Alexandr3 Senior Member Joined: 28 Apr 2010 Posts: 6 Location: Montreal, QC Expertise: I love coffee
Posted Mon Oct 25, 2010, 9:04am Subject: Burr Grinder for French Press & Espresso
I currently drink out of a french press (Chambord Bodum for the curious) and I also have a Handpresso for the office.
I'm looking for a good grinder that can do an even grind and both corse and fine. I'm not ready to shed out 300$ for a Rocky, but anything up to about 100$ is OK. The noise level is also important as I have young kids sleeping in the morning (well... sometimes) and I don't want to buzz the whole household when I prepare my grind!
Any suggestion? I read the Breville BCG450XL is good, but i did not found any video to hear the sound of it.
kschendel Senior Member Joined: 7 Nov 2008 Posts: 280 Location: Pittsburgh Expertise: I love coffee
Grinder: Maestro Roaster: Freshroast
Posted Mon Oct 25, 2010, 9:55am Subject: Re: Burr Grinder for French Press & Espresso
If you are serious about espresso grinding for under $100, your only real option is a hand grinder. Take a look at the Kyocera and similar grinders at Orphan Espresso (www.orphanespresso.com). O-E also refurbishes classic hand grinders (usually German make, Zassenhaus etc), and depending on what they have available you might consider one of those instead.
The Baratza Maestro is a fine non-espresso grinder for drip, Aeropress, and press pot. (I own one and I like it.) It is not meant for espresso grinding, which requires very detailed control and a particular (bi-modal) grind profile at a fine grinding level. You might get lucky with an espresso grind from a Maestro, but probably not.
I know nothing about the Cuisinart or Breville grinders, but their lack of fans here at h-b is pretty conclusive IMHO. I'd take a Baratza grinder over Cuisinart or Breville any day; Baratza is serious about customer service, while Cuisinart and Breville seem to be serious about selling to mall retail stores.
If I were you I'd go for a hand grinder for now. It really isn't all that much harder than dealing with a powered grinder, for one coffee drinker or even two, and the hand grinder is a lot cheaper.
Posted Mon Oct 25, 2010, 10:03am Subject: Re: Burr Grinder for French Press & Espresso
I have no experience with the Breville, but I own the Cuisinart and Baratza so I am qualified to offer my own opinion supported by anecdotal evidence - but hey, the advice is free so the price is right. The Baratza provides a grind that is noticeably more consistent than the Cuisinart. The noise produced by the Baratza is lower pitched and not like a power drill. The Cuisinart has a high pitch similar to an electric drill (not screwdriver - drill...). The Cuisinart is cheaper though, but with grinders (and advice), you get what you pay for.
Do you use pods with the Handpresso at work? The Maestro is not going to work very well grinding for espresso but is good for press or pour over.
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
Posted Mon Oct 25, 2010, 1:19pm Subject: Re: Burr Grinder for French Press & Espresso
I think the only well-recommended full-range grinder out there is the Baratza Vario. It does espresso and french well, but you may need to make some adjustments when switching between the two (i.e. turn a screw). Early reports mention the Baratza Virtuoso Preciso handles both well too, and it's cheaper, but it's brand new and not well-exposed yet. I had no luck with my hand grinder doing a french grind, it was way too inconsistent. And I think that's a common problem with conical burr hand mills, so if some of the better ones are flat burr, you may have more luck. For a budget setup, I'd suggest going with two grinders (a Baratza Virtuoso refurb and a hand mill would work nicely), since nearly no grinders out there do both ends of the grind range very well.
Zerileous Senior Member Joined: 7 Mar 2008 Posts: 11 Location: Missouri Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Tue Oct 26, 2010, 9:25am Subject: Re: Burr Grinder for French Press & Espresso
I have had pretty good results with a Hario Skerton for french press. At first the grind was inconsistent but after some breaking in (I don't know if this actually helped or simply caused damage incidentally but one of the first things I did was rub the burrs together a bit when I was getting inconsistent results.) After finding zero I stepped back maybe 5 steps and got good results (mind you I do like my french press grinds fairly fine). That said, I do find it troublesome to grind enough coffee for a french press. If I start grinding at the same time as I start the tea-kettle I will be done in time; maybe I'm just slow/lazy though. OTOH grinding enough for a double shot of espresso shouldn't be too difficult. The german mills with the name that starts with Z (again me being lazy) are stepless I believe, whereas the Hario is not. That said its a great little grinder if your willing to crank out the effort, the burrs are great since most of the price goes into good burrs instead of all the junk in an electric. I'd assume the same is true for the german ones, I have seen one in action and they are nicer, but also more expensive.
Maybe get a hand crank for the office and a budget electric for the home (you could get a maestro and a skerton for around $150, and then have totally fresh coffee every time you press one out at the office with no electric disturbances.)
Sorry for the poor stream of consciousness and all the parentheses. I think I burned up all of my focus doing serial dilutions in lab this morning.
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