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Burr size -- Does it really matter?
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Burr size --...  
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psychobrew
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Joined: 19 May 2011
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Posted Fri Jun 17, 2011, 6:45pm
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

So my next question ....

When people say the Vario (and hence, the Preciso) grinds as well as the Super Jolly even though the burr set is much smaller, is there truth to that?
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samster
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samster
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Posted Tue Jun 21, 2011, 4:47pm
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

i think diminishing returns play here just like anywhere else. if you have a mazzer mini, perhaps a robur, or compak k10, or whatever will give a 'better' coffee. but there's a price and each to his/her own as to whether it's worth it. if you seek "perfection" maybe it is. if you just want a good reliable cup, then perhaps it's a different story. no right answer, imo.
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Thu Jun 23, 2011, 12:58pm
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

JonR10 Said:

But if you put up a Mazzer Mini with 58mm flat burrs against a Mazzer Super Jolly with 64mm flat burrs then it is easy to taste the difference.  I firmly believe it has much more to do with cutting profiles and geometry than heat transfer, but as far as I know there isn't much evidence to support that statement.  I remember reading about someone measuring heat of grounds but I can't find that right now to reference....but as far as I can recall it seemed that coffee didn't get heated much by commercial grinders.

Posted June 9, 2011 link

Geometry and heat, I would think, are equal issues.   As perverted as it sounds, feel your grinds sometime when grinding more than one or two doubles from any of your myriad of grinders.  Even mighty Robur. I ran a batch of maybe 8 shots straight in the K10, (AFAIK the 68mm conicals are the coolest running of he bunch with a lot of mass to sink into) and even from that, the grinds coming out on top of the doser were physically warm.  The friction of grinding produces enough heat to be noticable.  I'm not saying that amount of heat affected flavor at all, I'm just saying that it indicates a warming effect, and implies a continued warming effect under sustained usage.

When I first got the K10 I fed 4lbs or so through it to get that nasty lubricant, metal bits, etc that may have been floating around purged ("breaking in the burrs" as it were), Obviously I broke it into 3 minute grinding bursts or so as suggested by the manual with a rest in between.  The effect was a simulation of a busy cafe during busy times (refilling the doser rapidly.)  Even with the rests the grinds at the end were quite toasty, and the metal itself took several hours to fully return to room temp.  

That kind of battery of an SJ or worse, Mini, or Rocky would be coffee-killing heat no doubt.
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JonR10
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Posted Thu Jun 23, 2011, 1:17pm
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

TheMadTamper Said:

Geometry and heat, I would think, are equal issues.  
<snip>
The friction of grinding produces enough heat to be noticable.  I'm not saying that amount of heat affected flavor at all....

Posted June 23, 2011 link

These seem to be contradictory statements.  Burr geometry most definately can affect the flavor profile, but here you say that the amount of heating may not.  Therefore, I would rate burr geometry as significant while heating probably is not.


TheMadTamper Said:

I ran a batch of maybe 8 shots straight in the K10...

Posted June 23, 2011 link

I only grind one shot at a time, and cannot actually measure any difference in temperature with my digital "instant-read" thermometer.  The grounds may indeed warm slightly, but not enough for that instrument to discern on a single shot.

 
Jon Rosenthal
Houston, TX
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Fri Jun 24, 2011, 7:56am
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

These seem to be contradictory statements.  Burr geometry most definately can affect the flavor profile, but here you say that the amount of heating may not.  Therefore, I would rate burr geometry as significant while heating probably is not.

No I mean, that specific change in heat in that specific session of 8  or so doubles may not have been enough heat to change the flavor, but was enough to provide perceptible warmth to the touch.  That of course is on a massive large burr grinder with a lot of metal sinking the heat, the implication being EVEN for that "small" quantity, EVEN on that large a high volume grinder, there's a certain amount of heat generated and transferred to the coffee, thus on a smaller grinder with less metal, or more contact time between a specific location of the burrs and the grinds, or spinning at a higher speed, the effect would be more severe, and thus certainly would be present enough to affect flavor.

I didn't mean that the amount of heat wouldn't affect flavor, I meant that the relatively restricted amount of heat of that session by virtue of the huge grinder wasn't likely to have affected the flavor, but more heat, such as would be produced by a smaller grinder or more coffee run through the larger grinder almost certainly would.  

However, I'd concur that, outside of severe heating (Rocky's failing with doses over 13g or so), I'd rank the influences as 1) geometry, 2) stale grinds (in small quantities) left over in the chamber, and 3) heat.  The fact that conical vs. flat affects flavor as it does, even without the influence of heat is an indicator that burr geometry is paramount.  But after that, heat absolutely plays into it.

I only grind one shot at a time, and cannot actually measure any difference in temperature with my digital "instant-read" thermometer.  The grounds may indeed warm slightly, but not enough for that instrument to discern on a single shot.

Most of the time I single dose, and no, I don't sense any meaningful heat on that.  Not on the big grinder.  But the point was that with more sustained grinding even the big grinder is influenced by heat (and in the case of high volume, enough to get the metal quite warm for hours), so imagine applying that same grinding to a smaller, hotter, higher rotational speed grinder with relatively little metal to siphon the heat away.

Now, if you want HEAT, try a high speed impact mill for wheat..... :)  50 seconds of milling never felt so warm... :)
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ThomasK
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Posted Mon Jul 15, 2013, 9:29am
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

Consider that the Italians themselves use these massive grinders in rather hot non-airconditioned spaces.  In other words the grinders (when used in the home country) will ALREADY be much warmer before starting the grind cycle than ours will be AFTER being used in an airconditioned home environment.

The grind time is measured in seconds - in home use that is - this class of grinders barely have time to spool up to working speed before being shut down!  

There is NO WAY the heat generated by 50 grams of coffee beans going through a titan or near-titan class grinder does anything markedly negative to the coffee.

The 54mm flat burrs in the Faema MPN that I just acquired sit on cast brass mounting plates that in turn are connected via either steel or aluminum to large metal heat sinks (the motor shaft and housing, respectively).

Whatever improvements in grind quality that I would get from an even larger flat burr or conical grinder would certainly not come from the improved heat transfer.


(I am reminded of the arguments from ueber high end HiFi equipment aficionados discussing the purity of sound from one versus another set of speaker cables that both cost hundreds of dollars per foot and are thick enough to power a house.)
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DavecUK
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Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 2:43am
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

The old burning the coffee with the grinder myth, how the burrs heat up the coffee and change the flavour. Amazing there are still people around who believe this, as per the linked posts in this thread.....
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emradguy
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
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Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 8:53am
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

ThomasK Said:

Consider that the Italians themselves use these massive grinders in rather hot non-airconditioned spaces.  In other words the grinders (when used in the home country) will ALREADY be much warmer before starting the grind cycle than ours will be AFTER being used in an airconditioned home environment.

Posted July 15, 2013 link

Did you really intend to imply you believe Italy doesn't have air-conditioning?

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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ThomasK
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Joined: 2 Jul 2013
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Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

emradguy Said:

Did you really intend to imply you believe Italy doesn't have air-conditioning?

Posted July 16, 2013 link

Hmm - since I have been to Italy around 10 times - and I just got back after a two and a half week trip to Napoli, Firenze and Roma - I'd say YES!

Sure, in their HOMES, the Italians MIGHT have A/C (albeit inferior wall-mounted versions) but the bulk of the coffee places I went to had no A/C - definitely NOT in the US sense.  

Let's use Starbucks as a reference - in the US the operating temperature in a Starbucks cafe would be FREEZING cold in the middle of the summer.

In Italy the same cafe would have open doors, even sliding glass walls opening the place to the outside - any A/C is marginal.

Most places I went to (and I had a cup of doppio at least three times a day, at different places) were sweaty warm inside - it felt cooler outside.

(We rented three different apartments on this trip - one had good A/C, one had no A/C at all, and one had marginal cooling.)

We both live in hot parts of the US - so you know what I mean about the kind of A/C that we use here - no comparison in Italy.

Can we put this OT topic to rest?
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emradguy
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emradguy
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Posted Tue Jul 16, 2013, 9:29am
Subject: Re: Burr size -- Does it really matter?
 

sure we can put it to rest, especially since it's a rather silly point anyhow...as you and DavecUK have already nicely pointed out - didn't mean to detract from that fact.

and I love your analogy to the high end speaker cables!

.

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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