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Thread: Choice between K30 Vario or Mazzer Robur Electronic

  1. #1
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    Choice between K30 Vario or Mazzer Robur Electronic

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

    I have owned a Malkonig Vario for about a year and a half, but am now looking to find my ultimate home grinder. The thing is I can't decide between a Mazzer Robur Electronic or a K30 Vario.

    The thing that worries me about the Robur is simply coffee wastage. The K30 Vario has nearly no wastage. But the problem is, will the K30 lack the flavour the Robur produces. I would hate to think I am spending the same amount of money on the K30 Vario and not getting the same quality (or close to) in the shot.

    If anyone out there has owned both machines before and can report on difference in quality of shots between the two, I would greatly appreciate your input. Or if anyone has owned or does own a Robur Electronic, I would like to hear what you do to manage coffee wastage and if it is worth the wastage (or you wish you hadn't bought it).

    Any other suggestions about an ultimate home grinder or input that might be helpful to me about the above grinders would also be welcomed.

    Thank You.

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    Are you sure the K30's don't retain much coffee? Thats not what I've heard. I've worked with Robur E's and they waste a tremendous amount of coffee. 60 + grams between making a grind adjustment and seeing the effect. Easy to blow 250gm of coffee when dialling in a new bean. I like them in a busy cafe but would stay away for home use. Robur manuals waste a bit less.

  3. #3
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    I have owned a Robur-e for a couple of years now, wouldn't swap it for anything else currently on the market.

    Retention and purging is a non issue for me. It retains, I purge.

    A cafe client of mine has 5 Mahlkoenigs on the bench, they purge them as well, if one has been off duty for more than a few minutes.

    They opened a second cafe and put in 5 Robur-e's. The head barista there is opening their own place..... Robur-e and Kony-e (for decaf).

    Read Matt's (designingbycoffee) comments in the 'large conical users' thread.

    Nuova Simonelli have a new grinder on the market (or at least in production); the Mythos One. I'll stick with the Robur.

    I would only consider a changeover if something completely new comes on the market in terms of burr technology, rather than bells, whistles
    and grinder heaters!!

  4. #4
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    According to a youtube video interviewing a representative from Mahlkonig, the K30's only retain about 2 grams of coffee in the chute.

    Does the Robur really waste that much coffee? Wow! That's what worries me about buying one for home use.

    What would you suggest for a top of the line home grinder?

  5. #5
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    chokkidog do you have any idea of grams of coffee you have to purge?

    Can you dose by weight and manually sweep out the coffee from the chute?

    Have you made any modifications to your Robur?

  6. #6
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Some purge 1 shot, some 2, so it depends on how your 1&2 shot timers are set.

    Brushing out the chute? Not practical.

    Mods?...No

    Dose by weight? Not me, no need. Consistent, repeatable technique.... works every time.
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  7. #7
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I don't believe that the Robur et al grinders are especially suited for home use. I tossed up between the Kony-e and Robur-e some time ago and really, the Robur is just way overkill in my opinion. Settled on a Kony-e and could not be happier. Macap also make some very decent big conical grinders, so wouldn't leave them out of the equation...

    It's all a very personal decision of course, but having a behemoth Robur sitting next to my Diadema (purely for home use) was bordering on the ridiculous. The Kony is quick at around 7-8 seconds for a 20g grind and that is plenty fast enough for how I operate. I know the Robur and other uber conicals can do this in under half that time but then the coffee would be waiting for me to get to it, with my routine in my workspace - Horses for courses of course, of course...

    Mal.

  8. #8
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    Thank you for your input so far. So does anyone own a K30? Would it be a risk buying one as far as parts and service go? There does not seem to be much on the internet in Australia about them.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Bosco_Lever's Avatar
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    Another grinder to consider would be the Elektra Nino. Grind retention on these is a lot less than the Robur. Not sure who the importer is. I know of a couple of units that were self imported when the Australian dollar was higher. They are a very well built grinder, not seen very often here.

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    The HG One I tried at MICE seemed very nice, but I didn't love what was in the cup (which may have been beans or machine).

  11. #11
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    If you are considering the K-30, is there a reason why the Major isn't on your list; both being big planars?

  12. #12
    TOK
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    I think that goes to the heart of the topic, and what are "we" comparing?

    What does "ultimate" mean to any particular person?

    I understand the K 30 has 65 mm plates, in which case it is in super jolly and macap mx territory (major has significantly larger plates).

    With regard to K 30 vs robur E. They are not the same except in the similar characteristics of their programmable functionality and use in cafe / commercial circumstances.

    Also with regard to the quote in the original question: :...If anyone out there has owned both machines before and can report on difference in quality of shots between the two..." we seem to keep going back to the same old misunderstandings. If there is a difference in the character in the cup between the two ("quality"), what does it mean? That they may be a little different? That doesnt mean that one is better then the other, or just that there is a difference. And of course what one individiual likes or thinks is significant, may mean nothing to someone else. You have to do the comparison yourself to see if there is any importance in it for you.

    And of course with regard to "wastage". Anyone that runs a grinder in the home, which is not designed for that but instead is designed to be used in a cafe situation with infinitely larger volumes running through, probably has to accept whatever the grinder of his choice does, if he wants to have it in his kitchen.

    Its one for the prospective owner I believe to sort for his particular wants and circumstances.
    Last edited by TOK; 22nd May 2014 at 09:31 AM.
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  13. #13
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    With respect to the OP but it's a curious thing when good intentioned people ask ' which grinder' when in fact they are asking;
    'do I want a planar or a conical'?

    As you correctly point out TOK, there is some homework to do before the question of 'which grinder' can be considered.

    Finegrind; if you google something like ' vario k30 v Robur-e' you might find one or two comments.

    Good luck on your quest. :-D
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineGrind View Post
    Any other suggestions about an ultimate home grinder or input that might be helpful to me about the above grinders would also be welcomed.
    I thought long and hard about the grinders you are considering. In the end I got a HG-ONE and am extremely happy. Didn't particularly want to hand grind (might motorise it in the future), but haven't found it a chore at all. Its ridiculously easy to dial in and ridiculously consistent. The main thing I love is that I swap coffees usually at least twice a day (home roaster who does lots of experimenting), and there's nothing to do (unless you're really fussy and do a quick brush of the burrs). If I have people over, I just get someone to do the grinding, there's always plenty of volunteers. So for a home grinder, definitely worth thinking about.

  15. #15
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi Finegrind
    Second everything here
    I bought a Robur last year, and like Chokkidog reckon it's great. Agree too with Mal - it is way overkill for home only!

    On the down side, it does take at least 2-3 double baskets worth for any grind adjustment to kick in properly, so if you like to constantly swap beans brew to brew, avoid it like the plague! In fact, if you like measuring beans, and started trying to do that with a clean Robur - you wouldn't get any grounds out the other end with only 17g in! Would all end up in the burrs and chute
    Having said this - with this grinder I'm not too fussed about a perfect pour each time (gasp!) as this grinder is much more forgiving than my Macap before. I've recently swapped beans, and have had some pours that have been well and truly over a minute (or more!) - and the results have been fine, barely any bitterness (but getting a little cold!). So I just let the grounds run through as they come, and adjust using tamp/dosing until the new adjustment comes through.
    I purge maybe 5g at the beginning of the day to get out the "plug" and leave the rest to fate! I don't find retention causes that much of an issue in flavour for me - just slightly less crema…

    In the end, if it is home only, I'd ponder long and hard.
    I bought mine at a time where I started roasting lots of beans for friends, and needed to occasionally grind a bag or two for them. It is super fast (3-4 secs for a double) so can knock off 250g pretty well (not that it is really designed for this). I have also have run some coffee appreciation / marriage courses etc with larger groups in the past - and doing brews for lots of people is much easier with something like this in turn around. It has also helped me fine tune my roasting no end - I find the extra clarity helps me see more clearly what is going on in the cup & the profile.

    So again - horses for courses!
    Happy hunting
    Cheers Matt
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  16. #16
    TOK
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    Hi Matt....excellent post, but I think it should probably be pointed out that when you say the robur is more forgiving than you previous grinder a Macap, that they are not the same kind of grinder...I gather the macap was probably a much small one with planar grinding plates (and perhaps you mentioned that in a previous post and I didn't see that). So in terms of comparing *brands* with *similar* models, it would be more about comparing a robur with a macap M7K, and then the "forgiveness factor" may well be quite different.

    Anyway, apart from that the other points you annunciated are well worth noting by anyone considering such a grinder for home use.
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  17. #17
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Point taken TOK
    The Macap was an M4 planar with much smaller burrs, which was a lovely grinder. However it didn't like over-extraction much - the Robur seems to handle slow drippy pours with much great elegance!
    Thanks for the clarification
    Matt

  18. #18
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Love those drippy pours!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bosco_Lever View Post
    Another grinder to consider would be the Elektra Nino. Grind retention on these is a lot less than the Robur. Not sure who the importer is. I know of a couple of units that were self imported when the Australian dollar was higher. They are a very well built grinder, not seen very often here.
    We use an Elektra Nino/Elektra 60s 2 group compact combination in the workshop - the Nino has very low grounds retention as the outlet chute has no horizontal section - it angles straight down from the burr chamber. We've also modded it by adding a manual pushbutton that works as the equivalent of the manual button on a Mazzer Electronic grinder. We've brought in a few Ninos, but they are a fairly pricey grinder so aren't easy to sell, plus they have a few weak points that really need redesigning for heavy cafe use. The main one is the foam/plastic cover over the microswitch used to trigger the grind cycle - it peels away fairly quickly, then the space behind it fills up with grounds, which affects the proper operation of the switch. It could probably be fixed by retrofitting a different design of microswitch that doesn't need the original foam/plastic cover.

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    Hey fine grind.

    I've owned a k30 for about 6 months now. I was tossing up between a kony and the k30 at the time, found a good deal for a second hand k30 and went with it. I am very happy with it so far.

    I really like the easy adjustability of dose and grind. Also cleaning out the burrs if very easy. I just ordered some new burrs and there about 160 bucks.

    In terms of ground retention I find it fairly low at around 5 grams give our take a few.

    Keep in mind though I have not used a large conical but I would have no hesitation recommending it.

  21. #21
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    Speaking of 65mm planar grinders, does anyone have an opinion on the eureka zenith 65E?

  22. #22
    TOK
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    Disclaimer: I don't have any personal experience of the model.

    However, in general eureka is a serious grinder manufacturer and the models I do have experience with are well built and reliable.

    After that...its just another entry level (for cafe use) electronic grinder as in....all these pieces of equipment are just tools in the hands of the artiste for he or she to *interpret* as they will....!

  23. #23
    Senior Member javabeen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DesigningByCoffee View Post
    However it didn't like over-extraction much - the Robur seems to handle slow drippy pours with much great elegance!
    The same applies to the Kony-e, and probably most grinders at this end of the spectrum. With the Kony, the majority of the pours are amazing even when they're not perfect.

    As for wastage, there it is popping up again. I meam come on peoples, its a mute point at this end of the game, really. As far as I'm concerned, its about the pursuit of god shots and if that means wasting 10, 20 or even 30g of coffee between shots, its fine by me, especially considering the cost of these grinders. Of course the exceptions are the geisha/microlot coffees

    Javabeen
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  24. #24
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by javabeen View Post
    ...
    The same applies to the Kony-e, and probably most grinders at this end of the spectrum. With the Kony, the majority of the pours are amazing even when they're not perfect.

    As for wastage, there it is popping up again. I meam come on peoples, its a mute point at this end of the game, really. As far as I'm concerned, its about the pursuit of god shots and if that means wasting 10, 20 or even 30g of coffee between shots, its fine by me, especially considering the cost of these grinders. Of course the exceptions are the geisha/microlot coffees

    Javabeen
    Agreed Java!! :-D

    Glass half empty = wastage

    Glass half full = purge

    My glass is half full!!

  25. #25
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    I reckon your glass is twice the size it needs to be! :P

    Sorry couldn't resist. Interesting info here.

    Cheers

  26. #26
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Gloopy, syrupy, luscious pours are the norm around here too...

    Been years since I've been guilty of pouring a substandard shot and that's pretty well all down to the large-ish conical sitting on the bench. And a bit of experience of course...

    Mal.

  27. #27
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Plus One to the Conicals

    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Gloopy, syrupy, luscious pours are the norm around here too...

    Been years since I've been guilty of pouring a substandard shot and that's pretty well all down to the large-ish conical sitting on the bench. And a bit of experience of course...

    Mal.

    Thanks to Mal's words of wisdom, and the experienced advice from Chris at Talk_Coffee who ranks it somewhere between a Kony and a Robur, I upgraded to a Wega 6.8 (re-badged Compak K10). I couldn't be happier, and found that it wastes a lot less coffee than what it replaced on my bench, being a Mazzer Major, simply because of the consistency of the shots and the ease of dial-in when changing beans. I also prefer the doser handle and mechanism on the Wega (or Compak) compared to the Mazzer as it has (IMHO) a more natural overhand movement which is real nice.

    Plus one to the world of ""Gloopy, syrupy, luscious pours" and thanks once again to Mal and Chris.

    Cheers
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    I know the discussion here isn't necessarily including the K10 (fresh), but after having it on my bench for a couple of weeks I must say it is absolutely amazing!!! And for my own personal knowledge I have been cleaning after each mornings use, so that the next shot I pull the following morning I can record weights in and out. So for anyone that is actually concerned about retained grinds, I can say that the K10 holds onto about 2.5 grams........ However, that is with the static screen removed!!! If the screen is left in I am almost certain it would retain closer to 5 grams.

    So as far as it goes, I think doing a 5 gram grind, emptying and throwing away, before grinding my first mornings dose more than assures the purging of everything retained. And for the "gloopy, syrupy, luscious pours" it guarantees, it is a very small price to pay
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stilloutthere View Post
    I know the discussion here isn't necessarily including the K10 (fresh), but after having it on my bench for a couple of weeks I must say it is absolutely amazing!!! And for my own personal knowledge I have been cleaning after each mornings use, so that the next shot I pull the following morning I can record weights in and out. So for anyone that is actually concerned about retained grinds, I can say that the K10 holds onto about 2.5 grams........ However, that is with the static screen removed!!! If the screen is left in I am almost certain it would retain closer to 5 grams.

    So as far as it goes, I think doing a 5 gram grind, emptying and throwing away, before grinding my first mornings dose more than assures the purging of everything retained. And for the "gloopy, syrupy, luscious pours" it guarantees, it is a very small price to pay


    I am also getting very low grind retention with my Wega 6.8 (re-badged K10). In fact it is less than I was getting with my Mazzer Major, which surprised me.

  30. #30
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    A question to Chokkidog and Designingbycoffee.I assume the Robur has a hopper gate and that you return what is left in the hopper to an airtight container after you have finished making your coffee. But what do you do with the unground beans left in the throat of the Robur when you have finished with the machine?

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by FineGrind View Post
    A question to Chokkidog and Designingbycoffee.I assume the Robur has a hopper gate and that you return what is left in the hopper to an airtight container after you have finished making your coffee. But what do you do with the unground beans left in the throat of the Robur when you have finished with the machine?
    There's plenty there for your final shot
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  32. #32
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    I also own a Pharos hand grinder. I don't know if anyone can answer this question, but would the Robur be an improvement in shot quality over the Pharos? Because (in my experience) my Pharos certainly doesn't have an exceptionally large amount of time before blonding occurs. From what I have been reading, it sounds like the Robur has more time before blonding than the rest of the grinders. But anyway, besides blonding I am hoping that the Robur is going to produce even more of a quality grind than the Pharos. Otherwise I would be thinking twice about purchasing it.

  33. #33
    TOK
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    I don't know anything about the pharos grinder however, if memory serves correct weren't posters in this and other forums keenly touting it as having the "quality" (there we go again) of a large conical (presumably electric cafe type) grinder without the price tag? If that is true, then the only thing any electric grinder of high "quality" is going to give you over your pharos is speed and convenience in use.

    That said (written), I don't think "blonding" has anything to do with the grinder if it is a good one. More to do with the coffee beans in use, how they were roasted, how long ago, your overall coffee making technique, the set up of your coffee machine, etc.
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  34. #34
    TOK
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    And if so.....you may already be sitting on your "ultimate" grinder and I have just savd you a mozza ?

  35. #35
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hi FineGrind,

    Have you read the CS or HB (121 page) thread on the Pharos?

    Have you ever been able to choke a shot using the Pharos?

    As far as beans/grinds in the throat below the hopper and in the grind path? Use it or lose it. No probs.

    I guess my response to your line of thought and question can be summarised along these lines:

    * If you can afford a Robur-e, then a relatively small amount of purged coffee should not be an issue, even less so if you are roasting your own.

    * The Robur will not produce shots 10 x better than your Pharos, all by itself.

    * If you are looking for coffee nirvana then machinery will help, but is not an answer unto itself, there are just too many
    other dynamics.

    * the perfect grinder has not yet been invented but if you want 'industry best standard' then a Robur will fill the bill.

    * I don't think you have mentioned what machine your grinder is being paired with, or if there is an ulterior motive for wanting
    a commercial spec grinder. You can avoid disappointment (with a commercial), by appropriate pairing.

    * Don't discount the quality of the second tier commercial/ semi-commercial grinders in the Mazzer/ Macap range.
    Remember, grinders such as the Robur are specced and built to work long, high volume hours and are priced accordingly.
    Similar quality coffee can be achieved with a high spec home grinder.

    * Compare good planars with conicals with the same coffee that you like, at the same time, in the same machine, to determine what you like.

    * If you buy a Robur-e and can live with/ignore retention, you will at the door of coffee nirvana.

    * before you buy a Robur make sure your Pharos is operating properly, as TOK says...... you might already be there.

    Cheers.
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  36. #36
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    So I have decided to look at buying the K30 Vario but need to know if there is a place in Australia who can service and repair them. I am just wondering if anybody can help me. I don't want to buy an expensive grinder that cannot be repaired if it breaks.
    Thanks.

  37. #37
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Still not sure of your logic.... but who am I to say?......Why spend so much on a grinder that is essentially specced the same

    as some top quality lower priced units?

    And beware company reps. The people I know who run K30's purge 30 gms.

    It's also unlikely that a grinder of this quality will 'breakdown' inside warranty.

    After warranty all you need is mail order access to parts and some know how or a decent tech.

    Telling people where you live might help with locating a dealer/service centre.

    Have you googled 'Mahlkonig K30 Australia'?
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  38. #38
    Senior Member FineGrind's Avatar
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    I live in Queensland.

  39. #39
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    I'd also say how happy I am with the HG-one, no retention, I often change beans several times a day, just tip them in the top and away you go.

    Mazzer Robur burrs, about 30 seconds to grind a 20gm dose, no heating of the burrs/coffee. Fits really well into my home coffee routines.

    Peter

  40. #40
    TOK
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    The Mahlkonig importer is in Sydney: Appliance Maintenance Company or "AMC".

    But like Chokkidog above in all things he said in posts #35 and #37, I really don't understand your logic...
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