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Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
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rogue909
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 1:10pm
Subject: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

So my girlfriend and I love coffee. We both worked at a local cafe (where we met) and used to get our fix there (it helped that we had keys and our boss was awesome).
Unfortunately, all good things must end and our boss left the cafe in order to start a family. Due to our new boss being entirely unbearable - we opted to leave as well.
Before our boss left, he sold me the old Faema Due II espresso machine and hooked me onto coffee as a hobby. I've since rehab'd the machine (still working on finishing details) and plan to setup an espresso bar. Because espresso requires a very fine and repeated grind I plan on scanning craigslist and purchasing a Mazzer grinder next time a cafe upgrades/goes out of business. It is my understanding that these grinders are very tough and effective; also it is the same grinder we used at the cafe so I am most familiar with it.
But that leaves me another dilemma, what do I use to grind the other coffees with? We had big Bunn grinders at the cafe and those can't be had for reasonable prices nor do I need anything near that size. Which puts me here. I am looking for a grinder that will suit my needs, typically I stick with french press and drip coffee although I like to play with the chem pot and am tempted to order a vacuum pot (those look like fun.) But i would also like the grinder to be priced reasonably (sub 100 would be the goal, but I am open depending on quality.)
Does anyone here have any particular go to grinders for this scenario?
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JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 1:57pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

I use a Breville Smartgrinder, which I got w/ a coupon for $140 brand new at Bed Bath and Beyond...yknow they send out all those nice 20% a single item coupons.  I use my Breville for Chemex Pour Over and Espresso.  Not perfect, but does the job and fits my budget.  A friend of mine who uses Chemex and French Press swears by his Capresso Infinity which retails for $89.  No bells and whsitles but according to him grinds well for his French and Pour Over.
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
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 Thu Dec 12, 2013, 2:08pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

Hi and welcome and great score on the espresso machine!
Mazzers are built like tanks and even very ugly ones can be operating perfectly. If (when) you do find one, change the burrs as shops never change them as often as they should be changed.

There are other grinders out there too, such as the N.S. MDX, it uses the same size burrs and puts out an equally high quality grind and I like the adjustment system better than the Mazzer. Very often they can be bought for LESS than a Mazzer though they cost MORE when new, there is a bit of a cult following with Mazer (it kind of deserves it though) but other as or more able espresso grinders are out there and some can be real bargans.

As for OTHER than espresso, there are a lot in the $100 to $150 range. Take a look at the Baratza line. The company has good customers service and is well thought of.

http://www.baratza.com/
In specific the Encore
http://www.baratza.com/conical-burr-grinders/encore-grinder/
and the Virtuoso
Click Here (www.baratza.com)
Like all grinders, the more you spend the better the grind :P

Also keep an eye on the referb section, there are some good deals there too!
https://www.baratza.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?search=action&category=RFRB

Sorry, I don't know why the last link did not link. a copy paste should work but ????

 
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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rogue909
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 8:30pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

JerDGold Said:

I use a Breville Smartgrinder, which I got w/ a coupon for $140 brand new at Bed Bath and Beyond...yknow they send out all those nice 20% a single item coupons.  I use my Breville for Chemex Pour Over and Espresso.  Not perfect, but does the job and fits my budget.  A friend of mine who uses Chemex and French Press swears by his Capresso Infinity which retails for $89.  No bells and whsitles but according to him grinds well for his French and Pour Over.

Posted December 12, 2013 link

I like the look of both of those, but I am curious about the accuracy of the breville grinder?
If I purchase the smartgrinder will that eliminate the need to have a scale constantly on the counter? That is a very attractive feature if it works right. I realize I will most likely need a scale to calibrate and test, but for daily use that is worth the difference in the prices.
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JerDGold
Senior Member


Joined: 11 Dec 2013
Posts: 82
Location: Chicago, IL
Expertise: I like coffee

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Breville...
Drip: Chemex
Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 10:03pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

To be honest, I don't have a scale and have not been using it long enough to be able to tell you its consistency over time.  I did learned recently that if the grind type change but number of doses stays the same, the weight WILL change.  However, I think the whole point of Breville's features is that once you dial in your grind and dose, assuming you don't change it, it is supposed to be accurate.  If I worked for Breville, I might say that once your grind is dialed in, you should never have to measure anything other than your water.  From my perspective, I can't honestly say if it works as well as it is supposed to over time. I sure hope it does though.

That being said, I have now pulled about 5 espresso shots with it (I'm ot quite dialed in yet) and have made about 10 chemex pots and it feels pretty accurate/consistent.
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rogue909
Senior Member


Joined: 12 Dec 2013
Posts: 5
Location: Houston
Expertise: Just starting

Posted Thu Dec 12, 2013, 10:27pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

I wish I could rely in eye-balling it but since we worked at a cafe we went from making 12 cup pots in full size brewers to making 4-6 cup pots and small french presses.
And changed beans.... equipment.... everything, ha
We've still got some work to do on the eyeballing, factor, once we re-dial ourselves to be more comfortable we'll probably be able to do that. Until then; it would be nice to have the scale, know what I mean?
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calblacksmith
Moderator
calblacksmith
Joined: 25 Nov 2007
Posts: 7,864
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 Dec 13, 2013, 7:51am
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

The smart, while workable as an OTHER grinder, it is not really able to do espresso, sorry guys, it really isn't.

DO take a look at the grinders I linked to above, in MHO, they are better quality than the Smart. YMMV.

 
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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brianl
Senior Member


Joined: 1 Dec 2012
Posts: 493
Location: Chicago IL
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Quick Mill Vetrano DB
Grinder: HG One, OE Lido 2, Baratza...
Drip: Chemex/V60
Roaster: Behmor 1600
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 7:59am
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

Baratza Vistuoso, hands down. For the price at least.
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boar_d_laze
Senior Member


Joined: 21 Nov 2006
Posts: 1,318
Location: Monrovia, CA
Expertise: I live coffee

Espresso: La Cimbali M21 DT/1 Junior...
Grinder: Ceado E92; "Bunnzilla"
Vac Pot: Royal Coffee Maker
Drip: Chemex + Kone; Espro Press
Roaster: USRC Sample Roaster
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 8:58am
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

Regarding Breville Smart consistency:

  1. There will be changes over time as the burrs wear in.  The Smart doses by time and not by weight, and during the break in period the same weight will take progressively longer to grind.  As I recall, I ended up grinding an extra "cup" after the 15 pound break-in.    
  2. A displayed amount (i.e., 6 cups, plus 2 clicks "stronger") at a given grind fineness setting, will probably not be consistent with the same displayed amount at a different grind fineness setting;
  3. Once the Smart is broken and and dialed in, doses are consistently within 5%, and usually tighter -- which should be more than good enough for brew;
  4. If you want super dosing consistency and accuracy, the Breville Smart can't do it, and neither can any inexpensive grinder.   No inexpensive grinder can.  You're into single dosing or Vario W territory.  On the other hand, I'm not sure how consistent a Vario is about grind fineness if its adjusted back and forth between various grind sizes.  Anecdotal evidence is mixed;
  5. My Smart cleared that hurdle well; yours should too; and
  6. The "cup" amounts are good enough, and brew methods sufficiently forgiving that you certainly don't need to single dose by weight.  You'll want to pull out the scale and check your doses for consistent weight every month or so just to keep yourself honest and make sure that there haven't been significant changes.  Just remember that the best and final arbiter is taste.

There aren't a lot of good brew grinders, only a few at most for any given price range.  At around $200 you're looking at the Smart, Baratza Virtuoso, and OE Lido 2 (probably).  The two motor driven grinders are pretty much fungible.  

BDL
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SpaceTime
Senior Member


Joined: 9 Dec 2013
Posts: 271
Location: Virgo Cluster
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: 83 & 89 Cremina, 85 Coffex
Grinder: HG One, Pharos, LIDO
Drip: Freiling 33 & 44oz FP,...
Posted Fri Dec 13, 2013, 3:48pm
Subject: Re: Choosing a grinder for F. Press, drip, Chem (Not for espresso)
 

For my French Press and Drip, I have been using both an OE Lido and a Capresso Infinity.  It goes without saying that manual grinders, like a LIDO, are not for everyone... it takes a couple of minutes to grind 50 - 60 grams.  (I own a 33 and 44oz Freiling FP, and why I am grinding so much... I put 62 grams in my 44oz FP).  

And since FP and drip can be more forgiving, the Infinity works for many too.  Not a bad grinder for the price, and more than adequate... it is a grinder that most don't consider in the class for quality, but don't discount it.  Places like WLL, SCG, etc actually recommend it depending on who you talk to, and qualify it in the "you could spend more but why" category... at least they did for me.  I got my Infinity on Amazon for $68 when they did one of their "temporary" price drops... it has worked VERY well and has surprised me.  So well, I did not purchase the Virtuoso I was considering...

I alternate with the LIDO and Capresso for FP - like a 2 to 1 ratio in favor of the LIDO, and the Infinity has very little powder in the grind.  Coarse grinding is the toughest thing for a lot of grinders, and again I was surprised at how well the Infinity pulled it off.

The Breville, Virtuoso, etc are all good choices too of course, just weighing in with my experience.
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