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Thread: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

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    Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I am a newbie so treat me gently. :-*

    Ive read many of the posts here and the more I read the more confused I get.

    My choices seem to be ...

    sunbeam em480 ($170)
    gaggia mdf (Ive seen specials for $299)
    Iberital Challenge ($299)
    lux ($299)

    No I dont want the rocky - its over budget!

    So given my budget is around $300 and I own an em6910 and I like the idea of a conical burr machine, what do people recommend? Longevity? Quality? etc etc

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Id go the Iberital purely for its stepless adjustment....I have no knowledge or experience on this grinder though.

    I own a La Cimbali Cadet which is a commercial machine with I think 64mm flat burrs that I have paired with my EM6910. Selling it to make room for a Mazzer Mini, but just as happy to keep it.

    I have owned a Sunbeam EM0480 grinder and it is noisy, grind is too fluffy and above all, the grind settings are too wide from each other.

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Hi barri and welcome to the world of CS!

    Id suggest the challenge- but only if youre using it for espresso only. If you want to change between plunge and espresso grind, youll get RSI.

    Have a look at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163235531 if you havent already done so for some info/reviews....

    Of course, we need not say that the grinder will only do its best work with top quality FRESHLY roasted beans, and youre very unlikely to find them in a stoopidmarket! ;)

    2mcm

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Hi there,

    The sunbeam, challenge and the lux all have identical burr sets. The big difference is that the sunbeam and lux grinders have stepped adjustment. This means that you cant keep your dose constant and change the grind to get the ideal shot. A friend of mine has modified his lux with a microstep adjustment, but that wont work on the sunbeam. I have heard of people circumventing the stepped adjustment on the sunbeam by winding teflon tape around the burr carrier to keep it in place ... I doubt very much that this will stand the test of time, but well see. The challenge has the same burr set, but uses a knob to give you stepless adjustment, which means that you can actually dial in the shot. The caveat is that the adjustment mechanism makes it almost impossible to use it for espresso and other methods of brewing, such as french press, as it requires a lot of winding to adjust the grind.

    Longevity-wise, the issue with all of these grinders will probably be the burr carrier, which is plastic or resin. The sunbeam burr carrier has some plastic tabs in it that are kind of questionable. In practice, I would expect a few years worth of use out of any of these grinders. Anything else is a bonus. The lux and challenge both make a pretty loud and relatively high pitched noise ... its like using a vacuum cleaner. The last time that I used a sunbeam grinder it was pretty noisy around me, so I cant really make the comparison. These doserless grinders are also very messy ... ground coffee has a habit of making it all over your bench top.

    The gaggia grinder has flat burrs and every single review that I have read of it says that the adjustment mechanism is as woeful as the lux et al. Having a doser, it will probably confine the mess a bit, but I dont think that the doser sweeps that clean without modification, so you will need to add tape to the vanes to prevent stale coffee from accumulating.

    Unfortunately, espresso grinders in this price bracket are a pretty sad bunch, which is why I was quite happy for Veneziano to only stock the Challenge. IMHO, it is the only one of the lot that really allows you to actually dial in an espresso shot with ease. Chris from Talk Coffee agreed with me about that when we were discussing the grinder at the beginning of the year and Im very glad that he went on to stock it. At the moment, the master importer is out of stock of challenges, so you might have to ask a few different people. Chris might have a few in stock. I think that we have a timer challenge floating around at the moment, but thats it ...

    The sunbeam grinder is, however, sensationally cheap and its really nice to see them trying to provide a good, low-cost alternative. Im almost thinking of buying the EM450 as a dedicated French Press grinder! The EM450 seems to be identical to the 480, but with a plastic body and it sells at a few bucks less. The removeable grinds tray might also be more convenient than the tray on the 480.

    Hope that helps,

    Luca

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Well done, Luca, very thorough and helpful review there, should help solve many a dilemma for would-be grinder buyers.

    --Robusto

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Thanks for the great reply Luca (and wushoes, 2muchcoffeeman). It does sound like the
    "challenge" is the best in the $300 mark.

    Im open to all suggestions!

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by robusto link=1167626020/0#4 date=1167629557
    Well done, Luca, very thorough and helpful review there, should help solve many a dilemma for would-be grinder buyers.

    --Robusto
    Hi Robusto,

    I actually realised that its more or less all in the Information/Reviews of Grinders thread ...

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by luca link=1167626020/0#3 date=1167627344
    Chris from Talk Coffee agreed with me about that when we were discussing the grinder at the beginning of the year
    Ummmm....today IS the beginning of the year. ;)

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I reckon I got the last Challenge in stock last month!

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by grendel link=1167626020/0#8 date=1167648852
    I reckon I got the last Challenge in stock last month!
    You mean in Australia?

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Okay, I have an MDF, and there are a few others on here who have them too. I havent had mine for long and so far I have found it very good. the thing that got me is that it is a sturdy little machine.

    The doser is not an issue with stale coffee build up at all. Maybe because I give a number of quick flickes of the lever while the machine is running so I dont let too much coffee build up in the chamber. i have also found that I do not have issues with coffee grounds going all over the place. I get some, but not a hell of a lot.

    It took me a few days to get used to using it - having used a blade and hand grinder. At present I grind into a plastic container instead of directly into the pf basket as I am still getting the feel of the different grind settings to the different beans.

    It is also not very noisy. It does make a bit of noise, but not overly so.
    Having not had an Imberital I cannot recommend it, but if you can get a gaggia for a really good price go for it. Ihave heard a few people bag these machines and I do not understand why this is so. There is a lot of things to take into consideration - bench space, budget, the accompanying machine - this would be great with the sunbeam and better than the sunbeam grinder. The most important thing is that the machine suits your needs.

    This is my (surprisingly clean and tidy) set up


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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Thanks Lucinda but now I am even more confused. :-[

    gaggia mdf or challenge? Ive seen both for around $299 so price is not an issue.

    Does it really matter? Would I be happy with either?

    The gaggia is much easier to get, many places seem to stock it yet the "challenge" can only be found in specialty shops and mail order.

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by barri link=1167626020/0#11 date=1167691195
    Thanks Lucinda but now I am even more confused. *:-[

    gaggia mdf or challenge? Ive seen both for around $299 so price is not an issue.

    Does it really matter? Would I be happy with either?

    The gaggia is much easier to get, many places seem to stock it yet the "challenge" can only be found in specialty shops and mail order.
    Barri- Cosmorex, DiBartoli, Veneziano and Talk Coffee (i.e me ;)) all supply the challenge.....

    2mcm

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Whatever is easiest for you, if you can get an Iberital without too many hassles, get one. Likewise with the Gaggia. Either way I think you would be happy with whichever you get.


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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I dont mean to hijack this thread but I was about to post when I saw barris thread. If I should post this as a new thread let me know and I will move it (sorry in advance to the mods).

    My question is very similar to that of barri except that I am prepared to spend a bit more (that is, if I can be convinced that spending more is the way to go).

    I have had an Sunbeam EM6900 machine for about 18 months and I have decided, after being inspired by the stories in this forum to really get into this coffee thing. At the moment Im a real wet behind the ears newbie! I just purchased my starter pack from the BeanBay yesterday and have got my Popper all set up waiting in eager anticipation.

    Currently my machine is combined with an el cheapo Sunbeam grinder (I dont know what model it is. Its just a little tiny one with little blade/chopper things in side, no burrs). Grinding with it is a very inaccurate science to say the least. From my vigorous and committed studying of the last week or so I know understand that the getting a good grinder is one of the most important things.

    So basically it seems to be (just like barri) to be between the Gaggia MDF and the Iberital Challenge but with the Rocky thrown into the mix. A lot of people seem to have these and swear by them. So that is why it is a contender for my hard earned money.

    I want to buy something that is quality and has no issues (I have had enough bloody issues with my EM6900!, but I digress...). And if I one day upgrade to a Silvia or something else I dont want to have to go and buy a new grinder as well (because I wont be able to afford to :) ).


    The pf holder on the Challenge looks pretty crappy (well to my untrained eyes) while the Rocky looks quite strong. Will the Challenge be able to hold my pf? I have also read that the Challenge is quite noisy.

    A few questions to confirm:
    The Gaggia is a a non-stepless grinder (oh double negative I should know better)?
    The Challenge is stepless and also doserless? I read here (http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163235531/0) that there is a doser version available???

    [I have read really good things about the Mazzer Mini but it is $630-650 so it is a fair bit more than I wanted to pay. But that being said it is a decisively better grinder I could be tempted. But it is a hell of a lot of money!]

    Doser/Doserless?
    My EM6900 has huge filter baskets. (I dont know if it is the same with the barris EM6910). The single basket is really 3x while the double one is 4x. So does that mean I have to go doserless? Then again I read Alan Frews review of the EM6900 and he said you could fit it with standard italian baskets. So that would solve that problem?

    I dont really understand the advantages/disadvantages between doser and doserless grinders.
    Thanks again!
    Mark

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Hi Mark, welcome.

    If youre tempted by a Mazzer Mini then you really should talk to a site sponsor about the differences in grinders and their prices.

    I was thinking Rocky originally but ended up with a Macap M5; it should last me a lifetime. My daughter actually wants it bequeathed to her in my will along with my Expobar.

    A better grinder will handle lesser coffee machines but not the other way around.
    So if you buy the best grinder youll ever need you wont have to upgrade.
    To me thats cheaper in the long run.

    Im guessing youll eventually want to buy something to replace the EM6900.
    That may have to wait until you refill the budget coffers but then you can buy the best you can afford (always try to spend a little more than you think ;) ) and hopefully put off upgrading for as long as possible if not also forever.

    For home use the differnce between doser and doserless is usually mess control.

    Btw, I noticed youve had an issue or two with the 6900, you might consider voting in the poll.
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1167733695/0#0

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Hi Mark,

    Just scrolling down your list:

    -The gaggia has stepped grind adjustment.

    -The challenge is stepless. It is available both with a crappy and flimsy doser and as a doserless grinder.

    -In a head-to-head comparison between the iberital and the rocky, the rocky will probably last longer, but the iberital will allow you to dial in your espresso much better. The rocky is much easier to switch between espresso and other grind levels if you want to use it for french press as well, for example.

    -The mazzer mini is, IMHO, a decisively better grinder. There have been a lot of comparisons between the mini and the rocky that have come out with the mini on top. I myself borrowed my friends minis several times whenever I had the opportunity until I finally sold my rocky to get a mini on my bench. Here are some of the comparisons:

    http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/13045
    http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/18271
    http://www.e61hx.com/ (you can use the drop down menus on Teemus blog to follow his upgrade path from rocky to mini to mini electronic)

    When using the mini with the silvia that I used to own, I found that I could dial in my shots much more easily and I was able to get a larger volume of espresso before it went blonde. On top of that, I dont think that anyone would dispute that the build quality of the mini is better.

    -Doser vs doserless isnt really very straightforward. Basically, you want a dosing system that will deliver ground coffee into your portafilter with a minimum of mess and a minimum of stale coffee mixing into your freshly ground coffee. In terms of stale coffee, in theory a doserless grinder should have no leftover coffee. In practice, practically every single grinder ever made accumulates coffee in the horizontal exit path from the burrs, so whether you have a dosered or doserless grinder, you should purge this every time before brewing. Then the big difference is that a doser can obviously hold coffee in the doser. Some dosers sweep cleaner than others. In the rocky, the sweeping vanes are quite a bit above the bottom of the dosing chamber. My mini does a pretty good job, but still isnt perfect. A relatively common home modification to dosered grinders is to put some electrical tape on the sweeping vanes so that they sweep the chamber clean. In terms of mess, I find the doserless grinders to be a lot more irritating than the decent dosered grinders. The dosers confine the mess to in the doser itself or on the grinds tray immediately below where the coffee is dispensed. Doserless grinders have a tendency to spray ground coffee all over the counter. Either that, or they dispense huge lumps of coffee, which presents a different problem. The exception is the mini electronic, which uses a dosing funnel rather than a spout. We bench tested and dialled in three of them a few weeks ago for customers and after maybe a dozen shots there were a few grains of coffee on the counter, but not much else. Then again, I used a friends a while ago and there was a bit of mess ... not sure what was going on there. In any case, thats more or less moot because if you dont like the price tag on the mini, you certainly wont like the price tag on the electronic ;P

    I played devils advocate in a rocky vs mazzer thread on cg a while ago; you might be interested in that:
    http://www.coffeegeek.com/forums/espresso/machines/213856#213856

    -Regarding the monster baskets, there isnt necessarily a problem. You will just be using HEAPS more coffee than usual. This means that if you extract 60mL from the "double" basket you are really getting something more like two massive ristretti than two espressi. I think that sunbeam did this as a crutch ... its a lot harder to screw up when you are using massive amounts of coffee. By the same token, I think that you do get a more generic thick and chocolatey flavoured coffee than something really special ... but thats a matter of personal preference. You might want to try extracting 60mL from the "single" basket to get more of a feeling for how the other half live.

    -An alternate grinder that your research doesnt seem to have turned up is the Compak K3 Touch. They are very new and very scarce on the ground at the moment. To be precise, Talk Coffee has the only one, which isnt a bad thing because Chris is offering it as a discounted demo model and we all know that he looks after his machines well. It is a stepless and doserless grinder that has been revised a few times, so I have been following its development for a while now, but I havent had a chance to use one.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Marky - I know someone who has a very good machine, the name escapes me for the moment and they still use their MDF grinder and get very good results, Their grinder is a very old one too and it still hums along nicely.

    It really comes down to what you can and cannot afford to spend. A rocky or mini mazzer would be great. The thing is, and what some people sometimes fail to take into consideration is that not everybody has a huge disposable income or cannot justify to their partners the sort of outlay some of these more expensive grinders (and machines) require.

    My budget was $200-$250. I did pay a little more than that (not much) and got a very good deal because it has a scratch on the casing that I cannot even find BUT I had to do some very fast talking tp OG and fortunately I had money that had been put away to get it. If I did not have that money given to me and a very persuasive manner, there would be no hope in hell I could have afforded the MDF.

    Sometimes it really irks me when I see someone post that they only have a limited budget and are asking for the best way to go about dealing with their coffee addiction on a limited income only to be told they need to spend so much more money for a better piece of equipment when what they are looking at will do a pretty good job too.

    Surely, it is more important that people stroke their coffeesnobbery with the best they can afford and learn and explore the wonders of coffee than to feel embarrassed and become disheartened because they cannot afford to spend double thier initial budget.

    FWIW, I really enjoy roasting coffee, but part of my main reason for starting roasting is because it is so much cheaper (about 60%) than buying beans already roasted.

    end of rant

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Mark, while some of your comments and concerns are relevant I feel this thread HAS been hijacked.

    I only wanted to spend around $300. I will only be using it for espresso. Dont care about noise or mess. Longevity and quality are also important. All I want are opinions from the experts on which grinder suits my criteria. I think its Challenge vs Gaggia with Challenge the leader at the moment (just) but if we start talking about Mazzers then we are not comparing apples with apples and it is not helping me and others with similar criteria.

    PS Well said Lucinda!

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by barri link=1167626020/15#18 date=1167774313
    Mark, while some of your comments and concerns are relevant I feel this thread HAS been hijacked.

    I only wanted to spend around $300. I will only be using it for espresso. Dont care about noise or mess. Longevity and quality are also important. All I want are opinions from the experts on which grinder suits my criteria. I think its Challenge vs Gaggia with Challenge the leader at the moment (just) but if we start talking about Mazzers then we are not comparing apples with apples and it is not helping me and others with similar criteria.

    PS Well said Lucinda!
    In which case barri, Id say go the Challenge- because its stepless.

    2mcm

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    As an Iberital Challenge owner I would recommend it in the 300 dollar or less category. The only cons I have experienced with it so far is that it is noisey and messy. It is a bit on the fiddly side when first setting up to your machine as it feels like you have to turn the adjustment knob forever to get any real difference in grind. But this "infinite" adjust is a good thing at the same time as it you set it up to grind exactly how you want without having to compromise on the nearest step.

    I have had mine since the start of November so cant really comment on longevity of the grinder but seems to be sturdy enough. I have been happy with my doserless version and have learnt to live with the mess it makes by putting a tray under it that is large enough to do all the dosing and grinding on to make it easier to clean up afterwards.

    Good luck with your grinder selection and I am sure you will be producing great espresso with your set up that you settle on.

    Brett

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I got my challenge in december and have used it very heavily over christmas and new years. I highly recommend it for espresso. I got mine from Chris (2MCM).

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I hope you are less confused. To cut a long story short, both of these are solidly built and will suit your needs and will last a long time, even when and if you upgrade your machine.

    Basically it is a question of what you prefer.

    The gaggia is a stepped ginder - though you can turn it into a stepless if you feel the need. It also has a doser, so there is less mess with coffee grounds etc, unless you are a bit messy like me. I also ground a heap of beans yesterday for OG to take to work for the plunger and it did a great job.

    The Iberital, is stepless, and does not have a doser so there is more of a tendency for mess. Really , it all depends on how much you want to fiddle with your grind and how OCD you are about it.

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I think there is a doser version of the Iberital as well. Not sure of the price difference though so your best bet would be to pm a site sponsor.

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by lucinda link=1167626020/15#22 date=1167879787
    I hope you are less confused.
    Im not confused anymore and have appreciated everybodys input. The Challenge is definitely my choice but if unavailable Im sure the MDF would suit me fine.

    Maybe a site sponsor could give me a great price. I dont mind if you want to undercut each other. ;D


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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Actually I am confused again :(

    I was offered a Solis Maestro Plus for $300. A solid, doserless unit with a timer and 40 adjustments. Ive read a few reviews and it seems OK. The older Solis seemed to have problems like the EM6900 but the latest model has improved.

    Whats the general attitude towards the Solis Maestro Plus for an espresso only drinker.

    My list is now Iberital Challenge, Gaggia MDF and Solis Maestro Plus. All about $300

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    barri,

    the Solis Maestro plus is an upgrade to the Solis 166 (maestro) AKA Delonghi KG100 but is basically the same mechanism with more (smaller) steps. Still grinds from really course to espresso.

    I found the grind of the 166 to be very uneven- quite a bit of powder in the finer grounds..... probably due to plastic burr holder with quite a bit of play in the mounting.

    For espresso only, a finer (and better quality) adjustment would be beneficial.

    Id go the Iberital Challenge myself for an espresso only grinder.

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    No mess need occur with the Iberital Challenge doserless grinder IF the basket is loaded to just 14 grams.

    Its only when we updose, and fit it more than the basket was designed to hold, that coffee powder starts to slide off the mound and onto the bench.

    So, if you are happy with 14 grams -- theres no mess.

    Unfortunately, many of us, including myself, go for at least 3 or 4 grams above that quantity, and thats when the mess begins.

    Ive adapted a 2-litre plastic milk bottle to take care of that problem. Ugly, yes, but functional

    -Robusto

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Hi Barri.

    Not sure about the Solis Maestro, but I do own a DeLonghi KG100 (rebadged Solis 166). If you want good, repeatable espresso, the Solis 166 wont cut it. There is a lot of size inconsistency in the grind and some clumping issues and without modification it cant grind fine enough to ensure a decent extraction. Also the burr set is not replaceable as far as I know.. But as French press grinder itd probably do a good job...

    Sorry if this has been useless info for you. *:)

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I second Flos comments and I do own a KG100... for $300 Id get the challenge without a doubt.... its a tried and tested burrset..same as the Lux and Sunbeam burrset... Id stay away from the Solis Maestro if I were you...

    Its good for French Press but thats about it... IMHO

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    I just ordered the Iberital Challenge and I should get it tomorrow :). Thanks to everyone for their great advice. Ill let people know how well it pairs up with the EM6910. Incidentally I reckon I just about got the last Challenge in Australia. Most suppliers are out of stock until late Feb.

    Now I hope I dont have to waste 1kg of beans trying to get the perfect shot. As I will only be making espressos it should only need subtle changes after I find that perfect initial grind. Any hints here will be appreciated. Thanks to all again!

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Dont be shy with the adjustment knob on the challenge. When you are initially setting it up a ahlf turn or even a full turn might not make a huge difference until you get it fairly close. I didnt realise this when I first got mine which ended up wasting a fair amount of coffee. But you will get to the setting you need in no time with patience.

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Barri, do some minor testing and grind some coffee into your fingers and check the grind by rubbing your fingers together... youll know if its fine enough... when you get the around about grind size required, start pulling some shots and fine tune from there... If youre pulling a double, the grind needs to be a tad finer than sand.. and updose...... eg... Fill PF, tap down on bench to collapse, very light tamp, fill again to a mountain, pack grinds with hand, level with a knife and hard tamp... then pull your shot....

    You need to really updose the PF on the EM6910... and lock the PF nice and tight (dont over tighten - youll know if its not tight enough as the PF will leak around the seal)

    Short of that, post up here and well help where we can... you should get a pour just like my photos here

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1164881708

  34. #34
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Thanks marcstolk. A great tip!
    Your pours are magnificent. If I get half as good as that Ill be rapt.

    Would it be a good idea to use the single basket and do a single shot to save beans while I am dialing in the grinder. I vary rarely make two cups at once

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    It is much easier to get consistent shots with the double than it is the single. The majority of people use the double even when making one coffee. Either letting half the shot go into the drip tray (or a shot glass to examine the shot) or just use the first part of the pour and get the sweeter part of the shot.
    Your call on the single basket but probably better going with the double :)

  36. #36
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Good advice from CS there Barri,

    The Single basket leaves a lot less room for error when trying to "dial it in" because of the much smaller dose of coffee. Practise on the Double basket until youre getting consistent results and have a feel for whats going on, and then try the Single to see how you go and what grinder setting changes need to be made.

    I guess if youre likely to be making (and drinking) mostly single shots then it will probably pay to see if you can master the smaller basket.... it can be a tricky little bugger to get consistent with though so youll just have to see how it works out down the track a bit. All the best,

    Mal.

  37. #37
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    OK Ill give it a shot (pun intended) tomorrow (if the Iberital Challenge arrives) and let you know.

    PS Do you guys make house calls?

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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    It probably should be added that it is best to examine the puck after the shot is pulled before you make adjustments to the grinder. So that you know you are dosing consistently and correctly before you make an unecessary grinder adjustment. If you do some searching for dosing in one of the threads there should be some info about that for you.

    But most of all have fun with it all :D

  39. #39
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    The Iberital Challenge arrived this morning and the first thing I noticed was it did not come with any instructions. Not that you need any but it would have been nice. I found the following link on the web which helped http://www.thedomesticbarista.com/co...2040/27/<br />.

    Did my first grind and it was very coarse and to make it finer I had to rotate the knob almost 12 revolutions to get it roughly right but after that I really appreciated the infinite adjustment. Anyway after about an hour of experimenting I got 30mls in 30 seconds on the single basket with a good crema and a reasonable puck although it was a little soggy. And as for the taste :)
    I was able to repeat this with some consistency. I used the mount, distribute, tamp and polish method each time but I did notice others sometimes also tamp when the basket is half full. Anyway I have found a technique that suits me, although it might not be perfect at least I can sit down and relax now

    As for the grinder and how it teams up with the EM6910 well all I can say is fantastic ;), but if you switch between espresso and plunger then youll hate this grinder. The knob requires too many revolutions to alter the grind. In my case I will only use it for espresso so my only adjusting will be marginal from here, I hope.

    Thanks to everyone who advised this grinder for my needs. A perfect choice! A classy grinder for its price.

  40. #40
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by barri link=1167626020/30#38 date=1169007052
    The Iberital Challenge arrived this morning and the first thing I noticed was it did not come with any instructions. Not that you need any but it would have been nice. I found the following link on the web which helped http://www.thedomesticbarista.com/co...2040/27/<br />.

    Did my first grind and it was very coarse and to make it finer I had to rotate the knob almost 12 revolutions to get it roughly right but after that I really appreciated the infinite adjustment. Anyway after about an hour of experimenting I got 30mls in 30 seconds on the single basket with a good crema and a reasonable puck although it was a little soggy. And as for the taste *:)
    I was able to repeat this with some consistency. I used the mount, distribute, tamp and polish method each time but I did notice others sometimes also tamp when the basket is half full. Anyway I have found a technique that suits me, although it might not be perfect at least I can sit down and relax now

    As for the grinder and how it teams up with the EM6910 well all I can say is fantastic *;), but if you switch between espresso and plunger then youll hate this grinder. The knob requires too many revolutions to alter the grind. In my case I will only use it for espresso so my only adjusting will be marginal from here, I hope.

    Thanks to everyone who advised this grinder for my needs. A perfect choice! A classy grinder for its price.
    Great news Barri!

    Based on your info, I think that you are most likely grinding a tad fine and underdosing. Did you see any chanelling? If so, your espresso may be sour- (you will probably taste it towards the front of your tongue). Your puck should have a little give and leave your machine dry, or very close to dry. Perhaps incorporate a consistent style of bench tap, or a dose and collapse and maybe a slightly coarser grind to improve your pucks...

    regards

    2mcm

  41. #41
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by 2muchcoffeeman link=1167626020/30#39 date=1169007997
    Quote Originally Posted by barri link=1167626020/30#38 date=1169007052
    The Iberital Challenge arrived this morning and the first thing I noticed was it did not come with any instructions. Not that you need any but it would have been nice. I found the following link on the web which helped http://www.thedomesticbarista.com/co...2040/27/<br />.

    Did my first grind and it was very coarse and to make it finer I had to rotate the knob almost 12 revolutions to get it roughly right but after that I really appreciated the infinite adjustment. Anyway after about an hour of experimenting I got 30mls in 30 seconds on the single basket with a good crema and a reasonable puck although it was a little soggy. And as for the taste :)
    I was able to repeat this with some consistency. I used the mount, distribute, tamp and polish method each time but I did notice others sometimes also tamp when the basket is half full. Anyway I have found a technique that suits me, although it might not be perfect at least I can sit down and relax now

    As for the grinder and how it teams up with the EM6910 well all I can say is fantastic ;), but if you switch between espresso and plunger then youll hate this grinder. The knob requires too many revolutions to alter the grind. In my case I will only use it for espresso so my only adjusting will be marginal from here, I hope.

    Thanks to everyone who advised this grinder for my needs. A perfect choice! A classy grinder for its price.
    Great news Barri!

    Based on your info, I think that you are most likely grinding a tad fine and underdosing. Did you see any chanelling? If so, your espresso may be sour- (you will probably taste it towards the front of your tongue). Your puck should have a little give and leave your machine dry, or very close to dry. Perhaps incorporate a consistent style of bench tap, or a dose and collapse and maybe a slightly coarser grind to improve your pucks...

    regards

    2mcm
    Yep, what 2mcm said.... What works for me is grind to a mount, tap on bench, grind to a mound again, compress with hand, level with a knife (or similar) then tamp with good pressure and polish without pressure... If you machine chokes, grind courser and use the same dosing method.... This works a treat for me :) The Sunbeam needs to be up dosed thats for sure.....

    Marc

  42. #42
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Thanks guys.
    2mcm you are right I was underdosing a bit and there was some chanelling but my immature taste buds told me the taste was actually good and the crema was good. Anyway I have spent so much time experimenting today all I wanted was to sit down and have a coffee. You know the feeing!! :-[

    Tomorrow Ill have another bash. What I do recommend is that when you are dialling in your grinder you actually document what you are doing otherwise youll lose track as to what variable youve changed. It seems my next move is to alter to a coarser grind and updose using Marcs method. Ill keep you posted.


  43. #43
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Yep, what 2mcm said.... What works for me is grind to a mount, tap on bench, grind to a mound again, compress with hand, level with a knife (or similar) then tamp with good pressure and polish without pressure... If you machine chokes, grind courser and use the same dosing method.... This works a treat for me :) The Sunbeam needs to be up dosed thats for sure.....


    What do you mean compress by hand Marc? Push down with the palm of your hand?

  44. #44
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Compress, using mainly your fingers - idea is to compress then level with a knife.. then tamp...

  45. #45
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Marcstolk you are a genius.

    I first tried it using your method and the same grind as yesterday and the flow was too slow. Single basket, 30mls in 50 seconds.
    Rewound the Challenge 4 turns coarser (Yes - 4 turns is really only a small change) and used your method again and BINGO!!! :) 30mls in about 30 seconds using the single basket with a perfect flow, perfect crema, perfect puck (shower screen imprint, no channeling, dry etc etc) and of course perfect taste but then Im no expert on taste. The pours were close to yours Marc. I was able to repeat this 3 times in a row.
    The only concern is when I change beans. Do I have to go through all this again?

    Anyway I can now start drinking coffee instead of experimenting with it. By the way I used the single basket because I didnt want to waste any more coffee.

    I can highly recommend the Iberital Challenge as a perfect partner to the EM6910 but as I said before, provided you only have espresso shots.

  46. #46
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    barri,

    Yes, different beans will need a different setting - even the same beans at a different roast level will require a different setting....

    And if you want the best espresso you will also need to slowly reduce the grind size as the beans age, or if the humidity changes, to maintain the correct extraction rate.... but these adjustments are small.

    Making these changes to the grind is an important part of the Barista skill set.


  47. #47
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Barri, try it with the double basket... even better results :-)... IMHO of course... but youll need to grind a tad finer....

    You see, if you setup for the double, you can either let the one side pour out (I use Doubles in MOST of my drinks I drink) or pull 2 cups worth.. and you can entertain...

    Using different beans "May" require a grind change but itll be minor... its more fine tuning than anything...

    I see youre enjoying yourself... awesome stuff... now... to get you roasting your own... always moving forward.... ;-)...

    $$ being my biggest problem, Id buy the Challenge also... and move the EM0480 for Decaf duties...I just cant fine tune the EM0480 as nicely as you would with the Challenge... Not slagging my Sunbeam grinder.. its an awesome grinder - I love it... but progress means fine tuning...

  48. #48
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by JavaB link=1167626020/45#45 date=1169079715
    barri,

    Making these changes to the grind is an important part of the Barista skill set.
    Excellent point JavaB... well pointed out!

  49. #49
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by marcstolk link=1167626020/45#46 date=1169085493
    Barri, try it with the double basket... even better results :-)... IMHO of course... but youll need to grind a tad finer....

    You see, if you setup for the double, you can either let the one side pour out (I use Doubles in MOST of my drinks I drink) or pull 2 cups worth.. and you can entertain...

    Using different beans "May" require a grind change but itll be minor... its more fine tuning than anything...

    I see youre enjoying yourself... awesome stuff... now... to get you roasting your own... always moving forward.... ;-)...

    $$ being my biggest problem, Id buy the Challenge also... and move the EM0480 for Decaf duties...I just cant fine tune the EM0480 as nicely as you would with the Challenge... Not slagging my Sunbeam grinder.. its an awesome grinder - I love it... but progress means fine tuning...
    Marc, Ill try the double basket next week. I think Ill just put my feet up and enjoy the coffees at the moment. As for roasting, I would love to get into that but Ill take small steps at this stage. Perfect single and double shots first then Ill try roasting in a few months.

    As for letting half your 60ml shots pour down the trip tray then arent you concerned about wasting good coffee??

  50. #50
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    Re: Grinder for em6910 - around $300 budget

    Quote Originally Posted by barri link=1167626020/45#48 date=1169095401

    As for letting half your 60ml shots pour down the trip tray then arent you concerned about wasting good coffee??
    Drink it then ;) ;D



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