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The next step up... Recommendations?
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Tue Aug 7, 2012, 11:08pm
Subject: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

Yes, this is another one of those, "What kind of grinder should I upgrade to?" kind of posts. I've searched the forums, but not all of my questions are
answered and I'm curious to know what all of you think.

OK, Currently I have a Rancilio Rocky grinder, but I'm becoming increasingly frustrated with it. It does an excellent job at grinding coffee and
it does everything I could ever possibly want a grinder to do, as long as I'm making a latte or cappuccino, or drip coffee...  

However, I'd like to be able to find a machine which can precisely meter out a dose consistently and grind straight into a portafilter.
It also seems that with upgrading, I'd also have the capability of doing a much better job of controlling the grind, so it seems like a no-brainer.
My budget would be "Less than or equal to" $1,000 ideally, but if it costs, it costs.

In all honesty, it seems to me like there's one heck of a debate on doser vs doserless. I don't make enough drinks to warrant using a doser
and I don't honestly like the idea of spending extra time cleaning old grounds out of the grinder. I make two double shots a day.

Initially, I was thinking about a Baratza Vario-W, but I don't like how I can't grind directly into a portafilter. Maybe I'm just fussy.

The Mazzer Mini looks like something along the lines which I'm looking for, but it's just on the teetering edge of my budget.
On the upside, I think that by moving to something like that, it would most likely cure my feelings of upgradeitis for a while.

Would anyone like to jump in with some suggestions and alternatives which would allow me to go the "next step up"?

I really like how well built the Rocky is, it makes my old Hamilton Beach grinder look like a toy in comparison.
I think I'm spoiled in that now I'm expecting commercial quality! :-)

Thanks everyone!

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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NobbyR
Senior Member
NobbyR
Joined: 10 Jul 2011
Posts: 2,049
Location: Germany
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Poccino Opus One, Ariete
Grinder: Eureka Mignon Istantaneo
Vac Pot: N/A
Drip: Melitta Linea Unica de Luxe
Roaster: N/A
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 1:03am
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

Well, you got one thing right in the first place. Instead of upgrading your machine you think of buying a better grinder!

For a $1,000 budget you can enter the realm of prosumer and commercial grinders: Mazzer Major or Super Jolly, Nuova Simonelli MCI come to my mind. Don't worry about doser or doserless. You can grind a dose for a double shot into the doser and empty it into the PF.

 
***
"This drink of the Satan is so delicious that it would be a shame to leave it to the infidels." (Pope Clement VIII on coffee, when he was urged to ban the beverage)
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calblacksmith
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calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,842
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 Wed Aug 8, 2012, 5:49am
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

The issue of doser/less etc is one of how you like to work, it really isn't a big deal either way and each has its pros and cons.

Doser.
Pro you can grind while doing something else, less mess on the counter, less static or no static.
con possible extra cleaning of crumbs depending on how it is setup.

Doserless
Pro, no place for crumbs to collect
con must stand at grinder while using, more of a mess on counter

MY personal use, I either use my autogrind/dose grinder or a grinder with a doser. I like the ability of grinding for a single shot while going to the fidge for the milk or while pulling shots, I like the extra time I get to do something else while it grinds, yes you can grind per shot and that is the only way I use a dosered grinder. I like that it is cleaner on the counter and I made and published a mod to the doser to eliminate the need to brush, blow crumbs out of the doser of a Mazzer. See CBSJ mod

The next step up from Rocky, is to go stepless and commercial. Which way you go depends on space, budget and what you can find, likely more weight will be on what you can find. The BST forum often has great deals on grinders, just watch for them or place a wanted add.

 
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
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emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,154
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 Wed Aug 8, 2012, 7:42am
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

^ +1

I like my doser too, but I've never used a doserless.  I will very likely consider one if I ever upgrade, in part because I have a custom doser funnel (see my little picture, it's part of the set I got from Dave Stephens).  This helps reduce counter mess.  Some say the doser action helps break up clumping.  I've never used WDT, and hope to never want/need to.  It just sounds like a major PIA and people who don't get it literally laugh at how meticulate someone who uses it is.

Anyhow, on to the real point of my post...if you really want a Vario, consider dropping an extra $25 (USD) for the portafilter accessory.

Click Here (www.baratza.com)

 
.
Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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FrankyD
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Joined: 27 Jul 2012
Posts: 58
Location: Davis, CA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Starbucks Barista
Grinder: Baratza Preciso/Kyocera...
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Roaster: WB Poppery I
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 11:41am
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

I've tried using the portaholder. The way it attaches and holds isn't as great as you would think.

It made a larger mess on my counter than the doser.
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randytsuch
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Joined: 11 Jun 2009
Posts: 578
Location: LA, Ca
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office with...
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Roaster: Customized Alpenrost,...
Posted Wed Aug 8, 2012, 12:04pm
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

FrankyD Said:

I've tried using the portaholder. The way it attaches and holds isn't as great as you would think.

It made a larger mess on my counter than the doser.

Posted August 8, 2012 link

You need to use either a cut up yogurt cup, or one of these
Click Here (www.orphanespresso.com)

I'm cheap, so I use a yogurt cup, and I can dose directly into a PF with no mess.

It is interesting they don't show the PF holder with the W on the baratza website, the scale might not be able to handle the weight of an entire PF like they show in the pics.  
I ust put in the holder with a yogurt cup funnel, and it might be able to support that.

You might call Barazta and find out if you could use the PF holder if you didn't use the heavy PF when grinding by weight.

Randy
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sat Aug 11, 2012, 9:52pm
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

OK, I'd just to put this out there then...

Is the Baratza Vario-W too small of a step up from the Rocky? ie. For the extra money, will I see much of a difference in the grind quality and taste?

From what I can tell, it is the only weight based grinder out there, to me that's a very appealing reason to upgrade.
The other motivation to upgrade is going stepless, but the Vario-W doesn't look like it is truly stepless to me.

I don't mind picking up a dosing funnel to lessen the amount of grinds on the counter and to make it easier to pour the grinds out of the container into the portafilter,
I'd rather prefer to clean up grinds which are sitting on the counter than trying to clean out the inside of a grinder.

Realistically, I pull about 2 double shots a day, so part of me is worried about spending too much money on something that's overkill for what I need. While I'm
sure it would be nice to get my hands on a Mahlkonig K30 Vario, my wife would kill me., not to mention its really outside my budget. (Unless I could find one at a decent price used.)

It seems to me that the rest of the dosered and doserless grinders out there are time based. Which leads me into considering these models in order of preference:

- Macap M4 Digital
- Mazzer Mini Electronic Type-B
- Mazzer Super Jolly Electronic (Maybe find one used, since this is outside of my budget.)

Looking at all three of these and reading the reviews, they're all very high quality machines.

Opinions? Flames? Compliments?

Thanks everyone.

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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IMAWriter
Senior Member
IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,891
Location: Brentwood, TN
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Bezzera Strega
Grinder: Forte, OE Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Adcraft SS, Yama 8 cup
Drip: Brazen, Kalita, Chemex,...
Roaster: Behmor 1600+, CO/UFO combo
Posted Sat Aug 11, 2012, 10:26pm
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

Haven't you posted this same sort of question elsewhere? Hmmm...
And I answered thusly...
I owned a Rocky, and now own a Vario-W. The W is a BIG step up in convenience, versatility, less waste, and precise dosing.
No, you can't dose directly into the PF. We grind into the grind container, pour into the PF using either the aforementioned yogurt cup, or other assistance.
The steps are infinitesimal, so it's as if it's stepless.

If you want a doser grinder, i'd look for a used Mazzer SJ. They can be found, usually in the $350-$400 area. New burrs ($49) should be purchased and installed.

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
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qualin
Senior Member
qualin
Joined: 30 Jun 2012
Posts: 662
Location: Calgary, AB
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Izzo Alex Duetto 3
Grinder: Mazzer Mini Elect. Type A
Vac Pot: Looking to buy
Drip: Manual
Roaster: Considering?
Posted Sun Aug 12, 2012, 12:43am
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

IMAWriter Said:

Haven't you posted this same sort of question elsewhere?

Posted August 11, 2012 link

My earlier posts asked initially what grinder I should start out with. Now that I have a grinder, this post is asking about what the next step up would be from what I currently have.
I appreciate your response though. I personally think it's really bad netiquette to keep asking the same questions on the same website. I apologize if it seems like I have.  

IMAWriter Said:

I owned a Rocky, and now own a Vario-W. The W is a BIG step up in convenience, versatility, less waste, and precise dosing.

Posted August 11, 2012 link

OK, that answers one of my questions. How much better do you find the grind quality is over a Rocky?

A Baratza Vario-W is $575, which certainly makes it a step up from the Rocky, which sells for $355 new.

A Macap M4D is $900, which seems like that makes it two steps up from a Rocky and a step up from the Baratza Vario-W... (At least it seems that way to me?)

So, I guess I'm wondering if it's worth it to burn through $575, or if I should just save my pennies and spend the extra $325.

I'll also probably be keeping my eyes on the Buy & Sell forum in case anything leaps out at me..

 
Garbage In, Garbage Out, for every step of the process. From Beans to grinder, grounds to machine, coffee to cup.
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,154
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 Sun Aug 12, 2012, 10:42am
Subject: Re: The next step up... Recommendations?
 

I would love to buy the Versalab that went into the BST forum yesterday...but like you, my wife would kill me if I dropped that kind of money on more coffee gear right now.  Having said that, I think it would meet your other needs and desires.

I went from Rocky to Macap M4 (doser and stepless - one of mine has a timer switch, the other a rocker toggle).  I also feel the grind quality improvement is huge and worthwhile.  I guess that really only seconds Rob's comments.

I can't think of anyone who has real hands-on comparison experience between the Vario and the M4, K3, Mini, Cimbali Jr. class.

$900 for an M4?  Wow!  I think I paid a little less than $600 for each of my M4s.  It seems like a huge price difference to add on the digital component.  I just looked on aabreecoffee and they have it for $750 USD.

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