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The IDEAL domestic grinder!
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peon
Senior Member


Joined: 10 Jan 2005
Posts: 34
Location: Australia

Espresso: La Marzocco GS3
Grinder: Mahlkonig K30 competition
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 2:43am
Subject: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

Here's my thing: I've looked and looked at the various grinders that are available and I'm just not convinced. The Mazzer is too big and too ugly. The doserless Rocky has that cool Empire strikes back look but lacks the quality of the mazzer. Innova grinders look great but they're overpriced in many countries and again aren't on par with the Mazzer's quality. The Mazzer stark looks cool but has a doser desined for a high turnover cafe and is too big and expensive. The lux is affordable and great value for money but lacks features and aesthetic appeal. Those bodum grinders are nice examples of domestic design but *ahem* we won't speak of blade grinders. The myriad of other commercial grinders are BIG, UGLY and unsuitable for the average kitchen. The home grinder market is a whopping great hole that an enterprising company would make a packet on if they would just create the right product.

I've come up with a list of what I reckon would represent the ideal product for the home:

  1. Aesthetics! Innova, Bodum and Francis Francis have some nice looking products but more could be done. What Apple did for PC aesthetics is fantastic. Too often geeks and engineers neglect form in favour of function. Biege boxes are ugly and so are many many grinders! Grinder manufacturers need to think different. A selection of colours, finishes and designs (cf the innova ladybird coloured grinder!)

  2.  Size. Most commercial grinders are WAY too big for the home. Grinders need to sit under cabinets, fit in cupboards and hide behind espresso machines. Hoppers also need to come in a couple of sizes (say 200 and 400g), dosers need to be smaller (like 2-4 doses), and power cords need to tuck neatly away. Think on a domestic scale!

  3. Grind. Grind quality needs to be up to Mazzer quality. The grind rate doesn't matter by comparison - no one really cares if it takes 30secs for a shot to grind - but the quality needs to be there. It takes most machines far more than this to warm up!

  4. Hopper. One of the great things about the LM swift is its multi bean hopper that allows you to have multiple beans/decaf on hand. There are times most households would like to have decaf on hand (late night double ristretto anyone?) and a multi bean hopper would be ideal. Two or even three selectable compartments in a hopper that can be switched between at the flick of a button/lever would be fantastic.

  5. Doser. I'm not a fan of dosers because they're often too big for the home. Something that holds 1-4 shots and can be timed to accurately fill a chamber would great. A good sweeping mechanism to prevent stale grinds (no pastry brush mods...). Importantly the doser should be easily removable and replacable with a shute so people have choice about using a doser.

  6. Cleaning. Gotta be easy. Dishwasher safe hopper and doser. Easy to assemble/disassemble (think shuttle pc's). High quality grinding mechansim that's easily removed and cleaned.

  7. Price. I want ALL this for a price somewhere between a rocky and a mini - so say US$325. And that's not all - I want to see it at all the major department stores on special for 30% off and I want the price to come down over time!


I dont ask for much! If a manufacturer could come up with all of that in a timely way I think they'd quietly make their fortune.

What have I missed? What do you think? Have I described the perfect domestic grinder?
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BadBean
Senior Member
BadBean
Joined: 22 Oct 2004
Posts: 12
Location: Colorado
Expertise: Professional

Espresso: oscar
Grinder: super jolly
Drip: press pot
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 8:00am
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

Mark I agree with you. I would think that most of the high end manufacturers of prosumer espresso machines should offer grinders that are designed to be a good match to their line of espresso machines. Both pleasing to the eye and functional. While a great amount of thought seems to go into the asthetic design of commercial semiauto machines the grinder receives almost none. It is seen as a plow horse whilen the espresso machine is the throughbred. For most consumers it still seems that the grinder is still an afterthought to the espresso machine. That being said....
I think that most people in this forum would agree that keeping beans in the hopper too long is not the best way to assure the best quality shots. I personally keep all beans in a container that allows me to pump out most of the air to reseal it ($3.99). I only add enough beans for what I am going to grind right away. So a double sided hopper while innovative has limited use especially since the grinder should be cleaned and dialed in for the different type of beans. That is why most serious shops use one grinder for regular beans and a different one for decaff.
I presonally put a greater emphasis on function over form. That is why I bought a used Mazzer super jolley for home use. I cut down the hopper so that it would fit under the cabinets. I removed the doser and installed a sheet metal cover with a spout in place of the doser. Now if I was really hung up on the asthetics of the grinder then I would buy the chrome cover/bag holder/spout kit. I would then disassemble the machine and have the housing either painted, polished, or powder coated to my tastes. All for less then the cost of a new Mazzer mini. However I care much more for how it works rather then how it looks. After all the machine it feeds is a plain black NV Oscar.
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parity
Senior Member
parity
Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 317
Location: Mountain View, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky, La Pavoni...
Roaster: CO/SC
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 9:53am
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

peon Said:

What have I missed? What do you think? Have I described the perfect domestic grinder?

Posted July 2, 2005 link

Here is a few things I'd like to add:

1) A design that eliminates the "popcorn" effect. I only put enough beans in for one shot, so the beans can jump around while grinding.

2) Easy to disassemble for cleaning. For the rocky you have to unscrew 3 screws to remove the hopper to clean the burrs. Most commerical grinders just allow you to keep turning until the hopper comes off with the top burr.

3) The actual "chute" where the coffee comes out tends to trap quite a bit of coffee. There needs to be a better design where no coffee is left in the spot where ground coffee comes out of the grinding blades.
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earlds
Senior Member
earlds
Joined: 16 Nov 2003
Posts: 492
Location: Mobile
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 11:41am
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

I made two cappachinos this mourning ,and they were both excelent.I find the Rocky doserless to be the perfect grinder for me.I realize that the Mazers will grind more and faster,but I dont see how they could grind better .The infinate grind deal is fine for the perfectionist,but I dont think I would need the feature much for my one shot at a time use.Even though the popcorn effect is a bit annoying ,{I removed the cone thing and cover the screws with electical tape] I feel like the Rocky doserless is the perfect grinder for me.Not the best but pretty darn good...

Earl........
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xefned
Senior Member


Joined: 22 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Krups steam machine
Grinder: Nueva Simonelli MCI...
Drip: Wednesdays only (at...
Roaster: Batdorf and Bronson
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 2:14pm
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

Sounds like you're describing the MCI doserless:
Click Here (www.chriscoffee.com)

High enough quality to be sold by Chris.
And it looks more appropriate in a home setting than a Rocky. (Cheaper too.)
I'm planning to get one when Chris has more in stock. (I wrote him to verify that he would.)

The hopper holds 1lb of black cat which makes it pretty much perfect for home use.
Contrary to the intuition of the add-only-enough-beans-for-one-shot crowd, your beans will be fresher if you add the whole pound to the air-tight hopper and leave the lid closed. It's the constant exposure to air from repeatedly opening and closing your other air-tight container that zaps the freshness.

If you're like me, you're going through that whole pound in 10 days anyway. :)

Kato
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davea
Senior Member
davea
Joined: 18 May 2005
Posts: 708
Location: Ottawa, ON
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Gaggia Espresso
Grinder: Virtuoso
Drip: Press
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 2:56pm
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

xefned Said:

Contrary to the intuition of the add-only-enough-beans-for-one-shot crowd, your beans will be fresher if you add the whole pound to the air-tight hopper and leave the lid closed.

Posted July 2, 2005 link

... except that the hopper isn't airtight, right? If there was an airtight slide or something to seal the bottom of the hopper, and it could be made to be robust, that might be an interesting feature.

I would agree that the exposure to the beans, over the same period of time, is less within the hopper. You can seal the container properly, however, while the hopper is always exposed to gas transfer through the burr assembly (I so I imagine things). Maybe we need an airtight container that doses beans. Smaller containers help. Edit: as are smaller hoppers, suited for home use quantities, as you were also pointing out. Thanks for the link to the doserless "mcf."

Dave
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parity
Senior Member
parity
Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 317
Location: Mountain View, CA
Expertise: Just starting

Espresso: Rancilio Silvia
Grinder: Rancilio Rocky, La Pavoni...
Roaster: CO/SC
Posted Sat Jul 2, 2005, 6:40pm
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

xefned Said:

Contrary to the intuition of the add-only-enough-beans-for-one-shot crowd, your beans will be fresher if you add the whole pound to the air-tight hopper and leave the lid closed. It's the constant exposure to air from repeatedly opening and closing your other air-tight container that zaps the freshness.

Posted July 2, 2005 link

I think this is fine if you only use one kind of beans but I roast my own coffee so I like to switch between different kind of beans. Also the hopper isn't air tight because the entire grinder isn't air tight. With a one way valve zip lock bag you can squeeze out the air. But I do agree that exposure to air is a factor it may just come down to how fast you use your beans up.
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xefned
Senior Member


Joined: 22 May 2005
Posts: 28
Location: Seattle
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: Krups steam machine
Grinder: Nueva Simonelli MCI...
Drip: Wednesdays only (at...
Roaster: Batdorf and Bronson
Posted Mon Jul 18, 2005, 5:40am
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

All good points.
After reading the posts by davea and parity I'm thinking there is no IDEAL domestic grinder. There will always be some kind of compromise.

I found the MCI doserless on ebay for $200 so I bought it.
I've come back to this thread to say that I'm *very* pleased with it. It looks pretty on our counter. It's very heavy, and grinds quietly and quickly. I am now grinding straight into the portafilter which I've never done before. No mess, no chute clogging.

But one very important correction - the hopper DOES NOT hold a full pound as reported on Chris's site. It holds 1/2 pound. I didn't buy it from Chris so it's possible he has a custom hopper on there but it looks the same to me as in the picture.

Just wanted to clarify,

Kato
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handcannon
Senior Member


Joined: 5 Jun 2003
Posts: 237
Location: Ames, IA
Expertise: I love coffee

Espresso: PIDed Zaffiro
Grinder: MCI, Innova, Zass, Capresso
Drip: Capresso Aroma Classic 461
Roaster: Modded FR & WBs
Posted Mon Jul 18, 2005, 6:29am
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

I got my MCI from Chris, and have been extremely happy with it.  I do use a bamboo skewer to clean out the chute after grinding a shot.

 
"Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most."  A. Brilliant
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Luca
Senior Member
Luca
Joined: 27 Jan 2004
Posts: 2,658
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Espresso: H: Maver W: FB-80
Grinder: H: Super Jolly W: Brasilia...
Vac Pot: Hario TCA-2
Roaster: Sample Roaster at Work
Posted Tue Jul 19, 2005, 4:23am
Subject: Re: The IDEAL domestic grinder!
 

This one is probably pretty good.  Certainly caters to all of the bean dancers and neat freaks out there.  Bit pricey, though!  Mini-E is a very nice choice, too ... same problem, though.

The MCF grinder really impressed me with its quality, size, design, adjustability, noise level ... basically everything except speed.  The Australian distributor has it priced at the same point as the Mini.  Yeah, right!  It's probably on par, but there's no way that I'm going to pay that much for it when it's half the price overseas.  If they want to price themselves out of the market, they can be my guests!

As irritating as it might be to some, why not go for an opaque hopper - light is supposed to be a contributor to degradation.

Straight grind path is definitely the way to go!

A one-shot doser would be kind of neat ....

Cheers,

Luca

 
General ramblings about coffee: http://www.pourquality.blogspot.com/

Reviews of Australian coffee: http://www.coffeereviewaustralia.com/
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