Help me understand my coffee grinder

I bought a burr coffee grinder today. It’s not a conical burr, so it’s sort of entry-level. It seems to grind coffee consistently even though you can’t quite get a powdery espresso grind out of it, although part of the problem might be that I’m grinding some older beans that we froze a while ago (fresh) and thawed.

I’m a bit confused by the controls on it, though, and the manual really confuses me, so I’m hoping one of you with a burr grinder can help me. The bean hopper rotates to set grind from fine to coarse (this I understand), and there’s a timer on the front. It’s the timer that’s stumping me. Obviously there’s meant to be some sort of time->quantity function going on but I can’t make out what it is. I just tested it on fine grind and it made about seven scoops of coffee in about 20 seconds, but here are the tables and instructions in the manual:

Grinding Coffee

1. Fill the whole bean hpper with fresh coffee beans as above, and close the lid to preserve freshness. [the hopper holds about 60g of beans.]

2. Select the number of cups of coffee you will be brewing from 1 to 12 (adjusted to 5 fl oz/148 mL). see chart for grinding times. NOTE: For more than 6 cups, reset timer accordingly.

3. Press START/STOP.

4. When the machine is ON, rotate the grind setting controll to your preferred coffee grind (see Grind Setting Chart).

5. The grinder’s timer will shut off the appliance when you have ground the desired amount of beans.

Grind Setting Chart

time 20 sec 40 sec 100 sec 120 sec 140 sec
fine (espresso/cappucino) scoops 1 1/2 scoops 2 1/2 scoops 3 1/2 scoops 4 1/2 scoops 5 1/2 scoops
medium (drip coffee) scoops 2 cups
1 1/2 scoops
4 cups
3 scoops
6 cups
4 1/2 scoops
8 cups
6 scoops
10 cups
7/12 scoops
coarse (percolator/coffee press) 2 scoops 4 scoops 6 scoops 7 1/2 scoops 9 scoops

[The non-linearity of the time column vs. the linearity of the number of scoops, plus the fact that the timer doesn’t go beyond 100 seconds, makes me wonder if the table is just wrong. The scoop, by the way, is 1 tbsp. Right after that chart is this one:]

Coffee Measurement Chart

Cups of coffee Bean quantity/scoops
12 cups 9 scoops
10 cups 7 1/2 scoops
8 cups 6 scoops
4 cups 3 scoops
2 cups 1 1/2 scoops

Ok, that’s all the instructions. So let’s say I want to make 8 cups of coffee in my drip coffeemaker. That means I need 6 scoops of coffee grinds per the Coffee Measurement Chart. (That seems a little low to me, but I probably use more coffee to make coffee than your average person.) So per the Grind Setting Chart, I want a medium grind, so I’m going to run it for 120 sec. The problem: Running the grinder for two full minutes is probably enough time to grind a half-pound of coffee or so, during which time I’d have to refill the hopper multiple times.

What gives?

3 responses to “Help me understand my coffee grinder”

  1. Not that this detracts from your question, but the table says to me that 6 scoops/8 cups is 120s in the grinder, not 100. (Assuming you want medium and not coarse).

    Still, grinding it longer is just making the situation more absurd, not less. :)