So when your food allergies cause you have concerns about anti-caking agents or you’re just tired of hearing about stuff in the news where food is counterfeited, or cut with unknown products (think the cumin and peanut problem a few years ago), you end up grinding your own spices. I end up grinding spices in two ways: just a when I need a bit for something, and when I grind larger amounts for to have on hand for convenience. For example, I don’t generally use ground coriander. But when I make pastrami, I need some for the rub, and I’ll grind a couple of tablespoons or so. In contrast, I use chili powder all the time. Making chili powder is a process, as I toast many of the ingredients and whole dried peppers first, then let them cool, and then grind them. So I tend to make chili powder in large quantities, so that it’s available when I need it. When I’m grinding in large quantities, I’m going to use my Vitamix. That being said, there are times when you just need a bit of something and it isn’t enough to grind well in the Vitamix.
I had a KitchenAid Coffee and Spice Grinder Combo Pack before I broke it. I liked the idea of it having two spice grinding cups, but coffee cup was only good for grinding coffee, and I had a Krups already that I liked so I didn’t use it for coffee. The mechanism to attach the cups to the motor was not designed well, and had rubbery fins that spun the blades. Which easily ended up degrading if you didn’t get the cup attached right and then it would only grind for a bit before the cup detached itself and so on. Suffice it to say, it was not a grinder built for people like me in mind.
Once I killed the KitchenAid, I decided that I’d look for a different grinder this time. I ended up with the Cuisinart Spice and Nut Grinder – Model SG-10. Supposedly you can grind a whole nutmeg into a powder. It does, sort of. It ended up being more of a paste, and the large piece of nutmeg kept getting stuck on the cutting blades. I would have been surprised if this had actually worked well though. I think I’ll stick to my microplane grater for nutmeg.
Next I tried two tablespoons of black peppercorns. It did a respectable job.
Then I did two cinnamon sticks, broken up into pieces. Again, not too bad.
I like that the size of the cup is larger (half a cup capacity), but I’m not sure about the drive mechanism on it. I guess time will tell as to whether I manage to break it or not. I also note that a little bit of the spice dust gets on the lip of the base and in the base, although this was a problem with the KitchenAid as well. As of yet, I haven’t been wowed with any spice grinder/coffee grinder that I’ve owned up to this point. If you have a great one out there, let me know.