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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Talk me into a...  
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,853
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 Sun Sep 22, 2013, 3:28pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

If you don't need it right away, great deals happen all the time. Used commercial are solid and reasonable in price.
Dosers are a personal decision but properly used, I find them nicer to use than doserless. I have had SJs side by side Doser and doserless. My PERSONAL preference is with Doser.they are cleaner to use and allow you to grind while pulling a shot. See the CBSJ MOD to really make the Doser work well.
Again it is a personal thing and there is no right or wrong, do what you want, there are more choices with grinders that have dosers though.

Watch Craig's list, local want add papers and haunt second hand restaurant dealers, those are the best places to get deals. EBay is the most expensive. Also consider the NS MDX, it is a great grinder that does not get the respect it deserves so they sell used for less than a SJ while new they retail for about 30% more.

 
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: 3,157
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 Mon Sep 23, 2013, 3:42pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

friendlyfoe Said:

I think i've talked myself out of a mazzer. Idrinkcoffee.com shows they're out of stock but sells the Macap M4 stepless in black for 500.

Posted September 22, 2013 link

I've got two M4s - both stepless, both with dosers. One is the M4T, which means the on/off switch is a spring tension timer, rather than a toggle switch.  At it's shortest interval (to get it to catch), it'll give you more grind time than needed for even a 22g dose. The toggle switch on the other one (the non-T) is a little stiff, in part because it is pretected by a plastic cover. I would say the switches are my only complaint, but I love them both. As Burner said, they are rock solid and very well built.  Macap actually responds to inquiries placed through their website, and they told me they don't recommend burr replacement until after 400# beans ground.  The stepless adjustment mechanism is excellent and extremely easy to use.  As you prefer doserless, I won't bother you with my "review" of the doser (suffice to say it's great).  The grind quality is excellent and I get great shots consistently.  There's not much grind retention in these either, simply brush out the chute after you're done and you're good to go.

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


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 122
Location: toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 12:00pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

My concern with the doser is that i usually only grind a double shot maybe once a day, and not every day, so in my mind it makes for more stale grinds in the filter. Maybe i'm mistaken in that logic?

Doesn't much matter now though, I stopped at idrinkcoffee.com on my way home and he basically talked me out of the macap doserless, pointed out some reasons why it's more suited for bulk grinding into a bag. He also had an open box k3 touch, it came with a broken switch which they replaced. Knocked the price down a bit so it found its way into the back of my car. I dont like the aesthetics of it quite as much but it seems perfect for my needs.

friendlyfoe: grinder.jpg
(Click for larger image)
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
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 Mon Sep 30, 2013, 2:02pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

Enjoy your K3...it's in the same class and I'm sure you'll love it (other than aesthetics).

just forthe exercise...
My concern with the doser is that i usually only grind a double shot maybe once a day, and not every day, so in my mind it makes for more stale grinds in the filter. Maybe i'm mistaken in that logic?x]

Yes, you are mistaken.  The doser helps break up clumps.  It also collects the grounds for cleaner distribution into the pf - especially if you use a bottomless/naked pf (which I do).  I grind on demand, so I don't have grounds sitting around in the doser going stale.  I grind and thwack the doser at the same time. stop the grinder as the basket is getting close to full, then thwack out the rest of the grinds into the basket.  The doser is pretty darn clean after that, but can always be brushed out after the session if desired.

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


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 122
Location: toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Mon Sep 30, 2013, 2:53pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

i have noticed already that you get a lot of clumping with the k3, but once you tamp how much does that clumping effect the brew and even still exist?

I will have to research bottomless/naked porta filter to learn what that is. Thwacking, more thwacking and sweeping seems like more effort than just having doserless. Are there any other advantages besides reducing clumping? I'm thinking they're just less messy which is a bit of an upside.

This k3 is super simple to operate and i think i will be happy with it for a long time. The "touch" aspect seems stupid, if you're going to adjust the hopper as the beans age then you'd also need to adjust the touch function, which is on the bottom of the machine and impossible to get at. That being said my current espresso machine is junk so i'll probably set it at a grind and just forget it. There is also a manual position for the switch so in the future i'm sure i will learn to just use that.

it's funny because the very cheap exchanger espresso machine i'm using (to be fair my mom said they had it for 10 years!) is already making me aggravated in comparison to the nice grinder i now have. A better machine might be nearer in my future than i would have said a day ago!
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emradguy
Senior Member
emradguy
Joined: 31 Mar 2011
Posts: 3,157
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 Mon Sep 30, 2013, 7:38pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

Bottomless pfs are...well...pfs with the bottoms cut off. They are basically a ring attached to a handle. Given there is no bottom, one can watch the extraction come right out of the underside of the basket. This allows you to see if you have good distribution of grounds, channeling, etc. You've probably seen photos of bottomless extractions. The avatar Markarian has in his profile comes to mind. There's also one on the home page of www.espressovivace.com If you had one, you would be able to see if your clumping is giving you real problems. Some grinds "clump" from static electricity and that typically doesn't affect the shot after distribution and tamping. Some coffees really clump, oils cause the grounds to form little balls where the grounds are a little more dense, and this is more likely to cause channeling after distribution and tamping. If the shots are being affected, you either should change your beans or your distribution method. Many people use something called WDT (Weiss Distribution Technique) to break up clumps. It's basically stirring grounds in the basket with a fine needle.

the thwacking and sweeping sounds worse than it is. Even with a doserless, you need to brush out the chute after each session.

I'm curious to know the reasons you were told a doserless Macap M4 is more suited to grinding for a bag. To be honest, it sounds like they really just wanted to get rid of the f'd up k3.

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Markarian
Senior Member
Markarian
Joined: 27 Jun 2012
Posts: 658
Location: Seattle Area
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: ECM Technika IV Profi WT-WC
Grinder: Baratza Forte AP, HG One
Vac Pot: Bunn Trifecta MB
Drip: Moka, Aeropress, Hario V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013, 3:57am
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

I started with a Saeco semi-auto (they're all the same inside, essentially). They're good machines, but you definitely need a non-pressurized PF to take advantage of them. Seattle Coffee Gear sells a specially-made bottomless PF for Saecos, which I used to have and you can order here:

Click Here (www.seattlecoffeegear.com)

They are indeed good tools to learn the process, and I can't even remember the last time I used a normal portafilter. Emrad, it's high praise you'd mention my av. It's a photo that took a lot of work to set up, so thanks! Incidentally, it was taken on my former Nuova Simonelli Oscar, which is an excellent entry-level HX machine, which means that you always have decent steam power and can steam and pull shots at the same time (which is a pain in the ass, so I never do it). There are other machines to look to if you are thinking of upgrading on a budget. The La Nuova Era Cuadra is quite a piece of kit for under a grand. Espresso is an expensive, but rewarding hobby.

Just don't buy a Silvia. It's a glorified version of what you already have and if you buy one you will make me sad.

I have a lot of respect for those of you who use conventional doser grinders, as I've been terribly spoiled by my Baratza and my gleaming vintage SJ sits on my counter literally collecting dust.
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friendlyfoe
Senior Member


Joined: 14 May 2013
Posts: 122
Location: toronto
Expertise: I like coffee

Posted Tue Oct 1, 2013, 2:19pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

So justification for the macap doserless being for bulk grinding is the fact that it has a clip on the chute for bags, but no bracket for balancing a porta filter. He claimed it was messy and they stopped carrying them because the k3 out sold them drastically. While they may have very different reasons for no longer carrying the macap i was happy to save 80 bucks on a k3.

A non pressurized pf would probably be great for the machine i have but i couldn't justify spending 70 bucks plus shipping/tax when i'm already looking at buying a new machine by christmas. The money would be much better put towards that. I think the saeco my parents gave me actually has big problems, when i run it without the PF on the water only comes out of a few of many holes and dribbles out the rest. I'm going to take it to the place i bought the grinder and have them look at it as they are a saeco dealer/repair center and right around the corner. Worst case scenario if the espresso machine i was given is dead i'll use my grinder on a coarse setting for doing pour over until christmas and then invest in a proper machine. I'm most likely in the market for a descent single boiler, as i drink 99% straight espresso and americanos.

Espresso is also a cheap hobby compared to road racing motorcycles which i also do. If for 1500 dollars i can invest in a machine and grinder that will last me 20 years it's an easy purchase to make. I'm already beyond passionate about wine and craft beer, i'm going to try to stick to just wanting very good espresso, not the best ;)

and i promise not to make you sad!
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Whitcoatsyndrom
Senior Member
Whitcoatsyndrom
Joined: 25 Apr 2013
Posts: 178
Location: Roanoke, VA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Expobar Office Pulser
Grinder: Baratza Vario
Drip: Newco-OCS 12
Roaster: HG/BM
Posted Wed Oct 2, 2013, 9:20pm
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

People typically catch flack on this forum for chasing down the machine first and then asking why their coffee still tastes like junk.  I just wanted to give you credit going the way of the grinder first.  

As far as doing repairs on your saeco goes, I don't know if I would drop more than 20 bucks on it.  I don't know how much luck you'll have with that either unless it's something simple like a worn out rubber gasket (when was the last time you had a $100 repair on one of your bikes? ha).  I don't know what your decalcification status is but that's also something to check into.

 Some advice was given not to switch machines to something like a Silvia (and I'll throw in Gaggia there too simply because it's what I use).  In general, the pressure generating pump on these machines use the same technology and some will say yield similar results.  I can't disagree with that.  However if you find that the repair on your Saeco is more than it's worth, it might be worth considering one of these Silvia/Gaggia-esque machines.  If nothing else they will give you a few features such as a 3-way valve (releases the PF back-pressure pressure on top of the puck when you stop the water flow) and the ability to manually adjust the pump pressure.  I give this advice only if you find yourself in a position where you aren't ready to spend the $ on a HX machine but still want something to put out decent espresso without typing up too much coin while you hunt for your 20-year machine (X-mas is too long to wait!).  If you aren't interested in steaming milk then many of these machines do very well for the 2 shots/day you want to do (single, small boiler = not a lot of vapor and pressure for steaming more than a small volume).  If that's the case, you might even find that you don't get upgradeitis as soon as you thought you might have.  As someone that is still learning myself, I'm using a Vario that hopefully last me a long long time and a Gaggia Classic that will hopefully last until I find myself with larger paychecks.  Once I decide to upgrade the machine I might be able to get back 50% of my machine-investment after 4-5 years of use (I think I got it on sale at wholelattelove for $350).  I see this is a small price to pay for good espresso while I wait for my own 20-year machine.  I also dumped a Saeco machine before getting the Gaggia and never regretted it.  If they're charging $70 for the non-pressurized PF conversion, you did right by waiting.

A quick note on bottomless PFs.  I just started using one, I'm one month into the learning curve.  I never knew just how bad my tamping was before I got a got a good look at the flow.  Tiny jet-streams shoot out through the basket with channeling...It's frustrating.  However, when I get it right (which is starting to happen now) there is just a wonderful sense of visual joy as the cone of unbroken crema flows into the cup.  With fresh beans, a good grinder (which you already checked off your list), and a even a half-way decent home machine by this forum's standards, you can pull some serious shots.  

If you aren't interested in the temporary machine, just understand that you will won't make good use of that grinder with any pressurized PF!

Happy brewing!
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Angman
Senior Member
Angman
Joined: 8 Apr 2012
Posts: 239
Location: Vancouver BC
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: Strega, MCal, Cimbali M20L
Grinder: K10 Fresh, HG One 83mm,...
Vac Pot: Nope
Drip: Technivorm, Hario Woodneck,...
Roaster: Hottop 8828P
Posted Thu Oct 3, 2013, 12:19am
Subject: Re: Talk me into a grinder!
 

Based on your criteria and your highest price point buy the HG One hand grinder for sale on the HB forum right now and you're set for life.
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