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Thread: Good < $300 grinder - please help!

  1. #1
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    Good < $300 grinder - please help!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello everyone,

    I am a first time poster and have only just discovered this website! I am looking for a grinder to purchase which will be used primarily for espresso, but also filter. My current grinder does not grind fine enough for espresso.

    I'd really appreciate it if anyone has a grinder in this price range would recommend theirs.

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Can you stretch? You're close to K3 territory and there's nothing under 300 I'd recommend if you can scratch together a little more.

  3. #3
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    Hi, I just bought a Breville smart grinder there $299 and it grinds super fine for espresso. You can also get a free shim kit to make grind finer but seriously its not needed
    kava likes this.

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    Bought an Isomac granmachinino for espresso. Will grind very fine. Not a lot of people mention them on here but I like mine. Doserless, compact, stepped in very small increments.

    Bought it second hand for 200. new 380.
    the "professional" is new for about 280. Probably get one second hand for half that. It has more plastic parts and a chute that may retain more grounds. Not sure about that though.

  5. #5
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Another one that I'd have no hesitation in recommending, is the Lelit PL043... I used to own one

    Punches way above its weight in output quality but would be slower than a Compak K3, I'm not familiar with the Isomac but expect it would be similar. Definitely a better build quality than any of the appliance grinders out there...

    Mal.

  6. #6
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    I'm tossing up between the Lelit and the Isomac...no idea which one I should go for, though. I want something that will do filter as well as espresso. Time to look at more reviews! Thank you everyone!

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    Thank you for your help all! I ended up going for the Macap M2M, supplied by one of the sponsors of the site, Casa Espresso. I had to stretch the budget a little but it was worth it, and I can recommend the service. Cheers!

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    Glad you managed to get sorted with a great grinder. I'm in a similar position to what you were in. I would like to make this grinder purchase last a good 10 years but I'm working with a limited budget of up around $300.

    After many long months taking ebay , Gumtree and the hardware for sale thread I'm just having no luck.

    Perhaps I'm being a bit picky limiting my search to a k3 or m2m? Should I be considering other grinders?

  9. #9
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    BARATZA PRECISO
    Got mine from 5senses

  10. #10
    TC
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    Can't see the value. Just haggle a Breville Smart grinder.

  11. #11
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Some have reported the new Breville 820 "pro" on sale for $199. I have been happy with mine (800), very functional and mess free. Great value at that price.

    Cheers

  12. #12
    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alextrippa View Post
    BARATZA PRECISO Got mine from 5senses
    You should be very wary of the Baratza's . I got a Preciso about a year ago. I had to re-calibrate it to the lowest internal adjustment, and set it quite low on the external scale to grind fine enough for espresso. Over the last few months I have had to set it lower still to get the same results.

    Now, with the warranty about to run out, I am down to the second lowest setting, and at the present rate of decline, it will run out of adjustment a few weeks ( a few months at most ) after the warranty has ended.

    I had an accident while cleaning it - dropped the removable burr on the kitchen floor and broke the plastic burr holder. I could not get an answer from the 5Senses web site contact page or their Email, and had to import one from Baratza USA.

    The portafilter holder accessory is useless, and the press button switch on the front is so stiff that the machine slides backwards across the bench, or falls over before it operates.

    All in all - NOT what I would expect from a $300+ grinder.

  13. #13
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    [QUOTE=Talk_Coffee;528719]Can't see the value. Just haggle a Breville Smart grinder.[/QUOTE

    I crossed the breville of the last after reading too many negative reviews. Particularly with regard to their longevity. There is also resale value to consider.

    What is the general consensus around the smart grinder after 1 or 2 years? Perhaps it is worth another look. But my current opinion is a second hand k3 is worth and extra 100 or so.

  14. #14
    TC
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    Agreed on a K3. Precisio/Breville? Same same. Both entry level appliances- just the Precisio is not discounted.

  15. #15
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rumble111 View Post
    I would like to make this grinder purchase last a good 10 years but I'm working with a limited budget of up around $300.
    Quote Originally Posted by Rumble111 View Post
    There is also resale value to consider.
    To be honest; '$300, '10 years' use and 'resale value' don't really belong in the same sentence ( yeah I know... it's two ;-). Be wary of reviews, there are thousands of Breville Smarts
    in the market place, comparatively few negative reports (relative to numbers). Often posted by people with an axe to grind rather than by competent
    industry professionals who don't like them.

    Stretching your budget or saving a few more dollars might be a better option, especially for the 10 year life span.

    $300 / 10 = $30/year. if you double that to 60/year then you're really in the zone..... Macap M4??? 10 years + resale value !! :-D

    K3 at least tho'.
    TC and lucasr53 like this.

  16. #16
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    K3 looks to be built more like a traditional grinder, should last longer than a SG. I have had my SG for about three years, I haven't had any issues with it (touch wood).

    IMO the two are not direct competitors, this is also reflected in the price difference.

    See if you can physically check out / try both to help you decide.

    Cheers
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    I'm seriously considering returning my EM0480 and getting a SG or refunding it and ordering a K3.

    The current model SG looks like a viable option for both fine and coarse grinds with the upper burr seeming to be much more stable than the last revision.

    But the K3 is an excellent fine grinder...

    Perhaps I'll just grab a hand grinder for my FP and use the K3 exclusively for espresso.

    jNc
    Last edited by javaNOTcode; 23rd April 2014 at 07:28 PM. Reason: Wrong grinder model number! :D

  18. #18
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    @deegee,
    Sorry to hear that! At the time it was the best reviewed grinder for the money.
    Mine runs well and have not required any support at this stage.
    Yes the portafilter holder is total crap! However, for $300 its grind settings are pretty comprehensive.
    Have you contacted Baratza to let them know? They are supposedly a good company and very receptive to feedback.

    Have you been looking after it and cleaning it? Whats your daily usage on it?

  19. #19
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    I have had my Smart Grinder for nearly three years. Apart from needing to add one shim soon after I got it, it has worked well. A shim kit came in the box with mine.

    If you look at the posts about the BSG, most of the problems have been about the need for shims.

    It appears that the latest smart grinders have an adjustment on the top burr and may not need need additional shims.

    A good design feature of the Smart Grinder is the vertical delivery tube from the burrs to the filter basket. I have had grinders with a 45 degree delivery tube that blocks. The SG is the cleanest grinder I have used.

    How long will they last? who knows? We have to wait and see.

    Barry

  20. #20
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    Smile Sub $300 grinder redux: Smartgrinder or Cunil Tranquilo..

    Hi Guys,

    Been lurking for a while reading reviews but first post...

    Ok, so my coffee rig has evolved a bit in the last 6 months through machine attrition, from nothing to a Sunbeam 3800 to a Breville BES900 (I wouldn't have spent all that money but got it very cheap, long story..) coupled with a BCG450 grinder which I modded but the grind still never seemed to be fine enough for the BES900, machine pressure depended very much on a very firm tamp. So I was considering a grinder upgrade anyway but now the 450 has died, PCB probably which makes it beyond economic repair.

    As I see it in the sub $300 range my choices are:

    BCG 820 smartgrinder or Cunil Tranquilo.

    From what I read on this site the Cunil Tranquilo punches up to a Rocky / Compack K3 level at half the price, infact the Cunil Tranquilo is never really compared to the smartgrinder so from that am I to assume that the clear choice is the Cunil Tranquilo? (I'm a guy, I own screwdrivers and..)

    Any other options would be appreciated but $300 really is the budget.


    Cheers.

  21. #21
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    I've been (or should that be 'bean') lurking too and, as you might have seen, taken the plunge and posted for the first time looking for a sub $500 grinder. There is another thread on under $300 grinders at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/3...ease-help.html

    I'm guessing that didn't help.

  22. #22
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    Is your heart set on an electric grinder? The orphan espresso Lido 2 is soon to be available at talkcoffee, and offers a conical burr setup at just over $200......

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tonester View Post
    I've been (or should that be 'bean') lurking too and, as you might have seen, taken the plunge and posted for the first time looking for a sub $500 grinder. There is another thread on under $300 grinders at http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/3...ease-help.html

    I'm guessing that didn't help.
    Haha, nope not so much..

    And I already have a conical hand grinder but who has that nuch time in the morning?

  24. #24
    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freethebean View Post
    Haha, nope not so much..

    And I already have a conical hand grinder but who has that nuch time in the morning?
    Out of interest, how long does it take you to grind a dose (and what size is the dose?)

    I'm finding it takes between 21-25sec for 18g on my HG-One, which isn't a big deal for me.

  25. #25
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    Hi im also in the market for a grinder, has anyone got any info on the commercial link removed per site posting policy baratza virtuoso preciso, I know it is slightly over the 300$ mark but im considering this.
    Having found a thread on this from a few years back im now steering away from this, is it worth going up to the price range then ?
    Last edited by 00mick00; 10th June 2014 at 09:31 AM.

  26. #26
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    Have you guys seen the deals going on Ebay and gumtree etc for new Cunill Tranquillo grinders ?
    They are being offered at well under $200, unused, BNIB. These used to retail for well over $400
    Whilst they may not be in the "Mazzer" bracket, they are reputable , 60mm burr set, timed , doserless grinders, far superior to any of the cheap domestic offerings.

  27. #27
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    Anyone looking for $300 grinder should find another $25 and buy this.....http://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-har...ght-black.html

  28. #28
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    Have you guys seen the deals going on Ebay and gumtree etc for new Cunill Tranquillo grinders ?
    They are being offered at well under $200, unused, BNIB. These used to retail for well over $400
    Whilst they may not be in the "Mazzer" bracket, they are reputable , 60mm burr set, timed , doserless grinders, far superior to any of the cheap domestic offerings.
    Yup, spotted this which is why I was trying to get some info specifically about the Cunill Tranquillo and what seems to be the best 'domestic' grinder the 820 Smartgrinder, as I could get a brand new Tranquillo shipped to WAfor $200 I am trying to think of a good reasons not to do this..

  29. #29
    TOK
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    Post

    Post # 10 yup

    Post # 13 'fraid not. People that buy these types of appliance grinders have to accept there is no resale value, but they are cheap to start with.

    Post # 14 yup

    Post # 28 From a grind quality point of view, the Tranquillo is a perfectly competitive grinder in the 58 mm size class. For the "dump" price however, you have to decide if you are able to live with the nauseatingly crap pressed steel body, requisite noise level, messiness, and bum ugly body and plastic parts. If you can, its a give away price for a grinder that competes (from a grind quality point of view) with grinders way above that price level. If in consideration of the current price, you can live with the negatives, its over to you, and you will then get a better grinder than the appliance types especially for longevity and service....and even resale value
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  30. #30
    Senior Member saroadie's Avatar
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    Check out what is for sale from fellow CSers. There's a couple of deals going ATM that would fit the bill.

  31. #31
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    Paid very little for a used Rocky with Doser. best thing for making multiple coffee's in a row
    So far a good little unit, much better grind than the, old EM0480, quieter and clean

  32. #32
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    Can I suggest my Nuova Simonelli Grinta for anyone looking. its in the for sale section and happy to negotiate.
    Cheers,
    Aaron

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    If a member had a grinder for sale in Perth I would have considered it but buying unseen is sometimes problematic.

    So I pulled the trigger on a Cunil Tranquilo for $202 delivered which arrived on Monday, leaving me $100 to spend on coffee. So.. noisy don't really see this, messy possibly could be cleaner but grinding to group handle is going to be kind of messy, ugly? Are you kiding me its a thing of functional beauty!

    After a bit of trial and error I seem to be honing in on a good setting and getting some good shots, the pour it completly different from my old grinder.

    The Tranquilo is definitely better than a modded BCG450, you would expect that of course, but I dont have much else to compare it with...

  34. #34
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    You can clean up the dosing process a lot if you use a short "funnel". On the PF made from a section cut from a yogurt pot / plastic drink cup.
    it stops the grinds falling out as they heap up in the basket.
    are you using the timer dosing, or just single dosing by weighing beans ?

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    are you using the timer dosing, or just single dosing by weighing beans ?
    At the moment I'm using 3 x 6 gram grinds to fill a double shot single wall filter that came with a BES900.

  36. #36
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    bcg 820 $199 myer????

  37. #37
    ivo
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    You might be able to pick up a Rancilio Rocky 2n'd hand for that type of money, I've had one for a few years and can't fault it.

  38. #38
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    I just ordered a BCG800 yesterday for $233 and now I see the BCG820 for $199 !!!! ARRRGHGHGH!

    Is the only difference some additional adjustment?

    EDIT: Was able to cancel the order no problems...wooo!

    BCG820 $199 will go well with my EM7000 for $399 hah
    Last edited by noise36; 26th June 2014 at 10:17 PM.

  39. #39
    Member J_Hutt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by noise36 View Post
    Is the only difference some additional adjustment?
    I have a BCG800 and BCG820. There are some good changes apart from the shim-less adjustment;
    - Finer increments to dosing (0.2 sec steps) and it counts down during grind - great for OCD types. Can save different pre-set time for 1 and 2 shots.
    - Displayed grind size number (fine 1-60 course I think - as well as position on slider)
    - Roter that drives the grinds to the outlet is now metal - 800 was plastic

  40. #40
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    The tranquillo has caught my eye as well. Anyone know how prone to breaking down they are? I doubt the eBay sellers offer warranty with the machines

  41. #41
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    So what did the OP go for in the end out of curiosity?

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Another one that I'd have no hesitation in recommending, is the Lelit PL043... I used to own one

    Punches way above its weight in output quality but would be slower than a Compak K3, I'm not familiar with the Isomac but expect it would be similar. Definitely a better build quality than any of the appliance grinders out there...
    Mal - out of interest, can I ask why you sold it? I've noticed a few threads where you said you had one and were happy with it.

    I have a newly acquired one and I'm having a little reverse buyer's remorse, i.e. not spending enough rather than spending too much. So I didn't follow your advice in your sticky post about buying the best grinder that I could afford. I was sufficiently shocked at the size of the K3 and the Macaps that I went for something that wasn't going to look like the Colossus of Rhodes each time I walked into the kitchen, not to mention the domestic politics.

    But I am wondering now whether this was wise. It's not the noise and a little mess and retention - I knew about that. I'm not finding the grind setting all that stable (I have the MMI model with stepless adjustment), and I have to continually make it finer and finer. When it's right the taste is fine, but then it needs adjustment again. This is with freshly roasted coffee (but not too fresh). I guess the machine needs bedding in, and a bit of adjustment is normal as beans age a little, but I'm surprised by the frequency and size of adjustments that I'm still having to make, burning through coffee each time. My impression is that the larger machines are more stable in their settings. But something like an M4D is a big jump in size and price.

    p.s. This is a thread about grinders <$300. Perhaps this should be in a new thread. I would not object if mods moved it.
    Last edited by gunda; 20th August 2014 at 10:01 AM. Reason: Wondering if this was the right place for this question

  43. #43
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    Hi Gunda,

    We're currently using a Lelit PL44MMT in the workshop for staff coffee (for the last 6 weeks or so). Basically the same as yours except it has the timed feature. In all of that time we've had to change the grind 2 or 3 times, sometimes coarser, sometimes finer and usually as a result of a blend change. You shouldn't have to keep going finer unless the coffee you are using is staling.

    charlie

  44. #44
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    As above,
    I've got an old Rocky, and only need to change my grind if the beans I'm using change due to the roaster/ blender.
    but he tells me to expect it when he's done something different.
    Otherwise, maybe 1 small adjustment finer right at the end of a 1kg bag if it's taken me longer than usual to use, or was a few days older when i received it.

    SO I doubt that spending twice the money on your grinder will make any difference.

    Although i did used to have to grind coarser with my old EM0480 as the machine started to clog up. (pain in the butt that thing was.)

  45. #45
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    Perhaps then the error is on my part. Still with my L plates on.

    I don't think the beans are going stale. I'm getting them freshly roasted and going through them at a reasonable pace and storing them carefully, so I don't think that there's that much more that I could do on that front.

    Despite all the commentary on my experiences, I'd still like to hear from Mal about what he liked about the PL043 unit and why he moved on.

  46. #46
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunda View Post
    Mal - out of interest, can I ask why you sold it? I've noticed a few threads where you said you had one and were happy with it.

    I believe this is why he sold the Lelit: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post331337


    Java "" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    I believe this is why he sold the Lelit: http://coffeesnobs.com.au/brewing-eq...tml#post331337
    I interpret this to mean that he got the upgrade bug.

    I was hoping for a better reason that I could also use.



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