Machine or grinder
So, I'm suffering from my first real case of upgraditis but my budget is rather limited. I'd love to go out and buy a prosumer dual boiler of some sort and a grinder to match but just cant afford it.
I currently have a sunbeam e6910 and a sunbeam em480, both second hand. I'm not unhappy with my coffee but I want to learn more and I know I can do better. I mostly drink lattes and the ocassional espresso. I think I'd drink more espresso if I knew more about dialling in grind and controlling the shot.
My question is: In wanting to learn more and improve my coffee making, would I do better to buy a machine that is a step up from the e6910, eg a second hand HX or good sinlge boiler or should I buy a new, higher quality grinder (keeping in mind that I can't afford both atm). I know that a good grinder can make a lot of difference to your coffee but will the e6910 limit how much difference a good grinder will make? I guess my budget is $500-700ish.
Mahlkonig Vario grinder will do more for your coffee than any other $650 - $700 "investment".
Converting your 6910 p/f to naked and buying a few VST baskets and a flat bottomed-tamper will handle the rest of your urges for a while.
I would have thought that there are a whole heap of grinders which will do more for the coffee than any other $700 investment...
Given Mazzer, Macap and Compak fall well with the range, I'd sooner choose commercial build and longevity over any doodads in what is to be honest not much more than a souped up appliance grinder. Lower bucks picks: Rancilio Rocky, Eureka et al.
all things considered i think the vario really does have a place in a domestic setting. There is a similar discussion on another thread
the main problem with commercials being grind retention - which i do wish i read up on before jumping on my mazzer. i may personally have no problems with obsessively brushing grinds out of the exit chute and others might have no problems dumping 2-3g of beans before starting their grind, but for some it might just be the deal breaker with a grinder.
talkcoffee does have a point about longevity. and to add to that cleaning issues and tolerance to abuse - but so do some commercial grinders (the k3 being one with some problems)
IMO there really isn't a perfect domestic grinder out there. they all seem to have their own short-comings.
just my 2 cents
True, there are a lot of other "semi commercial" grinders out there, however they all remind me of this "too true to be scurrilous" Ducati "advert". I lived with a new 750 Desmo SS for one horrid year of near daily failures. I would never consider going through that much daily fiddling in my home coffee setup, and I suspect I am not a minority.
Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee
The low grind retention alone makes the Vario a home winner for me, not to mention the ease of “micro dialling it in”. The number of times I have had totally oxidised “freshly ground” stale coffee from a commercial grinder should be a major embarrassment to the industry (and not just in Oz). Why the lack of publicity? Elephant in the room? Mahlkonig / Baratza clearly think so.
To put it in balance, I guess it may be a risk / reward trade off. Go for the unknown reliability and risk replacing it every so often (probably under warranty) or have a beast like my RR45 which will probably outlast my all current family members and is (like all commercials I have seen except one other Mahlkonig) useless for less than 3 cups and marginal for 6 without 10+ minutes of farting around and a lot of wasted coffee / bench space / power / oxidation issues. Another consideration: Mahlkonig do not usually make rubbish, so a Vario may well go the distance with due care.
The reason I chose the grinder for the “Jono upgrade” is basic coffee 101. A poor grinder will never get you to a good coffee regardless of the machine, whereas a good grinder means you at least start in the ballpark. He already has a 6910, and a well setup one can deliver a good drop until he can afford a GS3 (bit more than $700 unfortunately). If he shops around, he may even be able to include a couple of VST's within his budget.
Just my 2 cents from both sides of the counter.
BigJono, if it helps, I have had both the Rancilio Rocky and Macap M5.
The Rocky is a good grinder, which I sold to another forum member after the purchase of the Macap.
I bought the Macap as I was offered a wonderful price from a sponsor ... I didn't expect a huge difference in quality of the grind, but bought the grinder firstly because of the sale price and the looks. Ended up that the grind improvement over the Rocky was fairly comprehensive.
If you are looking for a grinder, the extra dollars are well spent on a Macap or similar. My Macap must be 5 years old and has been faultless.
I've got the Macap M4 - and second the above. Great reliable machine around your budget. IMHO grind retention is no biggy - I have a plastic wedge that clears the chute - then it doubles for levelling duties - solved! (In in reality - do 3g of ground 6 hours old really destroy a cup? I'm sure someone will jump on this!).
My advice is get a good, simple, semi commercial grinder then learn how to use it - it will probably outlast many espresso machines if you look after it. And I'll just about guarantee you'll notice the improvement in the cup through the 6910 with a quality grinder
I have a rocky doser and I probably end up with a few g's of either hours old or a day old grinds in my coffee every time. I notice no difference to when I completely brush out the chute and doser and grind fresh. A little bit of old grind really isn't a massive issue.