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  • Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I am a newbie so treat me gently. :-*

    Ive read many of the posts here and the more I read the more confused I get.

    My choices seem to be ...

    sunbeam em480 ($170)
    gaggia mdf (Ive seen specials for $299)
    Iberital Challenge ($299)
    lux ($299)

    No I dont want the rocky - its over budget!

    So given my budget is around $300 and I own an em6910 and I like the idea of a conical burr machine, what do people recommend? Longevity? Quality? etc etc

  • #2
    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Id go the Iberital purely for its stepless adjustment....I have no knowledge or experience on this grinder though.

    I own a La Cimbali Cadet which is a commercial machine with I think 64mm flat burrs that I have paired with my EM6910. Selling it to make room for a Mazzer Mini, but just as happy to keep it.

    I have owned a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder and it is noisy, grind is too fluffy and above all, the grind settings are too wide from each other.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

      Hi barri and welcome to the world of CS!

      Id suggest the challenge- but only if youre using it for espresso only. If you want to change between plunge and espresso grind, youll get RSI.

      Have a look at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163235531 if you havent already done so for some info/reviews....

      Of course, we need not say that the grinder will only do its best work with top quality FRESHLY roasted beans, and youre very unlikely to find them in a stoopidmarket!

      2mcm

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

        Hi there,

        The sunbeam, challenge and the lux all have identical burr sets. The big difference is that the sunbeam and lux grinders have stepped adjustment. This means that you cant keep your dose constant and change the grind to get the ideal shot. A friend of mine has modified his lux with a microstep adjustment, but that wont work on the sunbeam. I have heard of people circumventing the stepped adjustment on the sunbeam by winding teflon tape around the burr carrier to keep it in place ... I doubt very much that this will stand the test of time, but well see. The challenge has the same burr set, but uses a knob to give you stepless adjustment, which means that you can actually dial in the shot. The caveat is that the adjustment mechanism makes it almost impossible to use it for espresso and other methods of brewing, such as french press, as it requires a lot of winding to adjust the grind.

        Longevity-wise, the issue with all of these grinders will probably be the burr carrier, which is plastic or resin. The sunbeam burr carrier has some plastic tabs in it that are kind of questionable. In practice, I would expect a few years worth of use out of any of these grinders. Anything else is a bonus. The lux and challenge both make a pretty loud and relatively high pitched noise ... its like using a vacuum cleaner. The last time that I used a sunbeam grinder it was pretty noisy around me, so I cant really make the comparison. These doserless grinders are also very messy ... ground coffee has a habit of making it all over your bench top.

        The gaggia grinder has flat burrs and every single review that I have read of it says that the adjustment mechanism is as woeful as the lux et al. Having a doser, it will probably confine the mess a bit, but I dont think that the doser sweeps that clean without modification, so you will need to add tape to the vanes to prevent stale coffee from accumulating.

        Unfortunately, espresso grinders in this price bracket are a pretty sad bunch, which is why I was quite happy for Veneziano to only stock the Challenge. IMHO, it is the only one of the lot that really allows you to actually dial in an espresso shot with ease. Chris from Talk Coffee agreed with me about that when we were discussing the grinder at the beginning of the year and Im very glad that he went on to stock it. At the moment, the master importer is out of stock of challenges, so you might have to ask a few different people. Chris might have a few in stock. I think that we have a timer challenge floating around at the moment, but thats it ...

        The sunbeam grinder is, however, sensationally cheap and its really nice to see them trying to provide a good, low-cost alternative. Im almost thinking of buying the EM450 as a dedicated French Press grinder! The EM450 seems to be identical to the 480, but with a plastic body and it sells at a few bucks less. The removeable grinds tray might also be more convenient than the tray on the 480.

        Hope that helps,

        Luca

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

          Well done, Luca, very thorough and helpful review there, should help solve many a dilemma for would-be grinder buyers.

          --Robusto

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

            Thanks for the great reply Luca (and wushoes, 2muchcoffeeman). It does sound like the
            "challenge" is the best in the $300 mark.

            Im open to all suggestions!

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

              Originally posted by robusto link=1167626020/0#4 date=1167629557
              Well done, Luca, very thorough and helpful review there, should help solve many a dilemma for would-be grinder buyers.

              --Robusto
              Hi Robusto,

              I actually realised that its more or less all in the Information/Reviews of Grinders thread ...

              Cheers,

              Luca

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                Originally posted by luca link=1167626020/0#3 date=1167627344
                Chris from Talk Coffee agreed with me about that when we were discussing the grinder at the beginning of the year
                Ummmm....today IS the beginning of the year.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                  I reckon I got the last Challenge in stock last month!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                    Originally posted by grendel link=1167626020/0#8 date=1167648852
                    I reckon I got the last Challenge in stock last month!
                    You mean in Australia?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                      Okay, I have an MDF, and there are a few others on here who have them too. I havent had mine for long and so far I have found it very good. the thing that got me is that it is a sturdy little machine.

                      The doser is not an issue with stale coffee build up at all. Maybe because I give a number of quick flickes of the lever while the machine is running so I dont let too much coffee build up in the chamber. i have also found that I do not have issues with coffee grounds going all over the place. I get some, but not a hell of a lot.

                      It took me a few days to get used to using it - having used a blade and hand grinder. At present I grind into a plastic container instead of directly into the pf basket as I am still getting the feel of the different grind settings to the different beans.

                      It is also not very noisy. It does make a bit of noise, but not overly so.
                      Having not had an Imberital I cannot recommend it, but if you can get a gaggia for a really good price go for it. Ihave heard a few people bag these machines and I do not understand why this is so. There is a lot of things to take into consideration - bench space, budget, the accompanying machine - this would be great with the sunbeam and better than the sunbeam grinder. The most important thing is that the machine suits your needs.

                      This is my (surprisingly clean and tidy) set up

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                        Thanks Lucinda but now I am even more confused. :-[

                        gaggia mdf or challenge? Ive seen both for around $299 so price is not an issue.

                        Does it really matter? Would I be happy with either?

                        The gaggia is much easier to get, many places seem to stock it yet the "challenge" can only be found in specialty shops and mail order.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                          Originally posted by barri link=1167626020/0#11 date=1167691195
                          Thanks Lucinda but now I am even more confused.  :-[

                          gaggia mdf or challenge? Ive seen both for around $299 so price is not an issue.

                          Does it really matter? Would I be happy with either?

                          The gaggia is much easier to get, many places seem to stock it yet the "challenge" can only be found in specialty shops and mail order.
                          Barri- Cosmorex, DiBartoli, Veneziano and Talk Coffee (i.e me ) all supply the challenge.....

                          2mcm

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                            Whatever is easiest for you, if you can get an Iberital without too many hassles, get one. Likewise with the Gaggia. Either way I think you would be happy with whichever you get.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

                              I dont mean to hijack this thread but I was about to post when I saw barris thread. If I should post this as a new thread let me know and I will move it (sorry in advance to the mods).

                              My question is very similar to that of barri except that I am prepared to spend a bit more (that is, if I can be convinced that spending more is the way to go).

                              I have had an Sunbeam EM6900 machine for about 18 months and I have decided, after being inspired by the stories in this forum to really get into this coffee thing. At the moment Im a real wet behind the ears newbie! I just purchased my starter pack from the BeanBay yesterday and have got my Popper all set up waiting in eager anticipation.

                              Currently my machine is combined with an el cheapo Sunbeam grinder (I dont know what model it is. Its just a little tiny one with little blade/chopper things in side, no burrs). Grinding with it is a very inaccurate science to say the least. From my vigorous and committed studying of the last week or so I know understand that the getting a good grinder is one of the most important things.

                              So basically it seems to be (just like barri) to be between the Gaggia MDF and the Iberital Challenge but with the Rocky thrown into the mix. A lot of people seem to have these and swear by them. So that is why it is a contender for my hard earned money.

                              I want to buy something that is quality and has no issues (I have had enough bloody issues with my EM6900!, but I digress...). And if I one day upgrade to a Silvia or something else I dont want to have to go and buy a new grinder as well (because I wont be able to afford to ).


                              The pf holder on the Challenge looks pretty crappy (well to my untrained eyes) while the Rocky looks quite strong. Will the Challenge be able to hold my pf? I have also read that the Challenge is quite noisy.

                              A few questions to confirm:
                              The Gaggia is a a non-stepless grinder (oh double negative I should know better)?
                              The Challenge is stepless and also doserless? I read here (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163235531/0) that there is a doser version available???

                              [I have read really good things about the Mazzer Mini but it is $630-650 so it is a fair bit more than I wanted to pay. But that being said it is a decisively better grinder I could be tempted. But it is a hell of a lot of money!]

                              Doser/Doserless?
                              My EM6900 has huge filter baskets. (I dont know if it is the same with the barris EM6910). The single basket is really 3x while the double one is 4x. So does that mean I have to go doserless? Then again I read Alan Frews review of the EM6900 and he said you could fit it with standard italian baskets. So that would solve that problem?

                              I dont really understand the advantages/disadvantages between doser and doserless grinders.
                              Thanks again!
                              Mark

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