If the smell of freshly-ground coffee beans is the only thing that can really get you going in the morning, buying your own coffee grinder is a great way to both save on expensive takeaway lattes, and get your first hit of the day without leaving home.
And what better way to dive into the world of homemade java than with Melitta, aka the company that made the first-ever coffee filter back in 1908?
Over a century later, the well-respected German company has launched the Melitta Calibra Coffee Grinder, which comes with an integrated weighing scale so you can, well, count your beans super effectively.
Drinking cup after cup of aromatic, freshly-ground coffee was a cross we were willing to bear in the name of putting the Calibra to the test – and we were mightily impressed by the results.
Price and availability
The Melitta Calibra coffee grinder is available to buy for £124.99. Coffee grinders of this kind (burr grinders) can cost anything from around £40 right up to the thousands, so this Melitta model is on the lower end of the price scale.
This is a coffee grinder that would look great in any kitchen, with a slick brushed-metal-and-black finish, and an easy-to-read LCD screen.
Below the LCD screen are a number of control buttons: Tare (for setting the integrated scales to zero), power on/off, Select, and a ‘+’ and ‘–’ buttons. The buttons are easy to use and clearly labelled, although we did have to look up what ‘tare’ meant (if you're similarly in the dark, this allows you to place a container on the scales, then reset the weight to 0 before adding your ingredients).
While that shiny finish is attractive and professional-looking, it’s worth bearing in mind that it’s a bit of a fingerprint-magnet – especially the stainless steel sides. If you hate housework, you may prefer to look for a model that features a matte finish.
At nearly 40cm tall, it’s not the smallest grinder on the market, but it makes up for its height with a small footprint; even the most cramped kitchens should be able to accommodate it.
All of the detachable parts – including the bean container, ground coffee container, lids, outer grinder ring, and stainless steel plate – are dishwasher-safe, or easily cleaned by hand.
Features and performance
One of the best things about this coffee grinder is that it comes with an integrated scale – although without reading the manual, how you switch the grinder from measuring in coffee cups to grams isn’t that clear.
Still, once we’d worked out how to do this (simply hit the Select button and scroll through the different measurements using the ‘+’ and ‘-’ keys), measuring out our coffee was a piece of, er… cake.
That’s great for users who want their ground beans to be precisely measured, but we found that grinding enough beans per cup was the most convenient way for us to use the grinder.
With 39 grind settings, it’s really easy to make coffee to your precise requirements. For espressos, you’ll want to use a finer setting (1-5), while filter coffee is best made with a setting in the middle of the range (6-26). And if you’ll be making your coffee in a cafetière, a coarse setting (27-39) is recommended.
You change the grind setting by twisting the bottom of the coffee bean container – we were glad that this particular setting can be adjusted manually, rather than via complicated maneuvers on the LCD screen.
If all those grind settings sound a little overwhelming, there are little icons for the various methods of coffee-making all along the lower rim of the bean container – simply twist the container so the arrow lines up with your chosen method.
We put the Melitta Calibra Coffee Grinder through its paces, testing all the different levels and brewing methods. Whether we used a filter, a cafetière, or a stovetop coffee maker, the resulting brew was always delicious and well-rounded.
Beans ground for espressos were particularly rich and finely ground, which is partly thanks to the use of a burr, rather than a blade to grind the beans. Burr coffee grinders tend to deliver more consistent results, and are better suited to making espressos than blade grinders, which can produce more coarsely ground beans.
Another feature we loved was the fact that the grinder remembers your previous settings, even when you unplug it – very handy if you're in a bleary-eyed state first thing in the morning.
We loved the Melitta Calibra Coffee Grinder. It works seamlessly, looks great on our countertop, and delivers consistently fantastic coffee. It’s also really easy to clean, and setting it up out of the box was a breeze.
Using the integrated scale could be a little more intuitive, but if you’re anything like us you’ll probably prefer to just grind your beans by the cup – still, the option is there for true coffee nerds.
Cheaper coffee grinders do exist, but the Calibra works so well that we would definitely recommend opting for it over a cheaper blade grinder – your sleepy morning self will thank you.
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