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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Mahlkonig K30...  
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wideawake
Senior Member
wideawake
Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: KVDW Speedster
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30
Posted Sat Apr 13, 2013, 9:24am
Subject: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

Can anyone out there help me with the set up of a new K30?  I just upgraded from a Baratza Vario W and am not used to a time based setup.  I got the unit last night and ate up 12 ounces of premium beans trying to figure it out.  In my Vario W I would keep a minimum amount of beans in the hopper so that I could rotate fresh beans in the hopper during use, filling it every couple of days.  I had no weight problems w/it since it is a weight based system.  When I dumped the amount that I normally used in my Vario W into my K30 the beans barely filled the throat and bottom of the hopper.  I tried grinding at a set time and got different readings as to the weight of the beans. As an example I ran the grinder for 3.6 seconds and got 20 grams of grinds.  I then ran it again at 3.6 seconds and got 18.5 grams.  Could this be due to me not having enough beans (weight on the burrs) in the hopper?  If so, does anyone have a "minimum" amount of beans that should be in he hopper?  Also, does the grind setting affect the amount of weight output?  In other words, if I grind finer, will it take longer for the same amount of grind to come out, so at say 3.6 seconds, I will get less output in beans because the machine is taking longer to grind them?  I did figure out that an empty burr chamber will really screw up the time/weight ratio and have adjusted to make sure my hopper does not run dry, so that is not an issue.  I have heard that this grinder is pretty precise and once set up does not need much in the way of adjustment so I'm guessing my problems are operator error.
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Sat Apr 13, 2013, 12:33pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

Okay...here goes... (N.B. I have a Mahlkonig Vario Home)

What you had before (the Vario-W) weighed post-grind output.
What you have now, simply grinds for a set time, and nothing more. This means that output is random (to a certain point). Now, essentially, the answer is that at any given grind fineness setting, a set time will produce pretty much the same amount of grinds. However, the big issue here is that when your hopper gets to a certain level of emptiness (which from the sounds of things yours is from the start since you are putting in small amounts) you get what a lot of people call 'popcorning' which is where, rather than go down into the burrs, the beans bounce around a bit...and of course, this means less grinds come out per second. This happens regardless of grind setting.

I keep my hopper between 1/4 full and full as much as possible - it never comes close to empty unless I'm going to be cleaning. I measure 60-70% of my post grinds and have found the timer to be pretty damn good - for my current favourite bean (Indian Gems of Araku) I'm getting between 17.5g and 18.5g at 13 seconds grind time - every time!

I don't really know what to suggest - but I am wondering, if you are only putting small amounts in the hopper, could you not weigh the beans in and then grind them all?

Why aren't you keeping hopper more full?

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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wideawake
Senior Member
wideawake
Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: KVDW Speedster
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30
Posted Sun Apr 14, 2013, 12:49am
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

Thanks AntWillaims90 for the reply.
I figured that it may be pop corning.  But I would say that my last measurements were about 1/4 full hopper when my measurements were taken and the grinder should be accurate with that amount of weight in it.  The settings went from 20 grams to 18.5 grams at a particular time setting.  That seems a bit too much variance for what I was lead to believe the K30 (vario) does.  Are you sure we're talking the same kind of grinder?  You mentioned a 13 second grind time for you.  That would pretty much empty my hopper.  It takes me 3.7 seconds to get me the 18.5 to 20 grams.
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AntWilliams90
Senior Member
AntWilliams90
Joined: 4 Feb 2013
Posts: 61
Location: Warwickshire, UK
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Classic
Grinder: Mahlkonig Vario Home
Roaster: Dieckmann Rostmeister
Posted Sun Apr 14, 2013, 2:58am
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

Sorry for the confusion - I put the N.B. at the beginning of my response because I don't have the same grinder as you - but mine is also time-based and I too had a steep learning curve when I moved from weighing post-grind to timer-based grinding!
The only time I've had issues with an odd change in time-to-weight ratios it has been down to one of two things: most commonly it has been pop-corning, but sometimes a lighter roast (ergo harder bean) throws the ratio out by quite a large margin...
Can you just clarify that what you're saying is that from a 1/4 full hopper (i.e. popcorning isn't an issue) the same settings do not produce two consecutively consistent doses?

 
As soon as you sit down to a cup of hot coffee, your boss will ask you to do something which will last until the coffee is cold.
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Dodge1
Senior Member
Dodge1
Joined: 21 Dec 2002
Posts: 208
Location: Omaha
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: GS/3
Grinder: K30 Vario WBC & K10 WBC
Posted Sun Apr 14, 2013, 3:34am
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

Iíve got the same grinder as you do and found that it simply doesnít like single dosing.  Also, since I change the weight of my dose to compensate for the changes in the beans as they age etc. I donít really use the timer function.  You can read a bit more on this subject @ Click Here (www.home-barista.com)

From personal experience Iíve found that about a 1/3rd of a pound in the hopper works fine but anything much lower than that and I start to run into problems.
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Sun Apr 14, 2013, 4:09am
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

There is two things at work here.

1)you need to keep beans in the hopper.  Doesn't have to be a full pound or a 12oz bag, but it needs to be more then just filling the throat of the grinder.  Once the hopper gets to the point where the beans are just filling the throat and the bottom of the hopper, you will see large variances in the amount of coffee ground, in a certain time.

For getting it all set up, might as well put a whole bag.  12oz-1lb.  This will take care of any inconsistencies.  As you become more intimately familiar with the grinder and how it behaves, you will be able to fill it with less coffee.  But you will ALWAYS need to have beans in the hopper for this grinder to function properly.   You cannot single dose this grinder.

2)From a completely empty grinder, to adding the beans and grinding, the first two or three doses you grind, will vary.  The chute of the grinder needs to fill up with ground coffee.  Its not a lot of retention on the K30, but the chute inside the grinder needs to be full.


Basically, the entire grind path needs to be charged with coffee for the grinder to deliver an accurate amount of coffee, for a given time.


I suggest:

-Pour a pound of beans in the hopper

-Grind for 4-5seconds.  Dump the grinds.

-Without worrying specifically what the time is, dial in your shot.  Find the right grind setting for the dose you want to use.  A .1gram scale helps immensely here.

-Once you have the grind setting set for the dose you wish to use, NOW you can set the timer to grind only long enough to give you the dose you desire.  Again, the .1gram scale helps a ton.  You probably will have an idea of what the time setting needs to be, because as you were dialing in the grind setting for the desired dose, you probably noticed about how long the grinder would grind for.  Set it to what you think it is, check it on the scale, and then tweak it until its consistent.


Assuming you didn't blow through the whole hopper,  you will now consistently get a dose within .3grams of your desired weight, each time you grind.   UNTIL the level of beans gets to about the neck of the hopper.  Once the bean level reaches the neck of the hopper, the grind setting and grind time will not be consistent.  This is when you add more coffee to the hopper.


When you arrive at your machine after a long idle period.. say overnight, you will need to grind a couple grams and toss them, to purge what was in the chute.  Again, the retention on the K30 is not horrendous..  Those more familiar with the grinder will tell you exactly how much coffee you need to purge in the morning.  I think its on the order of 3-5grams.


The K30 is a very nice grinder, but you are pretty much forced to use it in the manner described.  Its really the only way to use the grinder.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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wideawake
Senior Member
wideawake
Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: KVDW Speedster
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30
Posted Sun Apr 14, 2013, 10:24pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

AntWilliams90: To answer your question about the 1/4 full hopper more specifically; it's filled about just shy of a pound.  In the beginning, yes, pop-corning was an issue, but I think I solved it w/more beans in the hopper;  just not the dosing problem.

Dodge1: Just to clarify, I don't single dose.  I fill up the grinder with beans and usually run a couple of pounds through (not all at once in the hopper) until I get a hankering for trying another roast. Then I buy a couple of lbs of that and run it through.  I was just used to my Vario W with a small hopper.  I would keep about 60-80 grams in there and try and keep the rest of the beans fresh, out of the hopper until I needed them.  I found out real quick with the K30 that 60-80 grams was not even close to what I need in there.  So I've only put about a lb and a half through this thing so far and am trying to keep at least a half lb in there at all times.  Your 1/3 lb advice helps. Thanks.

Jmanespresso: Thank you for your detailed response.  I think I'm figuring it out now.  I was also wondering if there was a "break-in" period for the burrs.  More than just filling the burr chamber with coffee.  I was also wondering what the "acceptable" rate of variance was in the weight of the coffee output.  Your .3 grams helped.  With the Vario W it was .1 of a gram (until it went haywire).  In looking at my measurements from when I took it out of the box until now, the grind amount of my last few doses seems to be within that .3 gram variance.  Here's what my grind output has been since it has been out of the box.  I'll have to run more beans through it tomorrow to check the consistency further.  

Seconds      Weight (grams)
4.0              14.3
4.3              17.6
4.4              22.3
3.7              20.5
3.6              20.0
1.0                5.6
3.6              18.5
3.6              19.1 (this is where I started getting concerned, figuring that the chute should be full by this point and that the (3.6 gram) doses should be more consistent.)
3.7              18.8
3.7              18.7
3.7              19.0
3.2              15.9

(I may have missed a couple of doses)

And just to be clear, you are saying that if my time stays the same, adjusting the grind WILL effect my dose weight.

Also,I set the "single" dose on the grinder to expel about 3 grams.  That's the first one I hit in the morning to clear the chute of old grinds.  I figure that it probably doesn't get all of the old grinds, but it does get most.
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Dodge1
Senior Member
Dodge1
Joined: 21 Dec 2002
Posts: 208
Location: Omaha
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: GS/3
Grinder: K30 Vario WBC & K10 WBC
Posted Mon Apr 15, 2013, 1:40am
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

I have a small vacuum Click Here (www.amazon.com) that fits over the end of chute.  So each morning I grind a ~ 10 g dose and then put the vacuum over the end of the chute to get rid of most of the retained grinds.  By doing that I donít have to be concerned with stale grinds and my doses are then pretty consistent.
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wideawake
Senior Member
wideawake
Joined: 22 Feb 2004
Posts: 14
Location: Los Angeles
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: KVDW Speedster
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30
Posted Mon Apr 15, 2013, 9:36am
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

Okay.  I did some more testing this morning and was not satisfied w/the results.  I did not adjust the grind and kept the time at 3.7 seconds.  The beans were weighed on a .1 gram scale that was calibrated w/a 50 gram weight.
The output results (in grams) are:

19.4
18.2
19.3
18.4
19.4
18.9

Just in those 1/2 dozen tests there is a 1.2 gram difference.
Not what I was hoping for in a $1600 grinder.
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Jmanespresso
Senior Member
Jmanespresso
Joined: 18 Jan 2009
Posts: 2,109
Location: Westchester NY
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Alex Duetto II
Grinder: Compak K10 - Vario
Vac Pot: Yama-SY5/SY8/TCA5
Drip: V60, Beehouse, CCD
Roaster: Hottop B
Posted Mon Apr 15, 2013, 1:25pm
Subject: Re: Mahlkonig K30 setup
 

There is going to be SOME burr break in, but it should settle in to providing a tolerance of around .3grams with a pound or three.

What I would, just for the time being, is check your doses with a scale before brewing, and I imagine, over the next pound, or two or three, you will see it settle into a very consistent grinder.


To make you feel a little better, Mahlkonig is the current WBC grinder sponsor.  It IS a very consistent, capable grinder.  Competitors are using this grinder over other higher end conicals.  Not all of them, some of them.  Just saying, its very good.



And YES, if you keep the time the same, going finer will give you less coffee, going coarser will give you more coffee.   Thats why you only rely on the timer once your grind is dialed in for the dose you want.  Once you're there, then the grinder can repeat it for you.



Also the level of beans in the hopper greatly affects the amount of coffee given when it gets low, towards the neck of the hopper.

 
Follow Your Bliss

Coffee makes your constantly overcome your prejudices and re-evaluate your own "received wisdoms" when it comes to judging cup flavors. -Tom Owen, SweetMarias
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