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Thread: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

  1. #1
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    Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi,

    I recently bought an espresso coffee machine and have been using pre ground coffee. Usually takes us a week to get through a 250g pack. So I thought for better freshness and quality I would buy a grinder.

    I cant believe the prices tho! You guys are talking in the hundreds. I was looking a simple Sunbeam grinder for $50. Is it not worth it, if that is all I can afford? It has the different grind settings at least.

    Surely any fresh grind is better than store bought yeah?
    What is the big deal with the expensive ones?

    Thanks heaps,
    Narelle


  2. #2
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Blade grinders are a big no-no. In order to get a very fine grind, you are forced to grind for longer periods. This exposes the coffee to heat, which in turn changes the flavour of the coffee. You will also have issues with consistency of grind size. You may also not be able to achieve the best grind size for your machine with one of these. They are better suited to grinding spices than coffee IMO.

    Next are the home coffee grinders, usually a primitive burr grinder. They do an ok job, but they also have issues with heat and grind inconsistency, but they are quite a lot better than blade grinders. Brevilles Cafe Roma grinder with adjustable grind size fits into this category. You realy need a strong moter and fast rotating burrs to keep heat a non issue.

    With both of the categories above I find durablity a big issue. If you spend the money, you will get a more durable product. For $250 you can get a grinder that will last you as long as you need it.

    For a small budget, go ahead with the home grinders. Be warned, you may be disappointed with their performance, when compared to your already pre-ground coffee.

    The big bucks will get you a built like a tank commercial grade grinder that will give you the best quality/consistent grind. for your application, this is definite overkill, and should be avoided.

    Look at a grinder as an investment, and save up accordingly. If your budget is $50, then save that money until you can buy a better grinder. Retail outlets often know next to nothing about coffee, so your best bet is to go with a seller of coffee equipment. Site sponsors are a good place to start ofc.

  3. #3
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Buying a cheap grinder will give you the benefit of fresher coffee but will be undone by the irregular grind consistency. Uneven grind will result in uneven extraction which will typically result in overextracted, bitter coffee.

    If you buy a cheap grinder now you will almost certainly end up wanting a better grinder sooner than later and you will end up spending more in the long run.

    Preground packaged coffee is relatively expensive and you may want to consider trying some cheap home roasting to lower your ongoing costs, which makes the overall coffee drinking cost equation more attractive.

    Cheers

  4. #4
    Senior Member robusto's Avatar
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Congratulations on your first post, Narelle.

    Unfortunately, enjoying a good coffee at home does cost hundreds, but over the life time of the equipment, its far cheaper than $3 for a shot of dubious quality from many cafes. *:-/

    As Nunu and Wired say, a blade grinder is a definite no-no. *A low-revving burr, whether conical or flat will give you consistent grounds on demand. *You cannot control blade grinders. *Their high speeds produce two enemies of coffee: heat and static electricity.

    You could consider a manual conical burr grinder, but the very top quality, well-built *ones are also very expensive, and grinding *does become a nuisance -- I know! :(


    As Wired said, you can help amortise the cost *by roasting your own beans: about $8 a kilo, and they are fresher and of known origin. *
    You cant say that about costly supermarket beans. *;)

    Good luck with your grinder hunting.
    --Robusto

  5. #5
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Narelle.

    For the budget conscious:

    The "best" cheapest adjustable burr grinder is the german made Emide at around $92.00ish. This grinder will do the job in "reasonable manner" given some constraints as mentioned by others above, for a considerable period if looked after.

    Anything else in an electric grinder under a hundred dollars that I know of, will either fail very quickly, or not even be up to the job from the very first day. *I personally know of high incidences of motors failing, and / or the grind adjusting mechanisms not doing the job properly resulting in improper grind ie not fit for the purpose.

    The next step up from the Emide would be to go to a Solis Scala 166 at at RRp of $189.00. This is a reasonable grinder with conical burrs in the low end of this market.

    Having a pump driven espresso machine but using pre ground coffee in it will never see you reach the potential quality in brew that the machine can produce for you. The easiest analogy would be to say, it is like having a sports car but putting the cheapest possible tyres on it...it will never reach its potential. The more money you spend on the grinder...up to a reasonable point in comparison to the type and cost of your coffee machine....the better. *

    For your information you can see a picci of the Emide grinder on the equipment page of the website listed under my name below. Havent got around to placing a photo of the Solis yet but if you want I can send you one by email.

    Regardz,
    FC.

  6. #6
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Hi,

    Thanks for all the responses. I did a search on the Solis 166 that FC mentioned, and I found an old choice article that rated it and the Delonghi KG100 as the best two (from a small sample, granted). So now Ill just decide between those two ( and save up the extra 100! )
    http://www.choice.com.au/viewarticleasonepage.aspx?id=104391&catId=100447&t id=100008&p=1

    Thank heavens I did my research and didnt buy a dodgy $50 one. You all certainly know your beans.

    narelle

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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Choice ... it would be nice if they actually had people who had tasted espresso evaluating the machines.

    Try this:

    http://www.coffeeco.com.au/articles/september2002.html

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Oh yeah, the two grinders that you refer to are the same, but rebadged. Should make the decision a little easier ;P

    Cheers,

    Luca

  9. #9
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    I believe Starbucks also do a rebadged Solis / Delonghi even cheaper. Having said that, dont know how old that info is, they might not do it any more.

  10. #10
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    the solis is not up to standard for espresso- however if you want a grinder for drip or plunge. it will do the job adequately. Pairing one with a machine like a sylvia- the like a touch finer is a waste of time and bucks.....

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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    hmm ... I used a solis for about 18 months, and with a bit of updosing compensation, it was able to choke a sunbeam. So I guess, depending on what espresso machine youre using, the solis/delonghi/*$ may do the job.

    Mind you, I did have to open it up to make some adjustments, and its pretty much clapped out now as it spends its days of retirement grinding coffee for plunger on my desk at work. Its a reasonable grinder for lower end espresso machines, but dont expect to be able to leave it to your children in your will...

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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1130366350/0#9 date=1130917961
    the solis is not up to standard for espresso- however if you want a grinder for drip or plunge. it will do the job adequately. Pairing one with a machine like a sylvia- the like a touch finer is a waste of time and bucks.....

    The newer Solis Grinder the Solis Maestro Plus more than adequately chokes a Sylvia.

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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    The latest DJs catalog has a new Sunbeam conical burr grinder for under $200. If it performs like the Iberital/Lux grinders, it may well the budget choice for espresso grinders.

    Looks interesting

  14. #14
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Something of quality/value under $200 would certainly give heart to anyone baulking at pending big money on a coffee machine and half that again on a decent grinder. A bit like spending a fortune on a quality amplifier.... then being told you also need decent speakers worthy of its output . A necessary outlay not everyone is comfortable with.

    Robusto

  15. #15
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    Anyone know what the adjustment is like on the new sunbeam grinder?

    BTW, I can choke silvia with a blade grinder if I wait long enough. The issue is not fineness of grind - you can probably grind fine enough to choke with most grinders. The issues, as I see them, are (a) fines produced (b) longevity (ie. burr carriers made of plastic degrade faster, leading to fines, leading to bitterness) and (c) adjustibility.

    Cheers,

    L

  16. #16
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    Re: Grinder Question - too cheap!?

    yeah, I fiddled with one in myers - its stepped, about 30 steps (the box says from turkish to plunger) ... the steps seem fairly small.



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