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Thread: Zassenhaus grinder woes

  1. #1
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    Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    After 3 years of grinding beans for espresso coffees successfully in *a Zassenhaus Knee Mill, I decided to get their top-of-the-range model (Zassenhaus 169 dg) as a backup.

    The Zassenhaus sales-pitch says:

    Zassenhaus 169 dg

    Destined to be a family heirloom this grinder (properly treated) should last a lifetime.

    This sales-pitch may be true. *But in my hands, I cannot persuade it to grind beans; the beans just sit in the hopper over the grinder thread and never feed into it.

    Is it me or the machine?

    All advice will be gratefully received.


    Felix Karpfen * *

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    hi Felix,

    it may be that you need to adjust the new Zassenhausens burrs... they may have been factory set to zero, and that would mean that nothing would get in between the burrs at all, bar a few molecules of air perhaps... ;)
    i dont know that particular model, but all Zassenhausen-s have, as far as i know, an adjustment knob for the burrs.
    find it, turn it until beans start feeding through from the hopper and then see what fineness of grinds you get out of the machine... tweak the grind from there.
    good luck!!

    L

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    We have three Z grinders, all ancient. However, looking at pictures of yours at
    sweetmarias, the hopper and burr arrangement is very similar. These have an
    adjustment underneath -- a little "lever" on the bottom of the burr carrier. Yours
    seems to adjust from the top.

    For espresso, I adjust by first setting it so the burrs lock up -- cant move the
    handle. Then back off so that they move, but with noticeable friction and a bit
    of noise. This setting produces a pretty even espresso grind (albeit slowly).
    Backing off a touch more gives a good aeropress grind, a bit more again for
    plunger, so that it just moves freely.

    Ive put all sorts of beans through on these settings, mostly plunger though.
    Never had a problem feeding the beans through. The Zs are the most
    consistent of the hand grinders we have (a little collection now).

    Maybe start at a really coarse grind, where the gap is much bigger, and see if
    you have any luck. And work back.

    Well thats pretty much what Lizzi said, only more longwinded :)
    Lets know how it goes.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    not longwinded, Haz, just with much more techno detail!! ;)

    L

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by hazbean link=1190843000/0#2 date=1190895966

    SNIP

    Never had a problem feeding the beans through. The Zs are the most
    consistent of the hand grinders we have (a little collection now).

    Maybe start at a really coarse grind, where the gap is much bigger, and see if
    you have any luck. And work back.

    Lets know how it goes.

    Firstly, my thanks to all who shared their experience.

    Secondly, the problem is with the beans - Malabar Monsoon-washed beans supplied by CoffeeSnobs.

    The beans are **too big** for the grinder; even at its most wide-open setting. *Retracing bean-grinding technology to an earlier era for the initial grind (pestle and mortar), solved the problem.

    I am still trying to come to terms with paying an extra $30 for the top-of-the-line model. *The cheaper, knee-held model grinds the large beans without any problems.

    Felix


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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Thats interesting.

    Next time I roast those, Ill do a survey of our six (hmm) hand grinders
    and see which pass the test.

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by hazbean link=1190843000/0#5 date=1191021622
    Thats interesting.

    Next time I roast those, Ill do a survey of our six (hmm) hand grinders
    and see which pass the test.
    Please advise outcome.

    Using mortar-and-pestle is a PITA.

    Felix

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    "Please advise outcome. "

    Well I did the test with most of our grinders, two Italian BG grinders
    and three Zassenhaus of various sizes (including one quite small
    that I use for travelling). I omitted the Spong no 2 because that will
    grind anything. All at finest possible grind.

    No problems at all with any of them. I also used some Nicaraguan
    Maragogype, which are monster beans. No problems again.

    Im very surprised at the problems youre having.

  9. #9
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    SOmetimes the width at the top of the funnel does not allow for larger beans to be easily caught by the burrs. I know that with the Iberital challenge you sometimes need to encourage AAA grade and even AA grades with a bit of pressure from above.

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by hazbean link=1190843000/0#7 date=1192952711
    "Please advise outcome. "

    Well I did the test with most of our grinders, two Italian BG grinders
    and three Zassenhaus of various sizes
    grind anything. All at finest possible grind.

    No problems at all with any of them. I also used some Nicaraguan
    Maragogype, which are monster beans. No problems again.

    Im very surprised at the problems youre having.


    Bad news. It looks as though my new Zassenhaus is a lemon. *It took 14 minutes to grind 40g of (very large) coffee beans.

    The problem flagged in "grendels" reply is relevant:

    " SOmetimes the width at the top of the funnel does not allow for larger beans to be easily caught by the burrs".

    But my new Zassenhaus needs more than a prod to coax the beŠns into the funnel opening. No such problems with my old Zassenhaus!

    Felix * *

  11. #11
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Felix, if you bought it new, i would go back to the supplier and put the situation to them....
    it just doesnt sound right...

    L

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1190843000/0#10 date=1193013876
    Felix, if you bought it new, i would go back to the supplier and put the situation to them....
    it just doesnt sound right...

    L
    Alas!

    Easier said than done.

    The new Zassenhaus was a present brought by a visitor from the US :-( .

    I fear that it is a lost cause. *Zassenhaus (Germany) has undergone some recent internal turmoil. *I am unclear what the story is, but I suspect that the company is now under new management and selling somewhat different products (after lacking a web-site and being reported as "out-of-stock" by US and Australian suppliers for some 18 months).

    Thank you for the interest.

    Felix


  13. #13
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    in that case i would write an email to Zass US and put it to them....you never know! ;)

    L

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1190843000/0#12 date=1193100028
    in that case i would write an email to **Zass US** and put it to them....you never know! ;)

    L
    If Zass US exists, then they do not have a web-page.

    But my search did turn up the following up-to-date review:

    http://www.coffeegeek.com/reviews/grinders/zassenhaus_manual_mill/fugue137/4466

    which includes the following quote:

    "With a fine grind I find that I need 137 turns for a shot--this is the Fine Structure Constant, so I believe that the Zassenhaus is trying to tell me something fundamental about the nature of the universe every time I grind".

    Felix

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    CoffeeSnobs Owner Andy's Avatar
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes


    137 turns for a shot?

    Sounds like you need a cordless drill Felix.

    :)

  16. #16
    Senior Member Lizzie's Avatar
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    ok, you have got me curious... i will Zass-grind a shot for espresso tomorrow and count my lucky stars...no, turns!! ;D

    L


    137??? wow...

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by Lizzi link=1190843000/15#15 date=1193313518
    ok, you have got me curious... i will Zass-grind a shot for espresso tomorrow and count my lucky stars...no, turns!! *;D

    L


    137??? wow...
    I am having second thoughts about the reliability of the reviews posted at the "coffee geek" URL; the grinder - if the image of the reviews is relevant - has only a passing resemblance to my ginder of the same model number.

    However, my real discovery is elsewhere.

    As mentioned, I think Zassenhaus (Germany) has undergone a major overhaul. *Their web-page now displays only _one_ coffee grinder - made of stainless steel and looking like the coffee grinders that itinerant Arab traders have loaded onto their camels for the past 1200 years or so.

    So my new coffee grinder may turn into a priceless antique - even if its coffee-grinding ability leaves something to be desired.

    Felix

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Felix, out of curiosity I tried to compare the construction of the burrs
    on your 169g with our largest one, which would be the closest
    reasonable comparison. Below is a picture showing both the burrs and the grinder.
    The burrs are locked up i.e. as fine as possible. I measured
    the gap shown to be 0.83cm at the narrowest point. Should be adequate for most
    beans I think.

    Now if you look at a (not very good) pic of the 169dg burrs here

    *http://www.sweetmarias.com/zassenhaus/zas169dg.burrs.jpg

    they seem to be more deeply recessed. This may be just adjustment, but its
    hard to tell what that same gap would be. Maybe it is a trickier design to get
    right, and yours has a manufacturing defect?





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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by hazbean link=1190843000/15#17 date=1193483225

    Now if you look at a (not very good) pic of the 169dg burrs here

    *http://www.sweetmarias.com/zassenhaus/zas169dg.burrs.jpg

    they seem to be more deeply recessed. This may be just adjustment, but its
    hard to tell what that same gap would be. **Maybe it is a trickier design to get
    right, and yours has a manufacturing defect?**

    A manufacturing defect is possible - especially in view of the upheavals at Zassenhaus.

    At least the "sweetmarias" photo is the correct model - unlike the "coffeegeek" photo.

    One last observation - which may give a further clue.

    My old Zassenhaus grinder is designed to be held between the knees and works very well. *The 169dg model is designed to rest (flat?) on the table and be held down. *This works badly. *But if - when the drawer faces me - I tilt the grinder by resting the left edge on a book (about 1 inch thick) the beans fall into the hopper and are ground at a reasonable speed.

    Felix

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Quote Originally Posted by 6E677C64636768060 link=1190843000/7#7 date=1192952711
    "Please advise outcome. "

    Well I did the test with most of our grinders, two Italian BG grinders
    and three Zassenhaus of various sizes (including one quite small
    that I use for travelling). I omitted the Spong no 2 because that will
    grind anything. All at finest possible grind.

    No problems at all with any of them. I also used some Nicaraguan
    Maragogype, which are monster beans. No problems again.

    Im very surprised at the problems youre having.
    Im interested in the "quite small" one you have as I do a lot of travelling. Would be used with a plunger.

  21. #21
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Hi Pete,

    just in case you hadnt twigged it is a 2 year old thread as well ;) There is currently no consistant supply of Zass grinders in Australia.

    A few members here have purchased via Sweetmarias in the US and there is a few turn up on Ferralbay. Ones to avoid are the plastic bodied and also most of the so called antiques from china ::)

    Genuine Zass or there is a few Dutch or Italian brands that are similar that work fine for plunger/syphon or Drip.

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Saw its an old thread but seems like the same characters in this episode.

    With the internet these days the "tyranny of distance" has been reduced somewhat. Indeed I get a bit POed with local "distributors" who think that theyre going to make their living selling bugger all of [insert niche product here] by marking them up all heck and justifying it on the basis of [insert BS excuse here] only to come up with some creative reason why the "local warranty" they said youd get shouldnt be honoured when your widget, for which you paid a 50% premium to support the local retailer who sells through the internet anyway, goes up the snuff!!

    Anyway, ask me what I really think about the excessively long supply chains weve tolerated for far too long here in Australia ;D

  23. #23
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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    "Im interested in the "quite small" one you have as I do a lot of travelling."

    Yes this is an old thread ...

    Our small Zass is not exactly tiny, but smaller than the others.
    Its a model 105, W 7.8cm x H 11cm x L 11cm (16.5 inc handle).
    Not new ("made in Western Germany"). Grinds very nicely.

    Mostly for travelling we use an Italian BG round knee-grip grinder.
    This doesnt have quite the adjustment finesse of the Z but is fine
    for non-espresso grinds. The waisted knee-grip design makes it
    easier to handle. Similar dimensions.

    The smallest grinder we have is a Czech item called "Tramp".
    Mid 50s, bakelite, in a cardboard box 12.5 x 9 x4cm. Never
    dared use it, but recently my wife found a slightly damaged one
    on e$ay, a bit rusty, she is currently restoring it for use,
    indications are that it grinds quite nicely, burrs are certainly good
    quality.

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    Re: Zassenhaus grinder woes

    Ok, cheers. Not wanting to lug around a 25kg espresso machine I think Ill stick to plunger style while away. Its probably the one time when Ill be prepared to sacrifice a little on the quality if it means being very compact and easy to haul around. The "traditional" box style would be an absolute non-starter for where I need to use it unfortunately.



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