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Post By cstewart1980
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Post By simonsk8r
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Quamar Q50 (manual) grind fineness
For years I've been using a Sunbeam EM6910 and accompanying EM0480. I have just purchased a Rocket Giotto and Quamar Q50 grinder. The store I purchased from provided me with a bag of beans as well as a sample of pre-ground beans that I can use to compare for consistency against the grind I produce from my grinder. When using the sample pre-ground beans I achieve a consistent ~26 second pour on my machine with a beautiful crema and flavour.
The problem is I am struggling to achieve this with the beans I'm grinding myself. I've taken the collar off the grinder and thoroughly cleaned the burrs and thread etc. I re-assemble the grinder and find the 'zero' setting (where I can hear the rat-a-tat sound of the burrs touching) and turn back about 1/5 of a rotation and start to do some test grinds. At this setting the grind is extremely coarse and after countless efforts and extremely fast shots I've adjusted the grinder all the way back to zero plus 1 click (the point at which the rat-a-tat noise goes away). Even at this setting it does not produce a grind fineness that is capable of choking my machine (this seems strange because the store told me that the grinder would be capable of grinding finer than what is required for my Giotto). At this setting the grind starts to feel similar in consistency to the pre-ground beans I was supplied (fluffy and almost powder like) however when I pull the shot it takes about 6-7 seconds before starting to pour a slow drip before speeding up rapidly to run a full double shot in about 14 seconds.
From this I presumed it was my dose, tamp or distribution method but no matter what I do I cannot correct the problem. As soon as I go back to the pre-ground beans, replicating the same dose, distribution and tamping (as best I can) the issue goes away and the shot pours as expected. Which leads me to suspect the grinder or possibly stale beans causing the issue? To double check I purchased some espresso beans from Merlo and experience exactly the same issue.
Does anyone have any experience with this grinder? Could stale beans cause that much discrepancy? I'd love to find out that I've overlooked something silly - the joy of solving the problem would far outweigh the feeling of being an idiot! Any input or help would be appreciated.
Last edited by cstewart1980; 25th September 2017 at 09:50 PM.
Is there a "Roasted On" date on the bag of beans you were given?
Sounds to me as though the beans may be way past the Use By date.
Do yourself a favour and buy a bag of freshly roasted beans from a local roaster, from CoffeeSnobs here or one of our Site Sponsors. At least you will be starting from a position with a known 'quality' position.
Old beans (more than 3 weeks past their roast date) will always pour in the manner you describe as all the attributes we look for in fresh coffee have long since gone...
Thanks, Mal. The Merlo ones have a date of 21/09 on the bag. Interestingly I noticed the beans I purchased were kept under the counter in an open top plastic tub - maybe that is a factor? The empty bag of the other beans seems to have been thrown out already (by me) as its bin night tonight.
Thanks, Mal. I live in Morningside and picked up some beans from a local roaster on my way home from work today. During the day I also bought a small bag of beans from the coffee shop next door to my office. Both lots of beans were roasted and immediately packed about 7 days ago.
I have pulled the grinder apart, cleaned and re-assembled and I find the zero spot (detailed in my first post) to be in the same position. I move about 5 clicks back from this and as before the grind is very coarse. After several attempts, including purging between grinds, I've found myself back at the same zero +1 position and the same 14 sec pour (starting slower followed by a dramatic flow increase). Again the grind size, even at this finest setting, does not come close to the fineness of the pre-ground 'example' beans provided by the store I purchased the coffee machine and grinder from. Also again, using the pre-ground beans yields an acceptable pour (even after 4-5 days since being ground).
I'm really starting to suspect the grinder is not grinding fine enough OR is providing an uneven grind (perhaps the burrs are not level?). I think I'm going to take it back and let them look at it, problem is these guys don't open on weekends so I've got to take time off work to go in.
Last edited by cstewart1980; 27th September 2017 at 01:25 PM.
G'day again mate....
I'm not personally familiar with the mechanical structure of this grinder.
When you wind the top burr down such that the burrs start to touch, do you get a continuous metal-to-metal screech or is it intermittent and in synch with the speed of rotation?
If the latter, I would be suspicious of the burr faces being parallel with each other, which they must be in order to maintain control over the grind size. If this is the situation, I'd be returning the grinder to the vendor from whom you purchased it and ask them to produce an acceptable series of shots in front of you. They should either prove the grinder is Ok or that it is faulty in which case you can request a replacement...
This doesn't sound quite right. I haven't used the Q50 but usually when you adjust to zero you just get a sound like the one at 2:30 in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0BJgLU38zw
Originally Posted by cstewart1980
If it sounds rattle-y then something might be misaligned.
You work out the zero point by manually turning the burrs, not running the motor.
I sounds defective or broken as designed. The fact is smaller prosumer grinders do operate close (ish) to the zero point especially if IMS or VST baskets are used. I have no experience though with the Quamar. I know my Rocky or Macap M4D handled this stuff fine.
It sounded like you bought this new so the obvious solution is to explain the situation to them and get go back to the store and get them to have a look, maybe running the beans in another grinder and all that.
If you are not happy get a refund as any grinder should be able to do espresso shots easily including the Quamar, I would recommend trying a Macap or even better the much maligned Mazzer Mini (even the one with the hopper is good).
It should work though and I'm sure that there are lots out there working which means it might be part of a defective batch and a good reason to get a different model just in case.
Bigger grinders such as commercial ones will grind to turkish dust easily let alone espresso.
I do have a Macap M4D for sale if you are interested but it sounds like first stop for you is where you bought it from.
Hi CStewart, Something doesn't sound right. Would appear tho the grinder is the first point to start.
Im a nearby local & happy to lend you a spare grinder for a short time to use as a test base
to compare the bean/ freshness / machine / shots.
I'll pm you.
Yes, sounds like a generous offer there for you. On gumtree see a lot of Fiorenzato F5 for sale for $150 and it is a great grinder but know one seems to know much about them. I have a half mind just to buy one as a second grinder (well fourth, as I have a brand new Robur I am using, A brand new Kony sealed in a box for a CS member and my one year old Macap M4D I am selling). I would like though just a real cheap second grinder, one that works of of course.
I have the Q50 P and I get the noise at -2 and below (the dial goes down to -4 before "bottoming out").
I also grind very low, usually at setting 0 to +2 with fresh beans (18 to 19g) using a stock 18g Breville basket.
I've heard that some baskets require a finer grind and Id imagine i'd run into trouble like you if i were to switch to one of them.
I'd certainly be returning the grinder or at the very least, getting them to grind and pull a shot in front of you.
Thanks for all the suggestions and help, and to EspressoAdventurer for his kind offer (I've sent a PM back).
I did take the grinder back and they looked it, ground some beans it worked fine on their machine in store. So I've brought it home and discovered where my problem lies, which is my dose being too small. I was dosing and tamping to the line/ridge on the inside of the rocket basket - per the rocket instructions. Turns it this didn't bring it even close to the shower screen and the puck would expand too much, causing the flow to gush out leaving a soggy mess at the end. The thing is I'm certain that when I used the pre-ground beans provided by the store dosing to the that same line resulted in nice shot with an even flow, so I assumed it was a grind fineness issue.
I'm now dosing so it reaches the filter screen and can consistently pour shots anywhere between 20-30 sec. What has me a little miffed as the dose I need to use is between 21-22g when using the double basket that came with the Rocket. This seems massive but if that is what works then I guess that is just the way it is, however I'm still experimenting to get a taste/result I like. Ideally I'd like to get some different baskets that I can use a lower dose with.
I typically with any basket just fill it evenly to the top use my finger to wipe across the top of the basket (without compressing in any way) so that the surface of the coffee is flush with the top of the basket then tamp.
I am using 58mm Pesado handle with an IMS B70 2T h26.5 M.
The worst technique is to pile a cone of coffee then flatten it with the tamper especially with IMS or VST baskets. If you look at standard baskets they are poorly designed with sloping sides which give an uneven extraction.
The technique I use weighs about 20g and always works.
I would suggest a Barista course or maybe an experienced CS member to volunteer their services.
The idea of course is consistency of amount which I achieve by volume and producing even depth and density filter bed of coffee.
OK CStewart that explains it. I have an earlier Rocket. I don't expect the E61 GH to have changed.
Mine and most E61 I allow at least 8mm headspace from the top of the basket as you finish tamping.
I can suggest you look up the 5cent test and experiment with your puck height more so than setting up on weight
at first...yes once you've nailed the setup then varying dose weight / puck height / tamp weight comes into your
A matched Tamper ( 1%er's ) is really a must if your chasing consistent shots time after time.
I keep hearing about issues like this from the small Quamar Q50 and I wonder if it is a grinder issue also. They guy who just bought my Kony commented that at one point with his Q50, you could press the collar not that hard and make the blades touch once he had it dialled in for this espresso. It is only a year old. I’m not saying I have an issue with all Quamar grinders although they still don’t seem quite in the same level of build quality as say the Mazzer. Nevertheless, they make some very good grinders, I am just starting to wonder about this one.
The most important part of the grinder is the rigidity of the burr assembly and the tolerances (should be very small). I look at the huge brass burr assembly on the Rancilio Rocky (owned for 12 years) or the Macap M4D (owned for one year and selling now) and I see high quality and rigid assemblies. I could be wrong but I haven't heard of any problems similar with these grinders.
Commercial grinders such as the Robur, you can dial down to the finest turkish talcum powder without the blades being close to touching. The reason is that the tolerances are incredibly tight with very large bearings so you can have two surfaces very close indeed but at a constant clearance, allowing a lot of control over the grind at any level you wish.
Admittedly head space, bean freshness and lack of knowledge play a part too but if you want a good grinder start by looking at what is inside it, how heavily it is made (hint more is generally better).
I was also looking at the Quamar equivalent of the Robur out of interest, the Q13 (doser model), weighs 17.5kg verus 28kg for Robur. Lightly built in comparison although that may be due to the aluminium body. Plastic in the Doser for blades rather steel and so on.
I was looking at the Mazzer Mini and the engineering and attention to detail is outstanding. Now I have not owned any model of Mini but the owners down to the last person I have spoken to are happy. Occasionally of course, someone will comment how much better their coffee tastes once they have sold grinder A for the much better grinder B but this is to be expected. Sometimes people can be right too but sometimes it is in the mind and sometimes people do get grinders with issues or worn burrs, or damaged burrs (a rock doesn't help) or it is filthy and a nice clean grinder with brand new burrs, not surprisingly does the job better.
I only speak of the Mini by the way as it is in a similar price range to some of this Quamar stuff. There is also the excellent Macap M2 and M4 models all of which are excellent and well-engineered.
I am also a fan of people looking in gumtree and, for example, paying say $150 for a Fiorenzato F5 with 64mm burrs that is as good a Mazzer Super Jolly but much cheaper as the brand isn't as well recognised. Ex-cafe (and even better if you can find one used only in a home) grinders are generally great buys as most of them are good as new once a new set of burrs are put in (most burrs are cheap too although conical burrs can cost up to $250).
I am seeing too many people buying what is popular at the time, buying on features and not putting precision grinding and robustness of design (i.e. it should be impossible to break a good machine short of feeding it screws and bolts), at the top of the list, where it should be IMHO.
My preference is generally to go bigger (subject to space) such as the Fiorenzato F5 and Super Jolly, Kony, Robur, Major and I think conical grinders are generally better (not everyone agrees I know). My Robur is very quiet and will grind a shot in 3 seconds but it is BIG, not always suitable for small kitchens. I have no issues with grind retention and amazingly consistent high-quality grind. You will of course waste more coffee than with one designed for single grind use (a current obsession) but it is not that much, maybe 5% once you get the timings right but this does depend on your habits too.
I bought (and sold) a second-hand Robur (28kg monster) for $650 in gumtree and sold it for the same. I now have a brand-new Robur so I must have liked it.
I know doser machines are not in vogue at the moment but guess what, no clumping and you get plenty of mixing in the doser. You can also get them for good prices second hand or brand new.
Kitchen friendly machines where space is limited, that I like include the Mazzer Mini and don't discount the doser model either (it is cheaper) and the Macap M2 and M4 models. My personal preference is not for machines like the Sette (sounds like a jet airliner taking off but quick), or the Vario (fragile).
People are so used to throw away junk these days that they actually expect things to last only a few years or say five years or require a warranty as they are likely to break. Espresso machines such as Wega, ECM, Rocket (and the list goes on) are built to last decades. Grinders I have mentioned will likewise last for decades maybe 40 years or more in-home use and give much better results in the meantime.
This morning I did the 5 cent test and found the correct tamping height matches the line on the inside of double basket, as the rocket instructions suggest (leaves about 8mm headspace). To tamp to this height the dose works out to be between 17-18 grams, depending on the grind. Like before the shot starts slow, then begins to run much faster. At most 15 secs to pour 60ml. I discovered that manually pre-infusing alleviates this somewhat (by first pulling the lever enough to let water flow into the basket without the pump engaging). I then used this technique with some pre-ground beans (now about a week old) from the coffee shop around the corner. Dosing with 18g, pre-infusing, the shot runs nicely in about 27 seconds. Unfortunately these grinds are now rather stale, but at least I know I can dose the correct amount and achieve a pour in the vicinity it should be.
Knowing this I got to work with my grinder again, slowly decreasing the grind to slow the shot. As before I reach the zero point and it still runs too fast. I also noted that the last couple intervals close to zero all pretty much run the same speed - as if the grind isn't changing at all.
So now I again suspect the grinder is grinding unevenly. As wattgn mentioned, when the burrs are close to touching with the grinder running I can push down on the collar and make it touch. Pushing down in the 6 o'clock position makes this happen with only very light pressure applied. At 9 and 3 o'clock positions it happens with only slightly more pressure. However, in the 12 o'clock position I can push very hard and cannot make it touch at all.
This leads me to think the stationary burr in the collar is likely out of level, or the collar thread isn't tight enough and thus the burrs are not parallel. I've since removed the collar, unscrewed the burr, cleaned thoroughly and re-assembled. Same result.
The only way I can pour a shot that doesn't suffer this issue is to updose to about 21g, at which point the the puck is squeezed hard up against the filter screen (a 5 cent piece gets fully pushed into the puck).
Granted I could still be doing something wrong. Espressoadventurer I think I'll be taking you up on your kind offer for a lend of your spare grinder. PM incoming.
Last edited by cstewart1980; 30th September 2017 at 05:31 PM.
Great post Grant, some valuable info in there mate. My issue with the Q50P was just in the steps being too large as in the other thread. I've been told that many of these have been sold and no complaints, but it might be possible that many aren't aware of what a fine change in grind should look like, whereas I am aware, but then again I may be wrong and its just the odd one here or there that aren't functioning properly. Then many have said that for them it has been very small steps in the grind setting. So who knows really at this point..
It really looks like a pretty solid build for a grinder mostly, but may just be a case of expectation vs. rare dodgy one.
I recently bought a new grinder, but am considering keeping the Q50P and contacting Quamar directly to see what they say about mine. Would be great if it could be fixed stilk, but now that I have another grinder I'm on no rush hehe. Unless there is a technician around that services/repairs grinders too? Usually the places around here do espresso machine services, but wondering if they'd look at grinders too... hmmm...
Glad it got sorted out for you anyway cstewart!
Edit: just saw your post, ah no good that's NOT sorted mate... :S. So yeah it's bizarre hey... if your dose is consistent via weighing it, distributed well enough in the basket, fresh beans, and your tamping isn't on a 45 degree angle, it's confusing to me why it's happening apart from something internally a bit dodgy... have you have a look at the burrs, do they look chipped or anything?
I've bought a set of scales accurate to 0.1gram and measuring each dose to this accuracy. Am tamping using the same pressure (as best I can) and being very careful to make sure the tamp is level afterwards. I'm distributing carefully as I grind, settling as I go, repeating the same process each time. It's a new machine and I cannot see any visible damage or marks on the burrs.
Using the pre-ground beans isn't a prob - I should also add I can achieve a decent result with them without using scales etc and just going by feel. I just cannot for the life of get a grind out of my grinder to work right.
Ah right, sounds like you're doing everything really well and consistent.. oooh another thing, there is sometimes a screw that's put in the collar to prevent people (usually workers in cafes) from changing the grind too fine and clashing the burrs together, perhaps that's worth a look? So there's a screw in the collar that stops the collar from moving beyond that point, take that out and see if you can go finer (of course making sure not to go past zero point, ie go very slowly!). I know you said earlier that you already found zero point, but I've noticed with my grinder I actually thought that I'd reached zero point, but in fact it was just a bean that was getting knocked over and over until it was ground through when I went finer, and it actually SOUNDED like zero point...
Just to cover all options and bases really! I've put a picture below of what that screw looks like
(First pic has the screw in which I didn't need to remove, second pic has the other screw removed already)
Thanks, mate. The screw is definitely wound all the way up and doesn't protrude beyond the underside of the collar at all. I wish it was just that!
Originally Posted by simonsk8r
Gday CStewart sorry to hear that you are still experiencing some 'dial in phase' frustration.
From your posts its clear you're in the zone with your Barista skills and taking
the appropriate care with your setting up whilst working your way through this.
I'll bring over my grinder and see how that changes the shot metrics / flavour in the cup.
I have an earlier Rocket Giotto PP v1, so my grinder ( Super jolly) is dialled into that and
I can confidently predict any adjustment I make.
So you can work through the variables and try to deduce what is happening here.
BTW I didn't think to ask ...did your machine supplier indicate whether they
bench tested / calibrated the Giotto prior to handover?
I got your return PM and will give you a call.
Ah dagnabbit! Hehe... sorry bud, hope it gets sorted..
Quamar Q50 (manual) grind fineness
Sounds like some of theses are good and some arenít. Iíd get Rid of them and buy a known brand ie one widely stocked and recommended by many. Mazzer, Macap etc
Last edited by Lukemc; 30th September 2017 at 08:12 PM.
Espressoadventurer kindly came over today with his grinder and we've confirmed the issue is my grinder and not my coffee machine, technique or beans. My beans ground in his grinder, tamped to the correct level (as demonstrated by the 5 cent test AND consistent with the level indicated by Rocket themselves) results in a controlled pour that should be expected.
The finest grind setting on my grinder 'should' be able to choke my machine. Yet even at the finest setting it results in a shot that gushes out in under 15 seconds. The ONLY way I can stop the gushing is to increase the dose to 21-22g (from 18g) which crams the puck hard against the filter. This should not be necessary and I'm not prepared to accept that this should be required.
Either I've got a dud or the grinder simply isn't up to the task. Regardless, I'll be contacting the store and hopefully they'll help me sort it out.
Massive thank you to EspressoAdventurer for his time and help. It really helped me confirm what the real issue was and stop second guessing what I was doing. Cheers, mate!
Last edited by cstewart1980; 1st October 2017 at 08:51 PM.
No good that your grinder is a dud, but good news you're not too blame!
Yeah that's really generous of EA to help out, awesome to see. And also great that we have an answer hey! Hope it gets sorted out mate, let us know how you go
A quick update to let you know my issues have been resolved. I exchanged the grinder (along with a bit more cash) for a Mazzer Mini. Had it home and dialled in within 5 minutes and 3 shots. I'm now producing consistent and predictable shots time after time.
I'm certain the Quamar was faulty. Possibly poorly aligned burrs or another internal problem, as it developed a bit of a vibration that wasn't there when I first started using it. As I noted earlier, the instore display model was able to produce a grind suitable for my coffee machine.
Either way I'm very happy now - thanks for the input and assistance.
Ah great to hear it was resolved, and good way to go getting a new grinder. Too much fussing to try and fix it sometimes when all you want is to drink awesome coffee , enjoy!
Good to Hear Chris that you've been able to detour off the bumpy track and that your
now on the 'Espresso Road' of satisfaction! Happy Barista'ing !
Cheers and GL
Ive recently purchased a second hand Q50, on first use this morning I seem to be having the exact same issues. A return / refund will be unlikely I think, but I'm looking into it. Apart from fully dismantling the burr collar and burrs, cleaning and reassembling, are there any other things I can try? The hopper arrived cracked inside the box, I think the box may have been dropped or mishandled during transit. Maybe a buyer beware thing, wish I bought a new one now. A shame as they look like nice grinders aesthetically, but unfortunately this one for now is a paperweight.