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Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Which Grinder...  
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microb
Senior Member


Joined: 13 May 2010
Posts: 35
Location: canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Aroma w/ Naked...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 11:37am
Subject: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

Hi,

I have a Saeco Aroma (obviously, you knew that already by reading the subject). I roast my own coffee, and I am, let's say, pursuing the perfect espresso shot (who isn't?).

Right now, I believe by biggest impediment is my grinder. I have a Breville Conical Burr grinder.

I have set it to the finest grind - which they call "Turkish" - but I have to admit it is far from Turkish. I compared with my manual turkish grinder :)

Bottom line - I think I can get more out of the Aroma than I currently do.

So, my question is - which grinder should I look into?

I have been looking at the Baratza Preciso; the price is a little high but acceptable. There was also the Asceco I-Steel 1 & 2, but I fear they may be messy...

Thanks for sharing your opinions :)

Michel
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,011
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Fri May 25, 2012, 3:38pm
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

I suggest you read some of these threads.  And look at what people own in the box on the left because that is what they put their money down on.  I fully recommend what I spent money on.  And I am a person that would tell you very plainly if I made a buying mistake and did not like something I bought.  I read a lot of posts before I bought anything and still cheaped out on the grinder and had to get another almost right away.  I wish I had held out for the better grinder but I just couldn't believe I would taste the difference in my milk drinks.  But I do.  Every day.  Really, trust me....  I am a person that likes good kitchen equipment and would rather have a good hand tool than a crappy automatic tool in my kitchen.  The wiz bang doesn't impress me, good output does.

Big hint about home espresso "DON'T CHEAP OUT ON THE GRINDER"

"Re: Espresso only grinder"
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/grinders/552264

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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microb
Senior Member


Joined: 13 May 2010
Posts: 35
Location: canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Aroma w/ Naked...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sat May 26, 2012, 6:56am
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

Thanks for the reply.

Yes, I did browse the threads for a while before deciding to post. What led me to this is I didn't really find a thread on "balance" between the grinder and the espresso machine...

Big hint about home espresso "DON'T CHEAP OUT ON THE GRINDER"

That's the main reason I'm asking :) I have read really ... ordinary comments about he Breville - I feel it is not bringing me the shot I can expect; but I don't really have comparison grounds so I'm seeking advices.

I'll read the proposed thread, but if anyone has a good combinaison for a Saeco Aroma with Grinder X, I'd like to know! :)

Thanks!

Michel
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wsikes
Senior Member
wsikes
Joined: 3 Oct 2011
Posts: 396
Location: West Virginia
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Promac MD-64 AT
Drip: Bunn
Roaster: Behmor
Posted Sat May 26, 2012, 7:18am
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

Michel, the balance is not between the machine and the grinder, but rather between the grinder and the roasted bean.  I also have a Saeco Aroma (which I am retiring this week due to an upgrade) and could not get any satisfaction out of my shots until I purchased a used commercial grinder.  Now I have a grinder that I can use with ANY espresso machine without worrying if the grinder is part of the problem when I pull an inferior shot.
If you are still using the pressurized portafilter that came with the machine you will be able to use a less capable grinder, but you will not be getting "real espresso" using the pressurized pf.  Go ahead and get a capable grinder and you will be much happier.

 
Bill
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,011
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat May 26, 2012, 11:21am
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

He is right that with a good grinder you can use any machine, but with some low end machines you might not notice how bad your cheap grinder is.   Get the best grinder you can possibly afford it is much more important than the machine.  They say on this board that give them a cheap espresso machine and a good grinder and they can make good espresso, give them a cheap grinder and a great espresso machine and they can't make good espresso.  The grinder is everything.  Without it you can spend 6k on a espresso machine and still not get good espresso.  The grinder is that important.  (I had trouble believing that as well at first.)

I believe Wsikes had that Saeco Aroma for less than 6 weeks before he upgraded. (maybe much less)  And after a week or less he realized his drip grinder would not cut it for the saeco.  He got a used commercial grinder.  I got a Vario W.  Both of us tried to hold out with cheaper grinders.... and failed.  Baratza Prescio is the cheapest grinder I would get for espresso.  I can't really talk about Ascaso Stainless Steel grinders I have not looked into them but there are a lot of threads about them on this board.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,011
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sat May 26, 2012, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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microb
Senior Member


Joined: 13 May 2010
Posts: 35
Location: canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Aroma w/ Naked...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun May 27, 2012, 8:34am
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

If you are still using the pressurized portafilter that came with the machine you will be able to use a less capable grinder, but you will not be getting "real espresso" using the pressurized pf

This implies I could change that? Off to the mods section of the forum then :)

Thanks for all your comments. The main thing I get out of this thread then is that the best thing I can do is go with the best grinder I can/want to afford so to minimize the possibility of it being the bottle neck in the quality of the shots.

I will most probably will be back with more questions, and definitively will let you know which one I pick in the end :)

Michel
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AndyPanda
Senior Member
AndyPanda
Joined: 12 Jul 2010
Posts: 769
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Olympia Cremina, Various...
Grinder: Mazzer Major, Fiorenzato,...
Vac Pot: vintage Corey
Drip: AeroPress
Roaster: BreadMachine/HeatGun
Posted Sun May 27, 2012, 9:18am
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

My first pump espresso machine was a little Briel that I picked up for $20 used.  It is very similar (in function if not appearance) to the Saeco - it had pressurized filters, an Ulka pump and a small Stainless Steel boiler very similar in size to the Saeco.

I struggled with a Cuisinart burr grinder and the pressurized filters.

I went through a few grinders in my espresso journey (got obsessed and extremely curious and just kept finding different types I wanted to try).  

I can tell you that switching from the pressurized filters to a standard non-pressurized basket and PF (inexpensive and easy to do) made a complete night and day difference from "concentrated foamy coffee" (from the pressurized setup) to real espresso with real creama, a thick and delicious mouthfeel.  

Although I have better espresso machines now, I still have the little Briel - and my higher end (Mazzer Major) grinder works beautifully with that little Briel.  I can pull shots on the Briel that are very, very good.  I'm sure you can do it with your Saeco too.

I believe your PF is a little different than mine was (mine had pressurized baskets - I believe yours has a pressurized PF so you will need to mod your PF but it should be easy).  Here is a link to my post about the Briel with pictures of a shot pulled with the non-pressurized setup.
http://coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machinemods/559264



As far as grinders ... there is no worry of getting too good a grinder for your espresso machine ... get as good a grinder as you can afford and like.  The main difference (for me) between a barely adequate grinder and a better grinder can be things like static and mess and ease of dosing. Whether you want to leave beans in the hopper and just grind enough to fill your basket - or measure in one shot worth of beans and grind them all.  And how much retention of old grinds (or how easy it is to sweep them out each time).  So a lot of it is how well the grinder works with your particular style and workflow.  There are a few grinders in the $100-200 range that produce very good grinds for espresso but may be awkward to use - that may or may not matter to you.  So it would be very useful for you to find a shop (or friends who have one) where you can actually try a few different types (doser/doserless/electronic etc.) and discover what you like and dislike about them.
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Coffeenoobie
Senior Member
Coffeenoobie
Joined: 11 Dec 2011
Posts: 3,011
Location: PNW
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: N S Oscar
Grinder: K30 & Vario W
Posted Sun May 27, 2012, 1:23pm
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

AndyPanda Said:

My first pump espresso machine was a little Briel that I picked up for $20 used.  It is very similar (in function if not appearance) to the Saeco - it had pressurized filters, an Ulka pump and a small Stainless Steel boiler very similar in size to the Saeco.
<snip>
Although I have better espresso machines now, I still have the little Briel - and my higher end (Mazzer Major) grinder works beautifully with that little Briel.  I can pull shots on the Briel that are very, very good.  I'm sure you can do it with your Saeco too.

Posted May 27, 2012 link

So, this shows with a used 20$ pump driven machine and a good grinder he is getting "very very good" Shots.  That is hard to wrap your head around, but I believe this 100% now from moving from a $200 to a 500 grinder.

 
Coffeenoobie

Buying advice: GRINDER GRINDER GRINDER. Don't cheap out on the grinder.

My coffee treasure map...
Click Here (maps.google.com)

Oscar trick out: http://s156.photobucket.com/user/GandBteam/story/14231
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microb
Senior Member


Joined: 13 May 2010
Posts: 35
Location: canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Saeco Aroma w/ Naked...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Sun May 27, 2012, 6:53pm
Subject: Re: Which Grinder upgrade for my Saeco Aroma?
 

Thanks all for your advice!

I'm actually all thrilled now about the idea of getting the new grinder. I have been trying to wrap my mind about this for quite a while now, and today I decided to do the jump forward.

The first step is that I actually modified my Saeco's PF - I just removed the gizmo in it following this demo I saw on youtube.

And right there, I saw a difference. It is obviously "better" to the taste and mouth feel - but now getting a better grinder makes a lot of sense all of a sudden, because I can visualize the impact of a better grind.

Right now, I'm thinking about the Baratza Vario. I have read a lot of comment, all good. From what I could understand, the difference between the Vario and the Vario-W is all about the way you measure your shot. The Vario-W goes about weight, whereas the Vario would be timed-based; so "volume-based" I would say. Otherwise - same everything.

I don't know if I am yet ready for the weighing - this would require a bit more  experience from me.

So, for a budget of around 500$, I think it is a good choice? Would you see any obvious better grinder in that price range? I'll browse the forum, that question is probably already answered multiple times...

Again, thanks!

Michel
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