Our Valued Sponsor
OpinionsConsumer ReviewsGuides and How TosCoffeeGeek ReviewsResourcesForums
Espresso: Grinders - Espresso
Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
Cafe Solutions
Commercial sales and service, nationwide installation, equipment leasing options.
www.seattlecoffeegear.com
 
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered  
Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Grinder...  
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
showing page 1 of 3 last page next page
Author Messages
kreyszig
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 11
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Sep 17, 2010, 8:13pm
Subject: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

Hi,

so I currently have a Baratza Maestro teamed with a Gaggia Color and I am looking for a setup upgrade. For the machine, I am pretty much decided on an Expobar Brewtus III-R, but I am still hesitating about the grinder. My budget for the grinder is about 900$ maybe. It will be used for a few shots per day to make espressos only. I might have preferred a doserless grinder, but from what I could read around that price the La Cimbali Max Hybrid was one of the best choices, because of the conical and flat burrs, the nice stepless grind adjustment and the lower 1400 rpm. It is not doserless, but the doser is supposed to sweep better than the ones on the Mazzer grinders. It also seems also to be more sturdy.

So what I would like to know... How and why the grinders with conical burrs are better than the ones with flat burrs? Are they just faster or they actually lead to higher quality grinding? It seems to be a bit counter-intuitive to me that the cheaper grinders like the Maestro use conical burrs, that the better ones like the Mini and the Super Jolly use flat burrs, but then the grinders in the $2000 range use conical burrs again. So is it that medium flat burrs perform better than medium conical burrs, but that large conical burrs outperform medium flat burrs in terms of grinding quality?

Thanks!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
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 Fri Sep 17, 2010, 11:38pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

Pierre, the conical v flat burr is a debate that has never been resolved, not will it be, as long as taste buds differ.

There is no perfect answer.
First decide if you want a doser, or doser less. There are many fine grinders in the $400 and up that operate doserless.
There are also as many or more that have a doser.

Once you decide how you want it to be, know this. Many experienced baristi, both home and professional prefer a conical burr in their $1000 and up grinders, believing that the conical burr ground espresso presents a more complex coffee, often a wee bit brighter. The Mazzer SJ, around $400 used, is a flat burr grinder whose grind seems a bit more towards the darker spectrum of the taste...a bit more of the chocolate/caramel, while the conical might showcase fruiter aspects.

There's size to consider, as well as the fact some grinders make it difficult, if not impossible to "dose by the shot"...meaning you must have at least a 1/3 of the hopper filled with beans to get a consistent grind. Others, like the Baratza Vario ($450), Mazzer SJ, and others allow you to use only the amount you wish to grind. Usually, you must place a tamper on tamp to prevent the beans from flying around. (called "pop-corning.)

I invite you to read the Consumer Review Forum. Check out the reviews, comments. Speak to a vendor in your area. Email a couple of vendors with questions.

Others here might get into more specifics. I just wanted to mention other variables to consider, not just the burr set.

Welcome to CG.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
JasonBrandtLewis
Senior Member
JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,368
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 Sat Sep 18, 2010, 9:49am
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

Pierre, Robert is absolutely correct:  the conical v. flat burr will never be completely resolved, especially when we are talking about using said grinder(s) at home.

Have you read the fabled "Titan Grinder Project:  Can It Beat the Robur?"  That may answer some questions for you.

All I can speak from is personal experience:  the single biggest improvement I ever made to my espresso -- in term of equipment -- was to ditch my Mazzer Mini in favor of a Cimbali Max Hybrid (CMH).  

Now . . . that said . . . a) I have moved on*; and b) let me suggest to you that conical v. flat is the WRONG question to ask.  The proper question is How do you use your grinder?  

Do you single dose, or do you leave beans in your hopper.  Do you change beans frequently, or do you buy one pound/500g/1 kg. and go through it before you switch?  THESE are far more important questions to answer than "flat v. conical."

Cheers,
Jason

* My primary grinder in my home is now a Mahlkönig K30 Vario, while my secondary grinder is a Baratza Vario.

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
kreyszig
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 11
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 11:41am
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

Thanks! So yes I should tell you a bit more about how I will be using my grinder. So my plan is to get a small (like a Fresh Roast SR 500) roaster along with the grinder. I should not use the grinder for more than a couple of shots per day on average. So it would be nice if I could dose by the shot, but this is not an absolute. After doing quite a bit of reading, here is a summary of the advantages and drawbacks of the two machines I could find for the La Cimbali Max Hybrid and the Mazzer SJ (I have tried to order them):

La Cimbali Max Hybrid
+Exceptional doser sweeping
+worm gear
+Power swtich can be operated with the doser handle simultaneously
+1400 rpm (it might be just a typo and it could be also spinning at 1600 rpm @ 60 Hz though)

-A lot of popcorning
-Beans accumulating on the ring around the grinder throat
-Fixed hopper
-Doser chute difficult to clean
-Possibly more difficult to get replacement burrs

Mazzer SJ
+Very little popcorning
+Doser chute can be cleaned more easily
+Hopper can be removed easily for cleaning
+Very popular model, so replacement parts very easy to find

-Grinding adjustment more difficult
-Doser does not sweep very well and shoots a bit on the left. Sweeping can be fixed temporarily using electrical tape (a bit sketchy though)
-1600 rpm (again both grinders could be 1600 rpm)

Do you agree with this comparison? From this list it seems that I should lean a bit more towards the SJ finally. Without considering the burrs, I thought that the Max Hybrid was better at clearing the grounds at first (due to better doser sweeping), but then I saw that beans could accumulate around the throat... So the popcorning of the Max Hybrid and parts availability cold be the decisive factor at the end I guess. Is popcorning that bad with the Max Hybrid compared to the SJ? Is it bad for the burrs to let these grinders run until empty (again for espresso setting)?
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 12:09pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

(regarding SJ)

kreyszig Said:

Is it bad for the burrs to let these grinders run until empty (again for espresso setting)?

Posted September 18, 2010 link

A normal espresso grind should be several notches more coarse than where the burrs just touch.  That means the burrs do not touch anything at all (but air) if left running after the beans have all gone through.  So you wouldn't hurt the burrs at all by running it empty.  That's the SJ I'm talking about - I'm not familiar with the other grinder so I can't say.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
kreyszig
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 11
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 12:35pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

I thought this would be the case with higher end grinders, but I just wanted to make sure since the burrs of my Maestro touch each others when it is empty although I don't set it to the finest grind...
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 2:09pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

My old cuisinart burr grinder would grind pretty coarse even when adjusted to where the burrs were rubbing.  I had to adjust until they were really rubbing hard in order to get anything fine enough for espresso.  My best guess as to why (other than that the burrs are small and cheap) is that the whole grinder was made of plastic which flexes a bit.  So as the beans go between the burrs they push the burrs apart and the plastic parts allowed the burrs to move away from each other.     At least that is what I imagine was happening.

My grinder (similar to a SJ) is all aluminum and brass with big, heavy duty bearings so the burrs cannot be pushed apart by the beans.

I've read several posts that claim the special type of plastic composite used in the baratza grinders are very stiff (I've read claims they are just as rigid as aluminum) - and I'm sure they are better than my cheap cuisinart grinder was, but there's no way I believe they are anywhere near as rigid as my metal grinder.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
c4h5n2o
Senior Member
c4h5n2o
Joined: 19 Jul 2005
Posts: 234
Location: Vancouver
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: LM
Grinder: Bunn/Vario
Drip: Swiss gold
Roaster: No time
Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 6:00pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

The CMH & Super Jolly are both very good grinders. Ideally you'd want to try them both in person, but that usually isn't possible. Read the titan grinder thread and search for some detailed/credible reviews of both models.

I have used both and consider the Cimbali a much better grinder. But not everyone would agree. You'll have to read as much as you can and come to your own conclusion.

.
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
iDrinkCoffeeCanada
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Feb 2009
Posts: 165
Location: Milton, Ontario, Canada
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: LM GS/3 MP, Speedster,...
Grinder: Versalab, Robur E
Vac Pot: Bodum Santos
Drip: Technivorm KBT-741
Roaster: Diedrich IR-12
Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 7:07pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

The Mazzer Super Jolly also now comes in a doserless electronic version with a precision timer.  It is an amazing grinder.  For home use I almost always advocate going doserless.

 
Find www.iDrinkCoffee.com on facebook and become a fan for deals, contests and more.
back to top
 View Profile Visit website Link to this post
kreyszig
Senior Member


Joined: 17 Sep 2010
Posts: 11
Location: Canada
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Sat Sep 18, 2010, 9:39pm
Subject: Re: Grinder suggestion for a budget around $900
 

c4h5n2o: Could you tell me what makes you lean towards the La Cimbali exactly?

Thanks!
back to top
 View Profile Link to this post
showing page 1 of 3 last page next page
view previous topic | view next topic | view all topics
Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Grinder...  
New Topics updated topics   New Posts new posts   Unanswered Posts new unanswered     Search Discussion Board search   Discussion Board FAQ faq   Signup sign up  
Not Logged in: Log In to Postlog in
Discussions Quick Jump:
Symbols: New Posts= New Posts since your last visit      No New Posts= No New Posts since last visit     Go to most recent post= Newest post
Forum Rules:
No profanity, illegal acts or personal attacks will be tolerated in these discussion boards.
No commercial posting of any nature will be tolerated; only private sales by private individuals, in the "Buy and Sell" forum.
No SEO style postings will be tolerated. SEO related posts will result in immediate ban from CoffeeGeek.
No cross posting allowed - do not post your topic to more than one forum, nor repost a topic to the same forum.
Who Can Read The Forum? Anyone can read posts in these discussion boards.
Who Can Post New Topics? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post new topics.
Who Can Post Replies? Any registered CoffeeGeek member can post replies.
Can Photos be posted? Anyone can post photos in their new topics or replies.
Who can change or delete posts? Any CoffeeGeek member can edit their own posts. Only moderators can delete posts.
Probationary Period: If you are a new signup for CoffeeGeek, you cannot promote, endorse, criticise or otherwise post an unsolicited endorsement for any company, product or service in your first five postings.
Stefano's Espresso Care
Repair - Parts - Sales
Factory Authorized &
Trained Technician
www.espressocare.com
Home | Opinions | Consumer Reviews | Guides & How Tos | CoffeeGeek Reviews | Resources | Forums | Contact Us
CoffeeGeek.com, CoffeeGeek, and Coffee Geek, along with all associated content & images are copyright ©2000-2014 by Mark Prince, all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. Content, code, and images may not be reused without permission. Usage of this website signifies agreement with our Terms and Conditions. (0.272417068481)
Privacy Policy | Copyright Info | Terms and Conditions | CoffeeGeek Advertisers | RSS | Find us on Google+