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Thread: Grinder Recommendations - Budget $650

  1. #1
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    Grinder Recommendations - Budget $650

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi all,
    Firstly, I am very appreciative of the incredible amount of information and great discussions on this website.

    Weve been passed on a used Sunbeam 6910. After a proper cleaning and just over two hundred worth of repair work were very happy with the machine, used it first time this morning. I read an extensive amount of the great advice for brewing, maintaining and cleaning the machine while I waited to get it back from the repair shop.

    Even though I thought I was a getting a better tasting shot than most of our local coffee shops, the shot was coming through too fast. So back to my favourite website and read a lot more to find out its all in the grinder! And yes Ive always used fresh roasted beans (roast date on the package) for all my previous coffee needs (primarily French press).

    Most of the threads I found were a couple years old, so I am wondering if people have some advice regarding the latest in the grinder models but also their thoughts about grinders they've been using for years. So with all the reading on the importance of the grinder Ive decided my budget is a maximum of $650. It would be nice for this price for it to make minimum noise and mess.

    I have read extensive comparisons, but generally these articles seemed to be based upon a few weeks of use.

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Hi wildlyserious,

    I recently purchased a Compak K3 push, and could not be happier. I have a Rancilio Rocky at work, but compared to that I find the K3 quieter and faster. I also prefer the stepless adjustment as it allows finer control. You can get the K3P for a bit over $400, just contact the site sponsors using the quote form. For your budget you actually have a lot to choose from, up to a Mazzer Mini. Why don't you check out the grinder section of the forum as there is a lot of up to date info there. have fun shopping around.

    cheers, Dave

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    Hi Dave thanks for quick reply.

    I know I'm fortunate to have a lot to choose from given my budget and have read extensive reviews of this product compared to that one since I am viewing it as a long term investment.

    I was hoping people might provide their feedback, similar to you, about:
    - why they bought their particular model grinder (eg. if it was an upgrade are they happy with the $ spent)
    - does it accomplish what they hoped it would
    - what do they like and don't like about their current grinders (eg. ease of cleaning, quality of grind)
    - if they had to do it again what would they buy

    I have also tried to read through the threads about the issues people are having with grinders to try to sort it out. Unless I'm looking in the wrong place (I only found the one Grinder thread under equipment) I haven't found anywhere on this site that gives you the run down on questions to ask yourself before trying to select a grinder and how to evaluate then what will meet your needs. If this exists someone please point me in the right direction

    Cheers Dionne

  4. #4
    Senior Member noidle22's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildlyserious View Post
    - why they bought their particular model grinder (eg. if it was an upgrade are they happy with the $ spent)
    - does it accomplish what they hoped it would
    - what do they like and don't like about their current grinders (eg. ease of cleaning, quality of grind)
    - if they had to do it again what would they buy
    - I bought a Compak K3P as an upgrade from my modified Breville BCG450 which stopped grinding properly. At about $420 or so it was probably the best in its price range, running close to a Macap M4D. I had recommendations for both but decided I didn't want to spend the extra $150 or so for the Macap.

    -I'd never used a good grinder before so was unsure on how to get the best out of it. With this model, there's a screw stopping you from grinding too fine (i.e. perilously close to the burrs touching). On mine this meant it could only grind fine enough for maybe a press or something, no chance of espresso. Had to remove this screw and recalibrate it. I find that it can only grind fine enough for a decent shot when it's really close to the burrs touching, I'm not sure if this is right or not, seems like I should have a bit more room to play with on it. This is probably my inexperience.

    -It is easy to use and to clean but I'm not a fan of the angled grind output shaft, when you use anything larger than a 52mm portafilter the grinds tend to accumulate on the back side meaning you need to keep stopping to flatten it out, then add some more grind, then stop to flatten it out etc. etc. This just gets a bit tedious but I'll get over it like I'm sure everyone else has.
    Thinking about it, it's probably to reduce grind retention which the Compak seems to do well on, not much grind seems to be retained at all. The output shaft is also spring loaded so you can flick it to remove any old grinds.

    - Don't know what I'd buy next time, probably something with a vertical grind output shaft though.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildlyserious View Post
    Hi Dave thanks for quick reply.

    I know I'm fortunate to have a lot to choose from given my budget and have read extensive reviews of this product compared to that one since I am viewing it as a long term investment.

    I was hoping people might provide their feedback, similar to you, about:
    - why they bought their particular model grinder (eg. if it was an upgrade are they happy with the $ spent)
    - does it accomplish what they hoped it would
    - what do they like and don't like about their current grinders (eg. ease of cleaning, quality of grind)
    - if they had to do it again what would they buy

    I have also tried to read through the threads about the issues people are having with grinders to try to sort it out. Unless I'm looking in the wrong place (I only found the one Grinder thread under equipment) I haven't found anywhere on this site that gives you the run down on questions to ask yourself before trying to select a grinder and how to evaluate then what will meet your needs. If this exists someone please point me in the right direction

    Cheers Dionne
    Hi Dionne

    The best home grinder I have come across is the Mahlkonig Vario gen2 which I bought online for $650 a few months back. There is a fairly long thread which has quite a lot of detailed info about them.

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/3...tml#post517353

    My gen2 has Ditting "long lasting" ceramic burrs and is made in Switzerland, as Mahlkonig Germany bought out / merged with (Swiss) Ditting a few years back. Both companies have been making industrial and commercial grinder for decades. So far mine is reliable, however it has not hit the 6 month point yet. The burrs are unmarked after (perhaps) 20Kg's have gone through it. So far so good.

    For home use the gen2 is quiet, compact, easy to fine tune for Turkish & espresso (about 60 "real" espresso adjustments available) and has the best particle spread I have seen in any sub $3000 grinder (and not by a small margin). Minimal grind retention and no spraying of grounds (ZERO mess on the bench: a first for me) make it better to live with domestically than any other of the 50+ grinders I have encountered over the last 40 years or so (mostly commercial "big beasts"). Be warned, it is barely suitable for plungers & drip, although there is an optional set of steel burrs to handle coarser grinds.

    FWIW, I am about to buy a second one as a spare and offload my Bo-ema RR45 (commercial, permanently banned from the house due to noise) and my remaining Sunbeam EM480 (i.e. SB's match for the 6910 you have).

    You can look up reviews under Baratza or Mahlkonig, however the gen2 is a massive improvement over the "gen1" which is also a good+ grinder.

    Hope this helps

    TampIt

  6. #6
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hi Dionne and welcome to CS!

    Just to correct a little misinfo ..... the Compak K3P retails for <$500 but the Macap M4D and Mazzer mini-e are in the $1200 range, not the circa $150 extra mentioned above, (post #4).

    These grinders are all stepless in grind adjustment and doserless.

    If you prefer a stepless, doser model then the Kompak K3 Elite WBC, Mazzer Mini and Macap M4 are all in the same $690 price range.

    Of the above grinders the Macap is the one I can recommend, based on experience. If you have followed the various 'which grinder' threads through, you will
    see that the original Macap M4 (doser) that I purchased from Chris @ Talk Coffee, in 2006 or 7, was sold to my neighbours 3 or 4 years ago. (don't hold me to exact dates!) It has performed faultlessly for all this time. A superb grinder, tho' my preference is for the doserless Macap M4D, which I also owned along with the other Macap (work and home grinders).

    The Mazzer Mini doser would also be a great choice; my current grinder is a Mazzer Robur-e. They are a very sound and reputable
    grinder manufacturer. I can't comment on the Kompak range.

    It seems to me that, for the most part, budget is the primary driving force of grinder and machine choice. Coffee gear isn't cheap.
    Once a budget has been set then the other factors of performance etc, come into play, but even then, all the balls are up in the air, as performance parameters are so close
    it's often a matter of being too influenced by others and choosing the grinder that those respective owners are more persuasive in promoting, in order to defend the rationale behind their choice.

    The spend on gear is large and new punters nearly always think it's the machine that does the job but then have to compromise their budget once the grinder
    cost is realised and factored in. The best thing you can do is get to a responsible retailer, get some hands/eyes on experience, some honest, unbiased information.....
    (yep, you will get that from CS sponsors) and make an informed choice you are happy to take ownership of, rather than be influenced by loud voices. [like mine!:-)]

    Your eventual choice might be more based on appearance, design and personal ease of use; based on your own observations and the component and build quality, longevity and amount of plastic, +/-, inside and outside of the grinder; info only available from a person familiar with the inner workings of all the grinders.

    When purchasing a grinder, some will buy a grinder that will 'survive' an espresso machine upgrade ( or two!!), .....something else to consider.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 3rd March 2014 at 12:29 PM. Reason: syntax
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by noidle22 View Post
    -

    - Don't know what I'd buy next time, probably something with a vertical grind output shaft though.
    That’s an advantage of the Breville Smart Grinder, the grounds have a vertical drop straight from the burrs to the portafilter. No blockages, no mess. More expensive grinders may do a slightly better job and make better coffee but they can be messier.

    Barry

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    Hi Dionne and welcome to CS!
    Just to correct a little misinfo ..... the Compak K3P retails for <$500 but the Macap M4D and Mazzer mini-e are in the $1200 range, not the circa $150 extra mentioned above, (post #4).
    Sorry I meant the Macap M4M, not the M4D. The M4M when I was investigating what grinder I wanted to buy was about $150-200 more than the Compak K3P.

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    Unless you have used various grinders before, i strongly suggest you get into a friendly Espresso retailer and have a chat then get some hands on time.
    Make/model is one thing, but before that you need to understand the difference in use between a "doserless" and a "Doser" grinders.
    There is a world of difference between a manual doser and an electronic doser in both use, and result as well as in how they function from a user point of view .
    Its easy to get carried away in a buying situation and end up with features that you either never use, or even wish you did not get !
    There is a lot of choice with your budget, but dont overlook come of the cheaper options that still satisfy many people... the Rancillo Rocky, and the Breville Smart grinder.
    Dimal and chokkidog like this.

  10. #10
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    Thanks everyone that has given me some great feedback, little things to think about that a newbie like me might overlook. Yes will definitely head into Melbourne to check out some of the sponsor stores. Cheers

  11. #11
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    If you would consider used grinders, and have some basic handiness, I would look out for ex cafe grinders... I've picked a used MACAP MXA and a Mazzer Super Jolly for less than $400 ech, with a new set of blades (between $50-100) and a good clean up, it worked a charm... and from all account, these grinders are pretty much bomb proof and last for ages (obviously it depends on condition and well maintained by the previous owner)

    now all you need to consider is do you want to get a doser or non-doser version...
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    There has to be plenty of options in your price range and I think it is good you are going over the $300-$400 range. I picked up a commercial San Remo flat burr doser grinder for $260 from Grays on Line. It had a cracked hopper but I did not need 2 kg of beans in my kitchen so I replaced it with a smaller one. Having a doser is not much of a problem either. I weigh each shot on a small $12 set of ebay scales. The burrs were in good order and it made an enormous difference to my coffee! All of the stuff about clumping etc has not been an issue.

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    I suggest that whatever you're inclined to choose, you actually inspect in person. Last year when I bought I grinder I had initially settled on a particular model based on on-line research and some oral opinions. However when inspected the machine in a shop before ordering on-line I became very concerned about the apparent flimsiness of some of the external parts. I then inspected my second preference and it seemed to be a solid machine. I purchased that one and have been satisfied since.
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ax72 View Post
    I suggest that whatever you're inclined to choose, you actually inspect in person. Last year when I bought I grinder I had initially settled on a particular model based on on-line research and some oral opinions. However when inspected the machine in a shop before ordering on-line I became very concerned about the apparent flimsiness of some of the external parts. I then inspected my second preference and it seemed to be a solid machine. I purchased that one and have been satisfied since.
    Agreed. I find it very difficult to equate a pile of plastic with circa $700- no matter how "good" it may be.

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    Hi wildlyserious,

    I've recently been through a similar experience with similar budget.

    IMO all the grinders mentioned in this thread to date will be overkill for the Sunbeam 6910 (I owned one for about 5 years). Your shots will improve out of sight but the limiting factor will become the machine. The good news is that buying a high quality grinder, your buying a product thats made to last and (in the event of out of warranty failure) be serviced rather than chucked out. It also means that when you eventually upgrade your machine you'll already have a grinder capable of supporting it, which means you can put your entire budget into the machine.

    I ended up buying the Macap MTM for $650. It's surprisingly clean, sufficiently fast, sufficiently quiet and built like a tank.

    Rob.

    with serviceable components which suits me because I wanted a grinder I could retain for when I eventually upgrade my machine

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    Hey swrd
    Do you mean macap M4M?
    If so where did you get it from?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed. I find it very difficult to equate a pile of plastic with circa $700- no matter how "good" it may be.
    +1 for getting hands on experience. I thought I wanted a Vario, but for that money I was expecting a bit less plastic. I ended up spending much more than I thought I would on a Mazzer Mini E and am so happy I did. Not only does it look good, it is solid, easy to clean, and most importantly great in the cup.
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  18. #18
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    Hey swrd
    Do you mean macap M4M?
    If so where did you get it from?
    Possibly meant an M2M?



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