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Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
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Atriya
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 8:20pm
Subject: Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
 

Hello folks; this is my first post.

I'm thinking of switching to coffee from tea. What attracts me is the French-style café au lait - I want to French press a dark French roast, mix with scalded milk in a 1:1 ratio, and add a dash of sugar.

I've decided on the Bodum Chambord French press. Now I need a burr grinder. I already know that French press requires consistent coarse grinds. Which of the following grinders would be most suited to this particular application?

I do not intend to make espresso or drip coffee.

I need to buy two grinders - one for myself, and one as a gift. For my grinder, budget is around $150, but I can go up to $200 if really worth it. For the gift, budget is around $50, but I can go up to $75 if really worth it. The gift grinder should also be small and portable (my grinder does not need to be).

•Bodum Bistro (~$120)
•Capresso Infinity (~$80)
•The Hario and Kyocera hand grinders (<$50)
•Saeco CA6804/47 (~$60)
•Breville Conical Burr Grinder (~$100)
•Baratza Encore (~$140)
•Cuisinart DBM-8 (~$50)
•Baratza Virtuoso (technically exceeds my budget )


Could you please suggest a grinder for each of the two price brackets I mentioned (again, keeping French press specifically in mind for both)?

Thanks a lot!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,961
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 Sun Sep 1, 2013, 8:39am
Subject: Re: Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
 

Welcome to CG!

Short answer:
Encore and Hario/Kyocera

Have you looked at the Espro press? It's a bit expensive but gives great quality press coffee with almost nil sediment. There's an excellent review of it on www.espressomyespresso.com

I'm sure you don't want scalded milk. It tastes nasty and burnt. Get yourself a thermometer and heat your milk to about 135-140F (great drinking temp), but don't go over 160F.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Atriya
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Sep 1, 2013, 12:35pm
Subject: Re: Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
 

emradguy Said:

Welcome to CG!

Short answer:
Encore and Hario/Kyocera

Have you looked at the Espro press? It's a bit expensive but gives great quality press coffee with almost nil sediment. There's an excellent review of it on www.espressomyespresso.com

I'm sure you don't want scalded milk. It tastes nasty and burnt. Get yourself a thermometer and heat your milk to about 135-140F (great drinking temp), but don't go over 160F.

Posted September 1, 2013 link

Thank you very much! I had almost decided on the Baratza Encore myself.

Then I saw some reviews about how dark, large or oily beans tend to bounce on the burrs instead of being ground. Sure enough, I found this problem acknowledged in the troubleshooting part of the Baratza website. The solution given by Baratza (slowing the burrs down) involves taking apart the grinder, which I'd rather not do.

One reviewer talked to a Baratza rep who admitted that the Encore is not ideal for dark, oily or large beans. He recommended the Virtuoso, but that is of course much more expensive.

Have you faced any such issues with the Encore? Do you think I'm likely to run into such issues with, for example, Starbucks French roast?

About Espro:

I've toyed with the idea of alternative methods: AeroPress, Espro, Chimex, Siphon, SoftBrew, etc, etc.

It's just that I didn't know the pros and cons of each, and didn't have time to research them in detail, so I thought I'd stick to the tried and tested Bodum Chambord.

Would you position Espro are clearly superior to, say, AeroPress or SoftBrew or standard French press? Would you say it's the best French press method currently available?

A strong recommendation might convince me to go for it!

Also, thanks for the milk temp - I'm just starting out; I'm sure I didn't mean scalded milk.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 2,961
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 Sun Sep 1, 2013, 5:22pm
Subject: Re: Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
 

I hadn't read that about the encore.  I would say this though, if the beans have an oily surface they're over-roasted.  Those oils should be indside the beans, not driven out by the roast process.  Once out on the surface, they oxidize faster and gunk up grinders. There are waaaay better beans out there than *$$ french roast.  That company buys huge quantities of beans from mass production farms.  There's not much quality there.  then they roast the beans so dark that mostly all you taste is the roast process.  Check out the many artisan roasters on the "List of our favorite roasters" on www.home-barista.com  It easiest to find with a google search using "home barista list of favorites" (usually the first hit).

Regarding the Espro press.  I think it's super high quality french press.  I haven't used my bodum but maybe once (only when looking for higher quantity) since I got my Espro press.  yeah, it's that good.  I think the Aeropress makes something more akin to moka pot, yet does it better.  I have both in my office at work, as well as my bodum.  I also have a mypressi twist there (which I got pretty recently).  My number one work method is the espro press by far.  Aeropress is a heck of a lot cheaper, and makes great coffee too, so if it's on the table you might want to start there.  You can always add on an Espro press later.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Atriya
Senior Member


Joined: 31 Aug 2013
Posts: 9
Location: USA
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Sun Sep 1, 2013, 6:45pm
Subject: Re: Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
 

emradguy Said:

I hadn't read that about the encore.  I would say this though, if the beans have an oily surface they're over-roasted.  Those oils should be indside the beans, not driven out by the roast process.  Once out on the surface, they oxidize faster and gunk up grinders. There are waaaay better beans out there than *$$ french roast.  That company buys huge quantities of beans from mass production farms.  There's not much quality there.  then they roast the beans so dark that mostly all you taste is the roast process.  Check out the many artisan roasters on the "List of our favorite roasters" on www.home-barista.com  It easiest to find with a google search using "home barista list of favorites" (usually the first hit).

Regarding the Espro press.  I think it's super high quality french press.  I haven't used my bodum but maybe once (only when looking for higher quantity) since I got my Espro press.  yeah, it's that good.  I think the Aeropress makes something more akin to moka pot, yet does it better.  I have both in my office at work, as well as my bodum.  I also have a mypressi twist there (which I got pretty recently).  My number one work method is the espro press by far.  Aeropress is a heck of a lot cheaper, and makes great coffee too, so if it's on the table you might want to start there.  You can always add on an Espro press later.

Posted September 1, 2013 link

Thank you very much. One last question.

If I had to choose between

A) Baratza Encore + Espro Press
B) Baratza Virtuoso + Bodum Chambord

Which choice would you recommend, for my specific purpose of making café au lait?

(Obviously, I'm driven to this tradeoff by my limited budget, otherwise I could have gone Virtuoso + Espro)
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,841
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 Sun Sep 1, 2013, 7:58pm
Subject: Re: Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose
 

Baratza Encore, check out if there are any refurbs. Get that one for you.
I believe the Encore is less than $140 new?
I ordered one for a client, he was good with the refurb, as occasionally they are "show" grinders, barely used, if at all, but must be sold as used, or in their case "refurb."
I believe I paid less than $100, can't quite remember.
My friend/client LOVES it. Mostly does press pot and Bunn STX electric drip.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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