idea to use it for more than just pepper? “We are a real foodie family and love to experiment with food ideas, innovation, and kitchen tools,” Joseph says. “We always try infusing foods with unique ingredients. Grinding these alternative ingredients is an awesome way to try them out on your foods.”

3. The grinding mechanism does NOT rust.

I do not have air conditioning at home, so rust can be a real problem. Even in the winter. (I’ve had other pepper mills and they’ve rusted REAL quickly.) Although the PepperMate isn’t the only pepper mill to have a non-corrosive ceramic grinding mechanism, it’s just one more thing to add to the list of pros.

And this ceramic mechanism helps when it comes to using the grinder for other ingredients beyond pepper. “The non-corrosive ceramic grinding mechanism is highly dependable and does not absorb tastes — keeping your flavors intact no matter what herb or spice you grind,” Joseph says.

One more thing: There’s a lifetime warranty on the grinding mechanism, should you need it. Although, I’ve had my PepperMate for more than five years now and the mechanism still looks as good as the day I got it.

4. It has a handy little cup on the bottom.

See that clear plastic cup at the bottom of the grinder in the photos above? It’s a little catcher AND a measuring cup. “The cap on bottom was something that just made logical sense to us, looking at almost all other grinders on the market and realizing it is something so simple they are missing,” says Joseph. “Not always do you want to grind pepper right into the food. Sometimes you want to measure it properly. If you need to gather a fixed amount of fresh pepper for a recipe, such as a quarter or half a teaspoon, you can see how much you have in the container and measure it.” Plus, it keeps your pantry shelf from getting dusted with errant pepper.

5. It’s a family-owned company.

This one I did not know until Joseph told me. Also, the company’s been around since 1982 (one year longer than me!).

Have you tried this pepper mill before? What’d you think?