Last modification of the page done on 07 02 2018 09:38

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International association of collectors
of coffee grinders

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Terms specific to coffee mills


semelle Mill bottom board.

Box joint (Finger joint ):

queue droite The fingers in the box joint are rectangular rather than dovetail shaped. The box joint is simpler to cut than the dovetail but it is less stabile. However it gives enough stability to the objects whose sides it allows to join together..

This assembly is specific to late 19th and early 20th century models.


console Metal part (often made of cast iron) used as a support guide for the mill shaft, the gears and the shaft connected to the crank arm.
It is generally present on counter mills.


arcade Metal part (often cast iron) used as a support guide for the mill shaft, passing over the hopper cover.

Bridle joint:


This joint with a longer and tighter tenon, is frequently found on American or Swiss square models. .

Coffee mill with Moravian base:


Mill whose base has a protrusive rounded shape in the center of the sides.

Chamfered Board:

planche chanfrenée

Board with bevelled edges.


colonne On late 19th and , early 20th centuriy mills, placed at the four corners of the mill box, or at least on the front face.
They can be straight or worked, in wood or metal.


calotte Part, generally hemispherical, covering the hopper, protecting the grains from dust or even from ejection of these during grinding.
It generally comprises 2 halves, one of which is movable and the other fixed.

Cover with kidney-shaped flat:

calotte haricot

The movable part of the cover slides under the fixed part forming a kidney-shaped opening.


manivelle direct manivelle indirect Handle with a knob to set the mechanism in motion.
Placed either at the end of the shaft supporting the grinding burr (direct transmission, classic on table or wall mills) or on a transmission shaft (indirect transmission on counter mills)
It can be folded and stored in the body of the mill (in the case of so-called "travel mills").


godet Glass viewing part on the hopper of wall mills allowing the observation of the level of remaining coffee to grind.

Dovetail joint:

queue d'aronde

A dovetail consists of a trapezoid-shaped tenon placed in a mortise of the same shape.

The word dove once meant swallow.

This very solid joint is specific to 19th century or earlier models.

Dutch single-piece coffee mill:

monoxyle hollandais

Coffee grinder identical to the Louis XIV mill except that the hopper is made of brass and the wood is generally adorned with marquetry.
Production: 18th and 19th centuries.

Fixed grinder:

contre noix

Fixed hollow cone-shaped part in metal with jagged edges.
Il surrounds another cone-shaped cavity with ridges that rotates with the shaft.
The coffee beans are ground by passing between the 2 parts.



Side part of a counter model, usually made of cast iron, forming the cheek located above the board above the drawer.

Flattened ball foot:

pied galette Characteristic of one-piece mills of the 17th and 18th centuries whose feet are globular.


tremie belge tremie mural Reservoir containing unground beans.
Funnel-shaped upper part that receives the coffee beans before being ground.
It can be incorporated into the body of the mill (recessed hopper) or placed outside (raised hopper).
In the second case the hopper is so-called "Belgian" if it is open and "German" if it is closed (left photo)..
Some wall mills have ceramic hoppers.


carter comptoir carter mural Usually a metal cover that protects the rotating parts (hiding counter mill gears for example).
Intermediate part between the hopper and the cup containing the mechanism on wall mills.

Keeper nut:

teton Cap nut screwing to the upper end of the mill drive shaft.
Usually in the shape of a small hat. It fastens the crank to the shaft.

'Living room' coffee mill:

moulin de salon

Metal mill with square base surmounted by a conical or domed barrel dating from the 17th and early 18th centuries.

Louis XIV coffee mill:

moulin louis XIV

One-piece mill (body made of a block of hardwood) manufactured from the 17th to the18th century.

Moravian base:

moulin oreille

Lower board with a protruding demi-lune wings, used to stabilize the mill, sometimes with holes to fix it to a support (usually a counter or a table).

Nille or Crank knob:


Rotating turned sleeve (usually made of wood), at the end of the crank, allowing the crank to be turned without friction to the hand.
The crank knobs have a long line shape on 18th century mills (it is called “Nille”) and a mushroom shape on later 18th century mills.


hublot Glass viewing part on the hopper of wall mills allowing the observation of the level of remaining coffee to grind.

Receiver (Container):

reservoir tiroir Lower part of the grinder (often a drawer) that receives the ground coffee .

Rotating burr/shaft support bar:


Metal part supporting the grinding mechanism (seen in the photo with a fineness-of-grind adjusting screw).

Rotating grinder:

noix Central metal mass with serrated surface connected to the shaft.
This rotating part grinds the coffee beans against another part with jagged edges that surrounds it.
(See “Fixed grinder”)

Sablier (French word for « hourglass ») coffee mill:

monoxyle sablier

Metal mill in the shape of inverted cones produced essentially from the 18th to the 19th century.


planche chantournée

Board whose edges are cut in the shape of a brace.


tige Axle connecting the rotating grinding burr to the crank.
The shaft can be directly mounted or indirectly mounted (often horizontally in this case) using pinions.

Snuffbox coffee mill:

tabatiere Mill made of pressed iron sheet with grooves.
The lid opens by a third. The receptacle is vertically articulated.
Production: early 20th century.


dent rotor dent stator Small ridges arranged on the grinding surfaces, usually in a helix shape, to crush the grains.

Travel coffee mill:

voyage Mill characterized by a low space requirement, the presence of a folding crank that can be accommodated inside the mill and a quick disassembly of the mill.
Model opposite: format of a cigarette pack, the crank is housed inside

Wheel :


Large wheel with a handle, replacing the crank, on large counter mills.

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