The KitchenAid A - 9 Coffee Mill
In the late 1930s KitchenAid brought out the A - 9 coffee mill. About 15 years ago a friend found one at a flea market and sent it to me. What a stylish dsign the A - 9 has! KitchenAid made it until the fifties when it was redesigned using plastics. Eventually KitchenAid discontinued making coffee mills altogether. Recently they reintroduced the A - 9 -- same shape, size, and made of painted cast aluminum (in many colors and chrome), and the hopper is glass. It grinds the coffee much faster than the original A - 9. The new model comes with a glass measuring container for the ground coffee and a small brush used for cleaning. You will need to use the brush occasionally inside the glass hopper where the beans meet the burr grinders. This grinder does not work well on flavored coffee beans. It is not quiet; in fact, two of my sons, to whom I have given refurbished A - 9 grinders, always grind the coffee the night before for morning coffee. Personally, I find the hum of that coffee grinder comforting to me while I am still in bed. It means someone is making me coffee!
Before KitchenAid reintroduced the A - 9, the original model became quite popular on eBay.com -- sometimes commanding more than a hundred dollars. Refurbishers emerged who completely redid the older models -- new cord, feet, gaskets, switch, motor brushes, and the body was powder coated in any color you wanted (I had one done in jadeite for my daughter-in-law by www.decodan.com). KitchenAid must have noticed that this was happening. Now, you can get a brand new KitchenAid A - 9 for about $100.00.
I find the design particularly pleasing, but then design appreciation is a personal thing. KitchenAid also offers now a Proline Coffee mill that cost more than $200.00. Its selling point is that it grinds the coffee at a low rpm, thus not heating the ground beans. This large, heavy unit also takes up a lot of counter space. All in all, I think the A 9 is a great choice, and one that will last you for years.