Kitchn Love Letters

The Old-Fashioned French Coffee Grinder I Can’t Stop Raving About

published Feb 13, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Is it just me, or does life just seem extra … techy lately? From programmable robot vacuums to miniature countertop spaceships that use high-speed convection heat to “fry” food, high-tech features are even commonplace in our kitchens. While I’m occasionally surprised by a clever plug-in appliance, I try to keep things old-school whenever possible. It’s the reason I’ve been using a super old-school hand crank coffee grinder for years.

Sadly, my tired old wooden coffee grinder has been stumbling along for the last few months, so I decided to treat myself over the holidays with a truly luxe upgrade: the Peugeot Bresil Coffee Mill. Sure, there are plenty of high-quality electric grinders out there. But some things are worth doing the “slow” way, and I consider grinding coffee to be one. Although this steel burr grinder is not cheap (it retails for $164.95), it’s worth the price. In fact, I’m astounded at how well it works and wish I’d gotten it sooner.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
My old grinder is on the left.

I’ll admit that I first nabbed this tool for the looks alone — it’s a throwback design to French maker Peugeot’s first coffee mill, made in 1840. It has old-world charm, with modern touches, and is a far cry from my broken-down thrift store find. I would have loved this purchase no matter how well it ground coffee, but wowee: This thing is magic.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

First, I noticed that the hopper holds an entire cup of beans, which is way more than most manual grinders. Check mark for efficiency! The gears are much more advanced than my old model, too: The grind is consistent and even, which makes for a better cup of coffee. (My old mill would spit out ultra coarse or feathery fine grinds, and nothing in between. Sometimes both in the same session.) The Peugeot is also easy to adjust; a discreet knob under the handle can be changed to accommodate the right texture for any type of brew, from French press to espresso. 

It’s honestly a little embarrassing how inefficient my old grinder was, but now that I’ve leveled up, I will never underestimate the importance of a well-made tool — even one that costs a little more than thrift store scores. This French-made investment piece is an “adult” upgrade that I’ll use for years to come, but I love that it still feels like a precious heirloom. It just may be my favorite “new” kitchen tool. 

How do you grind your coffee beans? Share with us in the comments.