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Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
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Discussions > Espresso > Machines > Keep what I...  
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keithd
Senior Member
keithd
Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 31
Location: Oklahoma City
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: KA w/Mazzer burrs, Hario...
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 7:18pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

Sorry if i wasn't clear - by "trying to hit 15.0 grams" I meant that yep, I'm weighing it out. Trying in the sense that if it weighs out to 15.1 or 15.2, I'm not going to fuss over 0.1-0.2 grams, but I try to keep it as close to 15.0 as possible in my 0.1 gram-capable electronic scale.

I've found 19+ grams will fit, but initially I got less spray when I kept it to 15 grams. Right now, I'm trying for a baseline, then I'll adjust one variable at a time to see what the effects are. I don't weigh the beans pre-grind, I just keep the hopper stocked and measure out the ground beans.

The Proline does have a modification where you can make it stepless essentially. But like I said, I want to achieve a baseline that gets me in the ballpark before I make tweaks. I'm getting there.

I will say, I now know why DeanOK had the Vario-W - that grinder would be *nice* to have in that you just tell it how many grams you want, and it grinds it. In a very low-volume setting like the home, I think it might be an ideal grinder or nearly so. It grinds to the tenth of a gram, plus or minus .2 grams. I can get .2 grams tighter tolerance, but I have to do it by hand.

I just ordered some Red Bird beans. We will see how those do, but I anticipate good things.

edit - I also ordered a Hai Pham / Coffee Compliments 58.3mm flat bottom, black aluminum handled tamper. This is the second tamper I've ordered from Hai - the first fit my EC155. I'll probably switch the 8-Ball handle over to the 58.3mm base as the billiard ball is MUCH, MUCH better ergonomically for fitting the palm of my hand - the stock CC1 tamper's handle puts a lot of force into a really small area. If I try to make a spherical shape with my palm and fingers, it very closely matches with a regulation billiard ball.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 690
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 8:34pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

keithd Said:

Sorry if i wasn't clear - by "trying to hit 15.0 grams" I meant that yep, I'm weighing it out. Trying in the sense that if it weighs out to 15.1 or 15.2, I'm not going to fuss over 0.1-0.2 grams, but I try to keep it as close to 15.0 as possible in my 0.1 gram-capable electronic scale.

I've found 19+ grams will fit, but initially I got less spray when I kept it to 15 grams. Right now, I'm trying for a baseline, then I'll adjust one variable at a time to see what the effects are. I don't weigh the beans pre-grind, I just keep the hopper stocked and measure out the ground beans.

The Proline does have a modification where you can make it stepless essentially. But like I said, I want to achieve a baseline that gets me in the ballpark before I make tweaks. I'm getting there.

I will say, I now know why DeanOK had the Vario-W - that grinder would be *nice* to have in that you just tell it how many grams you want, and it grinds it. In a very low-volume setting like the home, I think it might be an ideal grinder or nearly so. It grinds to the tenth of a gram, plus or minus .2 grams. I can get .2 grams tighter tolerance, but I have to do it by hand.

I just ordered some Red Bird beans. We will see how those do, but I anticipate good things.

edit - I also ordered a Hai Pham / Coffee Compliments 58.3mm flat bottom, black aluminum handled tamper. This is the second tamper I've ordered from Hai - the first fit my EC155. I'll probably switch the 8-Ball handle over to the 58.3mm base as the billiard ball is MUCH, MUCH better ergonomically for fitting the palm of my hand - the stock CC1 tamper's handle puts a lot of force into a really small area. If I try to make a spherical shape with my palm and fingers, it very closely matches with a regulation billiard ball.

Posted October 28, 2013 link

Keith: There has been some less than glowing reviews on the Vario. It grinds well, but the stepping mechanism has been the source of some issues. I am pretty happy with mine, but now that I am in a routine I usually only adjust one or two steps at a time.  Right now, I would like to have the Fort'e but no plans to change.

I think I told you that I usually ground 18 grams in the CC1. That number seemed to work well for me and my tastes.

Out of all of your experimenting have you produced any good shots yet?
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keithd
Senior Member
keithd
Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 31
Location: Oklahoma City
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: KA w/Mazzer burrs, Hario...
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 8:41pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

Not yet, not any "good" shots as judged by a naked portafilter. HOWEVER, the crummy shots that I made tonight when poured into 6-8 oz of milk, were absolutely *yummy*.

It's funny, if I was using a normal portafilter, I'd think I was some kind of professional barista. But the bottomless portafilter does not lie - and I have much room for improvement.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 690
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Mon Oct 28, 2013, 9:00pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

keithd Said:

Not yet, not any "good" shots as judged by a naked portafilter..

Posted October 28, 2013 link

You can have a good tasting shot and have a few spritzers.... don't live and die by the way the shot looks.... taste still rules.
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takeshi
Senior Member
takeshi
Joined: 12 Oct 2002
Posts: 979
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto 3.0
Grinder: Super Jolly
Roaster: Amaya Roasting
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 11:20am
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

keithd Said:

I had my Kitchenaid Proline grinder less than 24 hours before I made permanent mods to drill and install the Mazzer burrs in it

Posted October 24, 2013 link

You'll want to upgrade that next.
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keithd
Senior Member
keithd
Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 31
Location: Oklahoma City
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: KA w/Mazzer burrs, Hario...
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 12:17pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

The grinder upgrade will have to wait a couple years unless I run into a killer deal on a prosumer/commercial grinder. SWMBO will be quite pi$$ed if I buy a $500+ grinder when I have been using this grinder for under a week. I haven't even gotten this grinder fully dialled in, but it's getting much closer. It can grind plenty fine for espresso - I once got it so fine that even after 90 (yes, 90!) seconds espresso wasn't flowing very much at all. Plus the Proline with Mazzer burrs seems to work well enough - it has Mazzer quality burrs, but turning much slower than a Mazzer Mini, potentially leading to less grounds heating. It's good enough for now, but yeah, I will get a better grinder long before I get another espresso machine. Don't get me wrong, I'm already eyeing a K10 or K30 (pricey, yes, but the K30 is very nice!).

But I just pulled another shot, setting the grind *just* a tick coarser. I'm getting closer because the extraction was fairly even, but there was obvious channeling with the couple spritzers I saw. Nothing like the gushers I had at first, and the espresso "tail" coming out of the filter was well centered.

I think I got the grind in the ballpark now. Sure, it could be better, but I'll focus on tamp improvement after pulling a few more shots to see if what I saw was repeatable or just a fluke.
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DeanOK
Senior Member
DeanOK
Joined: 24 Sep 2012
Posts: 690
Location: OK
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: QM Vetrano 2B
Grinder: Vario W
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 2:16pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

Keith:

If you have not tried the WDT yet? It may help you a lot since you are beginning. Here is a neat little video. Also a handy little way to make a dosing funnel that won't cost you anything.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=II8v2eEJlRY

EDIT: Changed punctuation.... :(
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,277
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 6:04pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

Keith,

I don't think you understand quite how a grinder functions in the espresso chain.  

A metric for grind like "2oz in 30sec," is all well and good but misses the point that the combination of grind and dose is a way of balancing certain qualities in espresso -- "in your face" aggressiveness vs attenuated weakness.  Put more rigorously it's a way of making sure you have the right extraction ratio and degree of extraction; and more rigorously still, the right %TDS.  

There are major problems with the KA grinder.  One is the burr set itself, and the another is the way the burr set is held in the machine.  The burrs can be replaced, the burrset can be locked in place mechanically (set screws, e.g.), but the KA will still not make the type of fine adjustments and hold them that are necessary for good espresso performance.  

You can adjust for an imperfect grind to some extent by changing dose and tamp pressure, but there are limits to how far you can take that; and those limits are outside the best you can do with a KA.  It's not alone in that respect.  The same is true for the similarly priced Baratza Virtuoso and Breville Smart.  All three grinders are pretty good for other grinds of brewing such as French press, vac and pour-over.  In fact we have a Smart for those things, which I like quite a bit; and I recently bought a Virtuous for my daughter to use for Chemex/Kone brewing.  One thing about the KA is that it's a real looker.    

Baratza Preciso (~$300 new) is about as cheap as you can get and still get adequate control for decent espresso.  Baratza Vario (~$450 new), used for "espresso only" is a much better grinder and consequently a better value, even though more expensive.  I understand that there's a pretty good LeLit in the same price range.  Another approach would be a used Super Jolly.  

Also, you don't need anything close to 0.1g dosing accuracy.  0.5g +/- is good enough for very consistent "in the cup" results.  

You'll have to figure out how to deal with your wife.  Honesty works wonders; especially when paired with earrings.  Lucky for me, Linda, my wife, does more than support me in my coffee making and roasting hobby -- she's my enabler.  

BDL
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keithd
Senior Member
keithd
Joined: 24 Oct 2013
Posts: 31
Location: Oklahoma City
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: KA w/Mazzer burrs, Hario...
Drip: Aeropress
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 8:40pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

My wife's different - she can squeeze blood from a turnip. If I showed up with earrings, I'd be in worse trouble than if I spent $$ on myself alone. She doesn't pinch pennies, she puts them in a 30-ton arbor press! :-O I can't get her to drink any espresso, I'm nearly 100% by myself on this one, and it stinks.

The bottom line is that no matter anyone else's feelings/opinions/experience with the KA grinder, it's what I'll have to deal with for a while. I'll have to make do, and learn the hard way why it's not the greatest thing ever. If I found a Mahlkoenig K30 for $800 tomorrow I couldn't get it unless I wanted to show that I don't respect my partner much at all because she has to come around herself to understand why a Vario (or the K30) would be a real, noticeable improvement and not just me spending money on frivolous toys. Give it time - I just got the CC1 last Sunday! I can't possibly learn much in just two days when some of ya'll have been pulling shots before I left grade school. An upgraded grinder is being planned for, but all plans take time to execute. Not to mention my son turns 16 in less than two weeks and things are going to get REAL expensive real fast.

Meanwhile, I've started to see a difference between the adjusted grinder that I have set at 7-1/4 and 7-1/2 out of 1 to 8 on the adjustment knob. At the coarser setting, it extracts okay, but spritzes more than I'd like. At the finer setting, it extracts a little too slow. I see what you mean about needing much finer adjustments or going true stepless as it seems 7-3/8 would be better, but that's already 4 times finer than what the KA is set to from the factory.

Or, if anything, the KA is a much more than adequate grinder for my Aeropress which can make a real good cup of coffee.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,383
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Tue Oct 29, 2013, 9:26pm
Subject: Re: Keep what I have, CC1, or something else?
 

Let me know how you like Phams 58.3mm tamper. I was thinking of getting the 58, but wonder if the 58.3 would be to tight of a fit?
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