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Thread: Rising popularity of EK43s in cafés

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    Rising popularity of EK43s in cafés

    Any thoughts on the rising use of EKs in cafés here. Sure, they're only used in a very small number of cafés, but it does seem that some of the top end places in Melbourne are switching over, or at least using them alongside Roburs. (Proud Mary for one)

    Perhaps the trend was given a boost by Matt Perger in WBC last year, although from memory he was using a coarser grind for his espresso.

    So do these cafés consider it a better grinder? Or are they still using Roburs as their main production grinders and just using EKs for SOs or non-espresso drinks?

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    It is a better grinder in some aspects, depends on what your preference is. It's mainly the workflow and the steep learning curve that stops cafes from using it. According to the 3FE video it takes over 50secs to load a group handle.
    Matt made it famous but it has been used in a few specialty cafes for a while already. It's about pushing the boundaries and trying something different.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hyperwave View Post
    It is a better grinder in some aspects, depends on what your preference is. It's mainly the workflow and the steep learning curve that stops cafes from using it. According to the 3FE video it takes over 50secs to load a group handle.
    Matt made it famous but it has been used in a few specialty cafes for a while already. It's about pushing the boundaries and trying something different.
    Yes...its about pushing the boundaries but not necessarily in the way that you think. Its pushing the boundaries in the image marketing and wow factor stakes and its working, because these things get picked up in places like CS, and then everyone is talking about it/, placing something that no one has ever heard of before (in retail end coffee), on everyone's lips.

    Pumping out volume in a busy cafe, this grinder would be murder to work with. As a secondary where it will get little use, no worries, but there are any number of other, less "wow" looking grinders that can do the job well. Its got "the look" of an old style grinder and can impress, despite that its not designed or intended for cafe use.

    Some coffee suppliers pick up on this and will use the equipment to snag new clients (eg "...look, so and so big name cafe in Fitzroy or wherever uses this fantastic grinder in their cafe. If you come on board with us, we will supply you with one of those....).

    Too often people in these places think its all about the coffee when in fact, its all about the image. Present a good marketable or avante garde image, and the coffee will sell, in many cases regardless of whats in the cup.

    From my point of view then wrt to the topic at hand, its nothing more than the latest trend in the making and the importers and manufacturers of the model can expect to see an increase in sales volumes at least in the short term.

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    Yes the EK43 was and still is originally made as a retail coffee grinder. I have read most of the studies done on the grind particle that is produced by the EK and personally have used and drank coffee from it. The flavors that is produced is a lot clearer and is a lot cleaner than from a Robur E.

    You said there is other grinders that don't look that good but equally as good at grinding, what grinders are those??

    As for marketing gimmicks, suppliers have used that trick for a very long time and will never use the EK as one of them because it's normally used in speciality coffee only but the biggest reason is that there is little to no wastage with the EK. 20gm in 20gm out and if the grind setting is not exactly right, change it and the next dose is changed. This means about 20% to 30% savings on coffee and would mean better fresher coffee for customers but buying less coffee from suppliers.

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    I find your comments on the cynical side TOK, given Matt Perger's fastidious approach to coffee making, I find it hard to accept that he would choose the grinder for its 'image' or 'wow factor' or any other commercial interests. I'm sure he did his research and found it to be a superior grinder. You say its not practical in a commercial environment but thats only in the context of what you consider to be the commercial ideal, eg 'pumping out coffee' in the Italian way. When really the industry is moving towards slower and higher quality coffee production. Look at filter coffee for example, i'm happy to pay $6-$8 for a good quality filter coffee if I know the guy took 10mins to make it. Go to Dukes in little flinders if you can and you'll see what I mean.

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    Cynical? Not at all. I think you've misunderstood what I've written. And before anyone goes there, ...nowhere did I say that I don't think image and WOW aren't good things, my post is just a straight forward opinion based on many years experience in coffee industry, of how it works particularly these days, and how it all goes round.

    WRT Matt Perger taking the grinder in to the comp...Well of course he didn't take the grinder in on the basis of image / wow factors. He took it in to get a particular result from his competition entry. Its the people watching (in effect the celebrity watchers of the coffee game) that make something like that the stuff of legend and start talking it up. And from there it progresses to the point where people in cafes will start specifying stuff for their working cafes, that others used in their competition entries.

    Note making coffee in a comp (indeed the whole "performance") has not much to do with making coffee in the places where business is being conducted. But we all know there is a "rub off effect" in many ways from the comps and this is yet another starting right here.


    Hope that helps.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Whats the betting that now the genie is out of the bottle the Mahlkonig EK43 will be the next must have toy for aspiring geeks, who will undoubtedly be able to identify flavours and other attributes we earth bound mortals have never heard of let alone hope to make sense of.

    $4500 for a home grinder? guess if you have the cash and can convince yourself the improvement will be worth the outlay.

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    It's abit over $3k, which is in the realm of Robur E home owners.

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    A few shops in Bris and on the sunny coast are trending this way, was a bit taken back at first but had some good conversation about it with the operators and as with all things positives and negatives both ways.

    Total change in work practices, time consuming, large outlay (somewhat diminished as you only have 1 grinder on the bench instead of 2/3/4) difficult to manage in high volume outlets/periods.

    Next to zero waste, zero grind retention, very stable grind even with atmospheric changes, improved evenness of grind particle size resulting in better more consistent results in the cup (don´t hang me I know taste is a pretty subjective thing) $ outlay for only one grinder.

    I think we will see more of them in high end shops and there is talk of a deal between a well known barista and manufacturer developing a weighing/dosing model that resolves some of the time management issues. Have to wait to see the validity of this in due course.

    Fad or new development in coffee, think it´s a case of sit back and see where this one goes.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wynton87 View Post
    You say its not practical in a commercial environment but thats only in the context of what you consider to be the commercial ideal, eg 'pumping out coffee' in the Italian way. When really the industry is moving towards slower and higher quality coffee production. Look at filter coffee for example, i'm happy to pay $6-$8 for a good quality filter coffee if I know the guy took 10mins to make it. Go to Dukes in little flinders if you can and you'll see what I mean.
    For sure there are people on CS who'll wait and pay the extra $ for a coffee, but if you try to make a living out of those people you'll go broke quickly.

    Incidentally, I had an espresso 20 mins ago at Dukes on Flinders Lane - the guy weighed the shot into the Strada but he still produced an average shot, not bad by any measure but lacking body and a little flat in taste. They've never been quite to my taste, but that's just a personal thing, they clearly try hard.

    (Still haven't found anyone to beat Courtney at Cup of Truth for espresso in the CBD)

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    Here is a couple of links. Just for some reference to the discussion.

    I don't have an opinion, other than in its current form it won't get much take-up from high volume cafes for espresso.
    If they can reconfigure the 'dosing to p/f ' operation ...... and I wouldn't be surprised if they're working on it, they might have a
    more accessible product.

    The You Tube one is more about the Coffee Catcha than the grinder but it shows the um workflow of the grinder.

    EK 43 - Mahlkönig

    Dosing coffee with the EK 43 grinder & Coffee Catcha - YouTube

    The American site has a list price of $US2950 ....at todays exchange that converts to $AUD3256.
    That would have to put a landed, retail grinder here at (guessing) over $AUD3500??
    Last edited by Andy; 26th February 2014 at 10:17 AM.

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    Here's another link for reference. Interesting discussion on how they used it in a commercial situation.

    EK43; Tales from the bar. | Dublin Barista

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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post

    The American site has a list price of $US2950 ....at todays exchange that converts to $AUD3256.
    That would have to put a landed, retail grinder here at (guessing) over $AUD3500??
    It is possible that things can be cheaper here - it's not completely impossible!

    For example look at the GS/3, Chris at Talk Coffee has it listed at $6,325, so about US$5,700. Now take a look at US online pricing and it's about US$6,700 and that's not including sales tax, so in some states that's about US$7,370 or AUD$8,140 - almost two grand more in the US than here!!! And the UK pricing isn't much different.

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    Great link Pete39, pretty well sums up the thinking on this grinder.

    Great thing about coffee people, always wiling to push the bar in seek of that repeatable god shot, and we the consumer will benefit on our taste buds. yummm coffeee!!!!

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    Being such an expert I of course don't readily understand how one grinder that costs X thousand dollars can be better than another one that costs Y thousand dollars. Perhaps someone can enlighten me? My Bodum burr grinder cost $99 (on sale from RRP $150 at time of purchase) and with that I have produced some amazing coffee at home. Sure, I understand that it may wear out after a month of use in a busy cafe, and likely it won't allow a barista to work fast enough during a peak ordering period, so I can understand that a commercial-grade machine would be required in a cafe, but one costing *thousands* of dollars? Is it self-cleaning and self-sharpening? Can it self-diagnose itself and e-mail the manufacturer when it's time for a service? Can it be pre-programmed with all the different types of products that the cafe makes so that with a single push of a button it will automatically grind the coffee using the correct grind type and exactly grind quantity, automatically selecting from one of several types of beans loaded into the hoppers at the back? Can it automatically compensate for different types of coffee beans? Does it "sniff" the ground coffee to analyze the aromatic compounds and adjust itself accordingly? Does it compensate for the weather? My suggestions may seem naive, but I'd sure like to know what these hyper-expensive grinders can do for that money. I have been subjected to some pretty awful coffee in some supposedly "wow" places where seemingly no expense has been spared on equipment and image, so I do wonder how much of the expense achieves performance versus image. For example, a friend once bought me a $30 coffee (I would never pay $30 for a coffee!!!) - and the brew could just as well have been boiled worm farm juice. It was an awkward moment for us both.

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    My price of $4500 OZ came from the online ad from Sensory Labs Australian site, the price is in fact $4300.

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    $4,400 ..... Salvatore must be reading this thread and put the price up accordingly!! :-D ......Over 4.5k if you can't pick it up.....:-(

    Good read from Dublin and there's more on Google.

    One thing from the Dublin post .....
    "The potential is massive in terms of taste, wastage, consistency and speed but for now we’re not quite sold.
    I accept a large part of this may be just down to the fact that it looks ugly as hell and seems so so wrong but
    I’m adamant that it needs more testing/tasting first."

    Can't agree that its ugly tho' , don't mind the look of it, nice retro feel.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 17th February 2014 at 02:12 PM. Reason: add quote

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    Ahh....So a flat burr bag grinder is better than a dedicated grind on demand or doser conical. Must be brilliant for work rate and turnover.

    Hipsters being different for the sake of being different...Lemmings following.

    Perhaps I'll blog to say that if I kneel and face ENE whilst chewing on a nasturtium that it will deliver a definite, superior result in the cup...

    If they d1ck around with the coffee any more, you'll need to book your coffee a week ahead.

    I'll keep my Kony-E thanks.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Ahh....So a flat burr bag grinder is better than a dedicated grind on demand or doser conical. Must be brilliant for work rate and turnover.

    Hipsters being different for the sake of being different...Lemmings following.

    If they d1ck around with the coffee any more, you'll need to book your coffee a week ahead.

    I'll keep my Kony-E thanks.
    Cant speak with any authority on the subject, however I suspect Chris may well have uttered a few words of wisdom in this post.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Ahh....So a flat burr bag grinder is better than a dedicated grind on demand or doser conical. Must be brilliant for work rate and turnover.

    Hipsters being different for the sake of being different...Lemmings following.

    Perhaps I'll blog to say that if I kneel and face ENE whilst chewing on a nasturtium that it will deliver a definite, superior result in the cup...

    If they d1ck around with the coffee any more, you'll need to book your coffee a week ahead.

    I'll keep my Kony-E thanks.

    Pretty big burr set though Chris "98mm" not sure of the rpm, still think it will be interesting to see where it goes after some extensive bench testing.

    Get those refractometers out and let us all know what those dissolved sugars are doing.

    A couple of coffee operators to offer an open invitation doing side by side blind bench testing with the Mahlkong a Robur a Kony and a BNZ md74 (Im happy to loan my BNZ) would be a great step to offer some perspective to both sides of the argument.

    Happy to enter into this next stage of coffee exploration with an open mind and willing taste buds. I recognise change is a constant but only worthwhile if it offers an improvement, so lets wait and see because at the end of the day the proof is in the cup.

    Chester

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Ahh....So a flat burr bag grinder is better than a dedicated grind on demand or doser conical. Must be brilliant for work rate and turnover.

    Hipsters being different for the sake of being different...Lemmings following.

    Perhaps I'll blog to say that if I kneel and face ENE whilst chewing on a nasturtium that it will deliver a definite, superior result in the cup...

    If they d1ck around with the coffee any more, you'll need to book your coffee a week ahead.

    I'll keep my Kony-E thanks.
    So correct me if I'm wrong, but Chris is not a fan of the idea. Nice.

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    Agreed Chris, Yelta and Chester, I think the overall direction of a thread like this can be very misleading to a lot of people.

    A cursory read might lead someone to think that a Robur, Kony, Major or other commercial or prosumer grinders make bad coffee.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Maybe it's more like a grinder such as this masks the sourness and over bright, citric acidity of the light roasts that these guys are using?

    After all, it's the one key element in the discussion that we have little knowledge of and it would be a mistake to apply the roasts we like
    individually, to the results being reported. We already know that big flat burrs (these ones go @ +/- 1500rpm) emphasise sweeter base notes,
    whilst conicals bring out more fruitiness.........

    And from a relevant but different perspective.......

    If you've seen the videos in the links above then check this one out and envisage what would happen if they changed their grinder.



    ....courtesy of member sidewayss' from the amazing videos thread. ( just tried to open the video from the link...... some computer gymnastics might be required)

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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    ....I think the overall direction of a thread like this can be very misleading to a lot of people.

    A cursory read might lead someone to think that a Robur, Kony, Major or other commercial or prosumer grinders make bad coffee.

    Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Maybe it's more like a grinder such as this masks the sourness and over bright, citric acidity of the light roasts that these guys are using?

    After all, it's the one key element in the discussion that we have little knowledge of and it would be a mistake to apply the roasts we like
    individually, to the results being reported. We already know that big flat burrs (these ones go @ +/- 1500rpm) emphasise sweeter base notes,
    whilst conicals bring out more fruitiness.........

    And from a relevant but different perspective.......

    If you've seen the videos in the links above then check this one out and envisage what would happen if they changed their grinder.

    Australian Cafes - Putting Slayer to the Test on Vimeo............
    Yes and you could look at it this way:

    As everyone knows what happens in comps has not much to do with what happens in real life cafe business, except for the "rub off" effect of people picking up on stuff that happens there and wanting to bring it into the cafe world, and of course the desire to upgrade the quality of what is sold in cafes. No problem.

    And in this case you have a high level competitor who for whatever reason (and I surmise it is because he wanted a certain character to come through into his competition espresso, with the particular competition beans he brought along) used an EK43.

    The comp is in effect, a "one off" laboratory excercise conducted under very controlled conditions. Can this be emulated in a real world cafe situation, where real world effects are taking place such as the ever changing nature of fresh coffee beans and milk, and are all the clients wearing white lab coats and judging the brew to the nth degree or at all?

    And now we have people in the forums talking up this piece of equipment because it was seen in the comp, seeming to take up sides for and against based on what are said to be the particular attributes that the grinder may or may not impart to an elite style espresso.

    Self fulfilling prophesy going on here....someone walks into a comp with a particular grinder. Internet groups pick it up and through the usual round of discussions turn it into an instant icon. People in cafes many of whom are very insecure of their coffee, will pick it up and run with it regardless of whether it will make any difference or not to their business or the real world quality of the coffees they sell to the public.

    Reality check. This is nothing more than another piece of (albeit good in the context of bulk coffee business it is designed for) equipment that is available to businesses to choose and use, if they wish.

    In terms of use in a cafe situation....who cares if the manufacturer is redesigning the thing for cafe use? Does anyone here really think that the coffee from your favourite cafe will taste any different? Will the cafes run this side by side with another grinder so the clients can pick the difference? And if they can pick a difference, what does it mean? Does that mean that the coffees they previously enjoyed when made with another type grinder, were rubbish? Do we all drive the same car, and do the holdens and fords driven at Bathurst have anything much to do with those we buy and drive on the road?

    None of that means I am either for or against the grinder and it is an offering from a quality equipment manufacturer in the context of what it is actually designed to do (bench/deli / bulk grinder) .....just watching with interest at how all this stuff goes round and round as usual in this forum.

    While having good equipment is a given, its not the equipment that makes your coffee, its your brewista that makes your coffee.

    EDIT:
    I should have mentioned, I have 3 bench type Mahlkonig grinders in use (not EK43) at quite a few thousand dollars expense... They are fantastic in the context they are designed for and used in. While they deliver a quality product, it's not about the quality, its the use / work they are designed to do. None of them are in a cafe and I wouldn't put them in there.
    Last edited by TOK; 18th February 2014 at 11:28 AM.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    I see barista comps in a very similar light to West Coast Jazz in the 50's and 60's, much of it was music that only musicians and a few enlightened members of the listening public understood, or even cared about, the majority of people didn't want to know and couldn't care less.

    The few non muso's that embraced it were seen as odd balls, the type that see UFO's and experience paranormal activity, kinda like coffee geeks.

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    You could well be right - maybe its just another fad that will be played with and end up adding nothing positive to the world of espresso.

    However, I like it that people in the industry are prepared to try new things. Everything I have ever been involved in has had a bunch of people who are continually looking to improve things. Yes, they can be annoying sometimes as they are often obsessed with their particular take on things. (And yes, internet forums do tend to worship this sort of stuff, but if they didn't I think a few people reading this would be a bit worried about their bottom lines at the end of the month.) But espresso has evolved a lot from the days of 7g singles and 14 g doubles from one or two pulls on a doser that is full of coffee that was ground 20 or 30 mins ago ready for the next rush.

    Maybe with a bit of work and experimenting the EK43 and similar grinders can produce espresso that some people find enjoyable and interesting. I don't see a problem with that. Does anyone have any evidence to suggest that the claims being made at this early stage are false? Perhaps that would make an interesting blog entry?

    As to workflow issues, I think if people decide they really think its worth having that kind of grinder on the espresso bar and need more speed, they will find a way to speed things up, just like what happened with the development of espresso machines.

    If we don't try new things, with the knowledge that many will fail, does that mean we think espresso has reached its pinnacle? Or maybe not even its pinnacle, but that there might be more ways to enjoy coffee brewed quickly at high pressures?
    tobeanornottobean likes this.

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    I think the ek43 looks like a sausage machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Pete39 View Post
    ...

    Maybe with a bit of work and experimenting the EK43 and similar grinders can produce espresso that some people find enjoyable and interesting. I don't see a problem with that. Does anyone have any evidence to suggest that the claims being made at this early stage are false?....
    I understand your point of view but in essence its irrelevant (that's not an insult, please). Its just another grinder, that happens to be getting special treatment at the moment because someone took it into a comp. and now its being "wound up".

    Its not the only good grinder around and if it has something special about it, so do other grinders. Some accentuate "clarity" Some accentuate "low notes". Some accentuate "acidity". Some are faster, some are slower, some are less messy, some are more messy. They're all good, and if I may again use a vehicular analogy, if you get three different brand / model cars that are pitched at the same market, which one is "better"? They're just similar model cars pitched at the same market.

    If cafe owner a) wishes to buy and use an EK43 in his cafe, that's great.

    If cafe owner b) wishes to buy and use some other good name grinder in his cafe, that's also great.

    Is the cafe coffee brewed by each any different in real terms (if they share the same baristas, equipment, coffee and milk supply), is it a significant difference, can anybody tell?

    What is different, is the presentation and image portrayed by each cafe, and in essence that makes the grinder part of the decor and the "show" that the operator wants to portray to his/her clientelle. Nothing wrong with that, but it has nothing to do with perceived quality.


    Hope that helps.

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    This is my first post on this site, so hello to all.

    As a newcomer, I find it curious the manufacturers are not (to my knowledge) publishing any performance data on their top end grinders.
    Since good espresso is such a science and craft, it seems logical to know what sort of variation in particle size and shape there may be through a range of grind settings.
    Probably the type of bean and roast has a big impact, but surely there would be some way to benchmark performance?
    If this were so, a customer could purchase a grinder most likely to allow a flavour characteristic in the cup they prefer?
    As is, everyone buys on blind faith and keeps their fingers crossed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    In terms of use in a cafe situation....who cares if the manufacturer is redesigning the thing for cafe use? Does anyone here really think that the coffee from your favourite cafe will taste any different? Will the cafes run this side by side with another grinder so the clients can pick the difference? And if they can pick a difference, what does it mean? Does that mean that the coffees they previously enjoyed when made with another type grinder, were rubbish?
    I'm not familiar with the cafe scene in Australia. But in the 13 years I've been observing US cafes, there have been loud and continuous calls for improvement in espresso grinders from nearly all the best shops. In heavy use, the popular grinders run too hot, change grind setting as they heat up, cook the beans sitting directly above the burrs, and require lots of coffee to be run through before settling in to a new grind setting. All these issues are no secret, so I'm really surprised that at least some of you folks seem so satisfied with the current mediocre "state of the art."

    Along come some innovative folks using an old grinder design in a very new way that just might solve every one of the above listed problems, and you aren't the slightest bit interested? Weird.

    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    While having good equipment is a given, its not the equipment that makes your coffee, its your brewista that makes your coffee.
    Agree 100%, however even the greatest brewista needs a high-quality grinder and an espresso machine.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    I understand your point of view but in essence its irrelevant (that's not an insult, please). Its just another grinder, that happens to be getting special treatment at the moment because someone took it into a comp. and now its being "wound up".
    Perhaps you could explain what in my point of view is "in essence irrelevant"? In terms of the thread title, my point of view is I see no problems with people using EK43s in cafes if they choose to (you seem to agree), they might be just a fad (you seem to agree), they might provide a different espresso experience (in terms of clarity and sweetness), perhaps not possible with current popular espresso grinders (you seem to think probably not but ask the question, several of those who have tried the idea and written about it suggest they do), its an idea worth exploring (Chris clearly thinks not).

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    Pete- it's not that they won't grind for espresso which they will. To be of any use whatsoever, you'd need substantial modification and TBH, I wonder if there would be any consistent difference in the cup between an ek43 and say a Major-E which is designed to grind on demand.

    Bottom line in all of this is that if the operator manages any retention appropriately, can the difference be picked blind? If not, it's really just a less suitable alternative.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Once again to use a music comparison, Hi Fi gear, amplifiers, players and speakers can be swapped and changed infinitely, each component when changed can vary what your hearing, some changes will suit your taste others may not, and of course prices range from very economical to ridiculous, most people compromise while the true fanatics would pawn the wife and kids in order to buy the latest $30'000 turntable.

    Coffee making equipment is similar, different grinder/machine combinations will certainly produce different results, and as we well know, prices, like audio gear vary enormously, as with sound equipment, it really is a matter of experimenting with different combinations until you find something that is to your taste and pocket.

  33. #33
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregbme View Post
    Probably the type of bean and roast has a big impact, but surely there would be some way to benchmark performance?
    Not meaningfully, I suspect. Much like GPUs, I suspect they only function as part of a whole and while benchmarks (particle size distribution) can give an indication of general quality or "tier", they probably won't provide useful information beyond that when the multitude of roasts/beans/palates/brew-variables are taken into account.

  34. #34
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    A point that is constantly ignored! is the discussion aimed at home users or a cafe/commercial situation, each have their own specific requirements and what suits one will probably not suit the other.

    Having never owned or worked in a cafe all of my observations and opinions are based on home use.

    Most members of Coffee Snobs would I suspect be home users.

  35. #35
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    A point that is constantly ignored! is the discussion aimed at home users or a cafe/commercial situation, each have their own specific requirements and what suits one will probably not suit the other.
    Should be open to both sides as long as everyone's clear where their comments are coming from. Perhaps a little more tolerance is in order.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    I'm not familiar with the cafe scene in Australia. But in the 13 years I've been observing US cafes, there have been loud and continuous calls for improvement in espresso grinders from nearly all the best shops. In heavy use, the popular grinders run too hot, change grind setting as they heat up, cook the beans sitting directly above the burrs, and require lots of coffee to be run through before settling in to a new grind setting. All these issues are no secret, so I'm really surprised that at least some of you folks seem so satisfied with the current mediocre "state of the art."

    Along come some innovative folks using an old grinder design in a very new way that just might solve every one of the above listed problems, and you aren't the slightest bit interested? Weird.



    Agree 100%, however even the greatest brewista needs a high-quality grinder and an espresso machine.
    Of course we are (interested in good gear), and when 99% of cafe owners buy their own gear instead of sponging "free" on loan from their suppliers, they will be able to spend that kind of money on that kind of grinder for themselves if they wish. Everything has a cost, and the more a client wants "on loan", the more it will cost in dollars per kilo over a certain term of contract which as many of us in the business know, the clients wont pay....

    In terms of equipment spec: Over here the equipment is placed according to the volume, and that of course means according to the heat that will be generated and the consequences that have to be dealt with. I'd say 99% of cafe clients don't / wont buy their own gear and its usually left to the supplier. In plain terms a supplier that under specifies a piece of equipment is a fool because it just backfires on him for reasons we well know. There are so many cafes per capita of population in Australia that there is a very large spread of volume and you might be surprised that the average weekly kilos are not that great. I would, estimate say on average, 15 to 20 kilos per week would be a fair estimate of average, while there are cafes that do 5 kilos, and others that do 150 kilos per week. For that kind of average, where the daily use is spread out, you don't need the bigger high volume grinders. Suppliers look at the spread of kilos over the day for any particular client. Someone that does 5 kilos per day but its spread over say 3 x 1 hour peak periods, certainly rates a high volume grinder.

    Many high volume clients have two main grinders, plus a secondary grinder. That of course also affects what kind of grinders a supplier can put in.

    As you will know, in 99% of cafe / coffee industry none of that has anything to do with quality in the cup it has to do with overheating and its consequences (and that of course has nothing to do with my own personal take on "quality", its just a statement of fact).

    I feel we have ventured into industry talk which is not really relevant to the majority of lookers here, but it does demonstrate to the lookers that there is always a lot more to something than meets the eye.

    All of that said, in the context of the topic here I am happy to sit on my penultimate post which was #35 above.

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    Interesting when something new comes to the market or a new work practice is put forward that a bunch of people advocate one way or the other, have a little biffo in the forums then everything settle downs and what was once argued right / wrong / ground breaking / unnecessary becomes accepted or dismissed with very little reflection of what went on before it.
    On this site and others we argue about tamping, brew temperatures, extraction times, roast profiles and the list goes on, do we effect any change to what another person decides to do in their coffee journey. Probably not, but we do feel we had a chance to be heard and that our own opinion is worth something.

    Interesting little creatures us humans and to then add coffee as a stimulant to us, destined to continue the way we do. At the end of the day if it works for you great if it doesn't change it until you find what does. Nobody's right nobody's wrong we all just like something different in the cup.

    Happy exploring

    Chester

  38. #38
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Whether we are commercially or privately involved in the coffee world; one thing we all like is a manufacturer who listens to the market
    and responds accordingly.

    Maybe that will happen with this grinder. In it's current format it doesn't suit large sectors of the market.

    If it's reconfigured for more high volume espresso grinding duties then adopter rates may also bring the price down.

    I've had the opportunity to have some coffee off this grinder. It's good but it's not everything, I'd like to see it with conical burrs as well
    as the big planers it currently has.

    Hopefully, Mahlkoenig will see the opportunity with the current interest in this grinder and handball it back to the product R&D team.

  39. #39
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    I agree except on one point and that is where you've written: "...Hopefully, Mahlkoenig will see the opportunity with the current interest in this grinder and handball it back to the product R&D team...."

    I don't necessarily see there is any "current interest" in this as a cafe grinder, other than what is being talked up in this topic.

    Coincidentally, a few months ago when I was having difficulty getting some grinding burrs for another type grinder with even *better spec* (for bulk coffee) than the EK43, I was considering buying one....... so I hope this will exemplify I am not in any way "against" this model. Please read all of my comments here in the context of the topic started by the OP and whatever other replies have brought up on the way down the thread..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jonathon View Post
    As the OP, what started this off was a number of instagrams from Proud Mary showing their mods to EK43s.

    In this link you see a doser mod they've done to one of their EK43s. There are some other interesting photos on their Instagram feed.

    Instagram
    The mods they have done look to be working quite well. No doubt could easily be improved and refined by someone with the appropriate skills.

    Having tried Ghost rider at home a couple of times, ridiculous light roast for espresso, but when I got it right it made a very very interesting milk drink and I can see why it won last years Golden Bean.

    This radically light roasting for espresso is what this grinder is all about and people like Matt Perger / Ben Kaminsky pushing for balanced, sweet, fruity espresso that is not a a small glob of sour / roast double ristretto from light to medium roasted beans. I get the impression they think any roast characteristic is a flaw...?

    I find it interesting on occasion to play with something very different (light roasts) for espresso...but most of the time give me a double that's just pushing into ristretto territory from beans that have some DEPTH to them, which for me can be easily achieved without taking the beans into 2nd crack.

    Amway just my 2 bob.

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve82 View Post
    This radically light roasting for espresso is what this grinder is all about and people like Matt Perger / Ben Kaminsky pushing for balanced, sweet, fruity espresso that is not a a small glob of sour / roast double ristretto from light to medium roasted beans. I get the impression they think any roast characteristic is a flaw...?
    Agreed. I played with a lighter, but not green roast today (not mine)- from a roaster who I respect... not using my Mahlkonig- rather the Robur-E and PID'ed Ventus at about 93 deg...

    First few shots- visually correct pour and it looked terrific in the cup- god awful undrinkable shockers...

    Time for reflection and a few hours later I approach the gear again...break the rules. 20 ml from a double in about 45 (perhaps more) sec from when the spring took over- more trad. ristretto pour.

    Bingo. No lemons and an absolute fruit bomb. The result in the cup looked inferior but on the palate- gold.

    The lesson for me- A reminder that it's not so much the tools as the nut on the group handle.

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Over here the equipment is placed according to the volume, and that of course means according to the heat that will be generated and the consequences that have to be dealt with. I'd say 99% of cafe clients don't / wont buy their own gear and its usually left to the supplier.
    OK, thanks, that explains a lot.

    In the US cafes generally buy their own equipment. The high quality cafes are intensely interested in buying gear that's the best for their situation. Of course the appearance, prestige, etc of the espresso machine on bar is an important factor, but the proper functioning of the equipment is also extremely important (especially with grinders). Many US cafe owners will gladly pay for better grinders.

    In addition to the possible benefits of the EK-43 I mentioned in post #38 above, there is another one: because of the higher extraction yields obtainable with this grinder, a cafe can (at least in theory) reduce its consumption of coffee beans by 10-15%. If a medium-high volume cafe uses 50 kg of coffee a week, and by using the EK can save 10-15% in material cost, I think the grinder pays for itself in a year. That is assuming the workflow issues can be solved (and I think they can).

    This is another reason why I respectfully disagree with your claim that, "Its just another grinder, that happens to be getting special treatment at the moment because someone took it into a comp. and now its being "wound up".

    Time will tell, of course, I certainly could be dead wrong on this.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    OK, thanks, that explains a lot.

    In the US cafes generally buy their own equipment. [/COLOR]
    Whaaaat!!???? You mean to say Andy, that we in Aus are the only roasters who face the prospect of having to 'buy' client accounts
    to establish a business? Accounts cost anything up to $25k+, for high end equipment, and generally in the 10-15k ball park, for the good to average gear.

    And it doesn't stop there..... umbrellas, wind breaks, cupware, sugar.........

    Now I know that there's no such thing as a free lunch and that 'free on loan ' equipment is paid for with the coffee purchases,
    and the same coffee might sell from $25-$50 kg depending on whether there is machinery, or not, and the price tag of the machines, if there is.
    (And that same coffee might only be worth $5-7/kg roasted and packed)

    Not everybody is in the game of freebies, I'm one for starters, but it's the second question I get asked when I'm on the road.....
    "And what machine will you give us?" Sheeesh.

    I try and educate people about the advantage of owning their own gear, being in control of their coffee destiny
    and avoiding being taken for a ride with the poor quality of the coffee that they receive, where the margin pays for the machine in two years,
    then the roaster's holidays and car collection for the next 10.

    It started back in the 80's with a well known coffee roaster, now mega, whose name starts with V. it or ia
    They essentially changed the market for everyone just to get some market share.

    But I'm sorely tempted...... just so I can grow a little bit more and make the bank manager happier.

    OT....and a rant! ;-D

  44. #44
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    Very much a strategy learned from the old Australian (and UK) brewing firms (pre-Trade Practices Act) me thinks Chokkidog.

  45. #45
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry O'Speedwagon View Post
    Very much a strategy learned from the old Australian (and UK) brewing firms (pre-Trade Practices Act) me thinks Chokkidog.
    Cheers BOS, they learned good ;- (

    Coca Cola does it as well with their fridges supplied 'free' to cafes. Something like an 80% product stock rate rule applies.....

  46. #46
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Whaaaat!!???? You mean to say Andy, that we in Aus are the only roasters who face the prospect of having to 'buy' client accounts
    to establish a business?
    Initial outlay is silly into some businesses. I did however hear of a high volume cafe with multiple grinders, top end LM et al....Paying $52/kg for what should be half that. I guess at $60/kg they could have an ek-43 too....

    Me? I just don't get it....

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    I certainly could be dead wrong on this.
    Yep, you sure could be...

    Far too much generalisation being applied for markets where intrinsic knowledge is sparse. Don't think we would try and tell prospective cafe operator/owners in the US how to setup and run their businesses...

    Mal.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by ASchecter View Post
    OK, thanks, that explains a lot......

    In addition to the possible benefits of the EK-43 I mentioned in post #38 above, there is another one: because of the higher extraction yields obtainable with this grinder, a cafe can (at least in theory) reduce its consumption of coffee beans by 10-15%. If a medium-high volume cafe uses 50 kg of coffee a week, and by using the EK can save 10-15% in material cost, I think the grinder pays for itself in a year. That is assuming the workflow issues can be solved (and I think they can).

    This is another reason why I respectfully disagree with your claim that, "Its just another grinder, that happens to be getting special treatment at the moment because someone took it into a comp. and now its being "wound up".

    Time will tell, of course, I certainly could be dead wrong on this.
    Andrew, when suppliers over here are called upon to provide equipment under a "Free On Loan" scheme, they are not about trying to reduce the coffee consumption of the cafe.....quite the opposite. Your scenario is for where the cafe buys the equipment. Our scenario is where the supplier gives free use of its equipment (and everything else they want provided for "nothing") to the cafe. Different ball game.

    Also note and to state the obvious, the cost of the equipment is either taken directly out of and born squarely by the suppliers working capital account (and where they are using an overdraft, paying interest on that portion of it that they have tied up and can no longer use for their own use, and as a result of losing the use of the capital over time, they have to dig deeper into their overdraft for their own use and pay more interest to the banks) OR.....is sold to a finance company at time of delivery to the cafe client, and thereafter the supplier is paying to lease back the equipment at its own expense to provide "free" use of it to the cafe client. Does it get any better than that!

    Placing even more expensive equipment out on the above basis makes profit margins for suppliers smaller and smaller....

    And of course any supplier that wont play ball (supply on this basis), severely reduces its capacity to grow its market share and roasted coffee sales volume, because almost every other competing supplier is doin' it.

    So yeah, horses for courses I'm afraid.

    Chokkidog: it wasnt the big V that started it....it was the big M, after which the big V in its need to compete, took it on and won the war. And of course they all just copied it from the Italian market that had been there first.....and they dragged everyone else along with them.....

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    On the topic of roasters supplying the gear, this is an interesting view from a roaster who encourages the opposite.

    --link removed - content pasted --

    WE DON'T JUST SUPPLY COFFEE.

    Posted on October 20, 2013 by Darren Silverman
    It has become a daily conversation. Every day I am hearing how disillusioned cafe owners have become with their current coffee supplier.
    'They used to look after us but they're too big now. They don't care anymore.' Or the one about, unfulfilled promises of support and training. If this sounds familiar, then you are not alone. This blog is not written solely as an attempted grab at wholesale customers but more about letting you know that there are alternatives out there. Forgive me for stating the obvious, but every coffee company will supply coffee and, at the very least, most of it is of a reasonable quality. The question is...with literally hundreds of coffee suppliers out there, which do you choose and why?
    Before I answer this question, here is a little information about how some of the big coffee companies work. The big ones, who shall remain nameless, have money to throw around. They can, and they do, pray on and ultimately seduce the inexperienced cafe owner with worldly promises of support and training, machinery, merchandise including wind barriers and umbrellas, crockery and often a sizeable cash incentive thrown in to gain your account. To good to refuse right? Allow me to let you in on a little secret. Nothing in life is free.
    Before you know it, your cafe, your pride and joy is a total advertisement for the coffee brand. Everything you have is covered in the brand name and logo of your coffee supplier which makes it almost impossible to build your own brand and absolutlely impossible to ever be seen as anything other than a store that is seemingly owned and run by a major coffee company. Building your own brand, remember, is the reason you went into business in the first place.
    By now you have also signed a little dotted line that binds you to that arrangement for as long as it take the supplier to reap every cent back for the original set up including the ongoing weekly coffee purchases of which you cannot do without. These are water tight contracts that, most often, are impossible to break. Trust me, you'll pay back every cent that's been provided, with interest. A lot of it. Moral of the story...don't sign anything!!
    Why am I telling you this? Read my 1st line again. Every day I speak to people who want more. They don't want to be 'run of the mill'. They want support, advice and a personal touch. They want to learn how to 'understand' coffee, understand the coffee business and want some help to try and take their business to another level. Here it comes. You know...the plug. This is where Black Velvet comes in.
    We don't just supply coffee but offer a complete and documented analysis of your business that covers all areas of your cafe and your coffee that can help take your business to the next level. We discuss things like 'perception' and the image your cafe portrays to your customers. We offer advice on a range of subtle changes that can be made which can dramatically change the image of your business and with that, the training required to improve the quality of your coffee. The best thing about these changes is that most of them come at very little cost, in fact, implementing our strategy will actually save you money by cutting most of your uncecessary costs down while simultaneously promoting your own brand. The other bonus is, you also get to use Black Velvet Coffee.
    There are so many coffee roasters out there. Some will offer you the world. Others will pride themselves on offering nothing but coffee.

    --from: Black Velvet Espresso

  50. #50
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Big V .... Big M....Big Nuisance...........

    And responsible for the plague of autofill, stale coffee doser grinders.

    Hmmmm... if they handed out EK43's instead, perhaps the wet coffee industry would be

    at least more educated about coffee as an experience rather than a commodity and as Chris said recently...

    "concentrate on the dollar and the coffee will go to *^&%....concentrate on the coffee and the dollars will come and keep coming".

    Something like that.

    Nice segue tho' ;-D

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