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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Simple question  
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jontew
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Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 6:36am
Subject: Simple question
 

Hi, there, everyone.  This is my first post in this forum, but about my millionth on internet forums in general, so I know enough to not post a newbie question in a geek forum without searching and reading for hours.  Unfortunately, my question still goes unanswered.

I drink mostly drip coffee (Capresso MT500) and occasionally espresso (DeLonghi Bar-16u, will be upgrading).  My research reveals that a cheap (<$250) burr grinder (e.g., my mortally wounded Solis Maestro is great for drip, but not for espresso.  But it has NOT assisted me in determining whether a good espresso grinder (starting, e.g., with the Rocky) will be okay for drip coffee.  Do I need two grinders, or can I use an upper-end espresso grinder for lowly drip grinding?

Thank you all for all your invaluable input into this great forum.

PS $$$ is not an issue, though I'd like to avoid wasting it.
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Tim_Bernardo
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Tim_Bernardo
Joined: 29 Nov 2006
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Location: Warrenville, IL
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Espresso: Quickmill Anita
Grinder: Macap M4 Stepless, Bodum...
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Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 6:49am
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

jontew Said:

Do I need two grinders, or can I use an upper-end espresso grinder for lowly drip grinding?

Posted February 12, 2008 link

Hi jontew welcome to CoffeeGeek!  No need to call drip lowly :)  ....although I prefer espresso, at this second I'm drinking an excellent cup of drip coffee...one of the best I've had in a while.

Well, I don't have a Rocky, but I think you can use it for both espresso and drip since it's a stepped grinder and all you have to do is remember the number you want to go back to.  But please, Rocky owners correct me if I'm wrong.

 
Tim (previously TBCoffee)
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Marshall_S
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 295
Location: Foxboro, MA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Quickmill Anita, Caravel
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Roaster: Quest M3
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 7:03am
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

Hi Barry:

Welcome to the forum.

jontew Said:

Do I need two grinders, or can I use an upper-end espresso grinder for lowly drip grinding?

Posted February 12, 2008 link

This is a really good question and I'll bet that you'll get a range of responses - that's what makes this whole "coffee thing" interesting.

My opinion is that you certainly CAN use an upper-end espresso grinder for just about any grind or method.
What a lot of people end up with, however, is at least 2 grinders - they dedicate the upper-end for espresso and use a lower-end for everything else.  

After about a year, this is what I eventually ended up with.  I have  a Baratza which I use for french press and drip and a Mazzer for espresso and I'm very happy with both.

Re: the Mazzer,  I could use it for everything yet it has a doser and a PF holder which gets in the way somewhat. Also, I like to keep it calibrated for espresso shots-

Re: the  Baratza.  I keep it on a certain number and simply empty the chute into my FrenchPress - very easy and clean.
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,391
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 7:36am
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

jontew Said:

Do I need two grinders, or can I use an upper-end espresso grinder for lowly drip grinding?

Posted February 12, 2008 link

Do you need two grinders?  The answer is no.  Will you want two grinders?  The answer is yes.

Regardless of the doser/doserless question, or the stepped/stepless question, the fact is that most espresso grinders are designed to grind coffee for one thing:  espresso.  Some espresso grinders will in fact grind coffee that is coarse enough for drip; some will not.  But you'll read a lot here about "dialing in" the coffee, about making fine adjustments to the grinder so as to get the best shot possible.  It may take one, two, or a few shots to do that.  Do you really want to have to "re-dial" every time you shift back and forth from espresso to drip to espresso?

I don't think so.  I think you will be much happier with two grinders, one designed for drip, the other designed for espresso.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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mitchellb
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Joined: 20 Jul 2007
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Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Mazzer Major
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Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 8:11am
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

I use my Mazzer Major for press/vac pot and Espresso. I don't have to adjust the burr collar very far at all to get where I want to be.

Some grinders are much better for going back and forth than others, though. I have owned a doserless rocky and it works just as well (or better) for drip as it does for espresso. You do have to remember, though, where exactly you were grinding before for espresso, which is easier said than done..

You don't need two grinders, you just need the right grinder.
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jontew
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Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 11:32am
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

Thank you all for your insightful answers so far (and I hope to hear more).

TBCoffee, I thought that the Rocky might do the trick, but would (like you) encourage more feedback from other Rocky owners:  Do you use your Rockeys for drip?  If so, how does it work for you?

Buzzard and Zin1953, I understand that I'll want two.  However, if I were to try do drip grind daily in an espresso grinder, e.g., Rocky, what would the downside be?  Is it that the grind would not be as effective as a lower end machine's, or that I don't want to put all that wear and tear on the espresso grinder?

Mitchellb, now you see why the search tool didn't suffice:  There are conflicting views on this, which leaves me still confused. :)  Is there any reason I shouldn't just buy a Rocky and use it daily for drip and, say, perhaps semi-weekly for espresso?  By the way, until now I simply purchased pre-ground espresso beans fresh (never more than about a week before using it), and stored them in a vacuum-sealed jar.  I know this is a no-no, but thought it better than to grind them fresh in an ineffective grinder.
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rogue_jedi
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rogue_jedi
Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 171
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Gaggia MDF,...
Drip: Bunn BTX-B, Bodum French...
Roaster: I wish
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 11:54am
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

My $0.2 is to agree with the two grinder crowd because, while you will have more money tied up in this whole coffee hobbie/obsession/addiction, 2 grinders seem to simplify things. I currently have one grinder and am in the market for my second (hoping for a good deal on a Mazzer as a dedicated espresso grinder). For example, lets say you have one grinder and prefer drip or press in the morning because these will get you out the door for work faster. Generally, most people don't mind using the same beans for press and/or drip...so all that needs to be changed is the grind setting, which is no big deal as long as you dump the first few grams after the adjustment. However, in the evening, lets say you like to come home to a nice double shot, cappa, or latte...well, here again you will have to change your grind setting...but, because most people use a different blend for their espresso...you will also need to do some cleaning to remove the left-over beans/grinds from your morning cup so they don't spoil your evening espresso shots. Now, with some grinders a quick cleaning like this is not a problem and can be performed in just a few minutes...but this is not the case with all grinders.
I guess its a matter of time, convenience, preferance and grinder. Many mentioned the issue of changing grind settings, but I don't think anyone mentioned the need to clean out stray grounds everytime you change beans, which is another factor to consider...especially with espresso. I would say--pick out your espresso grinder--use it as a single for a while--then, if you find it inconvenient you can purchase a less expensive drip grinder--if not, then you're all set.
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jontew
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Feb 2008
Posts: 6
Location: New York
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 12:13pm
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

rogue_jedi Said:

My $0.2 is to agree with the two grinder crowd because, while you will have more money tied up in this whole coffee hobbie/obsession/addiction, 2 grinders seem to simplify things. I currently have one grinder and am in the market for my second (hoping for a good deal on a Mazzer as a dedicated espresso grinder). For example, lets say you have one grinder and prefer drip or press in the morning because these will get you out the door for work faster. Generally, most people don't mind using the same beans for press and/or drip...so all that needs to be changed is the grind setting, which is no big deal as long as you dump the first few grams after the adjustment. However, in the evening, lets say you like to come home to a nice double shot, cappa, or latte...well, here again you will have to change your grind setting...but, because most people use a different blend for their espresso...you will also need to do some cleaning to remove the left-over beans/grinds from your morning cup so they don't spoil your evening espresso shots. Now, with some grinders a quick cleaning like this is not a problem and can be performed in just a few minutes...but this is not the case with all grinders.
I guess its a matter of time, convenience, preferance and grinder. Many mentioned the issue of changing grind settings, but I don't think anyone mentioned the need to clean out stray grounds everytime you change beans, which is another factor to consider...especially with espresso. I would say--pick out your espresso grinder--use it as a single for a while--then, if you find it inconvenient you can purchase a less expensive drip grinder--if not, then you're all set.

Posted February 12, 2008 link

Wow, what a great post.  Clear, simple, made total sense.  I think I'm ready to order my Rocky.

One question:  Regarding cleaning the grinds, do you mean only if I had leftovers from the morning grind?  I typically keep my beans in vacuum-sealed jars and only use the correct amount of beans, which are completely ground and consumed (no leftovers).  I wouldn't need to do any post-drip, pre-espresso cleaning in this instance, would I?
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rogue_jedi
Senior Member
rogue_jedi
Joined: 28 Jun 2007
Posts: 171
Location: Virginia
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Lever,...
Grinder: Mazzer Mini, Gaggia MDF,...
Drip: Bunn BTX-B, Bodum French...
Roaster: I wish
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 1:59pm
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

jontew Said:

One question:  Regarding cleaning the grinds, do you mean only if I had leftovers from the morning grind?  I typically keep my beans in vacuum-sealed jars and only use the correct amount of beans, which are completely ground and consumed (no leftovers).  I wouldn't need to do any post-drip, pre-espresso cleaning in this instance, would I?

Posted February 12, 2008 link

There are always leftover grounds in the grinder and bits of partially ground beans in the burrs regardless...there are more places in there for them to hide and collect than you think...especially when you are grinding on finer settings for drip and espresso. This is even more true for grinders with a dosser. One always needs to clean out the dosser and chute, particularly when you change beans/blends. The problem is that, between uses, these grounds go stale and negatively affect the taste of the coffee. From what I understand...the point at which you begin smelling the aroma of the coffee after its ground is the point at which it starts going stale.

This is the main reason I'm in the market for a second grinder...mine does not allow easy access for in between cleanings, so using it as a one for all grinder is very inconvenient. I haven't had a cup of drip or press coffee in over a month because its too much of a hassle to drag out the vacuum everytime I change beans, which is the only way I can clean out my dosser. But, like I said...some grinders are easier to clean than others. I also like the convenience of keeping the beans in the hopper rather than scooping them from storage to grinder before every use...which you cannot do with a one for all grinder. But, regarding the cleaning issues, don't just take my word for it...check this out  "So, How often do you clean your grinder, really?"
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mitchellb
Senior Member


Joined: 20 Jul 2007
Posts: 635
Location: Houston, TX
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Isomac Zaffiro
Grinder: Mazzer Major
Drip: Hario Pourover
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Feb 12, 2008, 2:00pm
Subject: Re: Simple question
 

rogue_jedi Said:

Many mentioned the issue of changing grind settings, but I don't think anyone mentioned the need to clean out stray grounds everytime you change beans, which is another factor to consider...especially with espresso. I would say--pick out your espresso grinder--use it as a single for a while--then, if you find it inconvenient you can purchase a less expensive drip grinder--if not, then you're all set.

Posted February 12, 2008 link

It's not a big issue for me to change out the beans, as i do not leave my hopper full.. the major also has very a clear access path to clean the chute.. I clean out the chute and doser after every grind..

dialing it in is a pain, but i haven't found it necessary to purchase a new grinder..


when i had my rocky, like rogue jedi mentioned above, i would burn a little bit of coffee (about a 2 second pulse) before each shot. This is what i would also do before switching grind settings from fine to course. you waste a few beans, but you save a few hundred dollars on not having to buy another grinder..

Go ahead and order the rocky.. you can always get a mazzer dedicated for espresso like rogue jedi said.
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