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Thread: A bit of grinder advice please

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    A bit of grinder advice please

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all. I have an old Pavoni commercial gringer. This will sound stupid to many of you, but I only just realised, after years of use, that there is a portion of semi-ground beans that remains in the grinder after I've used it. This portion I'm assuming is then the first amount of grind that comes out the next time I put fresh beans in and grind. I'm not talking about left overs in the shute, I clean that out each time, but in the burr area. This area is really hard to clean out easily. My question is, am I better off getting a new grinder more suitable for light home use? I would prefer not to purge the grinder each time I use it. The burrs also need replacing, assuming I can get new ones. Is this an issue even with small domestic ones? I'm thinking of a Mahlkonig Vario, a Wega Mini 8.5, or a Rocky.

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    TOK
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    This all depends on what you as an individual are looking for....

    If you have never had a problem with the coffees you make (you havent mentioned, so lets just make the assumption), then why does it bother you if you've just realised that there is some grind retention? 99% of grinders have grind retention to any particular degree.

    How do you know the plates need replacing? In home use, if the plates were new when you obtained the grinder, you could problably go for 30 or 40 years before plates need to be replaced (based on say, 250 grams per week ad infinitum...).


    And, what are you hoping to achieve by going from one commercial grinder to other similar grinders ? Depending on the model, its possible you already have a "better" grinder than the Wega and Rocky you mentioned, and both I expect will have a *similar* quantity of grind retention to your current machine. The MAHLKONIG Vario certainly has a number of features that you as an individual may find of benefit in your use, but will you be able to tell the difference where it ultimately counts....in the cup?

    Just some thoughts to help you get your head around the question, and ultimately if you are just sick of looking at a grinder that you have been looking at and using for years and want to make a change, nothing wrong with that. Dont however mistake that for buying any extra quality in the cup for your particular palate. And of course dont let the effect of reading all this stuff in forums ("grass is greener" effect) make you doubt the quality of or make you feel insecure about the machine you already have....
    chokkidog, TC and Dragunov21 like this.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Good advice TOK!

    I think that there is a new, (commercial) Simonelli grinder in the pipeline that claims only 1 gram of grind retention.
    This would be a 'world first'!!

    Apart from that, all grinders retain some grinds. One of the biggest 'offenders' is the Mazzer Robur BUT it's a great grinder, (in an appropriate application).

    You can check your grind retention by running the grinder with no beans in the hopper until all grinds are discharged.

    Might be throwing the 'baby out with the bath water' if you change your grinder for the stated reason.

    Try your coffee with and without a grinder purge and see what works for you, in the cup.


    Some info for you here:
    Espresso Parts

    and from the HB site:

    "Wear indicators include coffee overheating and clumping, having to grind finer and finer, shot volume decreasing before blonding and grind time increasing."

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    TC
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    I really find it perplexing that we can spend hundreds or thousands on kit to then obsess about 10 or 20g of coffee sitting in the throat of the grinder.

    I guess it comes down to how worried is the user about 50c. I purchased a pastry brush and use it when I feel inclined....
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    Great advice, both of you, cheers. My satisfaction with my coffee does go up and down. I do regularly get a bitterness and after thoroughly purging, this seems to go. I guess I was hoping that someone would say "hey, you need the such and such, as there is no grind retention at all!" Wishful thinking I now see. This grinder belonged to my in-laws who had a mobile business and they've never been replaced. I thought for the relatively small cost, I'd eliminate one possible area. I understand your thoughts regarding making lots of changes and not seeing much difference in the cup.

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    I really find it perplexing that we can spend hundreds or thousands on kit to then obsess about 10 or 20g of coffee sitting in the throat of the grinder.

    I guess it comes down to how worried is the user about 50c. I purchased a pastry brush and use it when I feel inclined....
    Great minds Chris, I also use a brush on the Mini Mazzer.
    I grind, brush out the throat, switch the grinder on and off, and brush the throat again, this virtually eliminates all loose grounds, not much you can do about the caked on stuff inside except regularly remove the burr carrier and give the inside a good clean.

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    It has nothing to do with the few cents worth of beans, just want relative ease of use. A brush does not work well with this grinder throat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    I really find it perplexing that we can spend hundreds or thousands on kit to then obsess about 10 or 20g of coffee sitting in the throat of the grinder.

    I guess it comes down to how worried is the user about 50c. I purchased a pastry brush and use it when I feel inclined....

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burkeyboy View Post
    It has nothing to do with the few cents worth of beans,
    Neither does Chris's post, pretty sure he was referring to the cost of the brush.

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    Burkeyboy, stick with your old Pavoni and work on your technique.

    I rarely use a brush up the throat of my Breville Smart Grinder and when I do I find very few trapped grounds. The delivery tube drops from the burrs vertically straight into the portafilter and keeps very clean.

    The Sunbeam grinder I once owned had to be bumped regularly to unblock the diagonal delivery tube.

    I know that the Breville Smart Grinder may be too cheap and unsnobby for many people to have on their kitchen benches but for me it does a great job and makes no mess.

    I donít own a European car either. I drive a Toyota.

    Barry

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burkeyboy View Post
    Hi all. I have an old Pavoni commercial gringer. This will sound stupid to many of you, but I only just realised, after years of use, that there is a portion of semi-ground beans that remains in the grinder after I've used it. This portion I'm assuming is then the first amount of grind that comes out the next time I put fresh beans in and grind. I'm not talking about left overs in the shute, I clean that out each time, but in the burr area. This area is really hard to clean out easily. My question is, am I better off getting a new grinder more suitable for light home use? I would prefer not to purge the grinder each time I use it. The burrs also need replacing, assuming I can get new ones. Is this an issue even with small domestic ones? I'm thinking of a Mahlkonig Vario, a Wega Mini 8.5, or a Rocky.
    Hi Burkeyboy

    I also have a big commercial: A Bo-ema RR45 circa mid '80's. I rarely use it these days as it is noisy, takes up a lot of space, is a pain to adjust and also retains far too much coffee. It is a doser model, and personally I have come to hate dosers over the years (I also detest stale coffee, so I always dose direct into the p/f these days).

    After using the RR45 to calibrate a SB EM480 and living with that for the last three years, with no real issues (except its habit of retaining 'bout 7g of dark roast grinds "in the chute") I recently bought a Mahlkonig Vario gen2. FWIW, although it may be overly harsh, I would call it a brilliant turkish to espresso grinder (surprisingly better than the RR45 at finer espresso settings) that can do coarser at a pinch. At about the midpoint of espresso grinds the RR45 breaks even in terms of grind and anything coarser than espresso is all the RR45's way.

    Good points: Far quieter (hard to hear one room away: "SWMBO uber friendly"), smaller (minute may be more accurate), grind retention usually around 0.2 to 0.5g (not my measurements, Mark Princes) and so fast to adjust micro settings to fine tune it for different humidity / roasts it is amazing. It also leaves nothing scattered on the bench (now that is a first for me). For espresso, so far it also has superb particle size variation. As I use VST baskets, I am actually grinding it a little finer than what be considered normal for espresso. At that grind, it is actually far better (much less fines) than my Bo-ema (which to be fair was only designed for espresso and coarser). Oh, it is surprisingly heavy so it does not move around on the bench. Easy to clean out: one quick puff of my airline to reach pristine status. That makes it the fastest grinder to clean (by a huge margin) that I have ever come across (FYI: making espresso on various mainly commercial gear since 1970). Oh, not that I use them much but the timers are at least as accurate and consistent as I have encountered (see below*).

    Annoying points: If you do not fit the hopper in fully, it will not grind at all: more of an initial learning curve, as the hopper is initially quite stiff to insert fully. I had to mutilate the p/f holder to get it to fit a naked p/f properly. It now "sort of" fits. It does not have a microswitch (see EM480) so pushing the p/f in does not turn it on. You actually need two hands so you can press "start/stop" to get it to grind whilst holding the p/f. *Timers: the are based on time, and the grind settings directly affect the time & therefore dosing. If you change the setting in a major way, the timers will have to be recalibrated to match the new dosing. Coarser plunger grinds are merely an average particle distribution: to the point I still use my EM480 for that, and I feel it does a slightly better fist of it. Ditto a Mahlkonig Preciso I used for a while. Changing the Vario from plunger to espresso & back again not only wastes coffee, it takes a while to bed into the new setting. It is probably no worse than most other grinders in that way, however the macro / micro adjustments are so fast & easy to use that it seems the grinder mechanism cannot keep up.

    Other thoughts: Changing the grind finer: it must be running (which I do not care about one way or the other). Far too early to see for signs of wear or medium term reliability. After 'bout 6 kilos the burrs are unmarked (well, they are "long lasting ceramic" so that is no more than expected).

    Hope this helps


    TampIt

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    Thanks for the response. Your issues with your old commercial are pretty much mirroring mine. Thanks for info on the vario. I have been looking into this model recently. Where did you purchase, not many retailers that I can find.

    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Hi Burkeyboy

    I also have a big commercial: A Bo-ema RR45 circa mid '80's. I rarely use it these days as it is noisy, takes up a lot of space, is a pain to adjust and also retains far too much coffee. It is a doser model, and personally I have come to hate dosers over the years (I also detest stale coffee, so I always dose direct into the p/f these days).

    After using the RR45 to calibrate a SB EM480 and living with that for the last three years, with no real issues (except its habit of retaining 'bout 7g of dark roast grinds "in the chute") I recently bought a Mahlkonig Vario gen2. FWIW, although it may be overly harsh, I would call it a brilliant turkish to espresso grinder (surprisingly better than the RR45 at finer espresso settings) that can do coarser at a pinch. At about the midpoint of espresso grinds the RR45 breaks even in terms of grind and anything coarser than espresso is all the RR45's way.

    Good points: Far quieter (hard to hear one room away: "SWMBO uber friendly"), smaller (minute may be more accurate), grind retention usually around 0.2 to 0.5g (not my measurements, Mark Princes) and so fast to adjust micro settings to fine tune it for different humidity / roasts it is amazing. It also leaves nothing scattered on the bench (now that is a first for me). For espresso, so far it also has superb particle size variation. As I use VST baskets, I am actually grinding it a little finer than what be considered normal for espresso. At that grind, it is actually far better (much less fines) than my Bo-ema (which to be fair was only designed for espresso and coarser). Oh, it is surprisingly heavy so it does not move around on the bench. Easy to clean out: one quick puff of my airline to reach pristine status. That makes it the fastest grinder to clean (by a huge margin) that I have ever come across (FYI: making espresso on various mainly commercial gear since 1970). Oh, not that I use them much but the timers are at least as accurate and consistent as I have encountered (see below*).

    Annoying points: If you do not fit the hopper in fully, it will not grind at all: more of an initial learning curve, as the hopper is initially quite stiff to insert fully. I had to mutilate the p/f holder to get it to fit a naked p/f properly. It now "sort of" fits. It does not have a microswitch (see EM480) so pushing the p/f in does not turn it on. You actually need two hands so you can press "start/stop" to get it to grind whilst holding the p/f. *Timers: the are based on time, and the grind settings directly affect the time & therefore dosing. If you change the setting in a major way, the timers will have to be recalibrated to match the new dosing. Coarser plunger grinds are merely an average particle distribution: to the point I still use my EM480 for that, and I feel it does a slightly better fist of it. Ditto a Mahlkonig Preciso I used for a while. Changing the Vario from plunger to espresso & back again not only wastes coffee, it takes a while to bed into the new setting. It is probably no worse than most other grinders in that way, however the macro / micro adjustments are so fast & easy to use that it seems the grinder mechanism cannot keep up.

    Other thoughts: Changing the grind finer: it must be running (which I do not care about one way or the other). Far too early to see for signs of wear or medium term reliability. After 'bout 6 kilos the burrs are unmarked (well, they are "long lasting ceramic" so that is no more than expected).

    Hope this helps


    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Burkeyboy View Post
    Thanks for the response. Your issues with your old commercial are pretty much mirroring mine. Thanks for info on the vario. I have been looking into this model recently. Where did you purchase, not many retailers that I can find.
    The main guy is in Sydney (you can probably still get the contact via their web site (I did).

    In Perth I bought my second one (friend in dire need "up remote NW mine site" got number one after a few weeks of flawless use: worst two weeks of my life as it caused several domestics by going back to EM480 on basis of noise) from Grand Central in Bibra Lake (online contact, picked it up).

    Enjoy your cuppa (oh, and please keep me posted as to how you get on with it)

    TampIt

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    Quote Originally Posted by Barry_Duncan View Post
    Burkeyboy, stick with your old Pavoni and work on your technique.

    I rarely use a brush up the throat of my Breville Smart Grinder and when I do I find very few trapped grounds. The delivery tube drops from the burrs vertically straight into the portafilter and keeps very clean.

    Barry
    Take your BSG apart and push out all the grinders in the little gear like plastic cog that pushes the grinds out, you should be able to get at least a single 7g shot out of a cleanup.



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