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Domestic Espresso Grinder Analysis. by Alan Frew
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alanfrew
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alanfrew
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 640
Location: Melbourne
Expertise: Professional

Posted Fri Aug 30, 2002, 12:00am
Subject: Domestic Espresso Grinder Analysis. by Alan Frew
 

Domestic Espresso Grinder Analysis.
by Alan Frew

A look at the capabilities of domestic espresso coffee grinders based on the burr sets they use.
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DavidMLewis
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Joined: 2 Jan 2002
Posts: 88
Location: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Reneka Techno
Grinder: Versalab M3
Vac Pot: Hario Nouveau, Infuze
Drip: Clever
Roaster: Hottop, HWP
Posted Tue Sep 3, 2002, 10:39am
Subject: Other important features
 

Great article, Alan. I do think, though, that two other features are important in espresso grinders. In the case of rotary pump machines, at least the Techno, no stepped grinder will be adjustable in fine enough increments. A second, related point, is that at that level it becomes important that there be some mechanism, like the springs in the Mazzer grinders, that takes the play out of the burr carrier threads. Otherwise the grind isn't repeatable enough for such a machine, and is too hard to adjust.

Best,
   David
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JDenver
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Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 17
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Expertise: Aficionado

Posted Wed Sep 4, 2002, 2:43pm
Subject: Mazzer not the only grinder
 

David seems to imply that only a Mazzer will do as that is the only brand than meets his filter. I disagree. My Rossi RR45, for example, has 80 "clicks" per revolution, so each click represents about 4 degrees of rotation. more than fine enough for even the most finicky machine. And the threads are so fine that there is very little if any "lash". The Mazzer approach is very good, but there is more than 1 way to skin the cat.

I wonder if Alan has any thoughts on whether larger burrs (as in commercial grinders) produce a better grind (all else being equal) or only a faster one?
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alanfrew
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alanfrew
Joined: 19 Dec 2001
Posts: 640
Location: Melbourne
Expertise: Professional

Posted Thu Sep 5, 2002, 4:15am
Subject: Burr sizes etc.
 

Stepping (IMO) is unimportant, as are springs etc. All that stuff is "ergonomics" rather than grind quality. Rock hard precision gap adjustment and incredibly sharp burrs are the main factors, burr size over a certain level is more a productivity thing than a grind quality factor.

I can get an EXACT espresso grind for a particular machine (given a certain blend) 1st time and every time, regardless of humidity/temperature factors, using a commercial Ditting. It's just so BIG and so stable that "small grinder" problems are invisible. AFAIK, Swifts don't need tweaking every time the wind changes, either. In both examples I suspect that sheer precision is at work, along with the stability engendered by high mass and SHARP edges.

Outside of Swifts, Dittings & Mahlkoenigs I've yet to see an espresso grinder (commercial or domestic) where the same quality of engineering is evident. Certainly I've never seen one that is "head & shoulders" above a Rocky in pure grind quality terms.
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DavidMLewis
Senior Member


Joined: 2 Jan 2002
Posts: 88
Location: Santa Cruz, CA, USA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Reneka Techno
Grinder: Versalab M3
Vac Pot: Hario Nouveau, Infuze
Drip: Clever
Roaster: Hottop, HWP
Posted Thu Sep 5, 2002, 2:04pm
Subject: Grinder variability
 

I didn't mean to imply that only Mazzer grinders were suitable at a high level; sorry for my lack of clarity. Are you saying, Alan, that what changes with humidity, etc. is the grind size itself, rather than the required size? Very interesting if so.

By the way, it's my understanding that the developers of the Swift took advantage of ceramic burr technology that was driven by Ditting.
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