pfn Senior Member Joined: 1 Apr 2013 Posts: 64 Location: Santa Clara, CA, US Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: La Nuova Era Cuadra II Grinder: KA Proline w/ Mazzer Mini...
Posted Sat Aug 17, 2013, 6:46am Subject: Re: Got my first grinder, Kitchenaid Proline, modded it; impressions inside
A multi-month followup:
Instead of single-dosing into the hopper (17g of beans) I keep a stack of beans in there. With this change, grinding takes about 20-25 seconds to produce 17g of grounds; additionally, I am able to loosen up the grind-coarseness setting by about half a notch, which adds to the grinding speed. If I single-dosed into the hopper, it would take over a minute to grind what I put in.
Retained grinds still suck, but I don't really care, I just clean it out monthly. For the most part, once it gets retained and caked in, it doesn't really come out until you open it up. Disassembly is a breeze, two thumbscrews and everything comes right out.
I picked up a VST 18g basket and bottomless portafilter. My pulls are beautiful, but the center is a little slow to extract, I imagine it's because of my convex bottom tamper, and I am replacing it next week with a flat-bottom tamper. This is an extraction from a few weeks ago http://youtu.be/1p4Q0tEEloE
As for ergonomics, I've picked up a regular-size (2.25") canning funnel and just dump the grounds straight into the funnel/pf and then WDT the grinds up with a paperclip, takes all of 10-15 seconds and my espresso extractions are wonderful.
Would I like a nicer grinder? Not really, if I had cash lying around, I'd like one that's easier to use, like a Vario-W that automatically weighs my output, instead of having to take out the catchbin and weigh it like I do right now.
What next? I am very interested in putting in an Auber timer, but I'm not sure if I can find space to make it happen. I think someone mentioned one a while back, but never followed up...
Posted Sat Aug 31, 2013, 9:53pm Subject: Re: Got my first grinder, Kitchenaid Proline, modded it; impressions inside
A very interesting read! I also had a KA, and was for a long time debating whether I should do the mazzer mini mod, or just upgrade. In the end, with the cost of importing Ben's mod kit & buying new burrs, it worked out the same to just sell the KA and buy a secondhand mazzer SJ. My wife sure liked the look and footprint of the KA more, but she's getting used to the SJ.
I did do one thing different on my KA - the stepless mod: instead of inverting the pins and using teflon tape, I cut a plastic ring, and slipped it between the pins and the white toothed adjuster wheel. Adjustment & chosen setting stays in place very nicely, and adjusts easily. I'll post a pic when I have a gap.
Posted Tue Sep 3, 2013, 12:39am Subject: Re: Got my first grinder, Kitchenaid Proline, modded it; impressions inside
Eric, that's quite a statement..! Is the grind adjustment not overly finicky?
As promised, a pic of my stepless mod I did way back on the KA. As you can see, the plastic ring sits between the stepped teeth of the adjuster, and the springloaded dowel that presses on it. Size of the ring needs to be just big enough to keep the stepped effect at bay, as it will catch on other plastic bits and pieces if it's too big - quite obvious once you try make it. Too small, and obviously the stepless effect will be unsuccessful. :) I also made it quite a tight fit around the shaft, so it can't shift around.
khjcho Senior Member Joined: 29 Mar 2008 Posts: 6 Location: Bellevue, WA Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: Rocket Giotto Evo v2 Grinder: KA modded Drip: FP, Clever, AP
Posted Sat Jan 4, 2014, 12:45am Subject: Re: Got my first grinder, Kitchenaid Proline, modded it; impressions inside
I'd add my $0.02. I did the KA+MM mod about a year ago. This was my baseline home espresso setup and I was happy. Then I read parts of the Titan Grinder Project thread on another website. I wanted the Super Jolly without the SJ footprint, so I bought a MM and fitted it w/ SJ burrs for my own "mini Jolly."
In my house I am the enthusiast and my wife plays the neutral critic for cup quality. We enjoy mostly straight espresso and cappas and the occasional latte. I played around with the std MM-E Type A for a short time, and she immediately commented on its greater depth with flavors in comparison to the KA+MM. I was encouraged by the improved taste but I couldn't stand the clumped grounds that came with the MM-E, so I traded it for a std MM w/ doser instead. Comparing the std MM and the KA+MM, neither of us perceived any significant taste differences. However, once I installed the SJ carriers and burrs on the MM, we both noticed even greater depth and nuances in our drinks. More so than on the KA+MM and to a lesser extent than on the MM-E.
Let me try to quantify the difference. I usually home-roast single origins from Sweet Marias. With the KA+MM, I'd correlate most of the taste descriptions up to the 2nd or 3rd adjective on the bag. For example, on the Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha I'm on right now, the SM label lists: Simple syrup, toffee, butterscotch candy, lemon tea, floral character. I'd taste the simple syrup and toffee on my straight espresso, but wonder gee, where is that butterscotch? With the mini Jolly, I get a much broader flavor spectrum and I can easily add my own adjectives for the floral character. Don't get me wrong, I love my KA+MM and I use it today for drip/press duties with great results. For espresso it worked remarkably well in my preparation ritual - less grinds mess, less grind retention, no doser, etc. If the KA+MM and SJ burrs produced the same cup result, I would have kept the original setup but I was able to perceive a difference.
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 4:17am Subject: Re: Got my first grinder, Kitchenaid Proline, modded it; impressions inside
very very interesting! Thanks a lot for the input and insight!
Essentially, if I read you correctly, the KA modded with MM burrs produces taste and nuances comparable to the stock MM. Mod the MM with SJ burrs, and the taste and details improve to something close to SJ levels.
How do you find the adjustment on the modded KA? If I look at the small adjustments I make on my SJ from time to time, I can see that posing a challenge on the modded KA?
My wife has complained so many times of the footprint of our SJ, that I might really consider doing the MM mod on my KA (now gathering dust on a shelf somewhere).. I can then run that until I can get my hands on a secondhand (read "cheap") MM and mod that to match the SJ for details and taste. Alternatively, if I'm lucky, she might also perceive the difference and decide to stick with the SJ. :) One can but hope... :)
Posted Wed Jan 8, 2014, 9:05am Subject: Re: Got my first grinder, Kitchenaid Proline, modded it; impressions inside
SJ burrs into a Mini Mazzer E = Drop in. SJ burrs into a "regular" Mini = Not so easy.
MM with SJ burrs and SJ are (at least close to) equal in the cup.
I've read a few people who complain that the MM E motor doesn't have enough power to turn the SJ burrs and stalls, but that's a minority. Also -- not that it matters -- I don't understand why the SJ burrs would be more difficult for the MM E's stock burrs which are the same size.
That the MM's motor IS less powerful, does raise issues of torque, consistent velocity and heat. Those do matter, especially heat.
If what you want is the elegance and footprint of the Mini E combined with the goodness of SJ burrs, I wouldn't worry a lot about it though. Most people seem very happy with the conversion. At least until they're infected with the desire for a true Titan.
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