Jen_Savage Senior Member Joined: 25 Mar 2006 Posts: 42 Location: CT Expertise: Just starting
Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 11:26am Subject: Copper or brass grinder?
I plan to get a brass La Pavoni. I was thinking about getting a Rancilio Rocky as a grinder, but it's just not as pretty as the Pavoni. So, ideally, I would like to get a brass or copper colored grinder to match the Pavoni. Has anyone seen something like this? I really want the grinder to be at least as high quality as the Rocky is.
Sure. How about an Elektra MS? It's really an Anfim Best / Pasquini Moka 90 (had one for decades), a decent, but old-tech grinder. They run $500 in copper and brass clothing.
Pavoni makes a (sorta) companion grinder for your machine in several finishes including brass, called the Jolly. But the Elektra is a better grinder. And -- not that it can't be done, but -- good luck finding a new brass Jolly from a US dealer. ,
I really want the grinder to be at least as high quality as the Rocky is.
Well, since the Rocky sucks... shouldn't be too difficult. The Elektra is a zillion times better.
Are you sure you want the looks? Grinder technology has come a long way lately, and you can get a Vario -- a much better performer and much easier to use than the MS -- for less than the Elektra or Jolly.
CMIN Senior Member Joined: 14 Jun 2012 Posts: 1,583 Location: South FL Expertise: I like coffee
Espresso: Crossland CC1 Grinder: Baratza Preciso
Posted Thu Jan 23, 2014, 12:18pm Subject: Re: Copper or brass grinder?
There are other reasons besides it not having the look you want, it's an outdated and over priced grinder, built well yes, but too many other better grinders especially the Vario that will stomp it for espresso grinding. I'm not aware of any grinder that's made in copper or brass to match your Pavoni. What's your budget? I mean if you want a sharp looking hand grinder, you have the HG-One. Other wise you have the Vario in the 400-500 range, and the metal build K3, Mazzer Mini etc as the starter commercial grinders for more. Except the Vario will beat that class easily, you'd have to step up to the next class like the Super Jolley, K6 etc to find grinders with the grind quality of the Vario but the metal build of others ($700+).
Just b/c a shot looks good doesn't mean it will taste good (not saying the Rocky will taste bad, but just saying you can't go by that), my friend had a Rocky modded to be stepless. Stock Rocky is stepped, and large steps at that, which means it's not good for dialing espresso, you end up playing with dose all the time to compensate. A Vario is just flat out better, better grind quality, almost no retention, taste in cup etc. Rocky was good like 10+ years ago as there wasn't really much of an options for home users except to spend $$$ on commercial grinders new or used. Now there are other options. Heck you can pull shots with an Breville Smart Grinder that "look nice" but sure as heck don't taste nice lol. It's a very well built grinder, just out of date. Same for their Silvia, at it's new price you'd have to have marbles loose in your head to buy it. Rancillio doesn't care about the home user market as their money is made in the commercial area, hence why they've barely touched the Silvia or Rocky all these years but have increased the prices, meanwhile competitors have kept close to their normal prices through the years and some offered new features, or like the CC1 for barely more then the Silvia you get a machine with a seperate thermo for steaming, full PID control and preinfusion etc, quite larger boiler. Silvia should be priced only a little higher then a Gaggia Classic, but it's a couple hundred more.
Hand grinders get awesome reviews, depends on what you want though (cheap ones and expensive ones). HG-One kicks ass but it's about a grand, the Pharos is 250 or so but you'll want to add the VooDoo mods. Budget is less than 500, Vario end of story, unless you can score a deal on a crazy cheap commercial grinder but have to be careful there as then you'll have to deal with quirks from grind retention to size, have to decide what you want. Vario really is amazing for what it is, it's a nice cermamic flat burr and maybe it's the tighter tolerances and short grind path equaling almost no retention and fluffy grinds, but no joke it'll go toe to toe for taste in the cup with a Super Jolley or K6, which are much more expensive and in another class.
That's the thing though, there's really nothing around that fits what you want to match your machine. Elektra is it, which is really the old Anfim Best which I don't even think is made anymore? I think the Versalab has a brass piece that the beans and burr set are in, but it's around $2k I think and like a 6 month wait time to be built and lot's of complaints to where some people almost completely redid it themselves fixing stuff.
Really your only choice would be something like the Vario (there's the Forte version that's also metal and additional features for around a grand), or the regular metal grinders from $600 to waaaay up from there. HG-One is an incredible grinder, Titan burr set, and sharp modern looks, and easy to use for a hand grinder. Nobody really uses copper or brass externally for their grinders or machines, Salvatore will custom do an espresso machine casing with either I believe but you'll pay out the a$$ for it lol.
Proline isn't capable for espresso in stock form, it's a cool looking grinder and good for coarse needs, but not espresso. You can do the mazzer burr swap, but I'd still take a Vario over that combo easily. Some on here have done the swap, some liked it, some didn't, and your still stuck with the Prolines large grind retention. But with a lever Pavoni you need an espresso capable grinder (goes for any real espresso machine), it's not a matter of grinding fine enough, but the correct grind quality and consistency and stepless dialing (espresso grinders have specific burr sets for that duty).
No offense meant either, but people also use $100 burr grinders or $200 grinders and think their pulling espresso for years as well. Until they try a real espresso grinder and see the night and day difference. Proline has a poor burr set for espresso, good for coarse though. For one thing the Proline has large retention so it's pushing out a lot of stale grinds for your shots unless your wasting fresh beans each time before grinding to make sure stale grinds are out. I don't know where you see a lot of bad reviews for the Vario, early model had some issues that Baratza fixed and has implemented on current models, I know a few owners including a close buddy, no issues at all. Main issues arise from wear when people use the Vario or Preciso as all around grinders which will put a lot of extra wear and tear on them, used as 1 thing only (espresso or coarse), no issues.
Don't take this the wrong way, but if I were to put an Vario, heck even the cheaper Preciso, next to your machine and Proline. Ground shots, same beans, you would see the difference with a real espresso grinder. I had a friend who thought he was pulling shots on his Silvia with an Infinity Capreso, he thought they were espresso shots and liked them, let's just say they were pretty awful, but he thought that's how espresso should taste....till he tried my grinder lol. Again no offense meant at all. There are some Proline owners on here that would tell you the exact same thing that it's only for coarse, including the ones that swapped Mazzer Burrs, though very few owners on here.
You could paint one of the metal machines with brass or copper like spray can that's metallic like suggested above, and maybe clear it, won't look like your Pavoni as that's the real metal... but maybe close for what you want.
Don't take it the wrong way, hope you don't think I'm putting down your setup in any way
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