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Thread: First 2 Weeks With My M4D

  1. #1
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    First 2 Weeks With My M4D

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Morning all,
    I have been debating about sharing my recent purchase of a Macap M4D as so many before me have made the exact same upgrade. This morning after a couple of kick starters I have decided I should share my experience.
    A while back I decided that I wanted to upgrade from my EM0480 to a Mini-E, then I thought that I would spend a bit less and go for the K3P, then I decided I did in fact want a Mini-E, then I thought the SJ-E was a better option and then...What about a M4D?
    All through this process I read all the related (and unrelated) threads I could find on Coffeesnobs which proved very helpful and insightful. I was stuck between M4D and Super Jolly but leaning towards the SJ-E and being in Tassie, not being able to get my hands on either machine in the flesh didn't help. I gave Chris @Talk Coffee a call to discuss the two grinders and was happy to pay extra for the SJ if it represented $200 greater quality. I'm very appreciative of Chris' helpful insights and willingness to share his experience/knowledge. Not many days after the call I had a M4D sitting on my bench thanks to Talk Coffee and had some beans running through that weren't flying everywhere.
    I had a decent system working to minimise mess from the 0480 but the M4D is proving to be so much cleaner. Because of all the other posts similar I do not need to discuss the benefits of flavour in the cup...WOW! or the consistency of grind... EVERY TIME! or the bling on the bench... BLING BLING! I bought an extra kilo of coffee to dial in the grind and due to being so simple to dial in out of the box I have had a lot of extra coffee this last fortnight.
    Some extra clumps/lumps(not hard!) in the first Kilo of coffee through but continually improving and I'm thinking it was more me finding the perfect grind for the bean/bean age post roast rather than the grinder.
    I am convinced I would have loved the SJ-E if I went for it instead but do not wish to change this grinder until upgraditis inevitably hits.
    Thanks for your help in choosing this grinder and I have added a pic in case you haven't seen enough M4D's.
    photo.JPG
    Cheers, Andy

  2. #2
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Great story Andy...

    Yep, the M4D is a terrific home grinder and will probably outlast your obsession...

    Mal.

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    Thanks Mal, it sure is solid.

  4. #4
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    Congrats andybean,

    The M4D remains my all time fave grinder <$1.5k. I feel they offer brilliant bang for buck. They rarely get sold 2nd hand and there's good reason for that.

    Many think that they compete with the Mazzer Mini-E, but they outperform the Mazzer SJ-E. The only reasons you'd go a SJ-E is that you like it, are enamoured by the stainless dregs tray or are regularly changing grind in a big way (manual methods).

    Enjoy!

    Chris

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    Thanks a lot Chris.

    I am very impressed with the unit, really love the worm drive for fine adjustments.
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  6. #6
    caffeinated lemoo's Avatar
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    have one and love it
    the worm drive is excellent in allowing you to make really minute adjustments if ever you needed it

    I've removed the hopper on mine and basically just put in whatever beans are needed each time I use it
    (cover the hole with a spare 58mm basket)

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    Congrats on the new purchase, Andy. I'm interested in these as well, particularly the automatic feature. Have you used this? Is it consistent? Have you weighed the grind to check consistency? I have a k3touch and love this feature but the adjusting knob is in a shocking position and consistency, while good, is not as good as I'd like. The idea of grinding an exact amount each time really appeals to me.

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    Hi Barri.
    Thanks for the congrats!
    I have only started using the timer feature in the last 3 days but unfortunately haven't weighed the dosing accuracy. By eye and the consistency of pours/flavour in the cup I would say it is very accurate and the timer is so simple to adjust. To be honest I didn't comprehend how quickly the grinder, being a smaller flat burr grinder, would dose my double basket which is why I have only just started using the timer function as it is very simple to use the continuous grind setting but I have certainly noticed improved (substantially) consistency since using the timer and appreciate it more now than when I first purchased it.
    Any CS'er with M4D experience please feel free to chime in on this.

  9. #9
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Congrats Andy!

    Wonderful choice and it's great to get a sense of your enthusiasm through your writing!

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    Thanks Chokki, appreciate it!
    i have no doubt that you helped in my decision making process with your many helpful posts.

  11. #11
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Thanks for your kind words Andy, ........glad to have helped in your journey.
    Last edited by chokkidog; 5th June 2014 at 09:37 PM.

  12. #12
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    Great to hear of another CSer having a great experience with a M4D and from the same CS sponsor too. I am entering my 3rd month with mine and couldn't be happier. An upgrade from a BSG, the difference in the cup was a big surprise. Ditto for me on ease of dial in. Grind adjustment mechanism is very easy to use and adjust with bean age. It's interesting how different beans vary by different amounts in terms of required fineness increase from start to end of a kilo. I have used the timer from the start. I am not a weigher but am happy with my dosing method. I'd rather waste 0.5-1 gram of coffee than add more steps to the process. I find it takes 2-4 shots to dial in both grind fineness and time when I have new beans. After that, small steps finer with about a 0.2 sec increase in grind time per turn of the worm drive to the finer. Another happy M4D owner here!
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  13. #13
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    Sorry to revive an old thread but it's somewhat on topic!

    I've been using a DeLonghi KG100, for 8 years, modified internally for a finer grind after I got my Silvia in 2010, and it's now dying after some 12,000 shots. I'm looking to replace it, and was originally thinking of the Compak K3 Touch, but am now noting all the glowing reviews of the Macap M4D.

    What advantage might I expect to enjoy in stepping up to the M4D from the K3?

    I've been a home roaster with a Behmor since 2012, and make a couple of double shot piccolos for me, and a double shot and single shot cap for my partner and daughter respectively each morning. I weigh my beans into the grinder for each pour, so significant grind retention would be a problem (the KG100, for all its faults, does not retain grounds noticeably). The coffee that I make with my KG100 tastes much better to me than the coffee made by the cafe nearest to work with a Robur grinder and large commercial espresso machine (I accept that multiple factors are relevant to this comparison!)

    Thanks in advance for help with this.

  14. #14
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi artemidorus
    I don't think you'd ever look back. Fast, consistent, will unlock some great new flavours you never knew your home roasts had (but that might mainly be a new burr set after 8 years!)
    I had an M4 - cracking grinder, and the the M4D as you mention gets rave reviews as well. Can't go too far wrong in this range.
    And grind-on-demand grinders is cool too
    Cheers Matt
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  15. #15
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Hi artemidorus,

    I own both a K3 Touch and an M4D (purchased in that order). They're both great, solid grinders. One costs twice as much as the other....the importance of that is only something you can judge. I *think* the M4D does unlock a greater array of flavours (as Matt says), but for my purposes (80% lattes, 20% espresso or long black) the difference is not huge. The programability of the M4D is great (you really don't need to weigh on the way in).

    From my experience the K3 requires less of a payload to grind consistently....the M4D needs a few more beans in the hopper for ultimate consistency. I'm sure others will disagree, however.

    My K3 is at work and the M4D is my every day home grinder.

    Cheers

  16. #16
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by artemidorus View Post
    ...I've been using a DeLonghi KG100, for 8 years...and it's now dying after some 12,000 shots. I'm looking to replace it...

    ...Compak K3 Touch VS Macap M4D. What advantage might I expect to enjoy in stepping up to the M4D from the K3?

    ...significant grind retention would be a problem (the KG100, for all its faults, does not retain grounds noticeably).

    ...The coffee that I make with my KG100 tastes much better to me than the coffee made by the cafe nearest to work with a Robur grinder and large commercial espresso machine (I accept that multiple factors are relevant to this comparison!) ....
    1) 8 years and 12 thou and great coffee.... WOW, WOW, and WOW !

    2) Both solid grinders of equivalent capacity. The only real life difference you will find will be in the *total user experience*, which as you might expect will be better for the more expensive grinder. Not because it costs more, but because the programmable timed dose and "total feel/use " of the M4D is "nicer". This is a personal opinion, and may be the opposite to what you think. Suggest you visit someone that can show you both side by side, because only you can decide if the significant extra cost is worth it for you.

    The M4D is available with stepped adjuster and if it were me, that is the one I would have rather than the micrometic model. The steps are tiny and you always know where you are. Micrometric is dead accurate but unnecessary if you have a good command of coffee making, and is slow if you want to make a significant change.

    The "stepless" adjuster of the K3 is about the only thing I don't like about it. I just don't like clutched stepless adjustment as a matter of course on any brand grinder because on some machines it can be quite notchy and therefore is not as accurate as it is made out to be. With steps OR micrometric adjusters, you always know where you are. With notchy stepless adjusters, you often overshoot and have to muck around to get back to where you were...

    3) Grind retention is only an issue with these models if you think it is....

    4) Robur what? As you have correctly observed, the idiotic practice of cafes specifying certain flavour of the decade brands and models of equipment, thinking that will somehow a good cuppa coffee guarantee, is delusional... Training, training, training, and good people, are the only things that will guarantee a good cuppa, and those operators will make good coffee on any good conventional piece of equipment that is well sorted and operating as it should. The rest is just people spending unnecessary loads of money to buy an image. Importers and manufacturers laughing all the way to the bank while their buyers have to work twice or thrice as long to pay that equipment off (than they would do if they bought good conventional equipment to make the same cuppa).

    Hope that helps.
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  17. #17
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    Thanks to all for their replies.

    The Macap M4D is now sitting on my kitchen bench, bought from Di Bartoli in Bondi Junction, a CS sponsor. They gave me a free bag of green Monsoon Malabar with it for being a CSer, thanks! I had a brief play with it before lunch. Suffice it to say that I'm going to have to change my ways a fair bit! It doesn't seem to like having only one pour's worth of beans in the hopper, several grams' worth of my first grind didn't come through, and I'm still dialing in the grind before even thinking of using the timer instead of the scales.. It seems strange to have the grinder towering over the Silvia! Looking forward to pressing on with the project tomorrow morning.

  18. #18
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    This is a really helpful thread. My stealth black M4D has crossed the desert and should be delivered early next week! Destined to be used at our weekday 'coffee club' at our church (replacing a Rocky which is doing a great job, but very slow). It will be a partner to an old Rocket Premium 'Hybrid' which like the M4D was purchased with guidance and help from Chris at Talk Coffee.

  19. #19
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    The stealth black M4D is 2 hours old. It is amazing. We are very happy with it. Sorry Rocky your days are numbered.
    Rather than starting a new thread - Questions to other M4D users to speed up the settling in:

    1. Do you set the grind timer or do you just manual grind.
    2. Do you work on 25ml in 25sec as a starting point.
    3. My start setting on the grind adjustment is around 5.5 but I realize that this would be machine specific.
    4. Do you have a heap of beans in the hopper or just grind what you want.

  20. #20
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    i've seen pictures of the black M4D and its quite sexy! I have a chrome one

    1) i have mine set on 5sec per button push. I agitate the grounds ala WDT style. Takes 2 button pushes and abit to clear 20g of beans
    2) not sure if i can help on this point but i weigh my shots. 20g of beans for 35-40g of coffee extracted in ~30seconds
    3) for my giotto and most of my beans (i home roast), the grind setting is usually set around the 7 mark and I fine tune +/- from there. YMMV
    4) I have never used the hopper. I weigh my beans (20g) and put them into the throat of the M4D. I use a spare 58mm basket that sits really nicely on the top of the throat that stops any beans from escaping


    the worm drive on the M4D makes adjustments to grind settings the easiest thing to do!

  21. #21
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    Thank you lemoo, all sounds good, it will be very helpful for me. I like using a spare basket, and only grinding what I need.

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    I have used my M4D for 4 years now and have set around 10 secs for a double shot, with a little plus or minus if I am changing beans. In the summer I have found the humidity and heat mean I drop from down half a second rather than adjust the grind.
    Personally i haven't found the work drive so easy to use, but that seems to be my issue not the grinder, from reading this blog.
    The auto timing is brilliant. I have not yet found any need to replace the grinders, although my previous Rocky I did before 4 years.
    The M4D is a fitting companion for my Elektra T1

  23. #23
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    I'm able to give some feedback one week into my ownership. Firstly, I haven't got a routine yet. Because I've found that the automatic timer seems to fluctuate +/- 1.5 g around my desired 15g, depending on "coffeestatic" pressure in the hopper, I'm still shoving the collecting pot from my old grinder under the spout and then weighing out my dose into the group. The grind is fluffy and less clumped that the output of my old grinder, but I have to add that I haven't noticed any difference in taste. The grinder is very fast and quiet in comparison to my KG100. Given the fluctuation in timed output, I'm not sure that I'll ever graduate to simply shoving the group under the spout. My grind sweet spot seems to be at about 7.2, the best timer settings seem to be 8.3s for 15g and 4.2s for 8g, but dose reliability seems to require a "head" of pressure in the hopper. This doesn't work for me as I weigh out the beans for each morning into the hopper. Still, early days yet!

  24. #24
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Makes sense re need more beans than required for brew to get consistency, as it gets empty there will be beans bouncing around instead of being ground. If you are weighing the beans just put the grams you want in the hopper/throat and grind until all done.

    Cheers

  25. #25
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by artemidorus View Post
    This doesn't work for me as I weigh out the beans for each morning into the hopper. Still, early days yet!
    Hello Art,

    You will encounter issues if you choose to use the grinder in a manner it was not designed for. Add some beans to the hopper and then let the grinder do its thing. First shot of any session happens after a small purge. Once you're done, you can empty off if required.

    FWIW, I tend to leave mine in the hopper for the couple of days it takes to use them as any acceleration of degas is a bonus for me (always too fresh) and the hopper is not that dissimilar to an airtight environment anyway. Andy wrote a great piece which supported this. I wash the hopper on refill.

    I think it's easy to be somewhat retentive about all of this. We read stuff written by those who copy blindly and then imitate- but can we taste a difference in a blind tasting? Try anti-sheep and see if you can taste anything at all...

  26. #26
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    FWIW, I tend to leave mine in the hopper for the couple of days it takes to use them. Andy wrote a great piece which supported this.

    I think it's easy to be somewhat retentive about all of this.
    +1 to the C02 is heavier than oxygen fact. Andy sure stuck his neck out! Brave man!
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  27. #27
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Was that a post of Andy's or an article?

  28. #28
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Hi Matt.

    Café Culture.... article.

    Cutting edge, underground stuff. Not for the faint hearted. Dangerous. :-D

    But when you think of weighing out small amounts of coffee and the continual

    displacement of CO2 from the bean mass and container and the continual mixing and remixing with air.........
    Last edited by chokkidog; 7th August 2015 at 03:23 PM. Reason: syntax ;-)
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  29. #29
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Ooooooooohhhh playing around with the dark arts
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  30. #30
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    Smile

    Well, the M4D is going good, well I should say I am doing great with it. With these new cut cost by stealth coffee cups (180ml) that are available now from coffee suppliers I am grinding 13gms for a double shot. I have found that a 50 plumbing pipe cap can be shortened to contain only 13gms level. It is quick to fill. I have ground about half the thickness off the outside about 1/4 inch and it fits snugly into the throat. Two small holes in the top let air in - so the grinds come out! If it was a conical (as in Kony) then an extension pipe needs to be added to keep the fingers attached to the hand for future use.
    It took some time but the grind is right. I stop at 20ml for the double and it is gentle, sweet with a nice after taste that last for an hour or so. It is very appreciated at my "Coffee Club" - well they come back for more.
    It is very fast.
    Any grind adjustments are minuscule so the micro adjustment is great.

    The Rocky steps are huge in comparison though I must say Rocky is a great grinder, but slow and retains a lot of grinds.

  31. #31
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    I upgraded from a Breville Smart Grinder 820 to a Macap M2D about 6 months ago and have never looked back.
    The consistency of the grind is amazing, I sometimes wonder if half the reason people new to the whole grind, dose, tamp process (as I was in October 14) simply struggle due to the inconsistency of some of the lower level grinders (there are good examples I know and I know the M2D isn't a hugely expensive grinder).
    The only downside to the M2D was it was a little messier on the bench than the SG, a coffee catcha solved that issue.
    The M2D and Macap in general seem to be great grinders.

    Drew
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  32. #32
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    My M4d was delivered today, now just to wait 3-4 days before I can play with my new toy when I get back from work! Going to be a very long week...

  33. #33
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    Got It. It took several weeks but the M4D and the Rocket Premium have shaken hands. Made 6 excellent flat whites yesterday for group of people. "Best local" coffee was the comment.
    (Rocky has retired and is keeping company with my Silvia V 1.5 ! (version one with adjustable pressure adjustment lock nut) that is still going - 10 yrs old now!)
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  34. #34
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    To finally see the m4d in the flesh and use it, makes me love this grinder even more. Even though the worm drive makes changing grind size a slow process, it's not really that bad unless you're very delicate and slow at turning the knob. Only able to use it for filter coffee at the moment, but still lovely to play with!

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  35. #35
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kyeba View Post
    ...Even though the worm drive makes changing grind size a slow process...
    If you want to speed that up you might try sourcing an appropriately sized/designed guitar string winder. There's even battery powered ones available.


    Java "A tool for every job" phile
    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

  36. #36
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    Thanks for the tip java

    It feels plenty fast enough by hand for me at the moment.

  37. #37
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    I'm now a few months in to M4D ownership and am posting a few more thoughts.

    I've got rid of the hopper, have gone back to weighing the beans for each shot, and am using my blind filter to plug the top when grinding (the ferocious pinging that occurs during grinding suggests that the M4D would fling the beans far and wide if this filter weren't there).

    The grind is very consistent, and I only need to make small changes every few days as my roasting batch ages.

    Contrary to my post above, and in retrospect I don't know why I was briefly fooled, it may have been humidity, the clumping is ferocious and much, much worse than the output of my DeLonghi. The clumping is such that I have to tamp much harder in order to prevent the formation of little channels in the side of the puck, which tend to ruin the pour by making it too watery. Is this clumping a result of the flat burr? - the DeLonghi had a conical burr. This is the single largest fault of the M4D, and it's not a trivial one.

    I'm becoming a fan of grinding straight into the group, but it is a lot messier than grinding into a hopper. I might get a 21g filter and grind my 15g into it to try to reduce spillage onto the bench.

    The grind retention thing doesn't seem to be a major problem - I was concerned that the first pour of the day might be compromised by several stale grams from the previous day, but I can't taste a difference.

    I have an intrinsic scepticism about this whole "unlocking of flavours" schtick with expensive grinders, and can't say I've noticed any difference in flavour. The change from shop coffee to home-roasted coffee makes a vastly bigger difference to flavour than does a change of grinders, so I would suggest that you make yourself a Corretto or buy a Behmor before worrying about grinders too much.

    It's a nice looking thing on the kitchen bench, and, despite all of the above, and oddly, I'm pleased with it.



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