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Thread: Do I need to upgrade my grinder?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    Do I need to upgrade my grinder?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Been playing with my Rocket R58 for a couple of weeks now. Matching it with the Eureka Mignon manual (MCF in the US). Starting to be a little more consistent with 25-30 second shots and good color/taste via different beans. The barister cafe owner whom sold me the Rocket stresses the need to match my R58 with a entry commercial grade grinder. I only do expresso type via short/long black and milk based drinks. Was thinking if I upgrade, I would like the new Baratza Forte All purpose grinder. But, I have no idea if it will improve my shots or am I just doing it for the suppliers gain. Need help (from someone not selling me)!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Evening Kyoto, welcome to Coffee Snobs.

    Cant offer advice as to your question but I bet there are plenty who will.

    Good luck.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoto View Post
    Been playing with my Rocket R58 for a couple of weeks now. Matching it with the Eureka Mignon manual (MCF in the US). Starting to be a little more consistent with 25-30 second shots and good color/taste via different beans. The barister cafe owner whom sold me the Rocket stresses the need to match my R58 with a entry commercial grade grinder. I only do expresso type via short/long black and milk based drinks. Was thinking if I upgrade, I would like the new Baratza Forte All purpose grinder. But, I have no idea if it will improve my shots or am I just doing it for the suppliers gain. Need help (from someone not selling me)!
    Hi Kyoto

    Yes, you do need a better grinder.

    FYI, Malhkonig (Swiss) makes them all, Kyle @ Baratza (USA) designs at least some of the domestic models and different regions are marketed under one name or the other. No idea which one is "native brand" in HK.

    Have a look at the Mahlkonig / Baratza Vario gen2. Half the price of the Forte and a better bet for home users (which I am assuming you are). If you are a cafe or have unlimited pockets, check out the "industrial" (i.e. heavy commercial+) EM43.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

    TampIt

  4. #4
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    TAMPIT

    Thanks for your suggestion, but could you elaborate on the reasons and benefit for upgrading from my Eureka Mignon?

  5. #5
    TC
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    Hi Kyoto and welcome,

    Whilst I wouldn't normally match your grinder with an R58, there is nothing at all wrong with a Mignon and I'd bet that in skilled hands, no difference whatsoever will be detectable in the cup by switching to a Baratza.

    Whilst you might consider an upgrade to a commercial quality grinder for reasons of throughput or other functions, I don't think a cross-grade to a similar style of grinder will achieve much.

    I think you might be better to invest in some training to ensure that you are getting the best possible results from your kit. Thereafter, you can make an informed decision as to whether a "better" grinder may be required.

    Enjoy the ride...

    Chris
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    Apologies as this is not my personal experience, but a good friend recently popped on the espresso train buying a Lelit Dual Boiler. He wanted to buy the Mignon because he really liked the look of it, but comparing espresso produced by the Mignon and a K3 Touch, he found the Compak much more consistent and it produced a better extraction for him. Again, not my own experience but thought this might be useful.

  7. #7
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoto View Post
    Been playing with my Rocket R58 for a couple of weeks now. Matching it with the Eureka Mignon manual (MCF in the US). Starting to be a little more consistent with 25-30 second shots and good color/taste via different beans. The barister cafe owner whom sold me the Rocket stresses the need to match my R58 with a entry commercial grade grinder. I only do expresso type via short/long black and milk based drinks. Was thinking if I upgrade, I would like the new Baratza Forte All purpose grinder. But, I have no idea if it will improve my shots or am I just doing it for the suppliers gain. Need help (from someone not selling me)!
    Hi there. The Eureka Mignon IS an excellent entry level commercial design and build grinder and I cant for the life of me understand why you would be thinking about "upgrading" or why your supplier would have recommended you do this. My bet would be that if you do it, you will have been relieved of a bit of the green folding stuff, but with very possibly no discernible difference that you might detect on your palate especially if you are only at the entry level of the espresso journey yourself. My personal feeling is that unfortunately a lot of info that people gain access to whether it be in the www or otherwise, just makes them insecure about their gear or set up and feel that they are somehow missing out on something. I would feel very secure about your gear as it is already top stuff for home use, and I would prefer to see you hone your skills and understanding of your set up over a period of time, develop your palate, and not think about "upgrading" until your level of understanding and rate of success with your gear is at a high level. Hope that helps.
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  8. #8
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    That's great advice guys. Thanks very much

  9. #9
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Hi Kyoto and welcome,

    Whilst I wouldn't normally match your grinder with an R58, there is nothing at all wrong with a Mignon and I'd bet that in skilled hands, no difference whatsoever will be detectable in the cup by switching to a Baratza.

    Whilst you might consider an upgrade to a commercial quality grinder for reasons of throughput or other functions, I don't think a cross-grade to a similar style of grinder will achieve much.

    I think you might be better to invest in some training to ensure that you are getting the best possible results from your kit. Thereafter, you can make an informed decision as to whether a "better" grinder may be required.

    Enjoy the ride...

    Chris
    Sound advice Chris, I'm a great believer in getting the best out of the equipment that you have, if somewhere down the track you feel your being limited by the grinder it may well be time to upgrade.

  10. #10
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by kwantfm View Post
    Apologies as this is not my personal experience, but a good friend recently popped on the espresso train buying a Lelit Dual Boiler. He wanted to buy the Mignon because he really liked the look of it, but comparing espresso produced by the Mignon and a K3 Touch, he found the Compak much more consistent and it produced a better extraction for him. Again, not my own experience but thought this might be useful.
    Hi there, sorry but I think someone should mention this "information" is misleading. About the only difference you are going to find in real life between a Mignon and a K3t is the rate of delivery. One has 50mm plates and the other, 58mm. That is speed of delivery, not quality or consistency of grinds. The quote "...he found the Compak much more consistent and it produced a better extraction for him...." refers directly to variables that are controlled by the equipment operator, cuppa to cuppa, not the gear (in this case). The Compak will be easier to set while the Mignon will be slower to set due to the extremely accurate micrometic adjuster BUT, the Mignon will then be far more accurate in its grind setting. Once set, it is as "consistent" as the other and has as little chance of becoming "inconsistent" as the other. Spend time setting both grinders up to get an identical cuppa from the one bean supply and espresso machine, and given consistent technique from the operator, if we blindfold the jury, no one will be able to tell the difference. ....And Yes....I have done this. Hope that helps.

  11. #11
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    TOK

    from your experiences, what type of improvement could one expect from changing the Eureka Mignon manual into the Baratza Forte AP?

  12. #12
    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Welcome to CoffeeSnobs Kyoto.

    In Hong Kong you should go and have a chat with the guys at Glory Coffee. They really know their stuff and should be able to point you to the right equipment in the HK area... and be able to back it up with service, support and spares when needed.

    Tell 'em CoffeeSnobs sent you and I'm sure you will get even better service!

    Enjoy the journey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoto View Post
    TAMPIT

    Thanks for your suggestion, but could you elaborate on the reasons and benefit for upgrading from my Eureka Mignon?
    Hi Kyoto

    My one intersection with a Mignon was years ago, so it may not be relevant at all for todays models.

    Pros: good adjustment range, fairly quiet and amazing for its size.

    Cons: While I could get stunning plunger / drip grinds from it, it was not as good for espresso.

    Basically, if I wanted "this weeks design version of that one", the Vario would be quieter and be better on Turkish to espresso grinds but worse on the plunger / drip grinds. The ceramic burrs would probably last longer.

    Having said that, I guess I would offer three thoughts:

    1) Do you need to upgrade at all? If you are fairly new to all this perhaps you should get rid of your "L-Plates" first. If you are determined to upgrade, read on. FWIW, I have found unless you intend to go for VST baskets in the near future (which need a finer grind to perform at their best), you should save up your dollars for later when you are more informed.

    2) My Mignon experience is not current. For all I know, they can now do something approaching Vario levels of grind quality.

    3) As Andy suggested: go to the guys on the ground near you and get their advice.

    Have fun with your new toys

    TampIt

  14. #14
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoto View Post
    TOK

    from your experiences, what type of improvement could one expect from changing the Eureka Mignon manual into the Baratza Forte AP?
    Hi there.

    At this stage of your espresso journey with this equipment (2 weeks from original post above?) I would surmise you won’t get any discernible difference in the cup that could be attributed to anything to do with grind quality. (And even if you did, would it mean that one grinder is “better” than the other....or just “different”?).

    The obvious differences will be in the overall owner usage “satisfaction” index....due to the different functionalities of the two very different “packages”.

    The Mignon is an old school commercial grinder in a small package. Very simple, heavy construction, VERY accurate micrometric adjuster, but a little slow to adjust due to fine worm.

    The Vario (if the Forte in your country is the Vario in ours) is quite different in functionality. Also very accurate adjuster. Cleaner (less messy) if you use the grinds drawer instead of the group handle FORK.

    You therefore need to ask yourself....”What am I looking for in a grinder?...”, and is this an "upgrade" or a sideways step for me?.

    And here is a bit of artistic licence, a photo of the two grinders in question, plus the Macap M2.... The grinds drawer is on the RHS of the photo.IMG_6601.jpg


    Hope that helps.
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  15. #15
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. One of the reason why I thought of the upgrade path, derives from the large enhancement I received by upgrading my expresso machine. The R58 has made my coffee drinking experience so much more ( comparing to both my Sunbean and delonghi). It's ability to give me a quality cup of cappuccino every morning has really improved my love for coffee itself.

    Hence, I had automatically assumed, by moving up the chain on grinders ( something in the prosumer category). Similar improvement to my coffee taste will emerge. Perhaps that's too naive?

  16. #16
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Hi Kyoto,

    As per a few posts above....you've got nothing to lose by learning to use your existing equipment. The combo you've got is capable of making some mighty fine coffee....if/when you reckon you've your limits and wanted to try a 'better' grinder then you might go see the people Andy suggests. Obviously, none of us can make the $$$$ / maybe slightly better coffee eventually trade-off for you.
    Cheers
    BOSW

  17. #17
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kyoto View Post
    Thanks guys......
    Hence, I had automatically assumed, by moving up the chain on grinders ( something in the prosumer category). Similar improvement to my coffee taste will emerge. Perhaps that's too naive?
    Hi there. You are already in "prosumer" category with the gear you have and may I say, at the level of gear you have now, any differences you find by "upgrading over time" will only reap small differences for large amounts of cash injection. But first you have to know the current gear really well and already be using it at optimum otherwise, you wont know what differences you will be getting with any upgrades. Lastly....what is an "upgrade" ?" There are lots of people thjat pay big money for great equipment, and cant make coffee for nuts because they don't understand as in...they don't "get it". Learn the "get it" factor first, then knock your socks off upgrading when it may make some difference to you ! But that as usual...is just my opinion

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    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    The quote "...he found the Compak much more consistent and it produced a better extraction for him...." refers directly to variables that are controlled by the equipment operator, cuppa to cuppa, not the gear (in this case).
    Your post read and understood. One detail that I had omitted was that the operator was a CS site sponsor. My friend was only operating his taste buds... :-)

  19. #19
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    Thanks guys. Much appreciate the input. I will work hard to get the best out if my gear. The dream of eventually owning my cafe with the best coffee and music starts here!
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  20. #20
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    if you realy need to get an update (I do not think so), I would update to an Mazzer Mini A, I have this machine after the vario home and the mazzer is much better, not so much plastik

  21. #21
    TC
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    Welcome to CS Rolf,

    With due respect, I think Andy was on the money when he suggested that the best thing the OP can do is visit an establishment which can listen to his specific requirements and then use their knowledge of a wide variety of grinders to recommend best matches. I don't think there is much value in many "I have one and it's the best grinder ever made" type posts.

    The OP has agreed that he has a grinder which is adequate for his needs at present. FWIW, I think there are better grinders out there than a Mini-E....but that's just my opinion!

    Enjoy the journey...

    Chris

  22. #22
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    One reason why I thought about the forte is because of the amount of wasted coffee from the mignon. The doser, channel and output looses a lot of coffee in the process. From what I read and see on the internet, the Mezzer has a similar problem too? Where as the Baratza series with the bean and all, really reduces this issue.

  23. #23
    TOK
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    Ok now we're getting somewhere...

    You have the grinder that you have . Learn to use it to best advantage. As you get better at it, there will be less wastage. You will be able to make better coffee, more quickly, with less wastage. Its all about management, this takes time, with any equipment.

    But I am not sure I understand fully. You have a "doser" grinder? Or you have a "grind on demand" ("doserless") grinder?

    In any case either way, you already spent money on the grinder you have. Learn to use it to best advantage first up, decide what you do and dont like about it (which can only happen through your use over time), and then you will be better informed to know what you want in the event of an "upgrade" further along.

    hope that helps.

  24. #24
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    I have an doser version. But a lot if the grind are stuck in the "throat" between the burr and the doser. The stale grind creates quite abit of wasted grind. Also, the output on the dose is not precise to my need, hence I always over output using the doser pull and creating wastage.

    I also what to ask if there are differences with the "extraction" of coffee taste by moving up the cost chain of the grinder?

  25. #25
    TOK
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    As I said...now we're getting somewhere.

    I have just discovered that you seem to be using the doser incorrectly for home use.

    I would have purchased the grind on demand version BUT given you have the doser version, please accept this advice:
    DO NOT use it as a "strictly" doser grinder ie by putting enough grinds in the doser, for the doser to actually dose the coffee for you. That results in wastage of mammoth propertions ion a home use situation.

    ONLY grind enough grinds into the doser to make the coffee at hand and STOP. If you dont have enough, grind a little more. I have a very large doser grinder at home and I use it with absolutely no problem, in that way.

    The amount of grind retained between the burrs and the doser is irrelevant (here we go again) for the simple reason that it doesnt matter what grinder you by, they are all going to retain some volume of grinds between the chamber in which the burrs sit, and the exit point of the grinds.

    So we now understand you need top get some help with your technique/managememnt, and that is fine. We all have to start somewhere.

    Repeat, doser grinder or not, you only grind enough grinds to make the coffee at hand. Then use the lever to flick the grinds into your group handle. After a while you will become familiar with how much coffee to grind, and your wastage qwill be minimal.

    cheers,
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  26. #26
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    Yes. I am trying only to grind only enough for one double basket at a time. But

    1. Found the inability to time the grind as compared to the Baratza an disadvantage.
    2. Found quite abit of retention grind inside the doser , making it difficult to accurately time the grind for only need proposal.

    Does that make sense?

  27. #27
    TC
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    Hi Kyoto,

    Your problems are relatively minor and will be easily managed with some training- which I would strongly recommend. It will most likely cost you a little, but save you the price of a new grinder.

    On a side note and not specifically in response to your comments, this recurring discussion about retention...

    My thoughts: Yes- most/all grinders will retain some ground coffee somewhere. If a finger guard is present it can be removed and a simple pastry brush will allow the chute to be cleared of ground coffee- but I don't often bother as my first few grams gets binned if it's been in the throat of the grinder for too long. If it's been there overnight- brush away if you wish.

    I have mentioned before and now again, forums such as this have many, many positives in terms of education and support for us all- old coffee hands like myself included however there is the ongoing issue of some readers and contributors who very easily get sidetracked by process to the complete exclusion of outcome- so:

    If you fall into the group who are concerned about retention- a challenge:
    • find a friend who can pull 2 or more consistent shots for coffee duty (often a big ask!)
    • let that terrible stale coffee sit in the throat all night
    • pull two shots- the first with a quick pulse to clear what will move from the throat but no manual intervention. The second- clean as you wish and then pull an identical pour.
    • Your job? A blind tasting....
    • You may well find that both are great, average, whatever- but can you pick the retained grind shot blind?
    • If the answer is yes, please enter the WBC cupping, because the differences in cup tastes are generally more evident. You may well be an Australian WBC champ...

    Who's up for the challenge?
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  28. #28
    Junior Member Kyoto's Avatar
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    That's an interesting thought. Guess there's been plenty of debate here over so called tradition grinders vs the newer generation digital types like the Baratza.



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