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The TimeMore C2 is a hand coffee grinder that is quite popular and gets a lot of rave reviews online. But are there any negatives to the C2 that you should know about? There are a few and here they are.
The TimeMore C2 is a great value for money hand coffee grinder that looks and feels great while also producing high quality grounds, especially for the price. The main drawbacks are that there are some plastic parts, lack of grind setting indicator and lack of adjustability for espresso.
Let’s get into the drawbacks of the TimeMore C2 a little more and if they are really problems you should worry about.
What Are The Drawbacks Of The Timemore C2?
There are a few downsides to the Timemore C2. Here are the one’s I’ve noticed after about 5 months of daily use.
- Beans bouncing out: For me personally, the biggest issue with the C2 is that the beans tend to bounce off the bracing inside the grinder body and bounce out of the grinder when filling it. This happens regularly and nobody likes to lose beans when filling their grinder.
- Catch cup thread: The next biggest problem is the thread that screws the catch cup onto the main body of the grinder. The threads tend to cross thread and since the aluminum used is quite soft, this could easily damage the threads. It also feels a little bit ‘off’ when screwing on the cup. However, after a few weeks of regular use, the screwing feeling starts feeling a bit smoother and less ‘grindy’. Unless you really screw the cup on tight, it tends to feel a little loose during grinding. However, because there are enough threads, it won’t come off.
- Handle and cover: The handle, knob and cover lid are one piece. The knob and lid are made of plastic. It’s not cheap feeling plastic but you also don’t feel like it’s a very high quality piece. On older models the lid could break sometimes but it seems on the newer batches this has been solved.
- Handle doesn’t go on straight: The handle assembly slides on the shaft that spins the burrs. The connection is metal on metal so this is not a weak point. However, it’s just a friction fit so it usually doesn’t sit on completely straight so the handle droops slightly. This is a really small thing that doesn’t impact the functionality at all, it’s barely a downside but, I did notice it a few times just looking at the grinder. It might bother some people.
- Plastic bracing: The outside body is completely made from CNC machined aluminum. However, there is bracing on the inside to keep the shaft stable. These braces are made from plastic. There are some worries that this could get brittle over time and crack. The plastic seems to be strong, thick and high quality so I don’t imagine it’s going to be a problem for quite a long time.
- Not for Espresso: While the manual says you can grind for espresso, it’s not really optimized for this. While it can grind finely enough to get into the realm of espresso, there isn’t really enough adjustability to really dial in the espresso as precisely as you’d like. However, for a machine with pressurized basket or manual espresso machine like the flair, the C2 will do fine.
- Counting clicks: The grind size adjustment is done by counting clicks. This in itself is not a problem, however, it’s hard to keep track which setting you’re on. If you use the same brew method every time, this isn’t really a problem. However, if you switch between brew methods that require different grind sizes, it is confusing to keep track of which setting you’re on.
- Burr alignment: There are some reports that the burr alignment isn’t great in all TimeMore C2’s. However, in the two samples I’ve seen (both 2021 models), this is not an issue. The burrs in both samples I’ve seen are perfectly aligned and spin straight.
- Retention: The burrs sit inside a little ring. Grounds tend to get stuck between the burrs and that little ring. The grinder comes with a brush to clean it up but it’s difficult to get all the stuck coffee grounds out without making a mess.
- Capacity: The standard TimeMore Chestnut C2 has a claimed 20 gram capacity. With the coffee I use I usually get at most 23 grams (light roast) in there. This is enough for my needs because I usually grind 20 grams at a time. However, for some people this can be an issue. Grinding twice for a single brew is irritating. However, this is easily solved by going for the C2 MAX. This is the same grinder but slightly longer which increases the capacity to 30 grams.
Does That Mean The C2 Is a Bad Grinder?
After reading all those downsides and potential quality issues, you might think the TimeMore C2 is not a good grinder. However, that’s not the case. I still fully recommend the Timemore C2. It grinds quite uniformly, it’s fast, doesn’t require too much effort and feels good on most touch surfaces.
Also, all the downsides above are real but most of them are not a big issue that impact the functioning of the grinder. You also have to take the price into account. A big reason for the C2’s popularity is the price point. It has shaken up the sub $100 hand grinder market pretty significantly. While it might be a bit more expensive than the traditional beginner hand grinders, it doesn’t cost nearly as much as the higher end hand grinders while providing a lot of the grind quality and feel of the more expensive models.
If you look at the hand grinders that solve most of the drawbacks of the C2, you’re looking at models that cost 2-3x as much. So while there are things you can criticize the Chestnut for, you’re going to be hard pressed finding anything better for the same money.
If you like a fast grinder with good grind uniformity that feels good in your hands but don’t want to break the bank, you can’t really beat the C2. And the models that come close often come from the same factory and use the same burr set. That means they might look and/or feel a bit different (some better, some worse), but they’ll provide the same grind quality.