In many cases, transporting, dispensing, and storing ground herbs, spices or tobacco after grinding is impracticable or would lead to degradation of the flavor or quality of those substances. Systems for grinding herbs, spices, or tobacco are therefore known that permit for grinding at the point of use. Such systems can vary in design, size, and mechanism for grinding, depending on the material being ground and the eventual use. For example, a mortar-and-pestle system can be used to crush harder spices (such as cinnamon or cloves), or to create pastes or powders (such as matcha or sencha teas).
For other substances, such as pepper, cutting or cracking the spice is preferable, and so a bladed system such as a pepper grinder can be used. For very soft herbs where larger pieces are desired, herb scissors or a kitchen knife can be used. Each of these conventional solutions are needed at or near the place that the spices will be eventually used, because the quality of these substances decreases with exposure to light, oxygen, or other ambient conditions, and that degradation begins or significantly accelerates at the time when grinding occurs. Despite significant improvements in materials, designs of the most popular spice or herb grinders has been substantially unchanged for millennia. The mortar and pestle, for example, has been substantially unchanged since the domestication of cereal crops. According to an embodiment, a grinding system includes an outer cap having a first plurality of blades extending in a first direction and an inner cap configured to engage with the outer cap in a closed position. The inner cap has a second plurality of blades extending opposite the first direction and configured to be proximate the first plurality of blades when the inner cap is in the closed position, and at least one aperture. The grinding system further includes a dome configured to couple to the inner cap and arranged such that the inner cap is positioned between the dome and the outer cap in the closed position. The above summary is not intended to describe each illustrated embodiment or every implementation of the subject matter hereof.
The figures and the detailed description that follow more particularly exemplify various embodiments. Subject matter hereof may be more completely understood in consideration of the following detailed description of various embodiments in connection with the accompanying figures, in which: FIG. 1 is an exploded side view of a grinder according to an embodiment. 7A is a top view of an outer cap according to an embodiment. 8 is a bottom view of an inner cap configured to engage with the outer cap shown in. 9 is a top view of a blade according to an embodiment. While various embodiments are amenable to various modifications and alternative forms, specifics thereof have been shown by way of example in the drawings and will be described in detail. It should be understood, however, that the intention is not to limit the claimed inventions to the particular embodiments described. On the contrary, the intention is to cover all modifications, equivalents, and alternatives falling within the spirit and scope of the subject matter as defined by the claims. According to the embodiments described below, a grinder system incorporates features to promote even dispensing and storage, in addition to grinding. For example, embodiments can include an auger, tapered cone, dispense point, and cap, such that a user can easily grind, transport, dispense, and store their ground herbs, spices, and/or tobacco. 1 is an exploded side view of one embodiment of such a system, grinder 100 . Grinder 100 includes outer cap 102 , inner cap 104 , auger 106 , dome 108 , and stopper 110 . Grinder 100 is a system for grinding and dispensing materials such as herbs and spices while also providing for storage or even distribution of those substances. A user can obtain better grip on outer cap 102 as a result of these features. Improved grip can be beneficial where a high amount of torque is needed to cut or grind a substance that is being ground in grinder 100 . Outer gap 102 can also be made of some material that will facilitate grip. Therefore, outer cap 102 could be made of a material such as a metal, plastic, or composite that can be easily gripped. In some embodiments, the material that makes up outer cap 102 could be textured, or could have various other features that promote better grip and facilitate that application of torque on outer cap 102 . Inner cap 104 is not meant for gripping by a human hand. Rather, inner cap 104 is configured to rotate relative to outer cap 102 to cut or grind any substance positioned between them. As described in more detail below with respect to other figures, outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 each include blades or posts (not shown in this Figure) that shear materials positioned between them. Outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 are configured to be coupled to one another via an interference fit, in the embodiment shown in FIG. In alternative embodiments, outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 could be mechanically fixed to one another via some other fastening mechanism. For example, in alternative embodiments, outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 could be coupled to one another by an adhesive, brazing or soldering, or via fasteners such as screws.
In embodiments, outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 engage with one another with a snap-type attachment, such that outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 are snapped together for semi-permanent engagement until a sufficient amount of force is applied to disengage them. In a snap-type fitting, outer cap 102 can be rotatable relative to inner cap 104 without significant mechanical impedance. As outer cap 102 is rotated with respect to the remainder of grinder 100 , the blades are moved relative to the posts to cause cutting, shearing, and/or grinding. Outer cap 102 and inner cap 104 include features that fix them to other components of grinder 100 . 1, outer cap 102 is configured to engage with auger 106 , and inner cap 104 is configured to engage with dome 108 . The mechanisms for these mechanical engagements can vary between embodiments. In one embodiment, outer cap 102 can include a magnet that is configured to interact with a corresponding magnet in auger 106 . In alternative embodiments, auger 106 could be configured to engage with outer cap 102 using a ball-and-socket snapping joint, with a spline, or with any other releasable fastener.
The fastener is releasable so that auger 106 can be removed from outer cap 102 in some circumstances, such as to add more material to be ground or to clean out grinder 100 . In alternative embodiments where cleaning or new material addition is possible via other mechanisms, it may not be necessary to affix outer cap 102 to auger 106 releasably. Rather, the attachment could be permanent or semi-permanent, such as by adhesive or brazing, for example. Inner cap 104 is coupled to dome 108 via flange portions 104 F that extend away from inner cap 104 in a direction opposite of outer cap 102 . Flange portions 104 F are configured to engage with features of an adjacent component, dome 108 , in the embodiment shown in FIG.