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Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
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Posted Tue Jul 7, 2009, 8:21pm
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

Dave, excellent analogy beer/coffee, and you expressed perfectly what I failed to, regarding the "decent" concept with your explanation that it doesn't make us less decent to want to experience more than the ordinary. I want to give Pietro the benefit of the doubt, but I believe you are correct regarding the singular focus of his posts. He has the right, of course, but to inessence crticize those as being perhaps less than decent for wanting more does rankle me a bit.
Perhaps it's a language thing. Or not.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
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Location: Berkeley, CA
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Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
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Posted Wed Jul 8, 2009, 5:47am
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

davethebrewguy Said:

I have a hard time with the idea that sales volume and quality are even remotely related . . . .

Posted July 7, 2009 link

Agreed.  The same is true with, for example, the Big Mac/Quarter Pounder:  is it really true that McDonald's produces the very best burger?  Or, to return to coffee, that Starbucks makes the very best lattè possible?

Clearly not.  And yet for tens of thousands of people, they willingly go back time and again for a Bud Light, a Big Mac, and a half-caf, non-fat, no foam,venti lattè . . .

Are these people stupid, as in do they really believe "this" is the best possible _______________ available?  No.  Are they un-educated, as in do they not know there is better _______________ out there?  No, probably not (presuming we confine this discussion to adults).  Are they simply un-caring, as in they know better _______________ exists, but it doesn't matter to them?  Perhaps.  This is certainly true in some cases; in others, it's an economic decision -- (e.g.: a 6-pack of Bud Light costs $, while a 6-pack of Anchor Steam costs $$-$$$); and in still others, it's merely a matter of convenience -- (e.g.: I'm hungry, and McDonald's is right there . . . oh, wait, it's a Burger King . . . whatever).  And let's not overlook, in the case of McDonald's, the fact that, left to their own devices, the adult may opt for something else, but they are making choices to appease their small children.  ;^)

Still, there is a huge difference between the market-at-large, and the small, dedicated world of the coffee geek, the home barista, the people who populate/participate on similar boards for wine, beer, stereo equipment, cars, and any other focused interest one can name.

There is certainly room out there for Budweiser, McDonald's, and Starbucks -- but not necessarily in my life -- at least an overwhelming majority of the time . . . nor, I suspect, in the majority of others here, the majority of the time.

As a group, the best one can hope for is what was often said about White Zinfandel:  if that is the wine that people like, and it leads them to discover more wines -- then White Zin is great!

Cheers,
Jason

 
A morning without coffee is sleep . . .
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cappuccinoboy
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Joined: 27 Jun 2009
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Location: MILANO
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Espresso: Milano pod, Milano fully...
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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009, 11:31am
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

IMAWriter Said:

true. There are virtuoso VOCAL only groups and ensembles...Kings Chorus, even Barbershop quartets that make wondrous music without the aid of a "manufactured" instrument.
I sang in one.
God's greatest musical instrument is the human voice.

Posted July 7, 2009 link

IMA boy,I believe you, but I admitted that music is a foreign world for me: Let me correct you ; you are not a manufacturer producing music from scratch, you are a "CREATIVE" creating the music in your head, and then .....
Cheers, Pietro
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cappuccinoboy
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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009, 11:51am
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

davethebrewguy Said:

I have a hard time with the idea that sales volume and quality are even remotely related. ........
So why is there no love on the beer forums? The forums are not populated with average (decent) beer drinkers, most posters have had a Bud Light but still want to experience new things and taste new flavors. .......
It is no different with coffee. No matter how carefully it is packed and shipped, a pod will never reach the consumer as fresh as a "ground on the spot,.........
The fact that Cappucinoboy makes 3 or 4 posts at a time without saying anything new doesn't help things.
C-boy, your posts seem to have a common theme of supporting products that you are involved with in a business venture, this makes me skeptical of anything you post on the matter. I am of the opinion that you are here to attempt push your products and I think you may be targeting the wrong audience.

Back On-Topic:
IMH(layman's)O, aren't there a number of other factors that might contribute to the merits of one burr type over another? As an example, I have to think that axial play at the drive shaft would have a greater effect on a conical burr than on a flat burr. This might explain why conicals are catching on more at the high end of the range (where tolerances are tighter) and at the bottom of the range (where play in the grind adjustment is more of an issue than play in a driveshaft), while the mid-range is still predominantly made up of grinders with flat burrs. If the engineers here think I'm way off base, I'd welcome any enlightenment you have to offer.

(*) BudMillCoors is not limited to the 3 breweries from which the "name" is derived, it includes the products of Molson, Corona, Heiniken, Peroni, Fosters and dozens of others from every region that are made from very similar recipes, lagers that usually include corn or rice.

Posted July 7, 2009 link

The fact that you like better beers does not make you any less decent than other people, like I do not feel any less decent if I drink a Peroni or when in the USA a beer from one of those micro breweries so nice ....
The fact that I make 3-4 posts at a time is because I am decent enough to follow up and answer every post  "addressed" to me
A pod gets to the consumer "close enough" as if it was "ground on the spot" and consistently: it has to do with fair average quality
I AM NOT PUSHING MY PRODUCTS SINCE I HAVE NONE : they are all labeled under different names and my push is not needed nor required
I do not offer an answer to your post on conical-flat because is not addressed to me and because I do not really understand what you mean
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cappuccinoboy
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Espresso: Milano pod, Milano fully...
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Posted Thu Jul 9, 2009, 12:27pm
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

IMAWriter Said:

Dave, excellent analogy beer/coffee, and you expressed perfectly what I failed to, regarding the "decent" concept with your explanation that it doesn't make us less decent to want to experience more than the ordinary. I want to give Pietro the benefit of the doubt, but I believe you are correct regarding the singular focus of his posts. He has the right, of course, but to inessence crticize those as being perhaps less than decent for wanting more does rankle me a bit.
Perhaps it's a language thing. Or not.

Posted July 7, 2009 link

IMA boy, since you give me the benefit of the doubt I do confirm : out there the vast majority is made of normal decent people happy with what they consider good average (from their very personal point of view) and a minority (still decent) of never satisfied people (said in a positive way) who are looking for "BETTER" and "BETTER THAN BETTER" : it is a marketing choice wich audience to attend (sell to), but any wise business person will consider making offers to both : the vast majority because of the number and the minority because these people are willing to spend more for "better" (ever considered how much more cost one of those "prosumer" espresso machines if compared to those "starter level"- I do not like to mention names, we all know them and I do not like to recommend unless I am specifically asked, and provided I do know..
I am not criticizing anybody for his personal tastes, I just disegree with those people who just run down anything they do not like . It is not true that coffee sold in groceries is stale, you may like different and it is your choice, but that coffee in groceries has normally been produced responsibly, with care and with the best instruments and technics available to the industry and with the aim to please the customer......
ZIN1953 call them uneducated, and I take that in a positive way, but do those people wish they could tell the difference..???if what they have does already  please them ??
In a good restaurant (in Italy) I have a bottle of wine (very few choices though and not necessarily top price), in the best steak house in USA I feel very happy to go with a beer from some micro brewerie ........(actually one is just to start...since when over there I am normally driven and I need not worry about alcohol)
Am I less decent because I cannot sing ??' Sure not, although I really miss it....
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digger
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digger
Joined: 5 Jun 2009
Posts: 129
Location: Long Beach, California
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: QM Alexia w/PID
Grinder: Le'Lit PL53
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

To all,

I (digger) started this topic one month ago because as an engineer I wanted to gain technical insight as to the mechanical advantages of flat vs conical burrs. As a consumer I value facts and data as well as peoples personal choice.

It only took 5 pages of this forum to go from the technical discussion with plenty of facts and data that I was enjoying .....  to the great debate over the word "decent", big mac vs the quarter pounder, beer vs white Zin, and something about 2 guys watching a river.

Question:  Do I believe that the $2000+ Mahlkönig grinds a noticeably better bean than the Lelit @ $269 I will probably buy? I don't know, but it just might.  Does that also means that the $2000+ grinder just might grind a better bean than those $800 Super Jolly folk, and so on and so on.

Thank goodness I believe in the sanctity of free speech and appreciate the value of CG and any forum that offers an open debate.  As for the ongoing personal attacks that are prevalent in almost all of the different forums, well, that's just chest-ponders doing their thing and that's a shame because it will force some people to avoid open debate all together.

So with that in mind, let me thank everyone for their opinions. I will buy the le'lit PL53 because of what I have learned. At my price point the difference between flat and conical my not be noticable, the lelit has good reviews so far, construction looks good, and the stepless grind adjustment seems like a good feature.

Let me also stand on my small soapbox and offer my personal definition of the word "decent".  

Most every Saturday morning I ride my bike about 32 miles. I come home, turn on my new Le'lit espresso machine, make a poor attempt at frothing (but it's getting better), pull a double shot and am quite pleased with myself that at this time in my espresso career I actually get a very favorable cup with a reasonable crema.   I sit in my chair and fire up my 73" Mitsubishi HDTV and contemplate what golf course I might play Sunday with my new set of Wilson Staff irons.  I finish my cup, have some breakfast and pull another.

You know...I start my day VERY "decent"ly

Keep the opinions coming...I do enjoy reading CG
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cappuccinoboy
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Espresso: Milano pod, Milano fully...
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Posted Fri Jul 10, 2009, 1:01pm
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

digger Said:

To all,

I (digger) started this topic one month ago because as an engineer I wanted to gain technical insight as to the mechanical advantages of flat vs conical burrs. As a consumer I value facts and data as well as peoples personal choice.

It only took 5 pages of this forum to go from the technical discussion with plenty of facts and data that I was enjoying .....
...................
Question:  Do I believe that the $2000+ Mahlkönig grinds a noticeably better bean than the Lelit @ $269 I will probably buy? I don't know, but it just might.
So with that in mind, let me thank everyone for their opinions. I will buy the le'lit PL53 because of what I have learned. At my price point the difference between flat and conical my not be noticable, the lelit has good reviews so far, construction looks good, and the stepless grind adjustment seems like a good feature.

Let me also stand on my small soapbox and offer my personal definition of the word "decent".  

Most every Saturday morning I ride my bike about 32 miles. I come home, turn on my new Le'lit espresso machine, make a poor attempt at frothing (but it's getting better), pull a double shot and am quite pleased with myself that at this time in my espresso career I actually get a very favorable cup with a reasonable crema.   I sit in my chair and fire up my 73" Mitsubishi HDTV and contemplate what golf course I might play Sunday with my new set of Wilson Staff irons.  I finish my cup, have some breakfast and pull another.

You know...I start my day VERY "decent"ly

Keep the opinions coming...I do enjoy reading CG

Posted July 10, 2009 link

you should buy your LeLit grinder because it makes a nice pairing to your espresso maker, but MAINLY because at your price range the conical makes a hell of a difference, giving quality absolutely comparable to the bigger professional grinder : beware though it might not stand 15-20 shots in a row, but that does not seem to be your problem.
Incredible how far we can go and digress from the original thread...... (let me, and the rest of the audience, know how much yr espresso improves with the new grinder), and BTW should you need advice on how to better exploit your espresso maker .... and steaming better ......
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JasonBrandtLewis
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JasonBrandtLewis
Joined: 9 Dec 2005
Posts: 6,467
Location: Berkeley, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Elektra T1 - La Valentina -...
Grinder: Mahlkönig K30 Vario -...
Vac Pot: Yama 5-cup
Drip: CCD, Chemex
Roaster: No, no, not another...
Posted Sat Jul 11, 2009, 7:33am
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

digger Said:

I (digger) started this topic one month ago because as an engineer I wanted to gain technical insight as to the mechanical advantages of flat vs conical burrs. As a consumer I value facts and data as well as peoples personal choice.

It only took 5 pages of this forum to go from the technical discussion with plenty of facts and data that I was enjoying .....  to the great debate over the word "decent", big mac vs the quarter pounder, beer vs white Zin, and something about 2 guys watching a river.

Posted July 10, 2009 link

Chuck, such is the nature of the internet -- in no small part because a) it's next to impossible to discern tone-of-voice (and some explanation may be required), and b) the occasional language difficulties.  But of course there is more to it as well.

digger Said:

Question:  Do I believe that the $2000+ Mahlkönig grinds a noticeably better bean than the Lelit @ $269 I will probably buy? I don't know, but it just might.  Does that also means that the $2000+ grinder just might grind a better bean than those $800 Super Jolly folk, and so on and so on.

Posted July 10, 2009 link

I am steadfastly not an engineer.  My point-of-view:  if it works, great!  It x is better than y -- and I can afford x -- guess what I'm going to get?

Sticking solely with grinders (the topic at hand), I know that my Mazzer Mini (58mm flat burrs) was a noticable improvement over my Gaggia MDF (50mm flat burr).  The Quick Mill Doserless was not as good as the Mazzer Mini; neither was the Nuova Simonelli MCF (48mm flat burrs).  My Cimbali Max Hybrid grinder, with its 64mm combination conical-flat burr set, was a significant improvement over the Mazzer Mini  -- the largest "equipment-based" quality improvement I've ever made.  The Mahlkönig K30 Vario grinder (65 mm flat burrs) is at least the equal to, if not better than, the Cimbali, although any improvement is incremental.  Its chief virtues are its speed and its low noise level -- in both areas, the Mahlkönig is decidedly better than the Cimbali.  But in the cup, where it counts?  As I said, "at least the equal to, if not better than . . . "

Will you be happy with your Le'Lit?  Absolutely!  I have no doubt.

Are 65mm flat burrs, or a 64mm combination conical-flat burr set, better than 38mm conicals?  Absolutely!  I have no doubt.

Is the difference worth the $$$?  Only you can decide that for sure, and only by tasting side-by-side shots.  But if you're ever in Berkeley and you want to bring your Le'Lit, we can pull a few . . .

In the meantime, ENJOY!

Cheers,
Jason

 
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cappuccinoboy
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Posted Fri Sep 4, 2009, 12:34pm
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

Chuck, such is the nature of the internet -- in no small part because a) it's next to impossible to discern tone-of-voice (and some explanation may be required), and b) the occasional language difficulties.  But of course there is more to it as well.


I am steadfastly not an engineer.  My point-of-view:  if it works, great!  It x is better than y -- and I can afford x -- guess what I'm going to get?

Sticking solely with grinders (the topic at hand), I know that my Mazzer Mini (58mm flat burrs) was a noticable improvement over my Gaggia MDF (50mm flat burr).  The Quick Mill Doserless was not as good as the Mazzer Mini; neither was the Nuova Simonelli MCF (48mm flat burrs).  My Cimbali Max Hybrid grinder, with its 64mm combination conical-flat burr set, was a significant improvement over the Mazzer Mini  -- the largest "equipment-based" quality improvement I've ever made.  The Mahlkönig K30 Vario grinder (65 mm flat burrs) is at least the equal to, if not better than, the Cimbali, although any improvement is incremental.  Its chief virtues are its speed and its low noise level -- in both areas, the Mahlkönig is decidedly better than the Cimbali.  But in the cup, where it counts?  As I said, "at least the equal to, if not better than . . . "

Will you be happy with your Le'Lit?  Absolutely!  I have no doubt.

Are 65mm flat burrs, or a 64mm combination conical-flat burr set, better than 38mm conicals?  Absolutely!  I have no doubt.

Is the difference worth the $$$?  Only you can decide that for sure, and only by tasting side-by-side shots.  But if you're ever in Berkeley and you want to bring your Le'Lit, we can pull a few . . .

In the meantime, ENJOY!

Cheers,
Jason

Posted July 11, 2009 link

and now some facts why conical is a better burr.....
Jason says : "Bigger is better", although he does not specify in what sense is better I would agree with him if bigger is intended for the grinding surface of burr....
I tried to get some figures  from burr manufacturers about grinding surface of different burrs, in order to evaluate possible match between flats and conicals, but much to my disappointment the two manufacturers  I approached looked at me like I was an alien asking funny question, so I worked out an equation : bigger is better because a bigger diameter burr with bigger grinding surface will give a higher output on same motor. For argument sake we shall calculate the usefull plane surface of lower burr, considering that if we consider double surface the ratio will not change, and also we shall agree that machining increases the usefull grinding surface of same percentage, both in flat and in conical (I know that in conical the percentage is higher, but to prove the point we can very easily agree on same percentage, thus working on plane surface will give us exact idea of proportion). Now a flat burr has an outside diameter and an inside diameter, it is very easy to calculate the usefull grinding surface, for conical we have to calculate outside surface of truncated cone making the lower burr that is (I had calculated on Solid Works 3D drafting program..)
38mm conical, smaller burr 30mm x 20mm x 17mm thick giving a surface of 1391mm2
50mm flat (31mm inside-RancilioRocky) gives a surface of 1207mm2
52mm flat (32mm inside- Ascaso)          gives a surface of 1319mm2
54mm flat (32mm inside- Cimbali)          gives a surface of 1485mm2
47mm conical, smaller burr 32mm x 23mm x 20mm thick giving a surface of 1771mm2
58mm flat (33mm inside- Mazzer Mini) gives a surface of 1785mm2
64mm flat (37mm inside- Mazzer S. J.) gives a surface of 2140mm2
68mm conical, smaller burr 49mm x 34mm x 25mm thick giving a surface of 3402mm2
75mm flat (43mm inside- Cimbali Magnum) gives a surface of 2963mm2
83mm flat (49.5mm inside- Mazzer Major ) gives a surface of 3483mm2
It is clear that on same motor at equivalent working grinding surface, conical does a much better job because tangential speed is much lower and actual grinding more progressive (less aggressive), which means that a Vanelli's MKIII (or stepless Lelit) does a much better job than Rancilio Rocky, the conical Ascaso does a much better job than more expensive metal work, flat burr version, at a lower price, it is on par with Cimbali or similar grinders.
Any grinder with smaller flat burrs, Saeco (43mm burrs), QuickMill doserless (42mm burrs) although decent for the price, must be considered little more than toys.
47mm conical (I tell you in future referenced model...)does a much better job of Mazzer Mini, is on par (maybe just inferior) to Mazzer S.J.
68mm conical does a much better job than Cimbali Magnum, is on par (actually superior) to Mazzer Major.
IMHO just based on actual phisical size of burr and considering all other data equivalent
Ciao, Pietro
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Mikespresso
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Location: India
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Posted Mon Sep 17, 2012, 9:24pm
Subject: Re: Technically and Mechanically  - Conical vs Flat Burrs
 

I get the aspect about surface area, heating and alike.

But isn't that relevant only in a cafe where 100 or more shots have to be pulled each day. For a consumer at home consuming a double shot in the morning and in the evening if the grinder can produce a consistent grind with uniform sized particles that would do.

This machine is not being used to grind more than 50 grams at a time and many factors that would be very important for a Barista at a cafe do not matter here.
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