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TheMadTamper
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Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011, 9:41am
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

JasonBrandtLewis Said:

I'm guessing it's the tray.

I don't know; I don't notice it.  And FWIW, I've tossed beans down the throat and used my hand to eliminate "popcorning," as well as my usual practice of tossing (approx.) 125g into the hopper every two days . . .  

Posted August 29, 2011 link

You would NOTICE this :)  Every day, without fail, shot 1 is a gusher, shot 2 is fast, and shot 6 is either just right or a bit constricted.  Entirely dissimilar pours at the beginning to end is hard to miss.  If you didn't notice it, you didn't have the issue.  Which is good. :)

(Again, disclaimer for anyone finding this thread, I love the K3, it's a fantastic and predictable grinder that I'd highly recommend.  I'm just not sure it's meant for 6 back-to-back shots in terms of consistency since it is a home grinder.   If I gave it 5 min to cool down, maybe it'd be just fine.  I'm pulling with maybe a 12 second pause, max, between grinds with two PFs in rotation.  Just enough time to tamp, lock the shot, wipe the other PF and back to grinding.  Also note that it's not timer related variance since that shouldn't be predictable in pattern daily if it were simply inaccurate. )

Now, admittedly, I've never owned a "large conical" grinder, but I kind of think the difference between high-end flat and conical burrs may have more to do with flavor profile than quality.  I don't want to open that can of worms up for debate*, but I've had "got shots" with the same beans from both conical and flat burrs, but the flavors are different . . . not better or worse, but emphasizing different aspects.  

I've never owned a "high end flat" burr grinder, so our comparisons are par there.  The K3 delivers great shots.  I've seen people post here or HB that they owned a B.V., a K3, and a K30V and preferred the K3 shots far more than the K30.  So I'd say the K3 isn't too off.  K3's only 58mm though with a small chamber, so I could imagine it holding some heat....it's also high RPM...but, then, so is the K30.  

The other difference is the conicals sort of "dial themselves"  Within a huge range of motion you get a great shot....you can pinpoint it to be a little more perfect a pour....but "first guess" will still almost always not yield a bad shot.   You'd have to be FAR outside the range to get it to be a gusher or a choker.  With the 58mm flats....a tiny, tiny adjustment can totally break the shot :)  I can't comment on the 68's on the K30.

One last thought.  Well, OK, two . . .  

1)  On paper, certainly, slow grind speed = higher quality, but I'm not sure how much of an issue heat transfer/build-up is in a home environment.  Commercially, sure, but even pulling 4-5 doubles in a row, nothing seems "hot" to me.

It's a mystery.  All I know is that it can't be hopper volume, it can't be timer variance (unless it's timer variance based on how warm a potentiometer is, but the basket doesn't feel significantly more over-stuffed at one point than another.)  It shouldn't be packing grinds (they wouldn't unpack by morning), but maybe it's heat, or staling, or SOMETHING :) Wish I knew,  I wrote Josh at Compak about it and some questions about the K10F....so maybe he'll shed some light on it.  

I can see this grinder getting warm with only 12-20 second breathers between 6 doubles.   Or, maybe not "getting hot", but jumping from "room temp to warm" and that having an effect on small 58mm burrs.  But I agree that explanation doesn't quite fit either.  It could be stale grinds working in still....but the K30 would suffer that same problem and doesn't seem to.  

2)  You know as well as I do that there is no one perfect grinder for you, and that (in all probability) any of these grinders will serve you well.  But the debate is part of the process, part of the journey, and something to be enjoyed!

Indeed....grinder shopping is....fun.  Especially with so many great grinders (or tweaks to old grinders) showing up recently.  

K30 would fit well in the back corner (though electronics hear the sink is a little hairy.  K3 sits way back....K30 would have the control panel near the splash zone.  Near-the-machine convenience is fun.  But I have to find out about grinds retention etc on the K10 Fresh.  Being at the grinding bench in the morning would be a pain.  But the thought of an auto-dosing K10 is intriguing if it doesn't require a huge purge :)

It mentions one odd feature "manual push button refill" which I have NO idea what that means.  It almost sounds like it doesn't have a gravity fed hopper but has a "interim chamber" in the throat that you release the beans into manually before grinding.   That could make hopper changes a snap!  I could keep decaf in one hopper jar, regular stuff in another, and swap them out every few shots :)  That's just speculation...but intriguing to think about.  Not sure what else that could mean.

The M3 has some intrigue.  But volumetric dosing is a little hairy (and a combined cost greater than a K10F is too...)  K30's still in the running.  K10F...the pair of K10's in polished aluminum WOULD look pretty slick.  But 14.6x14 IS a huge chunk of counter :P  And the Blendtec would have to go somewhere else....or the pod brewer....)   Presumably where the K3 was.

* At least not in this thread! ;^)

LOL :)
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joatmon
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Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011, 11:01am
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

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TheMadTamper
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Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011, 11:52am
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

joatmon Said:

John,

I don't know what you're expecting to hear, but I get the feeling we have a classic failure to communicate.

The K30 needs virtually NO adjustment and it most forgiving.  The first, last and every shot in between comes out of the grinder virtually the same provided you keep at least a doubles worth extra in the throat.  It still works below that level OK when I purge it, but that's not my normal use.

Posted August 29, 2011 link

Possibly.   As for the "first last and every shot" issue I'm referring specifically to my issue with the Compak K3, and was asking if either of you have experienced anything similar on the K30.  Neither of you have which is a good!

The K30 is very, very simple to use.  Again, if you wanna play "fiddling barista", this may not be your grinder.  If you want to take the grinder out of the "ritual", then the K30 shines.

Oh I know very well the method of operation of the K30.   It's not terribly different from my K3, and is much faster, more precise, and you don't have to lift the grinder up to set the timer unlike the K3 (silly, silly design decision... on that thing.)  I also have my big K10 for when I want to play "fiddling barista." :)  

The only issues I was concerned, directly, about was my "tightening shots" issue with the K3 and wanted to verify if it's just a K3 thing or if all timed grinders exhibit some display of that.  It seems K30 does not.  I was also interested in the dimensions which both of you confirmed what I originally thought: that it's actually round.   I'm not in any way debating about the merits of the K30, I'm very familiar with its usage, it's it's really one of only two contenders on my list right now (plus MAYBE the Versalab, which is drifting off my radar, again, more and more.)

I get no clumping, no popcorning, don't see a need to purge between sessions and always get a good to great shot.  I can get sloppy with my tamp and it still delivers in the cup.

No need to purge?  I think that's the only point you and I disagree on in the conversation.  The only grinder I'm aware of that would need NO purge is the Versalab.  Every other grinder when used with a hopper has SOME purge.  Even my K10 single dosed needs either a purge or a vacuuming to clean out the burr chamber (I happen to vacuum instead...) Even if there's only 1-2g of coffee inside the chamber....that 1-2g is showing up in the PF.  Obviously if you notice no difference, you're fine, don't worry about it.

Be it a K30, K3, K10, ProM, Macap M4, Mini, Robur, whatever....technically some volume of purge would be beneficial.

The K30 is fast and quiet.  If I had to go back to my Mazzer Mini, I'd probably give up espresso.

The K30 does give a bit of a mess, but I could solve most of this by using a funnel.

What grinder DOESN'T create a mess?  My K10's pretty clean....and I under-dose on the K3 just to avoid it being a mess...which is successful....more or less (edging toward less...)

Now, to be honest, I'd like to try a Robur someday for kicks.  But, there is no grinder I covert enough to even consider giving up my K30.

For me, PERSONALLY, I need two grinders.   The K10 and Versalab are the only ones that really fit my "grinder #1" single dosing needs.   For various bean usage reasons I need one single-dose grinder.  My K10 does very well at that job.  But sometimes the "ritual" is too much.  That's where the K3 came in.  For the upgrade it's really a split decision between a K30 and a K10 Fresh.   (Note the K10 WBC/PB is the dosered single-dose grinder....I already have that one.  The K10 Fresh is the new doserless K10 with all the same timed controls as the K30.  If I didn't make that clear, that may explain what I'm talking about.   Either way I'm looking at a fast electronic control grinder for #2 :) )  Yes "Fresh" was the worst name ever...

You guys already answered my main questions on if timed grinders all share my issue, or not, so from here it's a personal debate of how much retention/purge each grinder needs (nobody can answer that on the Fresh yet it seems....I haven't found anyone that owns one...), and the other half of the debate is which location I want it in.  That part was more a conversation with Jason based on prior conversations we've had regarding grinders.


Sometimes a spec doesn't tell the story.  The old BMWs with their McPherson strut suspension shouldn't handle great if you look at the specs, but they did and continue to do so.

I don't rally care which grinder you purchase, but your "conical bias" seems to be without merit to several happy K30 owners that have taken the time to detail their experiences on this and other threads.  The only complaint I hear regarding the K30 that has some merit in my opinion is that they don't perform well for single dosing.

I never said that the K30 ISN'T stable or easy to dial in.  However most threads I've ever read involving someone who's owned both a K30 AND a titan conical has also confirmed that the conical is more "automatic" in terms of dialing it in and more forgiving in that sense, and that each has its application.  Thus it's not a meritless conical bias, it's simply the pros and cons of the natures of two different machines.   We're talking about the K10, K30, and M3....only the top-most grinders on the planet.  It doesn't need to be stated that all of them are exceptional.  It's purely a discussion of nit-picks.  

I may very well get a K30.  I'm still gathering details about the brand-new "grind on demand" type K10 in the meantime.  If it truly merged the benefits of conical AND the K30 and wasn't wasteful enough to make it uselss in a home environment, it would be fantastic (and a higher price point of course.)  If it's useless at home due to waste, then K30 is still the reigning "ease of use-to-grind quality-ratio" champion.
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UFGators
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Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011, 12:25pm
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

All I can say is that I am totally happy with my K10 WBC and I can't imagine a grinder needing more bells and whistles
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011, 12:29pm
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

UFGators Said:

All I can say is that I am totally happy with my K10 WBC and I can't imagine a grinder needing more bells and whistles

Posted August 29, 2011 link

There's a place for both.  I love my K10 WBC as well.   No one will pry it away from me :)  But that doesn't mean I don't also have a need for a high-speed "quick access" electronically dosed grinder that I don't have to measure out 7 doubles for grinding when I'm in a hurry, too.  

The two winners for that are absolutely the K30 and K10 Fresh (a K10 with a modified chute and a dose timer, basically...)  In the morning I just don't have time to measure doses,  sweep the chute, and vac out the K10 WBC for 6-7 doubles.  But no auto gridner, not even the K10 Fresh can handle my weekly decaf & S.O. switches as gracefully as the K10 WBC either.
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EricBNC
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Posted Mon Aug 29, 2011, 2:11pm
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

If only all of life's problems were like this one - should I choose uber grinder A or uber grinder B as my second grinder?  Decisions, Decisions...

Seriously though, you see so many kits with one monster grinder (you can check that box - in ink!) along with a Baratza Vario for everything else.  Any chance that a compact little grinder like the Vario would be a good choice for your 2nd grinder too?

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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TheMadTamper
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Posted Tue Aug 30, 2011, 7:08am
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

EricBNC Said:

If only all of life's problems were like this one - should I choose uber grinder A or uber grinder B as my second grinder?  Decisions, Decisions...

Seriously though, you see so many kits with one monster grinder (you can check that box - in ink!) along with a Baratza Vario for everything else.  Any chance that a compact little grinder like the Vario would be a good choice for your 2nd grinder too?

Posted August 29, 2011 link

LOL, how true.  Actually the original question was "I have a specific problem with my second grinder which is a non-uber grinder, does anyone have any ideas why it's doing that, and do uber grinders solve that problem?"   It kind of morphed into "uber grinder A or uber grinder B as a second grinder" after that :P

I already have the K3 which is roughly equivalent to the B.Vario.  Some people think the K3 grinds better, some think the B.Vario grinds better, so I'd say they're "roughly even".  I originally decided on the K3 instead since I didn't like the build of the B.Vario.  So if I'm going to upgrade, then the decision goes to an uber grinder.  If I'm not, then I might as well stay where I am.

I'll say that K30 is the weirdest grinder category though....it, by spec, isn't an uber grinder, but it costs as much as an uber grinder and owners of them swear by them....while others insist it's merely as good as an SJ but (much) more convenient.  If Mahlkonig could drop their prices they'd own the market. They sit at an odd price point for the moment.  The reason I have the K10 Fresh retention-conditionally back on the list is anyone I've seen post that's owned both a K30 and a K10, Robur, Nino, etc, said they preferred using the K30, but preferred the shots from the conical.  K10 Fresh grinds like a K10, operates like a K30, but, what I don't know is if it retains grinds like a Robur.  Either way, it consumes counter space like a Linea.... :P
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joatmon
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Posted Wed Aug 31, 2011, 6:11am
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

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TheMadTamper
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Posted Wed Aug 31, 2011, 9:34am
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

joatmon Said:

John,

I will make this my last post on this subject by saying that the K30 is NOT a weird grinder.  Why?  Because:

"The K30 is normally used in a home environment in the same fashion for which it was designed".

Again, I will remind that it's not about specs, but the taste the overall package produces in the cup.

joat

Posted August 31, 2011 link

As for the K30 being "weird', "unusual" whatever least offensive word choice fits.....I'm not the first to refer to it that way.  It's not a slander against the machine.   The Crossland espresso machine is "weird/unusual", etc.  It's not a derogatory term intended toward a duly noted excellent grinder.  It's popularity is testament to the fact that many find it provides what they're looking for for the price point they're willing to pay for it.  But it is a truism that for the type of grinder it is, both the layout and price point are indeed "unusual."  

Dosered grinders, indeed, are not used in a home environment the way they are intended to be used.  However comparing the K30 to other flat burr electronically dosered grinders (Compak K8 Fresh, Macap...forget the model number, for that matter my K3....the K30 is absolutely unusual.  It sort of sits half way between two types of grinders with the price point of a conical.  

I'm getting a feel of sort of "defensiveness" of the K30 based on the perception of a "hostility" on my part toward a grinder I'm discussing potentially buying :)  In a debate between, say, the K30 and the K10Fresh.....both are used in the manner they were intended when in a home environment.  Both feature nearly identical controls, both are very similar in price point (with the nod going to the K30), both are very large (with the compactness nod going to the K30.)  Do I think the K30 should be a bit cheaper for what it is?  Yes.  Do I think the price point puts it in a strange class of its own? Yes.  Does that mean I have ruled it out as my choice? No.  It very much remains an option.   There are things I very much like about the large conical from a grinding perspective.   There are things I very much like about the K30 from a "form and function" perspective.  From an operational standpoint, the K30 and K10F would mostly be identical.   The K10F is probably the closest we'll see, barring Mahlkonig making one, to a large conical merged with the K30.  It's still bulky.

One comment I'll add to clarify an earlier statement about the forgiveness and ease of adjustment in conicals (and note, this is NOT a slight against the K30, just an observation of differences), but the K30ES was criticized for problems with its stepped adjustment.  The K30 Vario was created to address that problem with micrometric adjustment.   My observation is that while all large conicals are stepless....they in fact don't need to be.  The amount of throw required to get any perceivable adjustment in flow is huge, and a distance of up to two whole numbers is needed if any real desired change in output is needed.   Which also means drift based on temp/humidity/staling etc. is virtually non-existent.  I say this not to slight the K30, but because both of you noted earlier in the conversation that you had no first-hand experience with conicals, so I wanted to highlight what I was referring to when I said how forgiving they are compared to any flat.   Again, it's not just my opinion, Jon10R (who owns a K30 and a Robur) and others who have owned both have commented similarly.  Does that mean a  second K10 is my final choice? No.  

In fact after experimenting today with grinding with the K10 (doser) while counting I discovered I can get very usable doses (not as even as timed, but due to the nature of the grind, all made excellent shots) just counting to 4 while grinding with a hopper on.  Were the shots, americanos, and big milk drinks MUCH better than what I get out of the K3?  Yes.  Even with uneven dosage.   The pour had zero spritzes too.  What does that mean for my buying?  It may mean I like a K10 best.  But I have one of those that I can use with myself as the stopwatch....so a doserless version may not mean much to me anymore.   That actually places a K30, even a ProM higher on my list as my backup grinder, since presumably both are superior to the K3Touch (I hope, for that money....)  

In fact, I may buy a few K10 hoppers to keep my decaf and S.O. in, give up "single dosing" when I don't feel like it, throw a hopper on, and pour arbitrary "eyeballed" doses into baskets and be done with it.  The test of random doses showed that all shots poured that way were quite excellent.  It may have simplified my process for all usage purely by accident... :) I'll still "single dose" sometimes if I want to truly repeat a shot.  But the doses are pretty standard doing it this way too, and anything that makes better coffee with less effort is always a winner.
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papanazz
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Posted Thu Jun 28, 2012, 1:29pm
Subject: Re: Compak K3...time for Upgrade-itis?
 

Has anyone experienced a failure of the front push lever.  Mine was working fine and then simply failed.  Does not activate in auto position; no problem in manual mode.  Any thoughts?
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