bxiao Senior Member Joined: 15 Jan 2012 Posts: 4 Location: Ann Arbor Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Fri Mar 9, 2012, 7:05pm Subject: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
Four months after purchasing my first espresso machine, I already have the urge to upgrade, well, everything. But my first priority is to replace my grinder. There are a few requirements I would hope to see met.
- Under $700.
- A machine that will last 10 years or more. A few weeks ago my mind was set on a Baratza Vario. It received rave reviews from the owner's thread here on coffeegeek, but it's still pretty new and I'm not sure about how it will last for the long term. As I read more, I felt myself leaning more towards a Mazzer Mini or Macap M4 because of their reputations.
- Doserless. After reading posts about having to clean dosers, I thought they might be too much of hassle. Of course, I've never used a doser, so I can be swayed either way
- Stepless. Yah, probably something stepless, unless it's like the Baratza Vario, and it has 200+ settings.
To give you an idea of the conditions it will be under; I currently pull 2-6 shots a day.
BGN Senior Member Joined: 4 Oct 2005 Posts: 184 Location: Vancouver, B.C. Canada. Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Cimbali ML20 Lever Grinder: Mazzer Major E Vac Pot: none Drip: pour over Bodum Roaster: Behmor
Posted Fri Mar 9, 2012, 7:53pm Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
I used a mazzer mini for 7 years. Built very well. Nothing feels or looks worn on it. I recently bought a mazzer major on ebay. It cost me $350 plus shipping. Mazzers can be purchased used with a reasonable degree of confidence because of their build quality.
Posted Fri Mar 9, 2012, 8:38pm Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
I have had a Baratza Vario for 1 1/2 years and love it. Kyle Anderson from Baratza is fantastic. Sent me a new replacement once.
With that being said I also wanted a Compak K10 Fresh for $2000. This is same grinder used in WBC competition in 2007-8. Was willing to go with the stripped model of K10 for $1400 for single dosing. My wife was furious with me. Had saved $1000 toward purchase. Even talked to Chris at Chris Coffee about it. After tons of research discovered a guy in Idaho that was building a hand grinder using the same burrs as the K10. Up until last month he had sold all 300 that he had handbuilt. After several weeks delay waiting on parts finally got serial number 323 in mail today. Since I drink 4 espresso's per day and my wife two this grinder is ideal. Takes 30 seconds per grind. Vario is only 15 seconds. Vario is going to be Decaf only in future.
The drinks tonite from the La Spaz were heavenly! The $245 at Orphan Espresso for a Pharos is a killer deal. Doug and Barb are great to deal with. Kyle is one of his best friends. It does miss your requirement of lasting 10 years by quite a bit though. It will last 100 years. It will take several hundred grinds to just break the burrs in. Hope this helps. gene
Posted Mon Mar 12, 2012, 4:47pm Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
Your best bet would be on Ebay, and some of the money left over from the $700 you can buy some new burrs and replace the old, and give the machine a good cleaning. I've got a Cimbali Junior which I bought new for $550 from Chris Coffee. I was looking at the Macap M4 but they had the Junior on sale and it was the same price as the Macap but the Junior has 64mm burrs compared to the 58mm in the Macap and the Mazzer Mini. But most people don't like the looks of the Cimbali because it's not pretty but they are well built and will last for years I've had mine for only two years. Every other month I run some Grindz through it and then once a year I'll pull the top burr carrier out and clean both burrs and vacuum out the machine. I usually grind between 2 and 3 pounds a month so the burrs are still in good shape. Reminds me of a bluegrass song titled...always marry an ugly girl
sf6864 Senior Member Joined: 23 Mar 2010 Posts: 4 Location: Brooklyn, NY Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Fiorenzato Bricoletta Grinder: Super Jolly, Virtuoso Vac Pot: Cory, Silex, GE Drip: Melitta Roaster: Behmor
Posted Tue Mar 13, 2012, 2:18pm Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
I was on the verge of buying a used Super Jolly recently, and leaning towards getting it from someone on here rather than ebay, but considered both. I prefer to buy used or demo if I can; that's how I got my espresso machine and it works out well most of the time. However, when I figured out the total cost, between shipping and new burrs it would be well over $400 for a machine that may well be over 15 years old and might have had a hard life in a cafe. You can get a new one for $650-$675 shipped if you pay attention to the various coupons floating around, so that's the route I took. Used is great, especially if you can inspect and pick up the thing locally, but they're very heavy and expensive to ship. It has to make sense VS the price of a new one - some on ebay are asking 500-600 for 10+ year old machines.
Posted Thu Mar 15, 2012, 9:27pm Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
Your budget is right for a new Mazzer Mini with doser. The current version has the cord coming out the bottom, the timer switch, and of course the doser. This makes for a very kitchen friendly and bullet proof machine. I have only used doserless in the past and have really come to like the doser. No clumps in the basket and I level it off back into the doser. My counter is generally much cleaner now and the new stainless tray is great for any spilled. I almost never have to adjust the grind setting, unless running through some decaf beans, and my shots are absolutely repeatable, never have to think about really. Just plain solid, reliable, and bomb-proof. I expect my kids to inherit it someday. This was grinder number 4 (and last I expect) on my upgrade path. I wish I had skipped a few steps early on.
calblacksmith Moderator Joined: 25 Nov 2007 Posts: 5,665 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 Fri Mar 16, 2012, 6:02am Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
Please feel free to buy what you want.
Really though, a used SJ at $450 or less total cost to your door is a bargain. Even at 10 years old and ex coffee shop service, there are decades of service left in them in your home environment, provided you can buy one from someone you trust.
Cross country shipping on a SJ is right at the $40 mark, insured. I totally understand wanting to buy local, and getting your hands on it before purchase goes a long way toward giving you that comfy feeling about the purchase. No problem there!
Doser/doserless, is a very personal choice. Having had both, I will take doser every time. Others here are just the 180 of that and would go doserless every time. No one can tell you how you should feel about a doser, some like stick shifts some like automatics in their cars, one is not better than the other, it is a personal choice.
Good deals can be found on quality used equipment, look for yourself. Haunt the add sheets, local adds, the Goodwill stores, search out the nooks and back waters of the food service industry. You can find deals, there will be work involved to get the grinders up to snuff or you can buy from someone you trust that has done all the work for you, but then you will pay for them to have done the work.
The last place I would buy a grinder from is Ebay, the price will be top shelf and you have no idea who is selling the grinder, or what has REALLY been done to it.
A note about coffee shop service and a SJ, a grinder that is 10 years old and was in a coffee shop the whole time is like a long haul truck with 50,000 miles on it. It is designed for 200,000 and sure you can mess it up in 50,000 but the odds are with you that there is a whole lot more life in that truck than what is behind it.
Your choice 100%, now get out there and look for that great deal!
In real life, my name is Wayne P.
Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
Posted Fri Mar 16, 2012, 6:36am Subject: Re: Finding a Suitable Grinder?
I'll say this, Wayne Parris (calblacksmith) is a man of character who conducts himself with integrity. I would buy from him in a heartbeat even before looking at eBay.
In the past, I have had mostly good experiences on eBay but many items are premium priced (such as Mazzer grinders) and you really have to do your research to find good sellers. It can be time consuming, but rewarding if you put in the effort. On the other hand, Wayne's deal is a sure thing and will cost hundreds less than what you'll generally find on eBay.
Wayne has been a contributing member of this community for years. He's a good guy that can be trusted. I'll personally vouch for him (obviously).
For the price he's offering, you can have a great grinder with money left over in your budget for both an OEM doserless conversaion and also a brand new set of burrs (and still buy a few pounds of artisan coffee).
And for my money, the Super Jolly is superior in every way to a Mazzer Mini. I'd buy a used SJ over a new MM any day
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