ATLDiver Senior Member Joined: 23 Aug 2005 Posts: 18 Location: Atlanta, GA Expertise: I like coffee
Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 8:07am Subject: Looking for some grinder advice
All, I've finally narrowed down buying a Gaggia classic or maybe a used Silva but haven't figured out the grinder yet. Right now I'm leaning to Gaggia MDF but have read some negative stuff about using the MDF getting warm and causing the beans to get a little warm. How does the Baratza Encore stack up to MDF, I know it's Baratza entry-level grinder but seems Baratza grinders are well regarded. Any other grinders in sub $200 I should keep in mind?
emradguy Senior Member Joined: 31 Mar 2011 Posts: 3,288 Location: Houston Expertise: I live coffee
Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2 Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,... Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Thu Jan 31, 2013, 8:28am Subject: Re: Looking for some grinder advise
Just about everyone here on CG feels the Preciso is the entry level Baratza grinder, not the Encore. A Preciso can be had direct from Baratza with a one year warranty for $239, if you're willing to buy a refurbished unit. They update the refurb section every Thursday am. If you don't see what you want there, it means they don't have it, so you have to wait. Unfortunately, they don't have any right now (I just checked)...maybe next week?
Though Baratza labels their Encore as entry level for espresso, it has only 40 steps and is really designed to be a catch all grinder (all brew methods, that is). The 40 steps covering that broad range, means there are only a couple/few that will be suitable for espresso. What will happen is, you'll end up having to choose between "too coarse" or "too fine", and then adjust your dose to compensate, so your extraction runs properly. For example, if you choose "too coarse", you'll need to overpack the basket, so you can slow down the extraction, and if you choose "too fine", you'll underdose to speed it up. If you don't do this dose modification, you'll get underextracted shots from the "too coarse" and overextracted shots from the "too fine".
Under $200, most of us would suggest a hand grinder. The OE Lido will cost you about $185 delivered ($165 + shipping). It'll blow away any electric grinder under $500 in terms of grind quality. You could also get a Hario Slim or Skerton for about $40-50 - Good quality grind, but not as good as the Lido. There are other hand grinders to consider...if you're interested.
. Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 12:58pm Subject: Re: Looking for some grinder advice
I'll second skipping the encore and going to the Preciso or the Virtuoso. It will mean all the difference in getting good results with the gaggia or the silvia. The encore just doesn't have the range selection to compare. If you just absolutly can't afford or can't wait for one of these I'd also say that a hand grinder could work. It means a lot more time in preparation, though, as well as the ones that approach the benifits of the Baratzas are also approaching the price. Well, enough for me to urge you towards the Baratzas. I think they honor their refurbs with a warrenty, as well.
Posted Fri Feb 1, 2013, 6:26pm Subject: Re: Looking for some grinder advice
I recently bought a Gaggia Classic and soon after decided to buy a grinder. I ordered the Gaggia MDF, but before it shipped I changed my mind and changed the order to get a Breville BCG800XL Smart Grinder. I couldn't be happier with the performance of the Breville. Read my review below.
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