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Help Please on Right Grinder for me


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I am hoping you can give advice on the best grinder for me.

When our neighbors moved, they gave me a Krups (says on back Model: Type 863) made in Switzerland. They said that they hardly used it. Trouble is, I have used it 3 times in 2 years, one reason is because it is such a pain to fill the portafilters, among other things.

Talking to a friend aobut getting rid of the machine, he suggested I look into getting a grinder that feeds into the portafilter. Since that sounded like a good idea I started looking for a grinder. Now I am confused as ever, because of all the types, sizes and prices.

Maybe you can offer some suggestions. This is my situation:

1. The espresso machine I have is an out-dated low-end to mid-range home-use machine (from what I can tell.)

2. The 3 times I used the machine I made espresso shots so I could make cappucino. (I don't usually drink espresso straight, except at Italian restaurants.)

3. I make coffee at home at least once but at the most 3 times per WEEK. (That's not per day.)

4. When I make coffee I use a drip coffee machine.

5. I have an old Krups blade grinder that is still twirling at 23 years old. :shock: I bought it in 1981.

6. I grind only enough beans at a time for each pot of coffee.

7. After grinding the beans, I always soap wash grinder top and wipe out the blades so left over grounds don't go rancid/acidic.

8. Since I clean/wash the grinder each time,I would like a machine that is easy to get out leftover grounds/static.

9. I keep unground beans in freezer, and would never leave them in a hopper or doser of a grinder just sitting on the counter.

10. Finally, my initial feature was to get a grinder that feeds into the portafilter directly. (Idea sounds great in theory but in reality does this cause a great big mess? )

The issue just isn't money alone, although it's a big factor. I can spend at max US$150. I've seen the Rocky but besides the hefty price it's maybe overkill for somebody like me. I would like a better grinder than the Krup blade and one that easily cleans between use.

For someone who has been using the same blade grinder for 23 years, I definitely have no experience at all and I've learned that I have the worse kind of grinder and a pretty bottom-of-the-line espresso machine. I need to spend big bucks for both new espresso machine and grinder. But if I don't go that rounte, and just get a grinder for now, what grinder should I get????

Thanks for any feedback.

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For drip coffee made at the frequency you describe.... a plain old cheap blade grinder will suffice but it appears that you've already established that fact. If you'd like a grinder that wil yield better results with your current espresso machine but still yield a consistent enough grind to work well with a higher end espresso machine - spring for a Solis Maestro at about $100 or the Maestro Plus at about $150. Either will suffice for your current needs and future upgrades.

The only criticism I've seen of the Solis grinders is related to the durablity of the burr assemblies. If you're grinding every day and going through a pound or two of coffee each week it' could conceivably be a concerne but for the use you describe I think a Solis would be fine.

All other things being equal.... I'd try to find for a gently used Rancilio Rocky in the $150 - $170 range before I'd buy the Maestro. It would be the last grinder you'd ever conceivably need to purchase, can handle any voluem of grinding and will produce the needed grind consistency even if you eventually upgrade to a much higher end espresso machine.

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can anyone recommend a good (and cheap) coffee bean grinder that will grind it the right consistency for a stovetop moka maker......any advice would be greatly appreciated!! :smile:

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thanks for the advice, however, i'm not sure about this hand cranked grinder. Would it produce a consistent grind? I think I would prefer to purchase an electrical grinder....any suggestions?

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Burr grinders produce a more consistent grind than blade grinders, and are easier to use. While most burr grinders are much more expensive than blade models, I've found this $30 model by Melitta to do the job just fine:

https://www.melitta.com/cgi-bin/SGSH0101.EX...&UID=!+USID!

Love,

Mr. Roger Troutman, who enjoys food and beverages.

CHAIR, INTERNATIONAL DINING RESEARCH INSTITUTE

WASHINGTON, D.C.

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The Zassenhaus is the only brand I'm aware of in hand cranked grinders that will perform as well as more expensive electric burr grinders. There are lots of cheaper hand cranked grinders available but it's all about the quality of the burr sets - Zassenhau has it and the others don't. The fact that the grinding occurs more slowly or at varying speeds is not a big issue.

I have not personally tried the Melitta burr grinder that Roger recommends but if purchasing an inexpensive burr grinder of any brand, be sure you can return it if perofrmance is not up to snuff. The several that I've tested (inexpensive burr grinders) ran hot and noisy and produced lots of fine powder along with chunks. The Melitta apparently is better but there's only so much you can expect from a $30 grinder - you get what you pay for.

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I have a small burr grinder that does a so-so job of grinding, but produces a lot of annoying static. Of course when I open the top of the grinder, little coffee grinds go shooting everywhere, making a mess...The lousy performance of this grinder is prompting me to get a new one. Any suggestions for an electric model if money is not the main concern??

edit: I would like this grinder to work for both espresso grind and auto drip, but depositing the grinds into a portafilter is not a requirement...

Edited by adegiulio (log)

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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If money is really not a concern and you are now or will in the future be using a higher end espresso machine (e.g. Rancilio Silvia or higher), the Mazzer Mini is a great choice. It is pricey - about $370 - $390. I think the timer on the pricier model is superfluous. The Mazzer is very quiet, extremely well made and has "stepless" adjustments - i.e. it can be adjusted for very fine changes in the grind setting.

Coming in at $100 less is the Rancilio Rocky - likely the best value for the money of any grinder on the market and one of the most popular. It consumes less counter space than the Mazzer but runs a bit noisier and has detentes (click stops) for the grind setting rather than the stepless adjustment feature. People with very critical needs and loads of espresso experience seem to express a slight preference for the Mazzer but the Rocky is a great machine - you would not be disappointed.

Jump down to the $175 - $250 range you'll find various models of Anfim, Cunill, the Gaggia MDF, the Isomac Gran Machino and others. All are more solid and likely more durable for heavy use than the Solis Maestro and Maestro Plus but not in the same class as the Rocky or the Mazzer.

Lastly.... if money is a bit of an issue, you're moderately mechanically inclined and want to save a few $$, search for a used Mazzer or Rio on ebay. The Mazzer's that show up are usually the Super Jolly model and on rare occasions its larger cousin the Robur. Not sure which Rio models are out there. The used grinders on eBay generally come from cafes that have gone belly up or else graduated to grinders with auto-tamping. They may need replacement burr sets that run about $60 but it's not too difficult to replace the burrs. Keep in mind that they are commercial grinders and take up plenty of counter space.

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Fantastic reply, thanks Phaelon...

another edit...have you used these or do you have first hand knowledge of the static issue with these grinders? I hate all those grinds flying around when I open it up...

Edited by adegiulio (log)

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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Hello All,

It's my very first time to post here. One more vote for the Zassenhaus grinders - these are quality items that fit right into your budget. They have a stepless graduation knob that allows you to fine tune your grind for whatever purpose you have in mind. They can grind exceedingly fine, finer than what your espresso machine can take. I have a Gaggia Classic and it just chokes on the finest setting on my Zass grinder.

I have two knee mills that I use, one for espresso and one for my French Press. The reason for this is that I once I have fine tuned a Zass' grind for the purpose, I leave it there. It is almost impossible to go back to the original setting once you fool arounfd with it. Hence, one Zass grinder for each coffee application.

They are high quality burr grinders at a fraction of the cost of the cheapest next best thing, the Solis Maestro Plus. I got my Zass at 1st Line for under $70, shipping included. My second Zass I got second hand, but in great condition, at Ebay for $40.

Perhaps the real reason why I really love these grinders (aside from the price and performance) is the ritual one does when using it. The extra step in hand cranking the beans is something I love to do. It isn't much work especially if you're making a coarse grind for FP (espresso grinds take much longer, say a minute), but it is more tiring than putting beans on the hopper and pushing a button :biggrin:

I hope this helps!

Pio

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Fantastic reply, thanks Phaelon...

another edit...have you used these or do you have first hand knowledge of the static issue with these grinders? I hate all those grinds flying around when I open it up...

Pio - Thanks for the good first hand user info on the Zass. I anticipate buying one of their little Turkish style grinders for travel use with a portable Moka pot if I ever get $$ again :biggrin:

Static is an issue on some grinders and an excellent question.

I have personally used the Mazzer Mini, the Solis Maestro (regular model not the plus), Krups and Waring whirly blade grinders (several models), a cheap Melitta burr grinder (probably a different model than the one someone referenced earlier in this thread - the one I tried was horrible), the solis 166 and also the Rocky.

Static is often a chronic problem on the inexpensive ($30-$80) burr grinders although some have also reported such problems on the Solis Maestro (BTW - Starbucks sells a Barista grinder which is actually a rebadged Solis 166 - the predecessor model to the original Maestro). Static problems on most grinders appear in the grounds collection bin or doser and can often be eliminated by just cleaning the plastic with a solution of water and a bit of liquid dish detergent. If it still persists I suppose one could use one of the anti-stat cloths they make for computer monitor screens but I'd check for any issues related to whether it's okay to use those on surfaces that will come into contact with food products. I suspect it's not a problem as the treatment just relates to surface ions and their charges - I don't think there's any residue.

Static is a non issue with the Zass knee grinders as the grounds collection bin is made of wood. I've not yet heard of it as an issue with the Rocky's or similar grinders either.

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I've owned a Solis Maestro Plus for about ten days. The grounds, so far, are almost static-free. I won't know until next fall or winter if dryer air will have an effect on this--not to mention the potential impact of burr-wear creating an inconsistent grind...

The quality and consistency of the grind is great and it's at least as quiet as our old Krups blade grinder. I'm very pleased. If I were more serious about espresso I would probably have sprung for the Rocky.

I ordered the MP from Aabree Coffee. I understand that their customer service is impeccable. All I know about that is that I received a very prompt and helpful answer to an email I sent prior to my purchase.

YMMV.

Kurt

“I like to keep a bottle of stimulant handy in case I see a snake--which I also keep handy.” ~W.C. Fields

The Handy Snake

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Folks who grind a few pounds per week every week all year long are the ones who've reported the burr wear - for the average person it's not likely to be an issue for years. Replacement burr sets are not terribly expensive and IIRC are easy enough to install.

I've purchased from Aabree a few times and was very satisfied with both the purchase and the followup service. The web site Espressopeople is also theirs. Have had similarly positive experiences at 1st Line in NJ and Sweet Maria's. SM's primary focus is green coffee beans but they do sell grinders). My favorite vendor, due to their stellar follow up service reputation (which I can vouch for first hand) is Chris Coffee. Chris Coffee has the Isomac Gran Machino on sale right now for $179 - a good price. It's not quite in the same league as the Rocky but is a much more heavy duty piece of gear than the Solis grinders.

The vendors I've mentioned are the ones that seem to get the most discussion and feedback in various espresso and coffee discussion forums etc (Coffeegeek, alt.coffee etc.). Equally widely discussed but with both adherents and a fair number detractors is Whole Latte Love. They have the best web site of any online coffee vendor - easy to negotiate and chock full of useful information. The down side for some is their follow up customer service. I bought my first espresso machine and grinder from them and found their phone support to be very helpful but a number of friends and acquaintances I've spoken with have experienced difficulties with them when an exchange, return or repair service was required after the sale. YMMV.

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Well, I got my Rancilio Rocky from Aabree today. WOW! This is a serious grinder. Very heavy construction, very tall, and a quite a nice looking piece of equipment (I got the stainless steel one). The only hard (fun) part now is to figure out which of the infinite settings I like best for my drip machine and espresso.

Also, does anyone know how to take the doser off without breaking anything? :biggrin:

Anthony

PS- Phaelon, thanks again for the recommendation...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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  • 3 weeks later...

Anybody have a take on the PG series La Pavoni burr grinders?

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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Anybody have a take on the PG series La Pavoni burr grinders?

I have no experience with them personally but the comments at

Coffeegeek La Pavoni PG series consumer reviews

are not glowing. The consensus is that if you can find one on sale for $100- $120 it does a good job for French Press coffee but needs modification to do well for espresso. They appear to have a spotty track record for reliability as well, requiring repairs more often than one might hope.

I'd be inclined to look for a gently used Rocky if budget is an issue or try to find a deal on a Cunill Tranquilo or an Anfim (both are noisier than Rocky but solid machiens that will do a decent job of espresso grinding).

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Thanks for the input. Your link brought me to this one:

http://www.math.columbia.edu/~bayer/coffee.html

Fabulously obsessive and so, quite convincing. I bought the pavoni less than retail, 140 or so. After two days I'm convinced the Blue Mountain beans for which I bought the grinder are over-roasted.

The grind-size calibration may be something that has been sorted at the factory or maybe, pavoni being pavoni, every grinder that comes out is calibrated differently. Mine would need attention if it were to be used for anything other than espresso. Thankfully, it won't.

Fingers are crossed on durability.

Edited by ned (log)

You shouldn't eat grouse and woodcock, venison, a quail and dove pate, abalone and oysters, caviar, calf sweetbreads, kidneys, liver, and ducks all during the same week with several cases of wine. That's a health tip.

Jim Harrison from "Off to the Side"

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