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Questions about Compak K3 before buy

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  • Questions about Compak K3 before buy

    Hi everyone,

    I’ve been using my EM0480 grinder for the last 4 years and has served me well. However one of the plastic tabs that keeps the burrs in place has gone and I’ve decided that now would be a good time to upgrade.

    I’ve been looking at several different grinders and I have narrowed it down to the Compak K3 Push and I’d like to just ask a few questions about it before buying.

    Ive read that the grind scale is not that good. How bad is it and are there ways around it? Also I have heard that there is a bit of play with the adjusting mechanism and I am a bit concerned with this.

    How is the clumping/static with this grinder? I’ve heard it’s good but want to get another opinion on this?

    How good is the tray at the base of the grinder for catching any grinds? With my old sunbeam I could place a tray underneath the grinding shoot however it doesn’t look like you can do this with this grinder.

    Also can I expect for this grinder to last a long time? From the pictures the internals look good. Has anyone found any problems or faults with it?

    Thanks in advance. Sorry for the large post/bombardment of questions If anyone knows of a better grinder in the same price range I would be happy to know.

  • #2
    Re: Questions about Compak K3 before buy

    I think this question is directed to me. You see, I upgraded from an EM0480 to a Compak K3 Touch just under a year ago ( and bought a VBM Domo Jr at the same time).

    I love the Compak to death. It is just fantastic. I particularly like the stepless grinding as it enables you to make minute adjustments to the grind which, if you have a good espresso machine, can make a noticeable difference to the taste. I also particularly like the fact that it is doserless. This allows for precise dosing without waste.

    But to answer your specific questions.

    1] Forget the scale, it is only arbitrary. You will learn what your required grind will look like. Different beans, different humidity, different freshness all require slight adjustments. Another plus for stepless.

    When not in use there is about a millimetre of play in the adjustment. This is taken up at time of grinding. Not an issue at all. Sometimes if I can see that the grind is not quite fine enough I lean on the adjustment ring to take up the one mil of slack which refines the grind just a tad. I have learnt to use this play to advantage.

    NB Only adjust the grind while grinding with beans in the hopper.

    2] I actually look for clumping. For me, when the grind starts to clump it is an indication that the fineness is close to correct. When you tap the portafilter on the bench prior to tamping the clumps dissipate anyway.

    No static at all.

    3] The tray catches 90% of any spill. Before buying the grinder I was worried about this also. In practice, any spill is collected with just one quick wipe. To me it is a non-issue.

    4] Longevity? Dunno, it gives every indication of strength. Sounds great and I reckon Ive got it for a long time to come.



    • #3
      Re: Questions about Compak K3 before buy

      I agree completely with what Gp said. I also upgraded from the 480 to the k3 touch. The scale doesnt bother me all that much. Like gp said, you easily get around it. I used a dymo label maker and printed my own scale and arrow... Just so i could include approximate grind points in my roasting notes.

      Again, in regard to the clumping. I also look for it, as it does help to know where the grind is at. I get around this by absolutely attacking the grounds with a toothpick. To the pointog extreme. :P this way I know that I will not get any channeling as a result of clumps..

      All in all. The K3 is s great grinder. And I am sure you would be very happy with it.



      • #4
        Re: Questions about Compak K3 before buy

        K3 touch here.

        Truth is, Ive not really noticed the grind scale, the K3 is a Stepless grinder, so its not even worth worrying about the scale unless you want a certain point that is espresso For me, its with the shiny dot on the collar directly in front of the grinder (and adjust to suit)

        The play in the adjustment system isnt such a big deal. barely a degree of rotation if that, and the motor usually pushes against the play during grinding anyway. If you grind while adjusting, there will be no issue with the free play

        Grounds retained? Probably in the realm of 2-3 grams all up, Usually not an issue for me as I tend to hit it with the grinding brush as Im using it, This usually picks up the extra gram or two sitting on the grind-plate.

        Static and clumping? virtually Zero static compared to the EM0480, the only plastic part that comes in contact with the coffee is the grind chute, and thats spring loaded, so all it takes is a flick and all the coffee falls out

        The bottom tray does look tiny, but it is well designed, Coffee doesnt fall to the side on this machine, it falls forwards, most of the grinds that land on the tray are easilly brushed off also, its actually one of my favorite design features of the Compak Range

        Biggest issue Ive found for mine is that on occasion a bean does get trapped between the burrs and the nut holding the grind plate. This isnt that big an issue really, but its kinda annoying to remove, just a matter of hitting it with a chopstick after Ive turned the grinder off.

        Oh, and I usually grind into a small container rather then directly into the basket, as this gives me a chance to shake it about to collapse all the clumps (if any)

        As for how long the grinder will last, Its a small commercial machine, the burrs are rated at something like 200kg or so before replacement, if you look after the unit, It will last.


        • #5
          Re: Questions about Compak K3 before buy

          Awesome looks like the K3 is the way to go. Thanks everyone for the quick reply and detailed feedback . Hopefully it should pair nicely with my Silvia.


          • #6
            I'm looking at the same upgrade, EM0480 to a K3. How are you finding the grinder a couple of years on?


            • #7
              Hi Beatdoctor,

              I can say having upgraded from a EM0480 to a smart grinder then to a K3, i should have just gone for the K3 in the first place if i knew what i was doing. You cant go wrong with them. You will be surprised how the grind quality and consistency improves. Yes there are grinders out there which are similar and seen as better in some peoples opinion, yet you will be hard pressed to beat the price of one of these compared to most grinders in the same class.




              • #8
                Agreed, I just got a K3 Push and it's a very well built machine at a bargain price I feel. Very consistent grind and easy to dial in.


                • #9
                  The K3 is a fine m/c and excellent value.
                  However it does have some minor issues.
                  Several owners have reported excess vertical play in the burr adjustment thread system ( not the minor rotational play which is from the anti rotation system for the burr)
                  Depending on individual m/cs, this play in the threads can be insignificant or a serious issue, with one owner reporting 0.3mm movement and noticeable difference in the grind depending on how much "pressure" was put on the top adjustment cover ( or how many beans in the hopper ?)
                  Either way, this can be addresses easily by one of several methods.
                  1) a liberal application of a good, very viscous , food grade lubricant ( Dow 111) , to the threads of the upper burr adjuster ( bronze part)
                  Not excessive grease, but enough to fill the gaps between the threads when the adjuster is reassembled.
                  This will eliminate any vertical movement and significantly quieten the m/c too !
                  ..but you will need to repeat the process each time you clean the burrs
                  2) a more "professional" permanent, solution, is to measure the gap between the top flange on the bronze upper adjuster and the top of the grind chamber ..when the grinder is set to a normal "espresso " position. (On my m/c this is approx 3.5mm)
                  Now you need to source a rubber(or silicone) "O" ring of 70mm ID and about 5mm thickness , to put on the burr adjuster before you reassemble it.
                  When the adjuster gets down close to the normal setting , the flange will start to compress the "O" ring and take out any clearance in the threads.
                  Some experimentation of "O" ring section dia and/or hardness may be necessary depending on your individual machine tolerances and what "O" rings you can source.

                  Other"fixes" for the portafilter holder ( to actually "Hold" the PF !) and reducing the grind retention etc are also easily done.

                  Note: .. i believe Compac have addressed some of these issues on the latest 2014 versions.