Want to brew some good pour over coffee at home and are wondering if the popular TimeMore Chestnut C2 is the right choice? Here’s what you want to know.
The TimeMore C2 is a very capable hand grinder for all pour over coffee brewing methods. It produces quite consistent grounds with little fines and does the job smoothly and quickly. For pour over, the C2 comes close to high end hand grinders for less than half the price.
Why is this the case and should you buy/ upgrade to the TimeMore C2? You can find out below.
What Does a Good Pour Over Grinder Do?
What makes a coffee grinder suitable for pour over brewing? Here are some things to look out for.
- Grind in the correct size range: For pour over most people use grounds in the medium-fine to medium grind size range. That means the grinder should be able to grind to that size. This won’t be an issue in most cases since this is pretty much the standard grind size in the middle of the adjustment range for most grinders unless you’ve got an espresso specific grinder.
- Grind uniformly: One of the most important things a coffee grinder must do, whether for pour over or other brew methods is grind uniformly. That means that the particles are all the same size or close to it. There are no grinders that create perfectly even pieces of only one size but some are definitely better than others.
- Hold enough for a single brew: The capacity of the grinder should be at least big enough for the amount you want to brew. Larger is fine but the grinders get bulkier and harder to grip if they’re bigger (in the case of a hand grinder). A smaller capacity than you need is very irritating since you’ll have to fill the grinder twice for one brew.
- Grind quickly: The grind speed is of course dependent on how quickly you turn the handle on a hand grinder. But some designs (burrs and shape of the insides) work much faster than others. Especially with a hand grinder, a faster one is just easier and more pleasurable to use. It might not have an effect on the end result but if grinding takes 5 minutes for a single cup, it’s just not worth it.
- No or few fines: Fines are the very small particles (dust) that is created when breaking up the coffee beans. These add a lot of bitterness and slow down your brew dramatically. No fines is not really possible unless you filter the coffee grounds but some grinders produce a lot less than others.
- Have enough adjustability: Adjustability is one of the most important features of any coffee grinder. The ability do adjust the grind size to your taste, coffee and other needs is very important. You want a good range of adjustability and don’t want the steps in between adjustments to be too big so you can really find the sweet spot for your situation.
- Easy adjustments: The adjustment of the grind size should be easy and clear without having to take the whole grinder apart. Consistent changes between grind settings are a plus.
- Be easy to hold and use: In a hand grinder, the ergonomics are important. The grinder should be easy to hold and keep a grip on. It should also grind easily without getting stuck many times.
Is the TimeMore C2 Good For Pour Over?
If you’re looking for an affordable hand grinder that works well for pour over, the Chestnut C2 is definitely a good option. In the same price range you’re not going to find anything better and the C2 does a lot of things right that make it very suitable for pour over brews.
If we look at what the Chestnut has to offer, you’ll see why it’s a good option as a grinder for pour over.
The effective adjustment range of the C2 is from Moka pot to cold brew. It won’t quite do espresso grinds very well although in some cases it can work. But since pour over grind size is in between moka pot and cold brew, you’ll be able to find the right size without issues. The adjustment steps are small enough to be able to find the sweet spot for pour over well. It’s not the grind that has the finest adjustability but for pour over it will do the job perfectly well and you’ll be able to find a setting that suits your needs.
In the price range the C2 is definitely one of the best in the way of grind uniformity, speed and fines production. The uniformity is not amazing but definitely a step above the typical other grinders in this price range. It’s not quite on the level of a 1Zpresso JX but it also doesn’t cost nearly as much. And I actually think the grind uniformity of the C2 is closer to the JX than to an entry level grinder. However, the C2 is closer in price to the entry level grinders than to the premium ones.
Speed is one of the big benefits of the TimeMore C2. It’s a very fast grinder that rivals the fastest hand grinders currently available. For me, grinding 20 grams of lightly roasted coffee in about 45 seconds is easy. That’s a lot faster than the almost 2 minutes it would take me to grind the same amount with the Hario Skerton. The stainless steel burrs in the C2 are sharp and because of that, it grinds much faster and produces much better results.
The sharp stainless steel burrs also mean the coffee beans are more cut than ground. This produces a more even particle size distribution but also less fines. Think about it, do you get more dust cutting something dry with a sharp knife or bashing it with a hammer? The sharp knife is obviously much better. There are some fines but it’s really quite good. Yes there are grinders that produce less fines but those are much, much more expensive.
And finally the C2 is a pleasure to hold and use which means brewing coffee just becomes more pleasurable. It’s smooth, fast and feels like you’re holding a quality item. It has some heft to it which means it’s not the best for traveling but it does give a feel of quality. There might be some plastic parts but most of those you never touch and they seem durable. The grind size is also quite easy to adjust with the clicker on the bottom. The only downside is that there is no indicator which setting you’re on but this is only an issue if you change between brew methods often.
All those things put together means the C2 is a great grinder for brewing pour over. Are there better grinders? Sure but to get a significant increase in quality, you’ll pay 2-3x as much as you pay for a C2. They don’t cost that much more than the standard entry-level grinders but provide a much higher grind quality that makes a noticeable difference in taste of your coffee.
Is It Worth Upgrading To The TimeMore C2 For Pour Over?
So if you don’t have a grinder at all and want a good hand grinder that doesn’t break the bank, the TimeMore C2 is a great option that does pour over very well but can also be used for most other brew methods with great success. But what if you’ve already got a grinder? Is it worth getting the Chestnut C2?
That depends on your budget, which grinder you’ve got now, and what you want to improve. If you own a premium hand grinder (+-$120+), you likely won’t see any increase in the taste of your coffee. However, if you’ve got an entry level grinder like one of the Hario or Javapresse ones, you’ll notice a massive increase in the taste of your coffee but also the ease of use and speed.
I personally went from a Hario Skerton to the TimeMore C2 and the difference is night and day. In all aspects the C2 is so much better that it’s hard to believe they’re in the same price range (at least where I live). The grind quality is much better with better uniformity and much less fines. I’d say that the C2 produces only about 1/5th the fines of the Skerton (just judging by eye though).
It’s also much easier to hold because of the thinner shape and textured exterior. And because the burrs are sharper, you get stuck way less often.
And finally, the most important difference was the taste of my coffee. I use a V60 (pour over) about 95% of the time with some moka pot and cold brew mixed in sometimes. The difference in taste with the V60 was dramatic. Much less bitterness because of the reduced fines. The taste is much ‘rounder’ with the acidity being more pleasurable. Mind you, that was with exactly the same coffee from the same bag.
Also, because there are less fines, the grind setting is now finer than before to get the same brew time. This results in higher extraction without the bitterness and a deeper taste. Overall a much better drinking experience.
So is it worth upgrading? From an entry-level grinder, absolutely if you can spend the money and you want better coffee. Do you want to spend more money and want the best you can get in the world of hand grinding? There are plenty of high-end hand grinders that are better in some or all ways but for many people, it’s not worth the extra money. The C2 occupies a sweet spot where you get high end features for an almost entry level price.