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Thread: Buying 1st Grinder

  1. #1
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    Buying 1st Grinder

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

    Looking for your comments and suggestions.

    I am in the process of choosing my first grinder. I have been obsessed with coffee since working in a swanky shop maybe 7 years ago, however, as a poverty stricken student, I was never in a position to buy a coffee setup I would be happy with.

    At work, we have a Mazzer, not sure which (i don't really touch it... thats the secretaries job!). Maybe I'll check. At work... I have several long black coffees a day. I'm pretty obsessed.

    Now times have changed, I have been working a while, and it's time to treat myself. Grinder first, i reckon.

    Money is not really an issue. I don't want to waste my money, so the cheaper the better within reason. I would set a max of $2000, but ideally I would spend half that. Even more ideally I would spend around $600. Put another way, I don't want to feel like I want to upgrade in a year or two, I would prefer to buy something pretty decent now.

    Use - I will in time buy a pretty decent coffee machine. Have not chosen yet, however. For now it is plungers, siphons, and those snazzy italian oven kettles Accordingly, a grinder that can change grind size would be ideal. And I am in love with dosers, I think I would be disappointed without one!

    As I said, I would appreciate your comments and suggestions. I have had a good look around various forums, but have yet seen anything which really convinces me that it is what I want. Maybe the Mazzer Kony, but do you think it is worth the money for me? During the working week, I'll only touch it twice a day, maybe more on weekends.

    Can't wait to hear what you guys have to say!

    Woof!

  2. #2
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    I would go a Mahlkonig Vario home grinder ($650ish). Swing from espresso to filter fast if you are into your black coffee. Have used and sold these and they are brilliant. I have a ProM but that's $1800 price tag.

  3. #3
    Coffee Nut fg1972's Avatar
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    For such a wide budget there are so many options.
    You really can't go wrong with any of the Mazzer's, which are build like tanks and will last a lifetime.
    Personally for home use, I wouldn't see the need to go beyond the Mazzer Mini which is in the $750ish price range if you want the doser.

  4. #4
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    Hi Scotty,

    For mine, unless space is at an absolute premium, I wouldn't go with a Vario. They're lightweight and I place them at the top end of what I term appliance grinders- Sunbeam through to the Vario. When I look at one, I see a $400 grinder, not a $600+ grinder and being critical, they really don't offer any more functionality over that of a $250 Breville- albeit with higher grind quality. I think they're overpriced and for that reason, we don't range them.

    Your brief appears very open on size and price. My advice would be to look to some of the great small commercials such as Mazzer, Macap, Compak. I use a Kony-E at home and wouldn't swap it for anything else- however it really is probably a case of overkill and they are expensive. Doser grinders from the above 3 manufacturers are excellent. I also highly rate some of the digital doserless grinders with the Macap M4D being a personal favourite.

    Happy shopping.

    Chris
    Fresh_Coffee likes this.

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    Re: "...Use - I will in time buy a pretty decent coffee machine. Have not chosen yet, however. For now it is plungers, siphons, and those snazzy italian oven kettles Accordingly, a grinder that can change grind size..."

    Yes and according to the brief, a good quality stepped grinder will allow easy change for the various brew methods (as well as offering no problem for pump driven espresso when the choice on that is made).

  6. #6
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    I bought a Macap stepped doser model a few years ago from Talk Coffee and have been happy with it.
    I don't foresee ever needing to upgrade.

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    I agree, the Mahlkonig Vario is a great choice. Macro and Micro grind adjustment, electronic timers, plus it is clean and quite. You can get them for $500ish if you google a bit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    For mine, unless space is at an absolute premium, I wouldn't go with a Vario. They're lightweight and I place them at the top end of what I term appliance grinders- Sunbeam through to the Vario. When I look at one, I see a $400 grinder, not a $600+ grinder and being critical, they really don't offer any more functionality over that of a $250 Breville- albeit with higher grind quality. I think they're overpriced and for that reason, we don't range them.
    Chris
    I disagree somewhat, the Vario has ceramic flar burs and pretty much the same features a a Mazzer Mini E for less than 1/2 the price.
    Brian13 likes this.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by wezman View Post
    I disagree somewhat, the Vario has ceramic flar burs and pretty much the same features a a Mazzer Mini E for less than 1/2 the price.
    Wow guys, thanks for all your time and responses. You're all too kind!
    So many options... makes choosing a right pain in the proverbial!

    Especially when the world seems to disagree, i.e. Vario - worth it or not.

    I guess when your spending that much on something you really have to love it, and for me - I'm not really a fan of the look of the Vario. (sorry Wezman! I really do appreciate your suggestion though - I love a bit of discussion).

    It seems that a stepped grinder is a must.

    As Chris suggests, I am starting to gear towards either Mazzer, Macap or Compak. Will probably go with whatever I can get the best offer on, having no real idea which one I would prefer.
    At work (Law firm) we are using a Mazzer, with the only indication of a model is Luigi? (or maybe that's just the guys name?). Seems pretty good, so I think I would be pretty gutted if my one at home did not compare to that.

    If anyone can differentiate between the above mentioned brands, I would love to hear what you have to say.

    Cheers again guys!

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    I have worked in espresso bars doing 100kg a week... I would never buy a mazzer. They are potentially the biggest hyped up piece of gear i have seen. They clump, they dose inconsistently, they overheat and slow to cool down, they are built as dosers that don't dose we'll... and when the doserless became the in "thing" mazzer just put a crappy funnel on the front.

    Look I agree that the vario has some cheaper parts, but they have been designed to be a great home doserless from the ground up. As mentioned, they are also half the price! I own a roastery and we have done tests under microscope and have found amazing results in even particle size for the flat burr Mahlkonigs. Particles are even and round, oval in shape compared to the mazzers. Blind cupping also supports bigger clarity of flavour.

    We use K30s and I have seen many convert from the robur. Don't just follow the crowd, investigate for yourself and make the best decision. That's what we have done, and our customers appreciate it.

    Enjoy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brian13 View Post
    I have worked in espresso bars doing 100kg a week... I would never buy a mazzer. They are potentially the biggest hyped up piece of gear i have seen. They clump, they dose inconsistently, they overheat and slow to cool down, they are built as dosers that don't dose we'll... and when the doserless became the in "thing" mazzer just put a crappy funnel on the front.

    Look I agree that the vario has some cheaper parts, but they have been designed to be a great home doserless from the ground up. As mentioned, they are also half the price! I own a roastery and we have done tests under microscope and have found amazing results in even particle size for the flat burr Mahlkonigs. Particles are even and round, oval in shape compared to the mazzers. Blind cupping also supports bigger clarity of flavour.

    We use K30s and I have seen many convert from the robur. Don't just follow the crowd, investigate for yourself and make the best decision. That's what we have done, and our customers appreciate it.

    Enjoy.
    Hi Brian,

    I appreciate your sentiments, but as I am a lone soldier, and not in a cafe - I will not be having many customers. Accordingly, I would probably prefer to go with tried and tested than go-it-alone... I don't need to distinguish myself from the crowds!

    I'm thinking about the K10, unless someone tells me that it is money well spent if I go a bit more up market.

    Cheers! (and woof!)

  12. #12
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    I have a macap which be up for sale soon, i loved it. Upgraded from a rocky and the change was substantial, great machine and looks good too

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    Quote Originally Posted by Simon-H View Post
    I have a macap which be up for sale soon, i loved it. Upgraded from a rocky and the change was substantial, great machine and looks good too
    Oh yeah Simon?! How soon is soon... not that it matters, I can wait. ...Maybe a deal can be done

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    Quote Originally Posted by scottydog View Post
    Oh yeah Simon?! How soon is soon... not that it matters, I can wait. ...Maybe a deal can be done
    Ad will be up in the for sale section tonight, will be the Minore II and the Macap together, so keep your eyes peeled !

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    Okay, so after another night researching everything I can about grinders, it appears as Fresh Coffee suggests, that I would find a stepped grinder must if I am keen to easily change from espresso, to things like plungers.

    This comes after I thought I had settled on the Compak K3 (or K6) or the mazzer mini. However, these appear to both be stepless. Will that make them pretty much unsuitable for my needs? Or - am I missing something.

    Cheers!

  16. #16
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    think its a matter of convenience rather than a design flaw.

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    Quote Originally Posted by richard_m_h View Post
    think its a matter of convenience rather than a design flaw.
    Don't you worry Richard - I certainly wasn't knocking any of those two machines! In fact, I will probably get one or the other and just cope with having to reset and fine tune each time I change.

    That's unless anyone can recommend a stepped machine of the same calibre as either of the above? I certainly haven't had any luck finding one...

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by scottydog View Post
    However, these appear to both be stepless. Will that make them pretty much unsuitable for my needs? Or - am I missing something.
    Perhaps....

    On the other hand, for those able to walk a few steps (say to the fridge) and then return pretty accurately to origin (the couch), a stepless grinder will be fine. You will have markings of some description on the collar and it's easy to take a reference from a landmark and then return the collar to where you started.

    No need to make things any more complex than need be. Buy a grinder you like and then learn to use it!

  19. #19
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    I agree with what Talk_Coffee said about stepless grinders. There's no reason you can't go from plunger to pour-over to espresso with a stepless, I do! Just make a mark on the collar where each spot is - if you need to change the marks just rub them off. Even with stepped, you'll need to change your grind setting every couple of days for espresso as the beans age - and the stepless is much easier in this regard because sometimes on a stepped grinder the position you need is between two of the steps!

    Have a look at the below link and you should be able to tell what you have in the office:
    Extreme machines for lovers of the brown bean
    Very simply, and in most cases...
    Mini is small and has a rounded cone shaped hopper.
    Super Jolly has a straight cone shaped hopper.
    Major's hopper has straight sides that change to steep cone into the neck, and 3 air-vents in the side.
    Kony - top fifth of the grinder body is a chrome peice (above the 3 side vents and below where the hopper goes in).
    Robur is huge - similar hopper and vents as the Major but bigger. If it's the biggest grinder you've ever seen it's the Robur.

  20. #20
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    Full marks to the Compak K3 Touch(with short hopper if space is at a premium). With experience, its stepless functionality is not an issue - just mark out your favorite settings on the machine with a bit of correction fluid. Of course remembering the marks for your different beans can be challenging.

  21. #21
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    Scottydog, Do you mind secondhand? I bought my older Compak K8 for $400. Didn't worry about the burrs as I knew I can replace them for about $100 so for about $500 I have a commercial grinder that will outlast my life.



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