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Least expensive conical burr grinder?
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Discussions > Espresso > Grinders -... > Least expensive...  
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 8:40am
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

CMIN Said:

yes, and reading them it's basically all newbs who don't know better when you go through the reviews on it or on forums. I had an Infinity and modded it, got rid of it, useless for espresso.... unless you like channeling poorly extracted/tasting shots as the grind quality isn't consistent, and has commercial grinder retention is a small home user grinder. Friend started with an Infinity too with a Delonghi (who got us started with the same package), then modded it as well when I did as he depressurized his machine, samething, useless for espresso. I mean seriously, the link you posted the user says a Super Jolley, Vario etc are barely better then an Infinity for espresso, LOL. it's ok for a pressurized espresso machine, nothing more. It's like the guy on CF that was telling me I was nutz to get rid of my Infinity b/c he somehow has a magical Infinity that grinds as well as any high end commercial grinder, even sent me emails saying "you and your coffeegeek brethren blah blah blah, I can take my Infinity on a $5k machine and outperform any of you with your setups, it's all about barista quality/knowing how to use your grinder" hahahaha

Guarentee with money on it that a Hario Skerton with step-less mods will outperform an modded Infinity easily on a depressurized entry machine or regular machine.

Posted April 17, 2014 link

Sam is pretty honest with his opinions and has moved up to better gear since he started the journey, but some of his early posts prove his results. Might be a hit or miss thing depending on mfg tolerances from one batch to the next - not sure really. I thew this out there just to get a rise out of you anyway (kidding of course ; ) but as you show experiences with this grinder can vary. I have a Skerton too, but that is a tough one to recommend too (except for meeting the least expensive mark) since the build quality is lacking. Not the most user friendly or fast grinder either.

It's still fun debating the "how low can you go?" grinder topic since most of us started there - refreshing almost compared to the "which titan grinder should I buy?" threads.

I don't want to derail this thread further though so back to the OP's requirements of "What would be the least expensive conical burr grinder, but not so inexpensive that quality is thrown away?

I will vote for the Baratza Preciso for electric and Lido 2 for manual - that's my story and I am sticking to it.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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BKSinAZ
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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 4:20pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

Sorry about not getting back to answer questions... was at work.

I will be using it for home use only. I do not make lots of shots at one time. I am not sure what size burrs I will need, but seeing it is for light home use, I am not sure it matters too much.

I am an milk based and espresso drinker.  I drink one 4 shot latte each morning. Weekends I do the same, but will have the occassional shot.
At this time, I do not beleive I need a manual machine.
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IMAWriter
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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 4:41pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

BKSinAZ Said:

Sorry about not getting back to answer questions... was at work.

I will be using it for home use only. I do not make lots of shots at one time. I am not sure what size burrs I will need, but seeing it is for light home use, I am not sure it matters too much.

I am an milk based and espresso drinker.  I drink one 4 shot latte each morning. Weekends I do the same, but will have the occassional shot.
At this time, I do not beleive I need a manual machine.

Posted April 17, 2014 link

A refurb Preciso will do VERY good espresso grinding, and of course excellent all purpose grinding as well. It's a wonderful pour-over grinder.
With apologies to Eric, it's throwing $70 down the drain that could go to a real espresso competent conical burr grinder.

I'm curious as to why the OP has a desire for only a conical, and a smaller burr at that. a Good solid flat burr grinder can be had pre-owned for $175. If it's $$, I totally understand. Personally, for a small conical, I'd post a WTB on CG's BST Forum for a Vintage OE wooden espresso grinder like a KyM, PeDe, etc. Conical burr, same brighter shot as a Preciso, and a third of the price.
I own a KyM from OE, and would NEVER sell it. Others here or on HB might have an extra one. I have a Porlex cylindrical grinder for sale on the BST, but honestly it's fine for travel, but NOT as a main home grinder.
Also, you mention a 4 shot latte, which would have you manually grinding a significant amount of time. good workout. Stick with electric! ;>D

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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boar_d_laze
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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 5:27pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

You'll have to explain to me why a bad grinder is acceptable for a small amount of espresso. Whether you make ten shots a week or a hundred a day, swill is swill and ambrosia ambrosia. The idea is not to make the cheapest cup possible without throwing up.  

Unless your espresso machine is completely inadequate, grinder performance will affect quality in the cup far more than the machine.  The best advice I can give you is to buy the best grinder you can afford.  

Espresso poses a particular set of challenges; and "fine enough" doesn't represent much in the way of success.  

You need a grinder which will allow you to "dial in" the best grind for a given dose of a given bean, one which allow you to adjust for the right flow rate as the beans age.  That means ease of precise adjustment, without any unintentional variance.  As if that weren't tough enough, good espresso grinders only work within a very tight range of particle size distribution.

Electric Grinders:
Small, motorized, conicals can clear the threshold of "adequate," but "adequate" isn't "good," and there aren't any good, small, motorized conicals.  

The two, least expensive grinders which are adequate for espresso, are both -- as it happens -- small conicals.  They are the LeLit PL53 and Baratza Preciso.  The LeLit is better built, but noisy.  The Bartza is a joy to use, but plasticky.  

Very few grinders work well for espresso and brew, because most require that you dial them in from scratch for espresso, every time you use them for something else.  The Baratza is a much better AP (all purpose) grinder than the LeLit, but has issues with burr setting slippage which can be (but aren't always are) exacerbated by AP usage.  

The least expensive, "good" electric espresso grinder is the Baratza Vario -- which employs medium-sized flat burrs.  If you can afford a Vario, it's well worth the stretch.  

Manual Grinders:
In terms of NEW manual grinders, I think the jury is still out on whether the OE (Orphan Espress) Lido2 makes a good espresso grinder.  Without a doubt, it's great for brew.

Another small grinder with a lot of great buzz, the Hausgrind by Knock, supposedly does both well.

The OE Pharos (a large conical) is one of the very few best values in espresso.  It's "in the cup" performance is in the excellent range, competing with grinders which cost nearly $1000 more.  Yes, it's a bit quirky to use, and OE's production schedule doesn't make it easy to order -- but it's also less than $300.  

Hope this helps,
Rich
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
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Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
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Drip: Bonavita BV-1800,...
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Posted Thu Apr 17, 2014, 5:45pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

IMAWriter Said:

A refurb Preciso will do VERY good espresso grinding, and of course excellent all purpose grinding as well. It's a wonderful pour-over grinder.
With apologies to Eric, it's throwing $70 down the drain that could go to a real espresso competent conical burr grinder.

Posted April 17, 2014 link

No need for apologies - I was focusing on the "least expensive" part when I brought up the Infinity - when considering "least expensive without sacrificing quality" I went with the Preciso for my electric powered choice.


boar_d_laze Said:

Electric Grinders:
Small, motorized, conicals can clear the threshold of "adequate," but "adequate" isn't "good," and there aren't any good, small, motorized conicals.  

The two, least expensive grinders which are adequate for espresso, are both -- as it happens -- small conicals.  They are the LeLit PL53 and Baratza Preciso.  The LeLit is better built, but noisy.  The Bartza is a joy to use, but plasticky.  

Posted April 17, 2014 link

Adequate might be good enough for milk based espresso - especially if price is a real concern. I like my Preciso and use it often even though I have some other choices available somewhere around here.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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IMAWriter
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IMAWriter
Joined: 4 Jul 2002
Posts: 5,875
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 Thu Apr 17, 2014, 10:05pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

EricBNC Said:

Adequate might be good enough for milk based espresso - especially if price is a real concern. I like my Preciso and use it often even though I have some other choices available somewhere around here.

Posted April 17, 2014 link

Fair enough!
Actually, as experienced as you are, you'd KNOW if your preciso milk drinks weren't holding their own.
I have made some very good double shots with it, and for a darker roast, it brings out more of the acidity, or what's left of the acidity after I butcher a SO home roast. :>D

I enjoy the very short milk drinks pulled from a Preciso grind. I have to grind very fine for my Strega with the Preciso, less so with my Forte.
I agree with Rich that a Vario would give the OP everything he wants, but it's significantly more expensive. Tough choice, and as was mentioned many like the LelIt as well, though I heard one in action and they ARE loud.

Some Consumer Review reading might be in order for our OP!

 
Rob J (LMWDP #187)
My Music Production web site:
www.robertjason.com
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emradguy
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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014, 7:10am
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

I think Rob a key question, after getting OPs replies to my other ones.  Why conical...and why not flat burrs?

 
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Always remember the most important thing is what ends up in your cup!
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Whitcoatsyndrom
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Whitcoatsyndrom
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Posted Fri Apr 18, 2014, 11:55am
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

emradguy Said:

I think Rob a key question, after getting OPs replies to my other ones.  Why conical...and why not flat burrs?

Posted April 18, 2014 link

I could be wrong here, but BKSinAZ (OP) may not know the difference between conical and flat burrs.  If BK is reading this, it is not meant to be insulting.  A lot of people new to this see all the "conical burr grinders" in their local kitchen stores and think that all non-blade coffee grinders are conical by definition of the hopper shape or out of convention.  I didn't know what a flat burr was until I got into this.  So before we go any further...do you (OP) know what's being asked?  

Also:
Tell us what your budget is.  Seriously.  If you tell me you want advice on a new car, I'm going to tell you to head over to your local Ferrari dealership.  "It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up."
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Frost
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Frost
Joined: 26 Jul 2007
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Posted Sun Apr 20, 2014, 3:06pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

I feel for the many here who have been steered to the Preciso over the Le'lit PL53.
Consistent, reliable, without needing to tweak adjustment by day, even week to months. Static & clump free grind. This grinder has a far better track record for espresso grind than the Preciso.
I rarely bother to comment in these threads anymore.
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EricBNC
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EricBNC
Joined: 22 Jun 2010
Posts: 1,867
Location: North Carolina
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: QM Silvano, LP Stradivarius,...
Grinder: K30, Major, Preciso, Pharos,...
Vac Pot: Sunbeam C30, Bodum Santos...
Drip: Bonavita BV-1800,...
Roaster: Behmor, Melitta, Fresh...
Posted Sun Apr 20, 2014, 6:50pm
Subject: Re: Least expensive conical burr grinder?
 

Frost Said:

I feel for the many here who have been steered to the Preciso over the Le'lit PL53.
Consistent, reliable, without needing to tweak adjustment by day, even week to months. Static & clump free grind. This grinder has a far better track record for espresso grind than the Preciso.
I rarely bother to comment in these threads anymore.

Posted April 20, 2014 link

The one you mention can get the job done but with regard to the Preciso, the (lack of) grind retention, speed, and acoustics - in short the things that make a grinder pleasant to use - are. in my opinion, better executed by Baratza than they are on the more bulletproof TreSpade/Le'lit/Nemox/etc type grinders.

 
I chew coffee beans with my teeth while gargling with 195 F water to enjoy coffee. What is this "coffee brewing" device you speak of?
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