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Thread: Looking to buy a new grinder for home espresso around $1000

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    Looking to buy a new grinder for home espresso around $1000

    Grinder tech is changing as are price points, not to mention my own experience with coffee and equipment. So, with apologies for asking this commonly asked question again, I am seeking the wisdom of this group in helping me decide on a grinder.

    I have an Isomac Mondiale and used to have a Forte before it broke down. Parts are a real problem so have decided to buy a new grinder. It will be for home use, make just 2 espressos and two macchiatos a day. Those two, though, are real moments in our day. We love our coffee, especially lighter roast profiles. So we are keen to find a grinder at a quality / price point that works for us. We have a budget of around $1000 ($1300 would be the top) and open to second hand as well as new. So far the Atom has caught my attention but I am also being instinctively drawn to a conical as distinct from flat burr ... if I can find one. For me its all about the bean and the coffee with the grinder being the supply chain.

    So, with appreciation of the wealth of experience here, may I ask you to indulge with my quest and offer your thoughts? Thank you.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Why conical over flat burr? Compak e5 or maybe even e6 coukd be worth looking at in tge flat burr range. Also m4d.

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    My Kony-E was $1250 used but in mint condition (thanks @Gavinsconi007!); terrific grinder but I wouldn't necessarily say a huge difference to more kitchen-friendly flat-burr options like ECM/Profitec, Compak etc.

    Personally having used a big conical with doser for single-dosing I wouldn't go down that path again; timer all the way.
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    Where abouts are you based? I'll be selling my Kony-E in a few weeks once a new grinder arrives. If you can wait that long, send me a PM, i'm in Sydney

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    Thanks for replying folks.
    Trentski, its a sense that conical gets to the high fruity notes discussed in a thread on the topic of conical and flat burrs. I guess I am more inclined towards those than chocolates.
    Magic_Matt, I'm curious about your experiences with a "big conical". What issues did you experience?
    Kofekitt, I am Brisbane and keen to buy within the week. I'll do a bit of research on the Kony-E. What are you upgrading to?

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPbeans View Post
    Magic_Matt, I'm curious about your experiences with a "big conical". What issues did you experience?
    Oh, no issues with conicals per se - rather doser grinders combined with high retention making fiddly single-dosing a necessity.

    My previous conical doser was a Fiorenzato, and while a great grinder the on/off switch had a delay (something to do with the cooling fan I think); that made purging and pulsing an extra nuisance.

    I have a Kony-E now; it's brilliant. Probably the best conical available for home use. Industry leading build quality combined with a highly usable timer interface, easily accessible chute and relatively minor retention (a few grams - not nothing, but a fraction of the Robur, K10 etc.).
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    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Looking to buy a new grinder for home espresso around $1000

    HI Rp
    If I was you I would not get too worried about the difference in flavour profiles between conical and flat burr grinders.
    Yes there may be a difference but the ultimate determining factor of flavour is the beans, blend , roast and water temperature .
    IMO the information in the thread on flavour difference between grinders is done with out true side by side comparison.
    I have judged at the Golden Bean competition for over Five years as well as being an importer and distributor of beans.
    Just my uneducated opinion ....
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    Thanks for the additional info Magic_Matt. Taking a serious look at the Kony. New it's outside my budget but will keep it in mind. Thank you.
    I'm not sure that your experience could classify your opinion as uneducated Antony, quite the opposite I'd say. Regarding the grinder, I understand where you're coming from. I work to control beans (variety, processing, location) where possible. Not planning to upgrade my espresso machine so that does constrain some aspects. Due to the recent death of my old grinder (flat ceramic burr), I now have the opportunity to explore other options. I do appreciate your perspective, thank you.

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    Hey Paul, thank you so much for your suggestions. I'll take a look at each now.

    If you had to pick one of the four you suggested?

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    Can anyone suggest what difference does burr size make? Say between a 54 and 64 flat burr? Thank you.

    Oh, and this Compak dosing funnel grabbed my attention https://youtu.be/ltNpZmA8_5g

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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPbeans View Post
    Can anyone suggest what difference does burr size make? Say between a 54 and 64 flat burr? Thank you.

    Oh, and this Compak dosing funnel grabbed my attention https://youtu.be/ltNpZmA8_5g
    All other things being equal - just speed, and marginally higher retention.

    Sometimes grinders in the same family will use larger burrs with slower rotation to avoid heat buildup, but that's not really a concern for home use.
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    What Matt said.

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    Just speed? Wow, I had a hunch that the larger burrs would changes the flavour in the cup. Thanks for clearing that up.

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    Hi RP,

    I agree with the sentiment regarding burrs changing the flavour (they don't but if they do its a tiny difference).

    Have you looked at the Mazzer mini? Its in your price range brand new, and is a really high end domestic grinder. It really does provide the same quality as larger grinders, however it lacks the capacity to grind all day long without over heating and being too slow. These are issues that you don't need to worry about in a domestic use.

    Mike K

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    Hi RP, I have been using a Vario for the last year and it hasn't missed a beat. It does timed grind or on demamand and takes about 14 seconds to do an 18 gram basket with no clumping and very little residual grounds up the spout. They cost around $800 from CMS in Newmarket Brisbane (not QCMS)
    Cheers Peter

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Michael79SB View Post
    Have you looked at the Mazzer mini? Its in your price range brand new, and is a really high end domestic grinder.
    A good grinder but poor value for money. Glacially slow and much better options available now. 10 years ago it was a top 3 in its category.
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    Hello Michael79SB. I've discounted the mini-e as I believe there are better grinders around for the price. A second hand Kony would be much more my style
    Yes, I agree trentski
    I ordered an OE Lido 3 yesterday because I wanted to see if I could taste the difference between flat and conical ... and I wanted a portable grinder anyway. :-)
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    Senior Member matth3wh's Avatar
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    Hi RPbeans. Good that you've got yourself a Lido to keep yourself going. Chances are most of us would be fairly happy with any of the espresso grinders at around that $1k price point mentioned. Though you might have some feature preferences to lead you one way of the other. For me it was quiet, hands free coffee grinding with the occasional switch to non espresso brew. Came across an interesting comparison article of some of the grinders mentioned above. Hope that helps a little. Certainly plenty of great second hand grinders for sale via CS if you don't want to go new. Good luck in your hunt.
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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPbeans View Post
    Oh, and this Compak dosing funnel grabbed my attention https://youtu.be/ltNpZmA8_5g
    Cool idea for single dosing - but it's a bit of a waste of a timed dose grinder!

    I think the biggest advantage of a grind by time (or weight) grinder is the ability to have more than a single dose in the hopper, so the burrs are always weighted. I do find with my V-Titan the last shot of a batch of beans is quite erratic if I don't add the next bag of beans before grinding - seems to run faster than previous shots with the same grind setting, and channel more.

    tl;dr: single dosing is like so 2016.
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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    I triple dose direct from the grinder to the basket. I store my beans in a conveient container that sits on top of the grinder.

    Works well for me.

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    Matt3wh, thanks for that link. I'm still considering the Atam so keen to hear how you go over time as the grinder and you get to know each other.
    Magic Matt, had to laugh. So 2016 eh! Hahaha. I take your point about having beans in the hopper to 'push' beans down the grinding shoot. Like Trentski, single dosing works for me. I like to keep my beans sealed and in a dark place when not being ground.
    The Lido 3 has been an interesting experience so far. It took a bit of dialing in. I ended up at minus 1 i.e. one step back from the factory setting. There is almost no retention - about 0.2 or 0.3 at worse. The only negative so far is clumpy grinds which also makes getting the grinds into the basket a bit of work. Otherwise, its a great product. And its a bit of a workout so no need for those pesky gym memberships
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    It's not manual grinding that gave you muscles like that, it's the posing in front of the mirror.
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    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RPbeans View Post
    Matt3wh, thanks for that link. I'm still considering the Atam so keen to hear how you go over time as the grinder and you get to know each other.
    Magic Matt, had to laugh. So 2016 eh! Hahaha. I take your point about having beans in the hopper to 'push' beans down the grinding shoot. Like Trentski, single dosing works for me. I like to keep my beans sealed and in a dark place when not being ground.
    The Lido 3 has been an interesting experience so far. It took a bit of dialing in. I ended up at minus 1 i.e. one step back from the factory setting. There is almost no retention - about 0.2 or 0.3 at worse. The only negative so far is clumpy grinds which also makes getting the grinds into the basket a bit of work. Otherwise, its a great product. And its a bit of a workout so no need for those pesky gym memberships
    Late to the party with this but wish to share my own experience. Having had many grinders over my time, each fitting my increasing need to produce a great coffee. At the same time each increasing with the amount i spend on one.... Ive just picked up yesterday a Eureka Zenith 65E and can already speak for it being a great grinder. While purchasing this grinder at Casa Espresso through Antony I also got to look and ask about the Atom. I feel both these grinder although different in ways which suit some and not others you cant go wrong with either of them.

    Already having had the Zenith just over 24 hours i feel the pour on my shot has become more consistent. Thats not to say the Macap i had before was worse or better because at the end of the day as stated the difference you are going to taste is from the beans you use and somewhat the machine when you are looking at Grinders at this price point. What im meaning at this price point you are going to get a good grinder that grinds good coffee.. I guess the the little things like appearance and ergonomics come into play and depends on people preference. Mind you If had to say what grinder i think you should buy, i would suggest the Eureka Zenith or Atom..

    Chris
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    Chris, what did you see as the differences between the Atom and Zenith 65E to you? What swayed you to the Zenith 65E over the Atom?
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    Senior Member coffeechris's Avatar
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    To be honest they are somewhat different in appearance having seen them in the flesh. I must say i liked the larger looking Zenith, I guess i wasn't sold on the appearance of the Atom (thats just personal opinion). I reckon at the end of the day i liked the Zenith as it was tad faster when grinding, its overall larger looking appearance but mainly it was some $150 cheaper than the Atom. Mind you i did buy the smaller hopper for it as the larger hopper is Very, very Large I had a laugh

    To be honest i think if i was at home with the Atom now like i am the Zenith i would be just as happy though. Im looking at the Grinder as i type and im happy with he purchase...
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magic_Matt View Post
    Cool idea for single dosing - but it's a bit of a waste of a timed dose grinder!

    I think the biggest advantage of a grind by time (or weight) grinder is the ability to have more than a single dose in the hopper, so the burrs are always weighted. I do find with my V-Titan the last shot of a batch of beans is quite erratic if I don't add the next bag of beans before grinding - seems to run faster than previous shots with the same grind setting, and channel more.

    tl;dr: single dosing is like so 2016.
    Ah wow really, that's interesting regarding the last shot being erratic.. I've only ever single dosed using the Rocky, has been fairly consistent, but every now and then it'll inexplicably go bonkers.. wonder if best to consider chucking all/a fair weight of my beans in the hopper with my next upgrade... I can surely just remove the hopper and put the beans back in the one-way valve when I'm done anyways hey.. (that's not an option with the Rocky haha)
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    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Looking to buy a new grinder for home espresso around $1000

    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    Ah wow really, that's interesting regarding the last shot being erratic.. I've only ever single dosed using the Rocky, has been fairly consistent, but every now and then it'll inexplicably go bonkers.. wonder if best to consider chucking all/a fair weight of my beans in the hopper with my next upgrade... I can surely just remove the hopper and put the beans back in the one-way valve when I'm done anyways hey.. (that's not an option with the Rocky haha)
    It's not as much of a problem with flat burrs, especially small flat burrs like in the Rocky. I have the same issue as Matt with my Compak K10 conical, I can't really single dose as the last few grams of beans through the grinder come out a terrible mess. What I do is weigh my dose then add about 5g extra. This obviously stays in the grinder and I purge it the next morning. It means I waste a bit more coffee than I did with my other grinders, but still not much and weighing the grounds is a far more accurate way to weigh your dose anyway so that's how I do it.
    The only large conical burr grinders that do a good job of single dosing would be ones actually designed to work this way I'm guessing - Lido, Pharos, HG-1, Monolith etc.
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    I've got a ROK grinder, stepping up from a spice whizzer was chalk and cheese (of course - this was stovetop roasting in a saucepan and pulsing the beans in the Krambrook). For the price i reckon the non-electric burr grinders are a fantastic option for home use where only small amount of coffee is consumed daily. Takes about 20 seconds to grind 19 grams, and there's enough leverage on the arm that it's pretty easy to do, the quality of the grind is great (we do pour over and espresso - Gaggia Classic though, nothing fancy) though i've not used an electric grinder to compare. They're relatively quiet too compared to electric. I'd be interested to compare the grind quality with my ROK vs a high end home grinder to see how it stacks up.
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeroyC View Post
    It's not as much of a problem with flat burrs, especially small flat burrs like in the Rocky. I have the same issue as Matt with my Compak K10 conical, I can't really single dose as the last few grams of beans through the grinder come out a terrible mess. What I do is weigh my dose then add about 5g extra. This obviously stays in the grinder and I purge it the next morning. It means I waste a bit more coffee than I did with my other grinders, but still not much and weighing the grounds is a far more accurate way to weigh your dose anyway so that's how I do it.
    The only large conical burr grinders that do a good job of single dosing would be ones actually designed to work this way I'm guessing - Lido, Pharos, HG-1, Monolith etc.
    Ahhhh ok so it's more of a conical grinder thing.. but that's a great idea anyways regarding chucking in the extra 5g if it needs to be a bit weighted! Clever!
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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by simonsk8r View Post
    Ahhhh ok so it's more of a conical grinder thing.. but that's a great idea anyways regarding chucking in the extra 5g if it needs to be a bit weighted! Clever!
    I don't know about that - certainly noticeable on my ECM V-Titan. Probably moreso than the Kony-E if I'm honest.

    Adding extra beans works, but it's not really single-dosing anymore... May as well just run a hopper!
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    Hilarious

    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Here's my arm after a few months of manual grinding:
    Hahaha, that's too funny!
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    All good info CoffeeChris, thanks! And I agree with you, the Zenith is a much better looking machine when compared with the squarish looking Atom. When I first saw a picture of an Atom I though "ah ha, designed by the Russian Lada team" :-) That said, they seem like a great grinder.

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    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Been there, done that, it wasn't even a close comparison.


    Java "Another hat bites the dust" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

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    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Hi Paul,
    I reckon I could taste the difference and most others with a reasonable pallet could as well.
    One week is along time to have the beans exposed to open air and oxidization, let alone two weeks.
    I must admit I find the single dosing ritual unnecessary.
    The old fashioned beans back in the bag with a rubber band around will give you two to three weeks after the bag is opened.

    I will supply the hat

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Hi guys,

    I spent many years playing around with single dosing and storing beans in bags with one way valves and containers with vacuum pumps, etc, etc.

    I'm now back to basics (KISS principle). I load the hopper and just make sure I empty it within a week or so.

    An idea for you to try - Do some back to back shots with beans left in the open for a week and beans stored in a bag with a one way valve and see if you can pick the difference. If you can, I'll eat my my hat

    Cheers, Paul
    Evening Paul,

    I'm also a fan of the KISS principle, however, must admit I'm quite surprised you would make a statement like this.

    Coincidentally I carried out a similar test only a few months ago.

    Roasted beans left in the hopper overnight then ground the following morning were dramatically degraded, the pour was thin, dark, with minimal crema.

    Ground coffee left in the doser for an hour before use exhibited similar characteristics, both were undrinkable.

    Followed up both shots with another from beans stored in one way valve bags, both excellent.

    One way valve bags for me every time.

    As an afterthought, perhaps the volume of beans/ground coffee in the hopper has a bearing on the outcome, I single dose, so only had 18 grams of beans in the hopper and the same amount ground in the doser.
    Last edited by Yelta; 11th July 2017 at 09:24 PM.

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    We can only hope for Paul's sake, he's wearing a Fezz and not a Sombrero
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    Hey Paul did you get the recipes from artman yet? Seems like you need it....

    Nacho hat

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    It's certainly an interesting thought... I guess the main thing always is, it depends, it depends it depends. Haha.. I like keeping them in a one way valve bag and in the cupboard, it allows for more consistent conditions for the unused beans to be in (whereas in the hopper temp, light etc can vary through the day) but would be interested to experiment for sure.

    Conditions in different locations will vary (obviously oxygen will be present in most place coffee is made hehe), but I think it it really really depends. If people are getting clear, different and honest results, I think it's safe to say we can't really say discount it.
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    Senior Member simonsk8r's Avatar
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    Hehe the ever-discussed bean storage ay! Yeah for sure I will try that at some stage, only just modded my Rocky (... yes.... FIIIINALLY), so will be experimenting with that first

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    I'm with Javaphile....

    Been there, done that many years ago also.
    Either reseal the bag after grabbing some beans or use the entire contents from a grinder hopper over a few days. Life's too short to be drinking ruined coffee...

    Mal.

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    Site Sponsor Casa Espresso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    ...well. I couldn't agree more Simon. Lots of variables and no absolutes as is so common with this hobby.

    Cheers, Paul
    There is an absolute with this one, its been tested and proved many times.

    Absolutely do not leave your beans in the hopper for a week... don't.... no..... never.... just no.

    As an industry professional if I suggested that to my peers I would laughed out the next judging panel. There is significant deterioration in been quality.

    Leaving beans in your hopper is for the old fashioned souvlaki bar from the 80s with the 2 group Rancillio burn box in the corner. (no offence to souvlakis, I love them..)

    Cheers

    Antony
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    I have the Macap M4D grinder which I bought from Paul at K Bean. Lovely.

    I wanted something that looks good in the kitchen so I got the chrome model. I also wanted something that could give a reproducible grind and that was adjustable in fine increments. Finally I wanted something built like a tank that could be unearthed by scientists 3000 year from now and would still operate as new.

    I finally wanted something that would grinder reasonably quick and this one does a grind in about 10 seconds which is good. It also is relatively quiet.

    I think I got all those things and I couldn't be happier. A grinder is a long term investment so I say just buy a good one but don't go over the top in terms of size as it does have to fit in somewhere.

    I only put enough beans in the hopper for a couple of grinds. Next to the grinder I have three plastic sealed containers each containing 250g (green bean equivalent) which represents a roast in my Hottop roaster. This way the beans are seasoned and ready for drinking.

    I try not to be too anal about anything to do with coffee as I'm not a fusspot and I don't weigh my grinds, except occasionally as an experiment. I just level it at the top of the portafilter and tamp. I don't time shots I just do it by sight.

    I think if you can afford it and you love your coffee you should get equipment that you don't even think of trading in but equipment, every time you look at it, it brings a smile to your face. If you can do that then you have spent your money wisely...

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    I put 200g in the hopper at a time, and when nearly gone refill with another 200g. This is every 2 or 3 days. For me this is my preferred balance of fresh/convenient and gives me more delicious espresso than most cafes I go to
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    Senior Member Magic_Matt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melbroaster View Post
    I put 200g in the hopper at a time, and when nearly gone refill with another 200g. This is every 2 or 3 days. For me this is my preferred balance of fresh/convenient and gives me more delicious espresso than most cafes I go to
    This is my routine too, though I tend to refill in ~100g increments.

    If I'm going away overnight I'll decant the hopper back into a valved bag.
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    I'm really not convinced yet as I get regular god shots with beans stored for a week in the hopper.

    I'll need to test this. Maybe there's a research paper out there??? I need evidence. I'll test for myself with back-to-back shots. I suppose that's the ex-scientist in me. I rely on evidence, not here say or faith

    My hypothesis is: "there is no significant difference in espresso produced using 7 day old light/medium roasted beans stored in a hopper and 7 day old light/medium roasted beans stored in a bag with a one way valve."

    After testing I'll report back. If it's disproven I'll change my ways, go back to single dosing, and improve my shots so that would be a win really

    This is the sort of meaty exploration that makes coffee a hobby and not just a drink.

    Cheers, Paul

    Paul, as a scientist, if you wanted to give a result worth reporting back on (rather than just working out your personal preferences) it may be worth getting a larger sample base than just you. One is a very, very small sample easily affected by personal preferences or even unknown issue such as damaged taste buds or no palate (how would you know unless tested). I had a mate who knew he had poor smell, too many broken noses, but until he was told didn't realise how much it affected his taste. Not being smart but just saying a test of one is too small, maybe give a mystery bag of aged coffee to the next ten purchasers of the K-Bean and ask which they prefer? Who knows, you may end up with an open 44 gallon drum of roasted beans out the back for those who prefer aged beans - just like aged beef
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  46. #46
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    I never keep beans in the hopper simply because I weigh the beans for every shot.
    And I have never done any taste tests myself with beans stored in the hopper vs beans stored in a bag.

    However, from the perspective of being exposed to air and the amount of oxidation that takes place, I can't imaging there is much difference between storing beans in the hopper and a bag with a one way valve - during use.
    The bag with a one way valve is great at maintaining fresh beans after roasting where they out gas and are basically stored in CO2.
    When the bag is opened daily to take out beans the amount of air they are exposed to can't be hugely different to that in the hopper.
    Of coarse being able to store the bag in a cupboard away from light is another matter.
    But then again, in the hopper they are only exposed to limited UV (assuming it is not sitting in direct sunlight) - I'm dubious to how much effect this can have in a week.

    I may have to do some testing myself.

  47. #47
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Bean Storage For Dummies.

    Cant believe this conversation is happening, we see the same question asked time and again by newcomers, the threads on the topic are endless, and yet here we are, experienced home/retail coffee makers discussing the the same tired old subject.

    I worked out my preferred storage method about 10 years ago, has served me well, use it to this day, I see no reason to change, I'm sure most are in the same boat.

    Having said the above, if someone comes up with a superior, revolutionary, easy to use storage method, I will change, until that time the status quo will be maintained.
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  48. #48
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by K_Bean_Coffee View Post
    Of course 388. Agreed... that's why I put it out there for the community to test. I would love to get a range of opinions.

    I would love funding for a study and 50 volunteers as well but I don't see that happening any time soon...

    Cheers, Paul
    I reckon your trying to dig yourself out of a bit of a hole Paul.

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  49. #49
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    Seems a long way back when RPbeans asked for advice on grinders
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  50. #50
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saeco_user View Post
    The bag with a one way valve is great at maintaining fresh beans after roasting where they out gas and are basically stored in CO2.
    When the bag is opened daily to take out beans the amount of air they are exposed to can't be hugely different to that in the hopper.
    Of coarse being able to store the bag in a cupboard away from light is another matter.
    It is not only an issue of light and oxidation.....your garden variety hopper tends to be located on top of a device that generates heat (some more than others), which is itself often located in a warm room.

    I load the hopper for my estimated day's use (which occurs within 2-3 hours), and that seems to work fine.

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