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Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

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  • Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

    Hi guys,

    12 months after sitting down with these two grinders, a camera, some coffee and a laptop computer; an interstate house shift, a job change and a baby later, Ive finally finished the write-up on the comparison between them! : Its not quite in the same format as the Silvia 6910 review and I suspect not quite as easy to read (component-based rather than workflow-based) but hopefully this is of some use for any CSers considering either of these units, both of which are excellent products.

    http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/kb/reviews/mini-k3/

    Greg

    P.S. If you notice anything that needs to change dont hesitate to let me know!

  • #2
    Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

    Originally posted by Greg Pullman link=1205471613/0#0 date=1205471613
    Hi guys,

    12 months after sitting down with these two grinders, a camera, some coffee and a laptop computer; an interstate house shift, a job change and a baby later, Ive finally finished the write-up on the comparison between them! : Its not quite in the same format as the Silvia 6910 review and I suspect not quite as easy to read (component-based rather than workflow-based) but hopefully this is of some use for any CSers considering either of these units, both of which are excellent products.

    http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/kb/reviews/mini-k3/

    Greg
    Great writeup Greg!

    Thorough, considered and unbiased I reckon....

    Wanna go help Choice review some espresso machines? They could use a hand

    Well done...

    Chris

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

      Thanks Chris, but reviews are kinda a loooong exercise (well they take me a while anyway) and I think my family might have other ideas if I suggested that! Thanks for the K3 in the first place too, twas a difficult decision to move it on.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

        Great review Greg, it was well thought out and very specific.

        one thing that would be nice to see. At a previous job we had a set of metal sieves to measure grind consistency. They were basically 10 sets of mesh, as you vibrated them (or got the new kid(me) to shake them) the ground coffee would separate into each chamber. We then weighed the contents of each chamber or screen to get a chart showing varience. I only ever used it for conical burr Cimbali grinders and the factory grinders, but would be interesting to see the test applied. Not sure where you could get some as the ones we had looked as old as the company itsself (30+ years)

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

          Probably a set of Laboratory Screens Jason.....

          They can be acquired via various laboratory supplies outfits, especially those that supply equipment to Industrial Labs. Doubt they would be cheap though and at their likely cost, I think you would need to have good justification for outlaying the funds.

          An easier (and cheaper) proposition might be to provide samples to a such a Lab and request a Size Fraction Distribution Test. Wouldnt imagine that this would be too expensive, given that they would probably use a hapless trainee or cadet too.... ;D

          Cheers,
          Mal.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

            Great review, and nice to see someone weighting scores, I was getting worried reading it when grind adjustment was given the same number of points as things like the hopper.

            For mine (and Ill admit Ive only played with a Compak for about 5 seconds) the Mazzer wins purely because I love the grind adjustment, it works perfectly for how I use my grinder. However the incredible value for money of the entire Compak range cant be overlooked, and add to that the fact that they really seem to be paying attention to what their users want (look at the K10 WBC for proof of that). I think that there is a pretty good chance that my next grinder upgrade would be a Compak conical.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

              Hi Greg,
              Tis indeed a great review, and well worth the long effort you put into it for all of us Snobs. I agree that the weighting is an excellent component of the review to keep things in perspective. Final scores will always be contentious, but at least everyone can see how things were considered and conclusions arrived at.

              I would only say that you might want to update it a little, as certainly the Mazzer, and probably the Compak, has changed since your test model was built. The switch, as you are no doubt aware, is now a timer, which is significant if comparing to an automatic like your test K-3 (dont know about current K-3s).

              On my MM, at least, there is definitely a different sound if the doser does not complete the sweep. But I doubt anyone would judge dose by clicks, anyway. It might also be worth noting that doser levers are designed to be used with two fingers and with much greater speed and force than shown in the video. They are, after all, commercial units. Incidentally, the power cord placement is also a commercial consideration. The screw in the middle of the doser adjustment star is to enable you to remove the whole mechanism (great for the sweep mod). Not sure how you do this in the Compak. The lugs on my grinds tray are intact after a year - but users should always make sure the tray is flat on the counter before sliding it into place.

              Aesthetics are very hard to assess, being entirely subjective, and I think you always made it very clear when you were making that kind of judgement. Some things have overlapping form/function considerations. For example, the screws you didnt like on the front of the MM doser allow you to move or remove the silly tamper, whereas the integrated design of the K-3 means you cant move it, and I found that the nose combined with the high pf fork made it very difficult to see the dose and impossible to really heap up the coffee. Important for me, not for some.

              Altogether, a very worthwhile exercise, and one of the best of its kind. Thanks Greg!

              matt

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                Originally posted by Dolcimelo link=1205471613/0#6 date=1205983873
                I would only say that you might want to update it a little, as certainly the Mazzer, and probably the Compak, has changed since your test model was built. The switch, as you are no doubt aware, is now a timer, which is significant if comparing to an automatic like your test K-3 (dont know about current K-3s).

                The Mazzer Mini comes in 3 versions:

                - Timer Switch
                - Manual Switch
                - Auto




                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                  Originally posted by Metreo link=1205471613/0#7 date=1206018827
                  The Mazzer Mini comes in 3 versions:

                  - Timer Switch
                  - Manual Switch
                  - Auto

                  Too true that the mini is made with a variety of switches and in colours as well- including polished aluminium.

                  Alas (in Melbourne at least), our choices with new importer are Silver or Black, mini-manual only....

                  Chris

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                    Sorry, obviously Im not up-to-date :-[

                    Still, perhaps even more reason to list available versions which might influence someones choice. Ive only ever seen the timer for sale here recently. Are there other versions of the K-3 Chris?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                      Originally posted by Dolcimelo link=1205471613/0#6 date=1205983873
                      I would only say that you might want to update it a little, as certainly the Mazzer, and probably the Compak, has changed since your test model was built.
                      Yep I was aware of this potential issue and commented on this at the end of the Introduction. Unfortunately I dont have access to current models so until a nice distributor decides to send me one of each with which to pick up these updates I wont actually know whats changed apart from hearsay.

                      Originally posted by Dolcimelo link=1205471613/0#6 date=1205983873
                      It might also be worth noting that doser levers are designed to be used with two fingers and with much greater speed and force than shown in the video. They are, after all, commercial units.
                      Agreed, though the videos were to show the smoothness / noise of the mechanism not typical usage.

                      Originally posted by Dolcimelo link=1205471613/0#6 date=1205983873
                      Incidentally, the power cord placement is also a commercial consideration.
                      This item was already weighted as more important commercially than domestically (5/10 commercially, 2/10 domestically) :-? Unless I misunderstood your comment?

                      Originally posted by Dolcimelo link=1205471613/0#6 date=1205983873
                      The screw in the middle of the doser adjustment star is to enable you to remove the whole mechanism (great for the sweep mod). Not sure how you do this in the Compak. The lugs on my grinds tray are intact after a year - but users should always make sure the tray is flat on the counter before sliding it into place.
                      Thanks re doser screw, never removed it so far on mine. The Compaks doser adjustment mechanism just keeps unscrewing until it comes off. Well done re the grinds tray lugs; I took pretty good care of mine after hearing about this, hardly ever removed it and they still broke within about 3 months. :

                      Originally posted by Dolcimelo link=1205471613/0#6 date=1205983873
                      Aesthetics are very hard to assess, being entirely subjective, and I think you always made it very clear when you were making that kind of judgement. Some things have overlapping form/function considerations. For example, the screws you didnt like on the front of the MM doser allow you to move or remove the silly tamper, whereas the integrated design of the K-3 means you cant move it, and I found that the nose combined with the high pf fork made it very difficult to see the dose and impossible to really heap up the coffee. Important for me, not for some.

                      Altogether, a very worthwhile exercise, and one of the best of its kind. Thanks Greg!

                      matt
                      Sure thing, its a bit hard to entirely segregate components that affect more than one area and I agree re the nose on the Compak grinder; which is why the final decision depends on how you use the unit. Hopefully theres enough objective information in there to help people make the decision thats right for them. Thanks for the feedback!

                      Greg

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                        Hi Greg,
                        Im curious as to how your tray lugs broke. I remember when I first got mine, and noticed that sometimes the tray didnt sit flat (which would put a lot of strain on the lugs if you pressed on the tray). However, I realised that it was designed to be put down flat on the counter and then slid in under the base, rather than put in at an angle, as I had done (and most of us would naturally do...). But the lugs are not really flimsy, either.

                        The point about the cord placement was simply a reference to the comment that it was irrelevant in a commercial environment. Small point, but electrical appliances for commercial use often have the cord on the side so that they can be put flush against a wall without constraining the cord, thats all. I agree entirely with your weighting - and most of your review!

                        Thanks again for writing it.

                        matt

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                          Hi Matt,

                          Re the lugs, not too sure really. I read they were prone to breaking and mine were still intact but when I checked I noticed a hairline crack running through one; it broke off completely within a month, and from what Ive read its quite a common thing. I guess if you constantly remove it to clean it (as most would) then its likely to happen as they have to bend inwards quite a way before they lock in. Perhaps some of the resellers of these units will have a better perspective on what causes the breakage?

                          Point taken about cord placement; I guess irrelevant may be a bit distorted since it got more weighting than domestic. I was mainly looking at it from the perspective that where the cord comes out is overall probably of no consequence since it largely depends on your setup, however the clean back of the Mazzer facing the customer was a plus. But I guess if its back is to the wall then a side exit is another plus for the Mazzer, which is in front commercially on this score anyway.

                          Greg

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                            I agree that the design of the Mazzer tray is really poor and the lugs are prone to breaking. If you drop it, breakage is pretty much guaranteed. Id know as I have shelled out for at least 6 trays so far. Mazzer are on a good wicket with absurd prices placed on items which should be cheap. Hoppers are also ridiculous. For example a replacement SJ hopper has a RRP of $80 and the price of a mini hopper is still over $60 which is outrageous.

                            I much prefer the design of the Macap tray. It has a hole cut into it which locates it under one of the feet of the grinder. Its not going anywhere and even if you do drop it, it wont break.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Mazzer Mini vs Compak K-3 Elite - Review

                              Originally posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1205471613/0#13 date=1206917064
                              I agree that the design of the Mazzer tray is really poor and the lugs are prone to breaking. If you drop it, breakage is pretty much guaranteed. Id know as I have shelled out for at least 6 trays so far. Mazzer are on a good wicket with absurd prices placed on items which should be cheap. Hoppers are also ridiculous. For example a replacement SJ hopper has a RRP of $80 and the price of a mini hopper is still over $60 which is outrageous.
                              Maybe a visit to a local sheet-metal shop guru could sort this out once and for all by knocking up a replica(coffee grinds tray) made from stainless steel :-?

                              Mal.

                              Comment

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