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busteddread
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 5:03pm
Subject: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

I'm only making French Press coffee these days.  My old, inexpensive, no-longer-in-production burr grinder still works "sort of" but is a constant reminder of the rapid decline of a poorly constructed tool (not unlike myself).

I'm looking for a better instrument for the job. I've read a great many postings here where the chief goal is discovering a cheapish grinder that functions sufficiently well . . . and another smaller set of postings pursuing the ideal +$1,000 monstrosity. My desires fall somewhere in between.

I make a 1 liter pot of French Press coffee for myself every day.  Lately, I've been purchasing whole beans from a premium online site - so naturally I don't want to ruin them with a grinder that mauls them or crushes them into a fine powder.  It would also be nice not to suffer thru the anguish of grinder shopping every 1 to 3 years because of poor craftsmanship/design/production.

The $200 - $550 range is meant to cover anything from the Baratza Virtuoso, including the Rocky, and up to the Macap 4M (I hear there's a 2M?) as well as any other makes that fall between these boundaries. I am only interested in electric grinders. My standards are limited to these factors:
  • minimal dust or fines
  • consistent grind size (for a French Press)
  • little or no anti-static problem
  • good build quality/longevity

Naturally, I would feel like spending higher within my price range for machines that excel in one or more of these categories. I don't have unlimited funds, but I might splurge a bit for something that performs well and could possibly hang with me for the rest of my natural life.

This is my first post on the forum.  I am - and probably always will be - a novice so I welcome all guidance as well as criticism.
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dorkroast
Senior Member
dorkroast
Joined: 3 Oct 2012
Posts: 88
Location: CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mazzer Mini
Drip: Cheapo Melitta pourover
Roaster: Behmor, Popcorn Pumper
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 6:46pm
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

French press really isn't demaning on a grinder other than the fact that you'll want a consistent grind. Any of the names bantered about on this site would do the job for you without problems. I'd stay away from super cheap burr grinders or whirley bird grinders.

Any of the Baratza's would do the job for you as far as I know. In the price range you listed you could but a Mazzer Mini brand new, or find a Mazzer SJ used- overkill for french press, but fine grinders. The Breville smart grinder is nice, user friendly, and has a decent price.

Best of luck, let us know what  you get. I'm sure any of the above would make you a happy french press user.
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jbviau
Senior Member
jbviau
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 731
Location: Pembroke Pines, FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Grinder: Preciso / LIDOs
Drip: Trifecta MB / Eva Solo...
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 7:12pm
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

I can personally vouch for the Baratza Preciso (well, step down to the Virtuoso 586 with the same burr set if you're not doing espresso) and Orphan Espresso LIDO (hand grinder) for coarse grinding. I'd have to disagree with the above post in the sense that (a) Mazzers are not known for a consistent coarse grind, which (b) is harder to come by than I used to think. Enjoy!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,024
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 9:19pm
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

^+1

I love my Lido for coarse grind, but not being electric, it's sort of out for you. Having said that, I saw on OE's site today, that they offer an electric drill attachment.

I have used Rocky and Macap M4. Hands down, the Macap far excels the Rocky in all of your criteria -except that I've never used it for coarse (only espresso). Build quality and outliving you...definitely Macap, maybe Rocky, unlikely Baratza.

If I were in your shoes, I'd seriously check into how people like using Lido with a drill. It's an awesome grinder!

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,851
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600, CO/UFO combo
Posted Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:38pm
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

dorkroast Said:

French press really isn't demaning on a grinder other than the fact that you'll want a consistent grind. Any of the names bantered about on this site would do the job for you without problems. I'd stay away from super cheap burr grinders or whirley bird grinders.

Any of the Baratza's would do the job for you as far as I know. In the price range you listed you could but a Mazzer Mini brand new, or find a Mazzer SJ used- overkill for french press, but fine grinders. The Breville smart grinder is nice, user friendly, and has a decent price.

Posted December 4, 2012 link

Mazzer grinders are NOT particularly suited to grinding coarse. They are designed as ESPRESSO grinders, and do a fine job with that task.
You needn't spend tons of money. Either the baratza Encore, or better still, the Baratza Preciso would be perfect for your needs.
The bonus is that the Preciso does a wonderful job with drip/vac/French press.
A 'refurb" can be had on the website for the low end of your budget. new, In believe they are $299.
There is a fine "First Look" style review from this site's owner, Mark Prince.
"Baratza Virtuoso Preciso"

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,024
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4 x2, VDD...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 8:06am
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

Just to add more about Baratza from my initial reply above...

Although one probably won't last the rest of your "natural life", (as you put it), due primarily to there being a LOT of plastic. They ARE well built.  Baratza has a great reputation here and their grinders are highly recommended by many people on this site (including myself), because of their quality.  They offer excellent (or should I say superior) customer service/support and stand behind their products...even the refurbished ones.

...and along with what Rob (IMAWriter) said about the Mazzer Mini...well, the Macap M4 is on par with the Mini (i.e., likely only good for espresso as well).  I don't know much about the M2...but from what I've read, it seems to be an attempt by Macap to make a slightly smaller cheaper espresso grinder.  The fact that it's stepped makes it more adjustable between fine and coarse than their stepless grinders...though I don't know how the coarse quality is.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,722
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 8:30am
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

Just to clarify things, the 1L of press coffee you make, it isn't all at the same time is it? You don't make 1L then put it in some sort of device to keep it warm do you?
I am just asking as a press is so easy to use, there is no good reason to drink stale (brewed OK but stale in the pot) coffee. Just asking!

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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busteddread
Senior Member


Joined: 4 Dec 2012
Posts: 5
Location: FL
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 9:48am
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

Well, I suppose I was secretly hoping someone would tell me to run out and buy something big, shiny, and metallic. And I still might if I heard something like, "I have a Macap M4 stepped doserless [or insert any other pricy model] and its FP grind is a thing of gut-wrenching beauty and it will outlive your offspring." Sounds like thats not gonna happen, partially because many have not tried a coarser grind on a "deluxe" machine - for entirely understandable reasons.

I had considered the Lido at one point. But I think my morning routine is too harried and slap dash to attempt just yet.

In the Baratza lineup, as was mentioned, there's not much need for the Preciso's fine-tuning if I'm not making espresso. The Encore is perhaps sufficient but I'm concerned that it may not last very long. So the Virtuoso appears to be the obvious choice there. [Or maybe the Vario with metallic burrs? :)]

I'm sure I should be grateful to keep a few $$$s in my pocket at this time of the year.

In response to a previous post, I pour off the whole 1L into a thermos.  I drink it 30 to 45 minutes later when I arrive at work.

Thanks for everyone's replies so far . . . very helpful.
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redkiosk
Senior Member
redkiosk
Joined: 13 May 2012
Posts: 215
Location: Chicago Metro Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Illy Francis-Francis X1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso w/ Esatto...
Vac Pot: Someday, very intriguing!
Drip: Trifecta MB, Kalita Wave...
Roaster: A sure path to divorce!
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:06am
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

Baratza Preciso with Esatto scale. The morning coffee routine is so seamless. Take care!

Jim

 
The pathologically precise are annoying, but right!
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Dooglas
Senior Member
Dooglas
Joined: 12 Mar 2005
Posts: 719
Location: Portland, OR
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Vibiemme Junior
Grinder: Ascaso, Baratza
Drip: Bonavita, Bodum press
Roaster: GeneCafe, Behmor
Posted Wed Dec 5, 2012, 10:09am
Subject: Re: French Press Grinder for $200 - $550
 

busteddread Said:

In the Baratza lineup, as was mentioned, there's not much need for the Preciso's fine-tuning if I'm not making espresso. The Encore is perhaps sufficient but I'm concerned that it may not last very long. So the Virtuoso appears to be the obvious choice there. [Or maybe the Vario with metallic burrs? :)]

Posted December 5, 2012 link

You are overthinking this a bit. We are talking about a job that a Maestro Plus has been doing daily on my counter for the past 7 or 8 years without missing a beat. Either the Encore or Virtuoso ought to be a fine choice for your application. Doesn't sound like money is the issue. Get a Virtuoso. It even looks good IMO. (Vario with metallic burrs?, sit down, take a few slow breaths, and drink a fresh pressed coffee)
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