Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Coffee Grinders: Models, Sources, Maintenance/Hygiene


glenn
 Share

Recommended Posts

Don't recall seeing this on earlier perusals of this thread. Home Barista's comparative review of the Mazzer Mini doser, Mazzer Mini E, Cimbali Junior and Macap M4 is very useful in sorting out the pros and cons of the four grinders. Too bad the premium on the Mini E is so high.

Edited by carswell (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 weeks later...
My first two batches from the PC were very good, evenly ground, not hot, and saved on the amount of JBM beans used, compared to the coarse grind on the Cuisinart Grind 'n Brew .

I am quite sure I'll switch to the press method, since it now seems to work better.

Jay, thanks for the reply and your impressions. I think I'll try out the PC grinder, if I can find one. Unfortunately, my nearest Superstore was sold out so I'll have to cross my fingers and hope that they get more in stock.

I returned the PC to Loblaws today. Too many plastic parts, and a powdery grind at all settings.

I've been happy wth the results from the KitchenAid, priced around $160 here, for drip coffee.

Anyone else use this?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 months later...

Hi all,

While this thread has stagnated, Kitchen Aid introduced a new $200 Pro-Line coffee grinder that received a positive introduction on Coffee Geek. I purchased the machine (30% discount) and have been very pleased with its performance.

Construction:

It is very heavy and rather large.

It uses vertical flat blades to grind, very unusual.

The ground coffee falls from the blades into a heavy glass jar.

The beans are fed by an auger, assuring a steady flow of beans.

The owners manual is extremely thorough.

You can dismantle the grinding mechanism for cleaning.

Performance:

There are 15 fineness settings which can be further adjusted to your own specs.

It is very, very quiet.

The coffee is ground at a very low rate of RPMs.

The coffee falls into a fluffy pile with NO STATIC ELECTRICITY.

The design makes for a clean counter. A few grounds fall when you pull the jar.

The machine is a breeze to clean with a vacuum.

There is no timer or measurements on the jar - we use one cup per pot.

I wonder if others have found this machine and compared it to the Solis?

Tim

Edited by tim (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I bought the Kitchenaid based on the Coffeegeek review, and on the fact that it simply would look better in my kitchen than the comparably priced Solis. I love it, for the same reasons Tim does. It's quiet, easy to clean, and leads to some excellent cups of coffee (although I should note that I don't make espresso, so I can't speak to its quality there). My only complaint is that beans sometimes get caught in the hopper, so I have to jiggle the entire heavy thing as it's grinding to make sure every last one gets through. Not a big deal, just a funny-looking addition to my morning routine.

Susan

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There are mixed opinions - mostly naysaying - about the Kitchenaid's suitability as an espresso grinder (although I suspect it's as good or better than the Solis in that regard).

But the overall consensus is that it's a fine general purpose home coffee grinder for drip, press pot, vac pot etc..

And I have a friend who had pesky issues with his Solis (I had none when I owned one) but he dumped it, got a Kitchenaid and is thrilled (and he's fairly picky). No question about the fact that it's got beefier more rugged build quality and is a more heavy duty machine.

I suggest going up to a Rocky or its equivalent if your focus is espresso grinding but otherwise the Kitchenaid, especially at the prices I've seen mentioned, appears to be the top dog in the $200 and under category.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...
There are mixed opinions - mostly naysaying - about the Kitchenaid's suitability as an espresso grinder (although I suspect it's as good or better than the Solis in that regard).

But the overall consensus is that it's a fine general purpose home coffee grinder for drip, press pot, vac pot etc..

And I have a friend who had pesky issues with his Solis (I had none when I owned one) but he dumped it, got a Kitchenaid and is thrilled (and he's fairly picky).  No question about the fact that it's got beefier more rugged build quality and is a more heavy duty machine.

I suggest going up to a Rocky or its equivalent if your focus is espresso grinding but otherwise the Kitchenaid, especially at the prices I've seen mentioned, appears to be the top dog in the $200 and under category.

I've been researching burr grinders for a while and have sort of hit an impass. I'd like to get some updated feedback from readers of this thread.

I considering the following:

Solis Maestro Plus - around $150;

Gaggia MDF - close to $200

the Kitchenaid - around $200

the Rocky - around $300

I mostly make drip and french press coffee, and will soon try vacuum brewing. So I'm leaning towards the Solis. However, at some point I may get bit by the espresso bug, and I understand that the Solis and Kitchenaid (and perhaps the Gaggia?) aren't great at grinding for espresso.

So my questions are: Does anyone have experience using the Solis and/or the Gaggia for espresso? If so, what are your impressions?

Thanks.

Edited by Darren72 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef, I'm with you! I just received the Cuisinart burr grinder last week and really like it! My friend, and beer forum leader, Rich Pawlak, always attends the Cuisinart sale in NJ and I asked him to be on lookout for this grinder. He found it for $30 and sent it too me last week! It does produce a consistent grind, I use mostly the coarse setting for use in my press. It is a good sized machine without being too bulky but has enough heft to make it stable. Certainly not a high-end grinder, but it works for me!

Bob R in OKC (Thanks RP for finding this for me!)

Edited by Okbrewer (log)

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chef, I'm with you!  I just received the Cuisinart burr grinder last week and really like it!  My friend, and beer forum leader, Rich Pawlak, always attends the Cuisinart sale in NJ and I asked him to be on lookout for this grinder.  He found it for $30 and sent it too me last week!  It does produce a consistent grind, I use mostly the coarse setting for use in my press.  It is a good sized machine without being too bulky but has enough heft to make it stable.  Certainly not a high-end grinder, but it works for me!

Bob R in OKC  (Thanks RP for finding this for me!)

Yes, for the money, you can't beat it! (Got mine at a supply store going out of business in Moorseville, NC for 50% off :) )

I also use the course setting for my press, but when I need an espresso or like to fiddle with Turkish coffees, having the finer setting is nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've both personally had and also heard of not-so-great experiences with cheap burr grinders (i.e. those under $70 to $100) but my mind remains open. For me the longevity of the item is important. My cheap little Waring whirl-blade grinder cost me $15 and I used it on and off for 20 years before passing it on at a garage sale for $2. I bought a mellitta 'burr grinder' for $30 at a reataurant gear close-out store a few years ago and returned it the next day - loud, plasticy, ran very hot, very noisy and produced a mix of chunks and dust. But YMMV!

As for the others.... I considered a Gaggia MDF before settling on a Mazzer Mini but had seriously considered the Rocky. If you're using it for drip coffee I strongly recommend the Rocky doserless model. you can grind directly into your paper brewing filter of press pot and should you eventually get bit by the espresso bug you won't need to upgrade. I've heard mixed things about the MDF as far as value and build quality for the money - I'm inclined to suggest the Rocky.

I think the enitre Solis line is pretty good for the money but if you get really serious about espresso you'll want to jump up a notch to the Rocky level. I had a Maestro for about a year or so and it served me well with my entry level Gaggia espresso machine but when I jumped to a more robust and more capable espresos machien i discovered that my shots could be much better with a higher quality grinder (and indeed that proved to be the case).

Not everyone needs a commercial espresso grinder in their kitchen (although some of us do!) but upgrades can be costly not to mention the hassle of trying to find a home or buyer for the item you're replacing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Owen, I completely agree with you. I started with the Solis Maestro Plus and still use it for drip/FP coffee but have a Mazzer Mini for espresso. For espresso it really makes a big difference if you have a great grinder. For drip I think you can get by with many of the lower end ones. What I like about the Solis is it's not too loud, I get no static unless it's cold here which is not too often. It's still a lot of money compared to the under $100 grinders. Bad things about low end grinders are usually that they are very loud and produce a lot of heat. I think the new Solis grinders, the Virtuoso, grind slower so there is less heat than with their Maestro line. Upgrades can be expensive but at least I still use my original burr grinder on a daily basis. One last point is that what ever grinder you use, CLEAN IT! Many of the problems associated with the Solis grinders can be avoided by keeping it clean. That goes for just about every other grinder.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I am using the Gaggia MDF for espresso on a fairly high end machine and am able to produce amazing shots. The main complaint people have about it is that the difference in fineness between clicks on the adjustment is too great but that can be compensation for with your tamp pressure. I have had the machine for 3-4 years and have had no issues with it at all.

I previously used a Solis Maestro and don't feel that is an espresso quality grinder, although I still use it for FP and Aeropress brewing. When I bought my Gaggia it was on sale for $150 so that helped my decision making, as was the though of how much should I spent on my one cup a day habit.

There are mixed opinions - mostly naysaying - about the Kitchenaid's suitability as an espresso grinder (although I suspect it's as good or better than the Solis in that regard).

But the overall consensus is that it's a fine general purpose home coffee grinder for drip, press pot, vac pot etc..

And I have a friend who had pesky issues with his Solis (I had none when I owned one) but he dumped it, got a Kitchenaid and is thrilled (and he's fairly picky).  No question about the fact that it's got beefier more rugged build quality and is a more heavy duty machine.

I suggest going up to a Rocky or its equivalent if your focus is espresso grinding but otherwise the Kitchenaid, especially at the prices I've seen mentioned, appears to be the top dog in the $200 and under category.

I've been researching burr grinders for a while and have sort of hit an impass. I'd like to get some updated feedback from readers of this thread.

I considering the following:

Solis Maestro Plus - around $150;

Gaggia MDF - close to $200

the Kitchenaid - around $200

the Rocky - around $300

I mostly make drip and french press coffee, and will soon try vacuum brewing. So I'm leaning towards the Solis. However, at some point I may get bit by the espresso bug, and I understand that the Solis and Kitchenaid (and perhaps the Gaggia?) aren't great at grinding for espresso.

So my questions are: Does anyone have experience using the Solis and/or the Gaggia for espresso? If so, what are your impressions?

Thanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good points made by all. If i was still making drip or press pot coffee at home more than a few times each year I'd likely get a Solis Maestro Plus or Virtuoso - or even the new Kitchenaid.

The click stop issue with the Gaggia was one of the things that pushed me towards the Mazzer instead of it or the Rocky. I love the stepless grind adjustment of the Mazzer products because I have a tendency to adopt one specific tamp style and pressure and just stick with it all the time - one less variable to worry about. I actually sold the Mini on ebay after three years of relatively light use and now have Mazzer commercial grinders at home (because I got them used at an insanely cheap price).

About the occasional static issue on the grounds collection hopper of Solis grinders: a quick cleaning with warm water and a bit of dishwashing liquid followed by a cold rinse and air dry will usually fix that.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also worth noting: Chris Coffee (a retailer up in Albany, NY) sells a QuickMill grinder for $275 that is compact, doserless, stepless, has super-solid burrs, and is a proper workhorse that delivers excellent quality. It beat the Rocky doserless hollow in a side-by-side in my kitchen.

http://www.chriscoffee.com/products/home/g...uickmillgrinder

It isn't a Mazzer Mini or a Macap M4. But it also takes up a LOT less space and is a lot less pricey. Plus Chris has amazing service and a full-replacement warranty.

Mayur Subbarao, aka "Mayur"
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...

I can also vouch for Chris's Coffee as a great place to buy coffee gear. I haven't tried the Quick Mill, but another good option they offer is the Isomac Gran Macinino, for $160. It's a doserless, all-metal conical burr grinder made in Italy. I use it for FP and drip, and it produces an even grind with very little dust. Can't say whether it works for espresso, but some of the Coffee Geek reviews claim good results for that. Other places sell this grinder for over $200, so $159 is good value (I got mine used - from Chris's - for $99).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

This thread is 6 months old....

If I just brew French press coffee on the weekends, does it make sense to buy a burr grinder? If so, which one? I really don't want to drop tons of money on something that will take up precious counter space. Currently, I use a Braun blade grinder (sue me.. it's better than buying pre-ground coffee)

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Jeff,

Yes, I think it is worth buying a burr grinder.

When I upgraded from a whirly blade to a burr grinder, I immediately noticed the difference in my french press coffee. As much as I tried to avoid it when I used the blade grinder, I always had a lot of sediment in my french press coffee. It simply wasn't possible to achieve a uniform grind and inevitably there were smaller grounds that went through the french press filter. (Or, I'd grind too coarse and the coffee wouldn't have any flavor.) The french press with the burr grinder was much more flavorful and had a lot less sediment.

If you aren't going to make espresso, you definitely don't need to buy a $300+ burr grinder. But there are some lower-cost options you might consider:

Capresso Infinity: $90 in black, $140 in chrome. [As far as I know, the "insides" of these grinders are the same. The only difference is that the black is made of ABS plastic while the chrome is, well, chrome. If you opt for the chrome, try to find a 15% off coupon for Bed, Bath, and Beyond (they do not carry the black model).]

Other options to consider:

Baratza Solis Maestro, $115

Baratza Solis Maestro Plus, $149

Baratza Solis Vituoso, $199

Bodum Antigua, $70

All of these have conical burr grinding mechanisms. Some are a little louder than others; some heat the grounds a little more than others; some leave grounds with a little more static than others. Some have more plastic while other have more steel. Some give you more grind settings than others. A good website to compare these and other models is Whole Latte Love. Another good website is Coffee Geek.

Reading the reviews on this forum and the other websites, I came away with these general impressions: first, each of these have supporters and detractors. Second, there seems to be little support for the idea that any of these can match the performance of the higher-priced models, such as the Rancilio Rocky ($285). Third, it is very difficult to find "rigorous" reviews. Most of the consumer reviews you'll read describe the writer's experience with one grinder, or perhaps compare the grinder to one they previously owned. These can be very useful, of course, but can't give you the same information as a side-by-side comparison of coffee made with different grinders.

My experience: I recently bought a Rocky Rancilio and I love it. Although I don't make espresso now, I chose this model because I plan to start making espresso some time soon. I definitely have noticed a vast improvement, however, in my daily french press, vacuum brewed, and drip coffees. I also recently gave my parents the black Capresso Infinity burr grinder (who only brew automatic drip) and ordered a second one to keep at a second home. I chose the Capresso over the other mid-priced grinders for a few reasons: first, my impression was that most people who wrote reviews on Whole Latte Love were happy with their purchase; second, the reviews on WLL indicated that it was slightly less noisy than some of the other models; third, I didn't want to spend over $100. Finally, a sales person at WLL said he thought the Capresso generated less static electricity in the grounds.

My parents have used theirs for a couple of weeks now and are very happy with it. They said it generated a lot of static when they first started using it, but report less now that the weather is warmer and more humid. My Capresso hasn't arrived yet, but when it does I'll write a more formal review.

Edited by Darren72 (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

thanks for the feedback. The Capresso was one of the models I was considering, largely due to cost. I'll also try to track down the Bodum. There used to be an actual Bodum store in Dallas, but it closed.

As much as I would like to do espresso, it's just not in the cards right now. I simply don't have the space to keep a real espresso machine.

I have a functional question on the burr grinders. Most of them seem to be designed to keep a "large" amount of coffee in a hopper. How does one measure out just the amount you need for the pot size you want to brew? Sometimes I only brew a small amount (like 2 6 ounce cups). Other times, I may brew twice that (still, not a lot of coffee). I'm used to simply measuring out beans into my blade grinder, grinding, then using all of it in the French Press pot.

How would this work on a burr grinder? I obviously don't want to grind more than I need.

Jeff Meeker, aka "jsmeeker"

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can do it the same way you have been, Jeff. The burr grinders do have a bin for holding more beans, but no need to dump in more than you are going to use.

I think that The Cultured Cup in Dallas carries both the Bodum and Capresso burr grinders.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How does one measure out just the amount you need for the pot size you want to brew?  Sometimes I only brew a small amount (like 2 6 ounce cups).  Other times, I may brew twice that (still, not a lot of coffee).  I'm used to simply measuring out beans into my blade grinder, grinding, then using all of it in the French Press pot.

How would this work on a burr grinder?  I obviously don't want to grind more than I need.

It's actually quite easy. Just use the same standard coffee scoop you use to measure pre-ground coffee and put the same number of scoops of whole beans into the grinder. That's what I did when I was grinding at home to make coffee by the pot. I used one round scoop of whole beans per 5 oz of water. You may find that you prefer a bit more or less but you can get fairly accurate and consistent for drip coffee using that measurement method.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 years on, I am still perfectly happy with my capresso infinity for (mostly) drip coffee.

I've had no problems with it and use it daily.

Well, I did break the hopper by dropping it in the sink once when cleaning, and had to order a replacement part from Capresso.

So, no problems that weren't my fault!

I use it exactly as I used my old blade grinder, measuring out the beans into the hopper each day and then grinding them before making coffee.

It is a lot less noisy than the blade grinder was, you don't have to worry about shaking it to get an even grind, or cleaning the pulverized beans that stick in the corners.

It does take up a bit more counter space than the old blade grinder and cleaning it is a bit more of a time investment.

I haven't used it very often for press pot coffee, so can't really comment on its appropriateness for that task. It works well for melitta drip and aeropress.

---

Erik Ellestad

If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...

Bernal Heights, SF, CA

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...