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Thread: So whats wrong with a wee spice grinder

  1. #1
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    So whats wrong with a wee spice grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I have been using a simple Braun spice / coffee grinder ($10) to make very fine, even grinds and great tasting espresso. On reading here I thought I would modify my Breville BCG450, this I did successfully. But as you know the grind must be a certain fineness or its absolutely useless. The much improved ($170) Breville BCG450 is still useless for anything but plunger, and I am back to using the excellent Braun. Does anyone else find the humble spice grinder enough? Obviously I'd love to have the auto filler etc of the $1000 plus machines but they wont fit in my Ferrari
    I'm using the Breville BES820 with single wall baskets.

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    Senior Member David8's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemp3 View Post
    I have been using a simple Braun spice / coffee grinder ($10) to make very fine, even grinds and great tasting espresso. On reading here I thought I would modify my Breville BCG450, this I did successfully. But as you know the grind must be a certain fineness or its absolutely useless. The much improved ($170) Breville BCG450 is still useless for anything but plunger, and I am back to using the excellent Braun. Does anyone else find the humble spice grinder enough? Obviously I'd love to have the auto filler etc of the $1000 plus machines but they wont fit in my Ferrari
    I'm using the Breville BES820 with single wall baskets.
    I used a spice grinder for espresso for a while, using my old sunbeam. Then I bought a EM0480 more for the ease of things. Then I found this form, and upgraded the machine and the grinder. The quality of coffee improved with EVERY purchase.

    I believe this article from Di Bartoli on choosing a grinder explains it very well:

    Quote Originally Posted by Di Bartoli
    A blade grinder does not really grind, but slashes the beans into smaller and smaller particles, somewhat
    like a food processor. This results in an uneven mix of fine powder and large chunks, making good
    espresso extraction impossible. Another problem with blade grinders is that they generate a lot of heat
    which tends to burn the grinds, leaving a burnt, metallic taste.
    So no, a spice grinder is not enough. And will be severely limiting the potential of your espresso. If you want a cheap grinder that will do the job, look at hand grinders.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemp3 View Post
    I have been using a simple Braun spice / coffee grinder ($10) to make very fine, even grinds and great tasting espresso.
    Obviously there is nothing wrong with your particular "spice" grinder. You are getting the results that satisfy your taste buds.
    Spice grinder will chop the beans, not grind, so there must be something different in the Braun blades that gives the even (adequate) grind for your BES820 machine.
    Money does not always buy the best (cars) but with the coffee process, you can get results that suit your needs on a smaller budget.
    Be aware though, the virus called UPGRADEITIS will emerge from time to time to test your budget management skills. ;-)
    jonaso likes this.

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    I just read the Di Bartoli article but I find the Braun bade grinder is able to give a constant and even "fine grind" when the modded Breville BCG450 has visually large chunks amongst the finer particles but overall no where near as fine as the Braun. I find it hard to believe the blades are creating heat in the 5 to 10 seconds that it takes to grind in the Braun, I also shake the grinder slightly as it cuts to ensure mixing and redistribution. I have been analyzing each coffee and don't get metallic aroma or taste. I get fine grounds but none too fine that they pass into the bottom of the coffee cup.

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    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemp3 View Post
    I just read the Di Bartoli article but I find the Braun bade grinder is able to give a constant and even "fine grind" when the modded Breville BCG450 has visually large chunks amongst the finer particles but overall no where near as fine as the Braun. I find it hard to believe the blades are creating heat in the 5 to 10 seconds that it takes to grind in the Braun, I also shake the grinder slightly as it cuts to ensure mixing and redistribution. I have been analyzing each coffee and don't get metallic aroma or taste. I get fine grounds but none too fine that they pass into the bottom of the coffee cup.
    Hi mike, if you're happy with it then that's all that matters. For what it's worth I was happy with my spice grinder and Breville home appliance until I was made aware that I was not really drinking good coffee. Perhaps ignorance is bliss because several thousand dollars later I am drinking good coffee...

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    I'm sure I could / will improve no doubt, but what I'm making beats anything I get in the cafes. So yes I'm happy, very happy considering my budget.
    Last edited by mikemp3; 9th November 2012 at 02:34 PM.

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    Senior Member trentski's Avatar
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    Sounds like your grinder modification wasn't all that successful after all.......

    You are wasting your time trying to convince anyone here that a blade "grinder" is acceptable for making coffee with. If you like it then that's all that matters, but you could be doing it better.

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    Modifing the Breville BCG450 (removing both plastic stops) was a major improvement but still only produces a 6-8 second shot compared to a 20 second shot using the Braun. I would like to remove the Brevilles lower burr and shim it, as that will place both burrs closer together for sure (in a safe manner) but I cannot unscrew it. I will probably try anything to remove the bur (risking damage) as its currently useless for espresso.

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    Just because this forum is for CSers, I'm going to say this - I once met a cafe owner who claimed they knew everything about coffee, which was fine, because they were the owner. They then declared they didn't understand why they don't have adequate business, yet the single origins and boutiques across the rd (read Surry Hills) have heaps of business - because apparently Vittoria coffee (and therefore, their coffee) MUST be suprerior to everything else, given the size of their distribution. Out of politeness (and curiosity), I asked the owner what she drinks and was asked to make a quarter shot latte topped with cold milk because the normal temp created by the machines were too hot. She also pointed out her need for a quarter shot was because caffeine gave her stomach aches.
    I was too nice to tell her it might just be the (mixed) milk.
    So really, each to their own taste buds and in retrospective on my wallet, saoye is so right about ignorance being bliss.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lilmeh View Post
    Just because this forum is for CSers, I'm going to say this - I once met a cafe owner who claimed they knew everything about coffee...
    I have always thought that anyone who knows everything about coffee has clearly reached his/her use by date and should try something else...

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikemp3 View Post
    I would like to remove the Brevilles lower burr and shim it, as that will place both burrs closer together for sure (in a safe manner) but I cannot unscrew it. I will probably try anything to remove the bur (risking damage) as its currently useless for espresso.
    The burrs are left hand thread, try going the other way 8-0

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    Update: I didn't remove the burr from the rod but the rod and burr from the gear box then shimmed the shaft between the burr and the bronze bearing, thus closing the gap between the two burrs. Yes I think the grind is finer but still giving only a 8-10 second shot. I'm going to buy a Breville BCG800 smart grinder now as I feel I have got all I can get from the BCG450. Oh and you all are so right about me knowing nothing.

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    Hmmm, nobody knows nothing mikemp3........ some know more than others and are happy to share that knowledge........ Everyone needs a "teacher" in their life.
    I agree with Talk_Coffee, if it is considered that there is no more to be learned and experienced, then the "journey" has ended.
    SammyLee likes this.



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