Coffee grinders come in so many shapes and sizes that it’s hard to settle on the perfect one. Even when you do, it doesn’t always produce a consistent grind. Depending on how you brew, that could mean extra body or not enough.
Instead of reinventing the wheel (or the grinder), Kruve decided to improve the grounds. How’d they do that, you ask? Let’s take a look at the Kruve Sifter Base.
Before you consider investing in a coffee sifter, you should do a quick self-evaluation of your brewing skills. Are you just starting to explore coffee beyond your Keurig, or have you just won your first barista competition?
Whether or not buying a coffee sifter (or sieve) is right for you depends a lot on your skill level. If you haven’t yet mastered water temperature and choosing the best beans, you can hold off on the sifter for now.
Once you’re ready to level up, there are a few factors you can use to evaluate sifters.
Depending on your favorite brewing method, you will want a different-sized grind. A sifter helps you filter out granules that are either too big or too small for your ideal method. But, it won’t help you choose that method or make an optimum and uniform grind.
A versatile coffee sifter will give you plenty of options for varying your grind size. You can tell if it’s versatile by how many sieves come in the package. Each size sieve will sift out a specific grind. So, the more sieves, the more versatile.
When you switch roasts and need to refresh your equipment, it’s a good idea to clean out your sifter. Regular cleanings will help reduce oil buildup and bacteria. An ideal sifter will make that process easy.
Call it vanity, but I like to show off my tools. A well-functioning tool with a stunning design will get my attention over one with a clunky appearance any day.
Kruve has four models of coffee sifters: the Sifter Base, Sifter Plus – Bean, Sifter Plus – Grind, and Sifter Max.
The Sifter Plus – Bean comes with filters with wider holes that allow whole beans to pass through. The Sifter Max includes both grind and bean filters. The difference between the Base and the Sifter Plus – Grind is that the plus comes with ten more filters on top of the five included with the base model.
The Kruve Sifter Base has five filters, the base unit with two tiers, and a stainless steel “brewler.” The brewler is a tool to measure the size of your grind (brew + ruler, get it?). It’s essentially a ruler with holes that let grinds and beans through at different gauges.
With a filter on the top layer and one underneath, the Kruve promises to trap the right size granules in the middle. The boulders will stay above the top filter. The fines will drop through both layers of filters and end up on the bottom of the unit.
- It’s the perfect size for brewing a personal cup or a duo.
- Easy to clean. Just rinse off.
- It helps you put a number on vague descriptions like “fine” and “coarse.”
- Easy to assemble and use.
- The wood and steel look is classy on the countertop.
- Lid functions as a trivet for hot kettles.
- It creates a lot of wasted coffee if you don’t have a professional-grade grinder.
- It’s pretty pricey considering what it does.
- It adds an extra step to the brewing process, making it a pain for daily use.
- The trays slide apart too easily.
- It’s tricky to get the sieves to snap into the trays.
For an overview from Kruve, check out their video below:
Let’s take a closer look at some of the top features so you can decide if it’s the proper sifter for you.
The Kruve sifter has three components: the trays, the sieves, and the lid.
There are three triangular anodized aluminum trays in total. The bottom one catches the fines. The following two trays are bottomless, essentially frames for the sieves. All three trays stack onto each other to form the body of the unit.
The lid of the sifter is a thick slab of bamboo. You can easily set a hot kettle down on top of it without concern. Since bamboo is renewable, this part of the design is eco-friendly, even though this isn’t one of Kruve’s selling points.
The critical part of this sifter is, naturally, the sieves. Each one is made of stainless steel and stamped with a micron measurement. With the base model, you get 300 µm, 500 µm, 800 µm, 1100 µm, and 1400 µm sieves.
If you upgrade to the more expensive models, the sieves range from 200 µm to 1600 µm. Plus, you get a nifty wooden holder for all of your sieves. The base model does not come with a holder.
You can get the sifter in three different color combos: silver with a natural bamboo lid, black with a natural bamboo lid, and “limited edition black” with a black top. Overall, the design is pretty sleek. It’s simple, elegant, and ergonomically designed to fit in hand.
The biggest complaint I’ve heard about the Kruve sifter is that it’s hard to fit the sieves into the trays. It’s a tricky process that takes a bit of practice at first. Just be careful not to press on the center of the sieve and bend it out of shape.
Even with just the five sieve base model, you can get quite a few grind size combinations. With the entire set, there are 105 possible combos. There is a margin of error with the measures, however, of +/- 20µm. That’s not enough to make a difference, but necessary to note for the coffee geeks out there.
Once you assemble the unit with the size sieves you want and pour your grinds in, the sifter does its job well. You can see a clear difference in the fines and boulders, leaving a very consistent size in the middle. It’s surprising to see how much variation can come out of a calibrated grinder.
There’s always the option to throw the boulders back into the grinder and sieve again. Otherwise, you won’t find much in the way of brewable coffee in the center tray. If you used this device daily, you’d end up throwing out significant amounts of coffee grounds.
By now, you might be asking yourself if any of this matters. Who cares about boulders and fines? They all brew the same, right? Wrong.
The reason a consistent grind is essential is that different-sized particles extract at different rates. The smaller particles extract faster. When they over-extract, they cause a bitter flavor. The larger particles don’t extract enough, which adds sourness to the brew.
If you have particles that are all the same size, you get a much more even flavor. That said, if you use the wrong temperature water or brew too long, you can get a consistently lousy cup of coffee. Consistency is important, but only once you have those other variables under control.
Unless you have a well-trained palette, you probably won’t taste the difference this sifter makes in the overall flavor of your cup of coffee. If you’re entering a barista competition, however, this gadget can give you a slight edge.
Once I finish brewing, I want to sit down and enjoy my beverage. What I don’t want to do is spend a lot of time cleaning up. So, a product that cleans up easily gets bonus points in my book.
The Kruve sifter doesn’t disappoint in this department. There are no fine grooves that trap particles. The stainless steel sieves wash clean with minimal effort. It’s the same for the trays. Pop the trays out, rinse it all off, and set it out to dry. You’re done!
The Kruve sifter isn’t the only grind sifter out there, but it’s close. The Kruve options are more affordable than scientific sifters. However, paying $50 to $300 is a lot for a gadget that makes only a minuscule difference in the resulting brew.
On the more cosmetic side, there are two different sieve holders out there. In some photos, the holder is a laser-cut wooden affair that puzzle-pieces together. On the Kruve site, it’s a less impressive black tray.
The Kruve sifter is getting so much attention because it doesn’t have a lot of competition. Professionals have been using geological sifters designed for rocks and stones. Those can run $80 per sieve or more for one Endicott stainless steel mesh sieve.
Since having a great grinder is an essential prerequisite to a sieve, you should start there if you want a better grind or an overall better coffee brewing experience. Check out the grinder options below:
- The Rancilio Rocky Espresso Coffee Grinder
- KitchenAid Coffee Grinder
- Oxo Burr Grinder
- Breville Smart Grinder Pro
Good luck and happy caffeinating!