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Thread: Grinding a single dose Vs using a full hopper

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    Member astr0b0y's Avatar
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    Grinding a single dose Vs using a full hopper

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Since buying my Mazzer doserless I have mostly been adding just enough beans to grind for a single shot. This is quote involved and I spend a lot of time getting as much of the grind out as I can with a skewer. I don't mind the ritual but it doesn't allow anyone to come along and use the grinder without understanding the process. The main reason for doing this is to have the freshest beans in use only (from a sealed container) with a little bit of tight-arseness as well.
    My father is coming to stay soon and loves to drink espresso so he'll want access to the silver corner without waiting for me to make them for him. I decided to do a quarter filled hopper as the two of us will get through that in 3 - 4 days at most. I found the resulting grind to look more consistent in size and the flavour to be more complex and the shots much easier to get right.
    I imagine that this is how the manufacturer designs their grinders to be used; with the added weight of beans above those being grinder helping them to be pushed into the burrs.
    Is this right?

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    TC
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    Sure is....They are commercial grinders

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    Member astr0b0y's Avatar
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    Thanks Chris. So is there a recommend minimum amount to keep in the hopper - I couldn't find anything specific about this in the manual.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Enough to at least stop 'pop - corning', where the beans jump about in the hopper.

    There are some DIY mods you can do with a short tube of perspex for a mini hopper and a tamper for weight (and an old credit card to keep the microswitch on :-D)

    I just fill the (normal) hopper by about a third, more or less........ but it doesn't last long.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    There are some mods here, from about post #16 onwards.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/3...tml#post465029

    Coffee Machinist now sits a tamper on his beans while grinding. ;-D
    Last edited by chokkidog; 10th January 2014 at 11:20 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    I just fill the (normal) hopper by about a third, more or less........ but it doesn't last long.
    Any issues with beans going stale? Say if beans are in the hopper for 2 days?

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    2 days......I don't have the same beans in the hopper that long. :-D

    Oxidation accelerates of course and the ageing process follows suit ...... but by how much??
    I don't know.

    Whether or not beans are 'stale' in two days is unlikely but if you can minimise the amount
    of exposure to air and light then that would be a good course of action.

    My home grinder sees about 3 kgs a week, so it's not something I get concerned about.

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    And their lies the conundrum for low volume (home users).

    We need the weight of the beans for consistent grind. But if one leaves beans in the hopper. They go stale...

    What's the answer....I don't know

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    Member astr0b0y's Avatar
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    Drink more coffee...
    The small tube mod with a tamper on top is an excellent idea to get around beans going stale in a hopper.
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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thebookfreak58 View Post
    And their lies the conundrum for low volume (home users).

    We need the weight of the beans for consistent grind. But if one leaves beans in the hopper. They go stale...

    What's the answer....I don't know
    Morning Bookfreak, the answer is pretty straight forward, grind a shot at a time.
    I have a Mazzer Mini with std hopper.

    My method is,


    1. Start with hopper, delivery chute and doser clean.
    2. Weigh out 18 grams of beans.
    3. Start grinder and dump beans into hopper.
    4. When finished grinding with machine still running, lift hopper and brush any stray beans or fragments into burrs.
    5. Turn off grinder and brush out delivery chute, then turn the grinder on briefly to clear any loose grounds.
    6. Dose, sweeping all loose grounds out of the doser into the basket.
    7. Jobs done, grinder and doser clear of most loose grounds ready for next shot.


    Sounds like a bit of messing around, however once you get used to the method it really is quick and straight forward, the only additional equipment you will need is a cheap set of scales and a small stiff bristle artists brush from Cheap as Chips.
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astr0b0y View Post
    Drink more coffee...
    The small tube mod with a tamper on top is an excellent idea to get around beans going stale in a hopper.
    And a great method if you've got 2 or 3 roasts on the go, or if you want a bigger grinder without the added height.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    Morning Bookfreak, the answer is pretty straight forward, grind a shot at a time.
    I have a Mazzer Mini with std hopper.

    My method is,


    1. Start with hopper, delivery chute and doser clean.
    2. Weigh out 18 grams of beans.
    3. Start grinder and dump beans into hopper.
    4. When finished grinding with machine still running, lift hopper and brush any stray beans or fragments into burrs.
    5. Turn off grinder and brush out delivery chute, then turn the grinder on briefly to clear any loose grounds.
    6. Dose, sweeping all loose grounds out of the doser into the basket.
    7. Jobs done, grinder and doser clear of most loose grounds ready for next shot.


    Sounds like a bit of messing around, however once you get used to the method it really is quick and straight forward, the only additional equipment you will need is a cheap set of scales and a small stiff bristle artists brush from Cheap as Chips.
    This is my current method with my Macap M4. However, I am finding as the above, the beans are popcorning and causing inconsistent particle sizes...

    I will look into the tube mod

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    How do you know you're getting inconsistent particle sizes?

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    I'm not sure that popcorning is the problem its made out to be, I have in the past used a drinking glass in the hopper recess, the weight certainly prevents the beans jumping around, however I cant taste any difference in the cup between using the glass and just dumping em into the hopper, maybe its just my palate.
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Just about all grinders give a spread of particle size in the grind.

    http://www.google.com.au/url?sa=t&rc...59026428,d.dGI

    Grinding Fundamentals.

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    Coffee Newbie okitoki's Avatar
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    My method is pretty much the same as Yelta's method; When I converted my Mazzer SJ to doserless, I didnt install the anti-static mesh on the inside of the funnel, but used some small magnets to hold the mesh on the outside of the chute opening into the funnel, so when I finish grinding, I can just move it to the side and use a small paint brush to brush out all the remaining grinds.

    One thing I have noted is I will need to set the grind to a finer setting when I single dose compare to if I fill the hopper up...

  17. #17
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    As far as I'm concerned a spread in particle size is an important part of achieving a well compacted and even tamp.
    Imagine a dose of evenly sized coffee particles without smaller particles to fill the spaces.
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    Thanks all for the explanations. Makes a lot more sense now

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Yelta View Post
    As far as I'm concerned a spread in particle size is an important part of achieving a well compacted and even tamp.
    Imagine a dose of evenly sized coffee particles without smaller particles to fill the spaces.
    Summed up nicely Yelta, pardon my shortened post #15 but a guest arrived for coffee........... ;-D

    The better grinders are ones that give a good distribution of particle size, not too much 'flour' (fines) and not too many 'bigs'
    and like Yelta says; good even tamp= good pour=great coffee :-D

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    Another obvious alternative for home grinding is to go ala' Manual

    Pharos or HG1... Quick, easy, no mess, no fuss, no retained grinds, "Simples"

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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    I've noticed that my k6 send to produce coarser particles when I don't have the throat full.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ol_Grumpy View Post
    Another obvious alternative for home grinding is to go ala' Manual

    Pharos or HG1... Quick, easy, no mess, no fuss, no retained grinds, "Simples"
    Hi Ol_Grumpy

    +1 from me. Or if you want the same level of particle size spread in a domestically friendly electric without compromising on quality get a Mahlkonig Vario gen2. Some CS sponsors are finally doing them now.

    The earlier posts have described with excruciating detail why I no longer use my big beast commercial conical + doser in the home environment. A CS'r posted "Like taking a Mack truck to run the kids to school" (different subject I think). Sounds apt here.

    Easy choice at home:
    1) Big beast: Add enough weight to the beans in the hopper to feed the beast's maw properly. Flush out a double worth of stale, run a single or two (in my case) clean everything in sight (ten minutes) including the bench and the doser. Repeat next day. Waste at least half your coffee and never let the grinder perform at its best (takes 4 or 5 shots).

    HG / Vario: No need to add extra weight to the beans in the hopper, just use it. No popcorning (yet) with either. Wastage for either: less than 0.5g per use. Mess on bench: NIL.
    HG one: Perhaps one drop of water to settle the grinds at the start. Afterwards wipe or brush clean in seconds.
    Vario: Either one swipe with a small brush, or one "blip" into waste (0.1 to 0.5g retained in the very short chute). Every new 250g batch of coffee: take it apart and give it one squirt of compressed air. Done in seconds.

    Then you can look at the other issues: Noise, bench space, bench mess, power consumption.

    IMO, no contest at home.

    TampIt
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    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
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    Got my Vario today. I can attest to the zero mess and consistent grind thing. Today I had the best coffee of my life, as did the wife. And now I've dialled in the dose timer, I should be able to replicate it day after day. Can't wait

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    Quote Originally Posted by Arcade View Post
    Got my Vario today. I can attest to the zero mess and consistent grind thing. Today I had the best coffee of my life, as did the wife. And now I've dialled in the dose timer, I should be able to replicate it day after day. Can't wait
    Hi Arcade

    Just in case you do not know this: the dose timer varies the actual amount of coffee with the grind setting (finer is slower). Bit of a gotcha. My "perfect grinder" will actually measure the weight into the p/f plus have a p/f switch to start / stop it at the set dose or manual. Not holding the breath on that!

    Enjoy your Vario, I do mine.

    TampIt

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    I was thinking of making some kind of flexible but heavy bag of liquid to put in the hopper. Think a plastic bag full of water (but obviously stronger). So you add your dose then put this on top. It should stop the beans jumping around at least until the last few. Of course, if it burst inside your hopper - you'd probably ruin the burrs and/or motor. But the idea is sound - could also work with something like a bag of rice but it'd have to be very fluid-like in movement.

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    Just experimented with a plastic bag, rice and the sealer on my vacuum sealer. Made a sort of a \_/ shaped sealed bag of rice (with left over at the top so it's easy to take in and out). Plop it in on top of the beans and push down gently. Seemed to do its job, no beans jumping around, grind seemed fairly consistent. I doubt it went down further much as the beans "drained" but it at least kept some pressure down on them or from popping around.

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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    You're kidding, right? ;-D

    A bag of water or any other liquid is going to cause a problem or two if it, just once, gets caught in the burrs. (understatement)

    Similarly, a soft bag, plastic, paper or material may jam the burrs, snap the shaft, or at least require a dismantle ....
    just when you were lining up for a coffee.

    An object that cannot physically get into the burrs is you're best bet, that's why tampers are used.
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    +1 Tampit on the Vario

    I have a couple of Lever Heads mates who have the Vario and they are very happy with it.

    Also, as I've mentioned previously I like to use the OE Slap-Shot technique for my dosing and tamping.

    For quite a few years now I can't help but notice that whilst somewhat against the flow of popular opinion, Doug and Barb use the US version of the Vario, and openly use it and talk about it in their videos, for their own personal coffee grinder.

    Not only do the manufacture the Pharos, the (new) Lido, at some time or another, they have had just about every grinder in the known universe go through their workshop, business, including the Versalab.

    Yet, they still choose and use the Vario.
    That has to be the most glowing endorsement I know of, for that grinder.

    I've never used one personally, and because of that I'm not inclined to say I think it's a good grinder- apart from these observations.

    But it is good to see someone who has personal experience with the Vario, express their opinion. By all accounts it is an excellent home grinder.

    And also good that the site sponsors are supporting this grinder. Personally, I've never been a big fan of trying to adapt a large commercial grinder to home use. I actually believe this puts a lot of people off getting better coffee gear, all round. (How many people do you actually see using a Mack truck to pick up the kids from school)

    In terms of budget, this grinder delivers outstanding 'bang for the buck' value and once owned would satisfy all but the most extreme coffee heads. The very few I have seen come up for sale secondhand appear to have kept their value well. So, yes, there are some very compelling reasons for considering this grinder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    You're kidding, right? ;-D
    An object that cannot physically get into the burrs is you're best bet, that's why tampers are used.
    I'm talking something that works in the existing hopper with no mods. Obviously as I said, you need a strong plastic bag with no chance of leaking or of being pulled into the burrs. The burr protector part stops my test bag from any risk of going in.

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    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
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    Balloon partially filled with sand?

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    Personally I wouldn't be putting anything like that near my grinder, let alone partially inside it!

    In some grinders, I've found that without the hopper, a spare PF basket will fit nicely in. Yes it will popcorn a bit, but at least it bounces straight off and back into the burrs.

  32. #32
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Oh dear, was following this thread with some interest, now like a few others recently its started to get a bit silly.
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    What about more BEANS.

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    Member astr0b0y's Avatar
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    It's been enlightening to read others take on this and it would seem that a commercial grinder needs to be used in a similar way in the home in standard form or modified for less usage. I will think about changing my Mazzer to something like the Vario I think. I love the big sexy grinder in my kitchen but I would prefer a cleaner more constant experience that something like the Vario should bring.

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    TC
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    My suggestion: No need to change what you have if you have a good grinder. Career people use the variety we have here -and more- every day.

    Just an opinion, but I really struggle to see the value in spending hundreds to sell a Mazzer and buy a Vario. Better to have someone show you how to use what you have efficiently.
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    How about a cup of old beans? (with a lid on it).

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astr0b0y View Post
    I will think about changing my Mazzer to something like the Vario I think. I love the big sexy grinder in my kitchen but I would prefer a cleaner more constant experience that something like the Vario should bring.
    Not sure what your saying here AB, I have a Mazzer Mini, don't find it a dirty machine, a quick daily wipe of the bench top (5 seconds max) keeps the area spick and span, not an onerous chore.

    What do you mean by "constant experience" if you referring to variation in grind not my experience, once set my Mini is rock solid, nothing changes, the only adjustment to grind setting I have to make are very minor as the beans age over the week or 8 days it takes me to get through a roast.

    The only changes I've made to the machine are to remove the finger guard in the hopper, I use an Orphan Espresso dosing funnel, keeps the area under the doser nice and clean.

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    Member astr0b0y's Avatar
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    I too find the Mazzer quite clean. By cleaner experience I wasn't referring to mess, more about being straight forward. I see what both you and Chris are saying, and I do enjoy the results my Mazzer provides as long as q bit of effort is put in. The chances of me actually changing my grinder are very small - this is more effort that continuing with what I have really. Since I've persisted with a 1/3 full hopper from a couple of days ago my process has shortened and 'cleaned' up as well. I think I was just a bit over measuring a single dose and cleaning out the chute with a skewer for each shot as well as mucking about with clumping which has reduced quite a bit with the fuller hopper.
    I spent a number of years as a barista over a decade ago in NZ and had forgotten about how much is involved in producing a good constant cup. Reducing variables seems to be the best way to get good results for me.

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    I run the grinder to make sure it is empty, "measure" enough beans using the dry, empty portafilter (one fill per shot, plus a half) and run the grinder for a second or two before filling the basket. I then run the grinder empty after I've finished. Bugger all waste, nice and easy.

    After this thread, I'm experimenting with using a glass salt grinder to "weigh down" the beans.

    This is in a Compak K3P.

  40. #40
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Like most other people who add beans on demand, I just use a Tamper resting in the throat of a small plastic cup that serves as a funnel/hopper.

    Never have any problems with grind quality. If we have a large turn-up of friends or relos, then the hopper 'proper' goes back on and everything is sweet...

    Mal.

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    Senior Member Arcade's Avatar
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    Could there be a risk of jamming the burrs if too much weight was applied? (I personally just fill my hopper, but weighing in here out of curiosity)

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    No mate...

    The Tamper I use for this is an Aluminium one, and quite light. The maximum quantity of beans I can put in the 'cup' is only ~80g so never going to cause an issue with jamming in my situation. Of course, that is something to keep in mind, depending on one's individual circumstances...

    Mal.

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    You guys are nuts Grind a second, chuck the stale stuff away. Put two scoops of beans in hopper. Grind, tamp, extract, enjoy. Get on with whatever your were doing. Simple.
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    Probably drunk on coffee bodyboardingbum's Avatar
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    Grinding a single dose Vs using a full hopper

    Quote Originally Posted by okitoki View Post
    My method is pretty much the same as Yelta's method.
    As a result, my method is very similar! I had a good teacher, heh

    Single dosing in a Macap, after weighing out 18g using my Acaia scales. Using a stainless jam funnel kindly donated by Okitoki acting as a mini-hopper, with the stock plastic Rancilio tamper in top to stop beans jumping out.

    Using a firm bristled brush to then ensure that there's very minimal grind retention in the doser and no stale grinds

    Yes, it takes a bit longer. But it's all part of the enjoyment for me!

  45. #45
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodyboardingbum View Post
    As a result, my method is very similar! I had a good teacher, heh

    Single dosing in a Macap, after weighing out 18g using my Acaia scales. Using a stainless jam funnel kindly donated by Okitoki acting as a mini-hopper, with the stock plastic Rancilio tamper in top to stop beans jumping out.

    Using a firm bristled brush to then ensure that there's very minimal grind retention in the doser and no stale grinds

    Yes, it takes a bit longer. But it's all part of the enjoyment for me!
    Not sure I would describe the method as enjoyable, its simply what I do to get the job done, its quick and works well.

    Perhaps if I was still involved in the morning rush to to get to work I may see things differently.

  46. #46
    Member Burnsy's Avatar
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    Those who add beans on demand to the hopper, where do you store your beans and what volume of roasted beans do you keep on hand at any one time?

    I assume most keep the beans in an airtight container in a dark place and you keep a maximum of 250 grams on hand? Has anyone got any idea what the decrease in bean life/flavour would be if you had a small hopper with lid (say to hold 300gms) and you painted it black. That way the darkness is covered and although a hopper on the grinder would not be totally air tight there is not going to be a lot of air movement through it. I ask as I have just bought a Gino Rossi CC45 and was wondering if storing my freshly roated 250grms of beans in this manner was a viable option. It seems it may be given the evidence above about the benefit of some bean weight in the hopper?

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    Nope. They will stale early if left in the hopper. Air movement has little impact I suspect.

    I only put the beans I plan to use immediately, in the hopper. Any that have been there for half an hour or so I will purge (overkill, maybe).

    Generally have 250g or so on hand, usually <2 wks post roast.

  48. #48
    Member Burnsy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Nope. They will stale early if left in the hopper. Air movement has little impact I suspect.
    OK so what is it that makes them stale early, light? How do you store your 250 grms to minimise them going stale?

    If air movement has little effect on them I am trying to work out why beans in a blacked out hopper kept at a constant temp would not stay as fresh as long as beans stored how people usually store them?

  49. #49
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Burnsy View Post
    OK so what is it that makes them stale early, light? How do you store your 250 grms to minimise them going stale?

    If air movement has little effect on them I am trying to work out why beans in a blacked out hopper kept at a constant temp would not stay as fresh as long as beans stored how people usually store them?
    Most people here (I think) store their beans in ziplock bags with one way valves, so that the amount of air that the beans come into contact with is reduced greatly. These are then stored in a cool dark place. Your blacked out hopper idea, while understandable, will a) expose the beans to quite a lot more air , and b) likely expose the beans to variation in temperature (for starters....grinders generate heat). Anyway, it's a red door that you're supposed to paint black, not a hopper
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    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MrJack View Post
    Nope. They will stale early if left in the hopper.

    Any that have been there for half an hour or so I will purge (overkill, maybe).
    Whole beans don't go stale in half an hour.

    This is certainly overkill, as Mr Jack admits. Don't become confused or paranoid by taking this MO this as essential.
    Even tho' I'm up to my neck in roasted beans I couldn't be so wasteful.........but we all have our own way of doing things; so each to their own.

    (I do purge the grind path tho' and would if the delay between grinding shots was over a minute or so).


    Quote Originally Posted by Burnsy View Post
    OK so what is it that makes them stale early, light? How do you store your 250 grms to minimise them going stale?

    It's oxygen that makes the beans stale, Burnsy. Even storing them in a ziplock bag won't prevent the oxidation process, which started with the roasting of the beans.
    Hence the generally accepted 3 week window for fresh roasts.

    Light and higher temps play a part as well but O2 is the big culprit; affecting a group of volatile and reactive compounds.
    Your hopper isn't airtight.

    Degassing of CO2 causes oil migration to the surface of the bean which is also exposed to accelerated oxidation.
    The darker the roast, the easier the migration path and the faster the oxidation.

    Barry O'Speedwagon's advice re zip lock bags is the goods.

    Tupperware or airtight glass are also fine but leave some headroom for degassing.



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