calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 5,685 Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A. Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: ECM Veneziano A1 Grinder: Many different commercial Vac Pot: 40s era Silex Drip: Milita, Bunn&Curtis... Roaster: Cast iron pan, gas burner
Posted Mon Nov 28, 2011, 3:29pm Subject: Re: Opinions on Azkoyen Capriccio?!?
I am digging up this long dead thread as it has the most going for it of all the threads on this topic on CG.
I bought one when I stopped at a lady's home to pick up a neon Espresso/Cap. sign. As I was walking out the door of her garage, I saw this grinder sitting in the corner.
Backing up the story a little. I had responded to a Craigs list add for a Neon sign at about half price. When I saw it, I didn't even try to talk her off of the $150 price, it was literally new. We passed the time a little and I found out that the grinder, sign and a 2 gp NS. 2000 were going to be used in a coffee shop that she and a friend were going to start but things fell apart and it never happened, she was just cleaning things out of her garage.
As I said, the grinder was in the corner of the garage and she had not even thought of listing it for sale. I offered her $100 for it as she knew nothing about it and neither did I but I figured I could gamble with the price. She accepted and both the sign and the grinder were on the way home with me.
On the way home, I did a google search and found that the menu system was in Italian and with a little more searching I found both the operators manual and the programing manual.... in English, I was home free!
I took it apart and found the usual dose of coffee gunk, grime, tar and oils. It was so thick that the grind adjustment mech was completely frozen, like it was welded. This did not come as a big shock as the old coffee shop owner who had it before me had placed a label over the grind adjustment knob. It had a pic of skull and crossbones in front and behind the note which read "Do not touch, no matter WHAT!" and they didn't! Why can't shop owners teach their people how to use equipment in stead of forbidding the proper use! My guess is that they didn't know either!
In any case, it took a few hours and some cooking oil spray to loosen the tar which had frozen the burr adjustment threads. I took it to pieces, cleaned everything and disassembled the dose measurement and waiting system. Part of it had been improperly assembled years before and there was a fairly thick coating of coffee dust over the PC board, motors, wires and connectors. All this was cleaned up and I set about reassembling the grinder. When done, I put some scrap coffee into it to see how it worked.
It was setup to grind a dose and have it waiting to be dropped into a waiting PF then grind for the next shot so it was waiting to be dosed, whenever it was required. Not a thing to do if quality coffee is your goal.
I tried many times to reprogram to grind by weight and to grind on request per shot. No matter what I did, it ground and held the shots though the scale was accurate and repeatable shot to shot. I need to recalabrate it though as I am asking for 20 g to get 18. Well, I gave up and went to watch TV for a while then returned to it to try reprogramming it again. Well, what do you know? It now dosed per request! I don't know what I did but perhaps I was escaping from the menu without changing it or waiting long enough for it to work.
Ok, now a review of the beast.
It is set up with two grinding stations, one for single shots and one for doubles but either station can be adjusted for whatever you want up to 24g if I remember correctly. You can also grind by weight but for me it is more user friendly to adjust by g. This is easily done without entering the main menu. There are two buttons under the digital display, one with one cup and one with two. Press the button and hold for about 5 seconds and the display changes to the set G of the current shot. It is incrimental in .5 g steps and you can only go up with the grind settings. Once it reaches the max available it then cycles to the minimum and you count up from there. As the two sides are independent, you can setup for doubles and triples if you so desire or whatever.
I find the dose tends to be within .2 g of the target weight which is not bad in a commercial environment and in all honesty, I can't taste the difference between shots. My current set of burrs are dull and new ones are on order so all I can base my observations on are with the worn burrs that are installed.
The grind is a little more dense than that of my SJ through the doser but the consistency is very good. I don't know if this is a function of the internal mech for weighing and dosing or the dull burrs, I suspect both.
To operate, you simply push the PF fully into the dosing station to activate the micro switch in the back of the station. I have been using a bottomless PF so I need to guess the location of where it is going to drop the dose of coffee but that really isn't a difficult task and I many more times than not find the right spot.
To compare the densities of the grind, the SJ through it's doser for the same weight of coffee is a slight mound in the center while filling the PF to the edges. I recently converted my main SJ to doserless just to see the difference (with the Mazzer kit) and without the doser, the 18g overfill the PF quite a bit and it requires a little work to get it all into the PF/basket without spilling. The dose of coffee from this "new" grinder does not quite fill the PF, perhaps 7/8 full so a little grooming is required to get the coffee even.
The shots pull very well through the bottomless PF and I have yet to see a sprite (OK now I will LOL) but the doserless SJ will have a small one every now and then. The shots pull very nicely indeed and I am finding it hard to not use the A.C. to keep it empty while waiting for the new burrs, it has become my go to grinder for ease of use and consistency shot to shot.
I can't wait for the new burrs to see how much more the grind improves. At $100 it was a steal, at $500 as referenced in this thread, with new burrs, I feel it is a good value and I can easily see that it would be work the new asking price for a busy coffee shop, or the counter of a CG!
The Q9 sold by Quality Espresso of Spain is a dead ringer for this grinder so this grinder lives on under a new name. I have a strong feeling that once the new burrs get to me, I just may have my "second" SJ for sale and my go to SJ play second fiddle! It really is that nice.
I am out of time at the moment but I will post a pic of it ASAP.
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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