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  • Versalab grinders?

    Has anyone bought or used a Versalab grinder?
    http://www.versalab.com/server/coffee/grinder.html
    they look like they take a useful and interesting approach to design but Id be interested to hear if that results into a good grinder

  • #2
    Re: Versalab grinders?

    Hi

    First off it looks quite well built from the pics. One would have to see it in person and try it out.
    I dont agree with some of their marketing statements like:
    > All other grinders first mix the present grind with the last grind, old
    > grounds, and even ancient grounds. Then they mash the stuff all
    > together making a rather oily mess.
    But all companies have marketing people :-)

    I can see that one pulls the red lever to dispense one lot of beans into the grinder. Interestingly the motor is offset from the grinder shaft by the gear set which is quite different to most other grinders. Also looks like it is easy to remove the grinding section - looks like easy to clean and maintain.
    PF locks in so no mess! Thats a plus.

    Pricy but not too much more. Let us know if you see it demoed to you somewhere.

    Mike

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    • #3
      Re: Versalab grinders?

      proftournesol,

      I have the DRM conical/flat grinder with the identical burr set and a rotation speed of 380 r.p.m rather than the Versalabs 400rpm..... it doesnt have the single dose feed etc..... but I use it that way (grind on demand)....

      The taste difference compared to a La Cimbali Jnr is fantastic! Subtle flavours which I hadnt detected before are clear and clean....

      The combination of conical burrs (bean breaking), large 68mm flat burrs (coarse and find grinding) and the slow rotational speed makes a huge difference. I would imagine its performance is similar to a Kony (and has been compared by others favourably to the Kony).....

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      • #4
        Re: Versalab grinders?

        A good review here that explains a lot more about how it differs from other grinders: http://www.home-barista.com/forums/versalab-m3-grinder-t408.html
        and at the bottom of that link are a few more links to Versalab related tests.

        Mike

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        • #5
          Re: Versalab grinders?

          Ive bought one, only took 6 months to deliver it, thats story in itself. I must say that the grinder has not only shifted me from my pre-delivery annoyance and cynicism to one of amazement. If anyone is in Melbourne and would like a look just PM me. :

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          • #6
            Re: Versalab grinders?

            Howdy Michael,

            Care to put up some pics of your new grinder?

            What were you using before the VersaLab? How are you finding it?

            cheers,
            James

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            • #7
              Re: Versalab grinders?

              photos to come when I find my camera. Ive been using this machine for 4 months now so I can give a more considered opinion on this grinder. First of all, it replaced a Rancilio Rocky doserless grinder. The grinds move on to a LaScala Butterfly that I use with single spout, double spout and bottomless portafilters. The machines are well mainitained and regularly cleaned.

              I cant remember where I discovered the M3 but the design just seemed right and it looked to be simple but solid. It was a concern that there were no local agents and that I was buying without a road-test. Internet research was pretty consistent - fantastic machine, but customer service ws either very ordinary or very good. I emailed Laura at Versalab and placed an order with 50% deposit, also ordering a portafilter holder and hopper. I paid by credit card (although there was also a PayPal option) in July 2008. Versalab quoted a 6 week delivery time and said that they were about to start a new batch of machines. I allowed some leeway in this as its a small boutique maker but the next reply to several emails was October. There were a series of excuses - badly machined parts, delays etc but no machine until Xmas time!! I was away on holiday of course so it finally arrived at the end of January. It was bloody heavy but well packed, and also came with a GST bill

              Ive used the grinder with beans from 3 sources: Alan Frew, Caffe Veneziano and Jaspers. My reference bean is Sumatra Mandehling although Ive also used a variety of Indonesian, PNG, peaberry and Ethiopian beans.

              The M3 comes with a fairly clear 2x A4 instruction sheet and a variety of Allen keys for maintaining the machine. There was no grind scale transfer included, and my ordered hopper is still yet to arrive.

              Whats it like to use?
              This machine is a joy to use and makes the basis of excellent coffee. It looks and feels like it has been CNC machined from a solid billet of Aluminium. It has been well put together and it looks like a lot of thought has gone into the design. The coffee path is very short and direct and there is zero accumulation of old beans, although some coffee does spill from the portafilter basket as it is removed from the grinder. Grind adjustment is stepless and simple with grind position maintained with a simple lock screw. this has not come loose in the time that Ive used it. Grind is very consistent and Ive found that Ive needed much less fiddling with grind adjustment  than the Rocky. Its important to start the motor before you add the beans to the top of the grind path or it will spit beans at you.  Rotation speed of the burrs is only 400rpm. I stop half way through the process and tap the portafilter to settle the volcano shaped mound of fluffy grinds otherwise its hard to fit it all into the portafilter. there is absolutely no clumping and this produces the fluffiest grind that Ive seen. I dose by adding a spare portafilter worth of beans and this gives a consistent dosing.
              This grinder allows the LaScala to produce a reddish speckled thick crema and reveals depths and subtlety of taste that were only hinted at with the Rocky, all I can say is that I was amazed at the difference, and certainly spending the same money on a machine upgrade would have resulted in only a fraction of the improvement. Apart from dealing with Versalab, this machine is a real pleasure: dont buy one if you are in a hurry or if you value polite prompt and responsive service, do consider it if you are prepared for the Versalab customer relations experience as an unfortunate step in acquiring a truly excellent grinder.

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