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Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

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  • Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

    Im looking to get a grinder to compliment my Silvia, but also be able to handle my next machine upgrade (Breville Dual Boiler? Crossland Coffee CC1?).

    Most baristas in the US recommend the SJ and I like what Ive seen with it. However, the Mini-E is doserless, has the same burrs as the SJ and a smaller footprint. Sounds good to me.

    I dont know a lot about the M4D, except that it gets good reviews., so Im intrigued. But, Im concerned that it isnt stepless.

    Any advice? Comparisons? How much cost difference would justify one over the other?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

    Personally, i will be going with a Mini-E.
    Just dont know which one to get, the type A or B.
    from all the stuff i have read, seems to be the most reliable. In saying that, though, the MD4 gets a lot of good reviews.
    My concern is the same as yours, its not stepless. As an avid ristretto drinker, i am pretty particular about grind adjustment, and as i am in the process of purchasing a lever machine, am very wary of something that tells me what the grind should look like rather than the other way around.
    Sorry i havent been much help, but the guys here are pretty good, so should help to answer any concerns you may have.
    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

      Originally posted by 662B74716D762B661E0 link=1314019879/0#0 date=1314019879
      I dont know a lot about the M4D, except that it gets good reviews., so Im intrigued. But, Im concerned that it isnt stepless.
      Originally posted by 74717B7241737F6C756B6D1E0 link=1314019879/1#1 date=1314145001
      In saying that, though, the MD4 gets a lot of good reviews.
      My concern is the same as yours, its not stepless
      It is stepless. It uses a worm screw drive that provides excellent control. Personally, Id choose the M4D (and have one at home).

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

        I bought the Super Jolly-E over the MD4 or the Mini for several reasons:

        1.  The Mazzer just looks like a "proper" cafe style grinder compared to the MD4.   :  I cant say Ive seen many Macap grinders in the cafes, but maybe Im not looking too hard.

        2.  The bright blue display of the MD4 didnt sit well with me - I preferred the green light on the Mazzer, which looks similar to the Giottos green light.   

        3.  The SJ-E is supposed to have a better timer to the Mini because it is digital and not analogue.   :-?

        4.  The SJ-E can be purchased for not much more than the Mini. 

        5.  For a doserless grinder (like the MD4 or Mazzer - E variants), I think that even in the home environment, the speed of the grinder is important - I dont want to be standing there for ages waiting for the grinds to fill the PF.  So for me, the choice of the SJ-E over the Mini-E was in favour of the faster unit.   8-)  If I were buying the doser model, then the slower Mini doser would have been just fine.

        6.  The SJ-E has a bigger grinds catcher tray than the Mini-E.  Looks more serious and practical, but more on that later.

        The negatives of the SJ-E are:

        a.  The cafe sized hopper looks just too big for a domestic environment, necessitating in the purchase of a 2nd, smaller hopper.  Thats another $60 expense.   :-/ The good news is that all Mazzer hoppers are interchangeable so it wasnt hard to get a small hopper from the Mazzer distributor.

        b.  The bigger grinds catcher is irrelevant ultimately.  For starters, the shape of the Es doser is pretty good and most of the time, I do not lose a single bit of grind - everything falls into the PF (great job on the funnel, Mazzer!)

        Im a neat nik and will clean up the entire benchtop and grinds catcher after the morning coffee ritual, so the fact that the grinds catcher is bigger is of no benefit.   :  For others, the bigger tray may still be a advantageous if making lots of coffees a day and cleaning up less frequently.

        c.  The collar for adjusting the grinds is stiff and difficult to turn on the Mazzer, even with that little handle.  The MD4s thumb screw arrangement seems more effortless.

        d. The SJ-E has a counter that tallys up all the number of shots that Ive made through the grinder. A bit like the odometer in a car. A bit superflous feature for me, but maybe useful in a cafe environment.

        Overall, Im very very happy that I made the decision to go with the SJ-E.  There are a number of distributors selling the Mazzer and so servicing should be easy if it is required, and parts should be easily available.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

          Originally posted by 30212934213730327C440 link=1314019879/3#3 date=1314315209
          The good news is that all Mazzer hoppers are interchangeable
          Just need to correct you there. SJ, Lux and mini hoppers are interchangable. Major upward and you are talking a different design and then theyre not all interchangable either. A kony hopper will not go on a Robur for example.

          Originally posted by 30212934213730327C440 link=1314019879/3#3 date=1314315209
          The SJ-E has a counter that tallys up all the number of shots that Ive made through the grinder. 
          Sure does. Digital Macaps do as well.

          Chris

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

            Thought Id add my 5c here regarding the M4D as I recently bought one to go along with a Silvia. Had been umming and ahhing between it and the Mini-E for a while. Was also considering the Super Jolly E.

            In short - very happy with my purchase but am still on the learning curve. Has made a noticeable different to the coffee - much smoother etc

            - Height was a factor for me as it has to sit under kitchen cupboards. Fits pretty easily with enough room to add beans etc

            - I liked the look of it better compared to the Super Jolly E and Mini-E although looks are very subjective

            - Took a while to dial in. At first it was way too fine and had to back the grind off quite a bit

            - Once it was dialled in differences in the pour are quite noticeable with very small adjustments of the worm drive

            - The finger guard in the hopper is a bit annoying. If you are only putting in enough beans for a single grind beans tend to get caught on the hopper base cover. The guard is removable with a bit of care but obviously dont stick your hands in there when its on 

            - Grinds pretty quickly. ~8.2 seconds for a double (~18g). I have been using continuous mainly though while I get used to judging the amount I need to grind

            - Is a bit messier than a Rocky at the moment, mainly once the basket is full and the mound is growing and spilling over the side. Note that I was using a yoghurt container for the Rocky and have yet to make another one that will fit under the M4D spout

            - was a bit worried about clumping but I havent noticed much of that unless the grind is too fine

            - menu is quite intuitive and easy to navigate

            Would I recommend it?
            Absolutely. I have had a bit of experience with the Mini-E and IMHO I think both offer similar grind quality.
            From memory both are about as loud as each other.
            I think the timer on the M4D is more accurate.
            I think the M4D grinds a bit quicker although thats probably not a huge deal in a home setting

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

              For those interested a demo of my Matter Mini -e type B.

              http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLWkHEP7Iho&feature=youtube_gdata

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                ^^^ Nice video - very thorough process! I just wouldnt have the patience for that routine.

                I recently upgraded my Rocky to a Mini-E (Model A). An SJ-E wouldnt fit in my space, and M4D wasnt available locally.

                But Im really happy with the Mini-E. A lot of the negative points Ive read about are, in reality, very minor.

                The timer works well - it grinds enough for a double (~21s) but actually, the grinds are so light and fluffy you cant physically fit an entire double into the holder without them overflowing (this would be try of any grinder/doser system). I use button A (18 seconds) then pat/wipe lightly with my finger, then button B (3 seconds) to get the required amount.

                The timers accuracy is better than my stopwatch skills are...so, very good.

                Its easy to adjust the grind settings coarser/finer, I dont understand any issue there..

                Mine shipped with the small "gourmet" 500gm hopper, and a cool bonus feature is that it detaches easily - so you never have to move the machine out from under a cabinet to fill the hopper up. When detached, beans are kept in the hopper by a sliding door.

                The Mini-E is very clean. Hardly a speck of coffee lands on the overflow tray. The grinds (dark roast) are virtually free of clumps and the few that appear are very small and very soft.

                Virtually no grounds are retained in the grinder...its amazing. Maybe over time itll clog up a bit more?

                Oh and the main thing - taste. Awesome. Big improvement in flavour, even with lattes.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                  Yeah I love mine too.

                  As you can see in the video I have some space constraints to work with so the SJ wasnt an option and as far as Mazzers go the green light compliments the Giotto nicely.

                  Normally I dont use the dosing tools every time, mainly just to calibrate the timer after I shift to finer/coarser grind as a no.4 tool gives me just the right amount of coffee.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                    Im interested to see how long people use the electronic doser. All the time or back to a manual (fill the basket) process in a few months.

                    Cheers.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                      Originally posted by 3B37243D25560 link=1314019879/9#9 date=1324187186
                      Im interested to see how long people use the electronic doser.
                      Had the m4D 18 months or so [at a guess] and still using it electronically. No intention to stop.

                      Steve

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                        Me too. I am using the timer on my Kony-E at home.

                        In my experience, if the timer is digital (M4D, SJ-E etc), they work. If analogue (K3T, Mini-E) etc, theyre not much chop.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                          Ive had my mini e for about 8 months and still use timer.

                          Single shot timed for 2-3 seconds to clear old grinds. Double shot timed for 9g; which i dose, tap, dose; to fill an 18g vst ridgeless.

                          I’ve kind of worked out mine out that as I adjust my grind half a step it equates to half a notch approximately on the timer. I use dosing tools to calibrate on the initial grind step and then just am able to freehand minor adjustments day-to-day on the fly. Adjustments become familiar over a period of use.


                          P.s find it more acurate with a full hopper to.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                            Just a question/thought about the mini e timer.
                            Are people measuring the timer as inaccurate by a stopwatch, or comparing volume between doses?

                            I was told that the spring which adjusts the grind coarseness/fineness takes some time to settle in, so in the initial adjusting period there is inconsistency in the fineness, and therefore dose.
                            This makes it a pain to dial in the grinder at first, but once the spring has settled, the dose consistency improves and adjustability is more predicatble.
                            Im not sure if this theory is correct, but i did notice that when brand new, the grind setting (where the arrow sticker points) was far too coarse. After 3 weeks of fine tuning, Ive set it very close to the factory setting, but the grind is much finer now.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Mini-E, SJ or M4D? Advice?

                              I got curious just as I was writing that post, and went and tested the timer accuracy using my stopwatch.

                              Not a "scientific test" but as close as i can get.
                              - Ive had 2 double shots in the last hour and my reaction should be quite good.
                              - Im using my phones stopwatch (galaxy s2, touchscreen) which should be very accurate, and Im familiar with it.
                              - the hopper is near
                              full
                              - timer is set to grind an arbitrary duration, but i dont see how it would matter if this was set to 5 seconds or 50.
                              - I didnt grind one basket after the other continuously, but took a break between timings.

                              the Results surprised even me
                              5.73
                              5.82
                              5.68
                              5.70
                              5.69
                              5.75

                              I plant re-test, but record audio as well. Then i can analyze that as a way to more accurately record the timings, so that reaction time is not a variable.

                              Comment

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