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Help me pick a grinder?
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Saraluna
Senior Member


Joined: 3 Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Location: usa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 9:27am
Subject: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Hi all!

I've been making espresso for about a year with the Rancilio Silvia, my first espresso machine. I've been using a blade grinder, and my birthday is coming up, so I thought I'd get a better one.

I'm looking for a nice automatic burr grinder, good for espresso, that is easy to clean and will efficiently deposit ground coffee right into my portofilter. I can't afford anything out of the $100 range. I was recommended the Capresso Infinity, but the reviews on here seem to suggest that the grind is not right for espresso. Any other suggestions?

thanks!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,226
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 9:44am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Hi Sara,

Welcome to CG!

You've set up a pretty tough scenario. I don't know of any electric burr grinder in the "under $100" range that can handle the job...at least purchased NEW.  You might be able to find a refurbished or used one though.  If you can possibly increase your budget, you might want to hake a look at the Baratza line, but most of us here would say you shouldn't be using anything less than the Preciso for espresso...and it's way over budget.  Perheps you would consider a hand grinder, such as the Hario Skerton or the Orphan Espresso Lido?

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


Joined: 3 Aug 2012
Posts: 12
Location: usa
Expertise: I love coffee

Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 9:55am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Hi Emrad,

Thanks for replying. This kind of thing seems to be the consensus on other forums as well, unfortunately. Out of curiosity, what is the main difference in these more expensive burr grinders that pushes them into the $300-$400 dollar range? It is, sadly, way too expensive for me. Others have suggested keeping a sharp eye out for a used machine, which I've been doing, but I haven't had much success.
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CMIN
Senior Member


Joined: 14 Jun 2012
Posts: 1,455
Location: South FL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Crossland CC1
Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:20am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Think I replied to you on the other board. But yeh there's no good burr grinder for 100 bucks that's auto that will work with a higher end machine, especially a finicky one like the Silvia, they'll work fine for lower end pressurized PFs but they can't grind fine enough or consistent enough (let alone adjustment) for the better machines. 100 bucks, your better off getting a hand grinder like I mentioned on the other board. If you can save up some more you can pick up a used or refurb Preciso which is excellent for the money, run anywhere from $200-$250 or so. Still no idea how you used a blade grinder with the Silvia lol.

What you get with more expensive grinders is generally better burrs (both conical and flat), high torque low rpm motors/drives, build quality, and adjustment factor (IE my Preciso is basically the same as the Virtuoso w/ Preciso burrs, with one big difference, the micro adjustment that allows it to grind and adjust comparable to much more expensive grinders). Like right now I've had to make adjustments for the beans I'm using as they get towards the end to keep the correct time for extraction, otherwise with a cheaper grinder you don't get that adjustability to dial in the grind or maintain it.
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frank828
Senior Member


Joined: 23 Feb 2011
Posts: 581
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: Professional

Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:29am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Saraluna Said:

... $300-$400 dollar range?.

Posted August 3, 2012 link

unfortunately even that price range is typically the low-end range for good powered espresso grinders(OE Pharos hand grinder continues to the be the dark horse where for 250 you get a new hand grinder that will produce a grind comparable to machines that are 1000+)

i'd also suggest to look out for a good used machine but definitely expect to pay over 100 even when used.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,226
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:35am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Well, I'm not going to bs you...I don't know that much about the mechanics of all the grinders in the under $100 range.  However, I believe the real difference is the manufacturers can't afford to pay attention to as many of the necessary details in their production and as a result don't produce the proper grind size, or if they do, they don't do it consistently or with enough variability in user selection.  For instance, take the Capresso Infinity (which I believe you said you had looked at)...it offers something like 16 grind settings.  This will invariably leave you stuck with either a far too coarse or far too fine grind, if it even can go fine enough.  As a comparison, the Baratza Preciso has adjustability in 440 settings.

Why is this soooooo important?  You need to be able to precisely and accurately control how fast the coffee is extracted from the beans in order to make good espresso consistently.  It's all about the flavor in the cup.  What things affect flavor the most?  bean type, roast and freshness, water temperature and quality, extraction rate.   How do you control extraction rate? by the grind particle size, dose weight/volume, distribution in the pf basket. The espresso machine is basically a pump that allows you to put the above together and make it work.  I used to own a Rancilio Rocky.  It has 40 settings.  I almost always found myself wanting to stop between settings.  The only option I had to overcome the inability to properly adjust the grind was by changing my dose.  So, if the grind was too coarse, I increased my dose, and if it was too fine, I decreased the dose.  This isn't ideal as you might imagine.  Eventually, I bought my current grinder, the Macap M4.  It is stepless so, no matter what, I can always get the grind right where I want it for the best extraction possible.  Sure, I'd love to upgrade to a Mazzer Robur, or something in that realm, but I don't have the money or the space for a huge commercial grinder.

Anyhow, sorry for my slight digression...I hope this helps you.

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


Joined: 2 Aug 2012
Posts: 13
Location: Toronto, Ontario Canada
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Isomac Italia pid'd,...
Grinder: vario, macap mc4 stepless,...
Drip: hario v60 glass, bonavita...
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 10:48am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Don't go for cheap on a grinder. The grinder is as or more important than the espresso machine. Go stepless and a mazzer or macap is a good investment that will give you great results for years. I got burned buying a vario!
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,950
Location: Riverside, Ca, U.S.A.
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: ECM Vene. A1, La Cimbali M32
Grinder: Azkoyen Capriccio, Major
Vac Pot: 40s era Silex
Drip: Msl. Com. brewers
Roaster: gave it a try, decided no
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 11:11am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

Nice post Ron,
Let me also add that an espresso grind needs to be Bimodal or TRI modal, this is something that a cheep grinder just cant do.
From the Home Barista website Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

A quality grinder must:

   Produce the proper particle sizes to provide adequate flow resistance.
   Create a bimodal or trimodal distribution of particle sizes. (See "Grinding for Espresso")
   Cause minimal heating of the grounds during grinding.
   Limit the production of fines.

Please take a few minutes to read over the link over to them (Hey, we are GREAT here but by no means do we have a lock on great information here!)

The grinder really is the heart of your system for espresso and if you skimp there, you are only cheating yourself. If you have not done so yet, please read our guide on how to buy an espresso machine and pay particular attention to the grinder section.

Thanks!
http://coffeegeek.com/guides/howtobuyanespressomachine

 
In real life, my name is
Wayne P.
Anything I post is personal opinion and is only worth as much as anyone else's personal opinion. YMMV!

Feed the newbs, starve the trolls and above all enjoy what you drink!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,226
Location: Houston
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Duetto II; Twist v2
Grinder: M Major, Macap M4, Pharos,...
Drip: Espro presses; Aeropress
Roaster: H-B "List of Favorites"
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 11:54am
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

thanks, Wayne!

and thanks for adding that part about particle size distribution in the grind.  It's something I often forget to mention.

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


Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Davis, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/Kyocera...
Drip: Bodum French Press
Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Fri Aug 3, 2012, 3:38pm
Subject: Re: Help me pick a grinder?
 

I was considering on the Capresso Infinity myself, but I decided to get a Kyocera CM 45 first. By far a good start.

If you don't mind getting a hand grinder, they are less than 100 and are very consistent for espresso making. However if you tend to drink a lot of coffee drinks and espressos, it'll quickly become tedious and tiresome to have to grind every single time.

I caved in a month later and got a Baratza Preciso (that I received today). ~2 minutes of grinding to about 10 seconds for a double shot...I am quickly spoiled, but with a big hole in my wallet. :(
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