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Thread: Advice - upgrade from Breville Smart Grinder (Rocket Giotto Plus)

  1. #1
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    Advice - upgrade from Breville Smart Grinder (Rocket Giotto Plus)

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

    been a while since I have posted here and I'm hoping to get some insight into options for a grinder upgrade.
    I'm trying to gain insight into the benefit to be gained vs outlay with a new grinder.

    I find the BCG800 very convenient. I make a small change to grind each day or so to accommodate the aging of my beans and the 'smart' aspect manages the volume. It seems ok.... but not awesome. I am OCD and love my coffee as a hobby but I'm not a cupping expert .


    My machine is a Rocket Giotto Premium Plus (V2 I think).

    I drink 1-3 cups a day, mostly with milk and occasionally straight espresso.

    Beans are roasted at a local roaster and I buy a KG/month roughly. I keep them in a sealed vacuum container and distribute a small'ish amount into the grinder every 2-3 days.

    My first two questions are obviously:

    1. is the Breville BCG800 limiting my coffee quality?
    2. What is a good upgrade choice?


    My criteria for an upgrade would be:

    1. controlled dosing so I can set it and have it automatically dose the correct amount.

    2. little to no retained grinds to reduce wastage.
    3. very tidy distribution into the PF or container - again minimise wastage but also the cleanup.

    4. Improved quality of taste over the BCG800

    Cost is definitely a factor. I haven't set a specific budget at this point though I did choke when I saw the K8 fresh advertised at $2k :P

  2. #2
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    What is your budget? If $500 or so, consider the Compak K3 Touch (I'm led to believe the timer is now 'useful'). But remember that dosing the 'correct' amount requires you to determine what the correct amount is....and will vary across beans and bean age. There is some grind retention (like most grinders), but it's no big deal. Some people find them a little messy.....but I operate mine with my eyes open and the lights on and haven't had a mess problem. If you're spending a bit more then the Vario or then Macap M4M are obvious contenders.

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    Thanks Barry.

    I have recently gone back to dosing 18g for my VST basket and adjusting the grind around that (accepting volume changes that occur). The 'IQ' of the Breville tries to adjust all of the elements so it's hard to grind by weight on the pre-sets.

    I have owned a K3 push before.

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    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Baratza forte will dose by weight to .2 gram I think...... It's just under 1k

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    This was one of the grinders that got me thinking about the upgrade. I do note though that the forte only does by weight into the hopper (and counts the time). you then have to manually tell it to set that time in memory if you want to use grind on demand with a PF. I may as well use my kitchen scales and set the time!

    A shame really as at first glance the grind by weight option sounds perfect.

    Otherwise it seems to get quite good reviews with grind quality being equated to a Mazzer Mini which I have never tried (though I did read the PF slides/vibrates out when filling??)
    Last edited by mgrobins; 29th June 2014 at 05:54 PM. Reason: sp

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    I am also in a similar situation looking to upgrade from a smart grinder. Have you considered the vario gen 2 as an alternative to the forte? Have read that it is smaller, less noisy and leaves less grind and about 3 hundred cheaper. There is a good thread on it here http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/3...e-grinder.html

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Advice - upgrade from Breville Smart Grinder (Rocket Giotto Plus)

    I've got a forte. It's great. Dial up a weight and grind into the bin. Then tip into your portafilter. The portafilter holder is good and didn't slip on me but it is timed. Each time you change a find setting you have to rethink if you want exact dosing. I don't bother.

    The grinder will convert the weight dose to a time dose for you. Just need to waste one dose once you have the grind set. It saves it as a timed dose if you tell it to.

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    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Happy to let anyone have a go if they live near brighton Le sands too. Just got a hg one if anyone wants a shot on that too!!

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    Nice Luke. I was reading about the HG one and considering it very very carefully. Aside from being manual it ticks every box I have.

    Noddy I have considered the Vario upgrade/gen 2 but cant find enough to know if its really a step up. The Forte I feel is more likely to be. I read on another forum some guys got it at just over $700. Not sure where and who sells them in Australia.

    Luke, does the Forte grinding on weight with the container rely on a sensor or could you have a different container to grind into like the blind tumbler for your HG one (Blind Tumbler 2014 | HG one).

    I figure this would be a nice mess free way to have weighted dosing and good distribution.

    If the HG-2 hits the street (motorised) I might look at it haha. I didn't see pics but it's in prototype stage.

    K8 Frsh will be out of my range too.

    I might look on ebay/gumtree at some of the second hand commercials too. If I can get a mazzer running the large conicals I could get a nice result with a small custom hopper (and perhaps mod the doser to go grind on demand). I airbrush for a hobby .... could turn an ugly eye-sore into art :P

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    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    The forte relies on the ground container that comes with it for weighing into mate. Easy to shake it and then pour into a portafilter though.

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    great news thanks.

    That would help with any grind inconsistency and 'fluff' the grinds nicely. No mess either assuming I can pour cleanly :P.

    Hmmm... I could always get a funnel that has a flange to sit on my PF turned in metal or acrylic . Maybe even made on a 3d printer.


    I still keep looking back at the HG One though. Everything about it seems just right..... except its manual haha.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgrobins View Post
    . The Forte I feel is more likely to be. I read on another forum some guys got it at just over $700. Not sure where and who sells them in Australia.:P
    If you find where to get a Forte for that price, let us know. !
    There is one on Evilbay currently BNIB for 900 !
    ...But at the same "buy it now" price there is also a K30 !!!
    Whilst the Vario is derided on this forum as a plastic appliance, in the US and on their forums it is rated in terms of "cup results" as a serious competitor to a Robur !
    But really, for 3 cups a day , its much easier to single dose weighed beans into any "non doser" grinder, straight into your PF.
    Using a PF funnel , this is a quick , clean, no waste operation that means you dont need to pay for electronic gimmicks on a grinder, and is basicly what you would have to do with an HG1 also.
    Then your grinder options become much wider at >$1k

    EDIT:
    The forte is available from 5 Senses.
    But remember there is also the cheaper Vario W that also grinds by weight (or time).
    did you read this .. http://coffeesnobs.com.au/grinders/3...e-grinder.html
    Last edited by blend52; 30th June 2014 at 01:55 PM.

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    I am increasingly aware of the large amount of coffee retained in the grinding chamber of the BCG800. The loss per dose may not seem much but there is a lot that is compacted around the chamber edge and sitting there going rancid. Cleaning it daily or even weekly is a PITA unless you take out the bottom bur (even then still a PITA).

    So, Im not rushing into anything. I'm evaluating how I do my daily coffee routine and deciding if a HG One will be a good fit. The quality and grind outcomes are clearly superior. Function with cleaning and grind retention also great. Static - a minor issue that can be overcome with water and most grinders have some.

    The main point for me to think over is to do with the time grinding and wether I am happy to do that of a morning as part of my routine. It seems like a small time/point but the attraction of many grinders is the ease of their hands free function.

    Cost? I guess I'm shopping in the same range with my inclinations right now. A part of my mind says ~$1k for a hand grinder is excessive and I'm getting less than the Forte however it's also a question of what I want the grinder to be.

    The perfect grinder would be a motorised HG-1 and that's something I could probably create

    I'm also interested in how easily the HG one is adjusted and kept dialled in. i'll go hunting in the HG one thread for that :P.

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    There is a thread on another forum with a guy who has been struggling to "season / condition" the burrs on his HG1, for many weeks, to get them to give results equal to another small hand grinder he is using !
    The Robur conical burrs they use are renown for needing several kilos to get them performing consistently .
    The HG1 seems an extreme step to the opposite end of the spectrum from the Breville ...and it falls down totally on your #1 requirement in your original post.
    But hey !..you have upgradeitus , and thats OK...just keep things real. !

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    Yes that's the aspect that is making e think very carefully. Reasonably, I can keep a small supply of beans in a 'ready use' container and weigh them out to grind on demand through the HG One. Actually meets most of my needs in that regard. Looking at the routine some people use with it it's also saving time in some other cleanup etc that is needed with an electric. Less waste per shot with retained grinds.... it's got its own pro's and cons for sure.

    THe only reason I still have the BCG800 is that I was unwilling to upgrade for a while. I now am happy to do so but still won't until I get more certainty . Less chance of buyers remorse then :P.

    I've started seeking some advice in HG One threads and seeing what I can find on it. If a DIY mod to motorize it is feasible (especially a reversible mod) I'd be doubly keen.

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    Mgrobins the more I read this thread the more I see your heart is in the HGone. would be worth asking if there is someone on this forum close to you that you can have a try on one and see if you are willing to go manual for the effort. Good
    luck with what ever your choice will be I am sure you will be stoked.

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    I think it may be noddy.... but a good part of that is my need to fiddle and mod stuff haha. I see the HG One as an opportunity for a project that will give me good coffee.

    As far as a nice off the shelf solution I really think the Forte is my best choice. I don't know from a practical stand point how much my dose weight will change as I make minor changes in grind when I do it by time (I buy a KG a month roughly and just make small changes each day to the 2-3 day amount I stick in the hopper). I could always grind into the container though .... its just less simple than direct into the pf.

    Just for info too.... I cleaned my BCG800 today. People talk about the ~2g retained grinds but they are actually incorrect. 2g is the NET LOSS between doses. After getting rid of what was above the top bur (partial grounds etc) I cleaned out most (not all) of what was packed against the edges of the grinding chamber and measured it at 6g. So I'd estimate 7-8g total grounds actually hiding in there and going off. I'm guessing the dose people measure is say 18g in -> 16g out. That 16g is likely a mix of the some of these rancid grounds with the fresh grounds (I hope that makes sense).

    I'm hoping someone with a forte will input some advice re how it compares in this regard. I'm following a thread on the Home-Barista page as well for the forte and will see what comes back.


    I've started running a few grams out of my BCGf before loading my PF and the taste is definitely better. That's what has me looking at the forte with a critical eye regarding the retention as all other aspects seem perfect.

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    Mm I would be scared sh**less to mod a HGone. Thanks for that info on the grind retention on the bcg800. I often clean the burrs when I change blends and I certainly get more than 2g but have never measured it. I also run a few grams in the morning out before I load my PF. I really want a grinder that has minimal retention as priority as I only get on average three coffees out of my grinder a day and freshness counts. I use a scale for weight. I will be keen to see how you go with your choice.

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    I'll post back here as I learn more.

    I can't budget for a Versalab M3 which is why the HG One is an option. It can be modded reversibly using a windscreen wiper motor. I'm also looking at a Dewalt clutch and motor setup that would enable good rotation speed and adjustable torque to protect the burs in the event of a stone etc. A fellow in the US has gone down a similar path and we have been corresponding to nut out some details.

    I'll ring around locally and see if any stores have a forte. I'd like to have a look inside and see if it's better than my Breville for grinding fresh.

    Also of interest is the new Compak range. I'm still learning what the different levels are but there is 'essential' and 'fresh' which do grind on demand. K8 with flat burs and K10 with conical.

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    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    You in Sydney at all mate? If so happy to show you both

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    Brisbane . I love road trips but the distance is a little too far haha. Wonderful of you to offer though thanks Luke

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    Hmmm... I just had a look online at pricing and the Malhlkonig branding seems to add a stupid amount to the price of the Vario vs overseas pricing under Baratza.

    A Baratza Forte is available in Australia for about $990 and the Mahlkonig Vario W is $780 at the cheapest price I can locate.

    Looking in the US I see that under Baratza the Vario W sells for ~$550 and the Forte for ~$900.

    I see no way to claim that it's a support issue or whatever. Its likely not the retailers but the distributor.

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    Senior Member Lukemc's Avatar
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    Talking to a few retailers they won't touch the vario due to warranty issues. Maybe the added dollars are to cover those issues? #purespeculation

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgrobins View Post
    Hmmm... I just had a look online at pricing and the Malhlkonig branding seems to add a stupid amount to the price of the Vario vs overseas pricing ......
    You are looking over the wrong seas !
    look at some of the European retailers of the Vario,.... you may get a surprise !

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    Do you mean need for warranty due to poor quality or issues with the distributor? Baratza appears to have quite a good rep for after sales support in the US.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgrobins View Post
    Do you mean need for warranty due to poor quality or issues with the distributor? Baratza appears to have quite a good rep for after sales support in the US.
    Couldn't comment, I know I asked two retailers who deal in high end mahlkonig grinders about them and they said they wouldn't touch the vario due to "warranty" issues, I didn't delve deeper

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    Quote Originally Posted by mgrobins View Post
    Do you mean need for warranty due to poor quality or issues with the distributor? Baratza appears to have quite a good rep for after sales support in the US.
    Over the past years there have been many reports of breakages of minor parts on the Vario and warranty replacements, however, the current version ..the Mk II ?.. has had many improvements to address those breakages and should not suffer the same issues.
    I dont know if there is sufficient history on the latest version to prove its reliability, but from the reviews it is a substantially changed machine ..apparently !

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    That history is one reason I'd look at the Forte rather than the vario.

    I'm in no rush so I shall keep looking and working out what I can make work best for me .

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    I was in the same situation about a month ago.
    I first looked at the Vario and yes, there are so many good reviews, but also many 'small' issues that are looked after with warranty.
    The Forte is in the same boat.
    When I did my research on this site, one of the site sponsors is very strongly against the Vario and at first, i didnt understand what his issues are with them but after thought, you are spending $1000 and you want to make sure that all is going to be good for a number of year, a lot more than the three year warranty period.
    The Compak, Macap and Mazzer's all have their issues, but the issues are not in build quality where a small part needs replacing, or alignment of parts, or differences in grind and dosing. They are issues with grind retention and mess, things easily fixed.
    This is why I went the more conventional grinder route, a Compak k8. The taste difference over the Breville is amazing. A bit of practice and technique has given me results I can not argue with, with piece of mind that the thing will keep going for many many years. The k8 may not meet your requirements in terms of auto dosing, but a Macap m4d would be a good option i would think.
    Last edited by denwol; 4th July 2014 at 12:40 PM.

  30. #30
    TOK
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    Ah yeah....the grind retention thing again.

    Grind retention is a figment of the imagination. If it bothers you, there is a problem. If it doesnt, there is no problem.

    If it wasn't for endless discussions on the www, no one would be bothered.

    It cant be any simpler than that.

    That leaves you with "mess", and just like the above, it is very much an individual thing. Some can handle (manage) it, and others cant.

    The thing about "cafe series" type grinders as mentioned (compak / macap / mazzer) is they are really simple beasts with few if any bells and whistles, that just do their work and never talk back at you (figuratively speaking).

    Others have listened to the demands of their clients and have started giving them bells and whistles that the clients say they want....and that is where the problems lie, giving in to the demands of people that are becoming more and more difficult to please....and who apparently cant handle or are not satisfied with and want to find fault with, simple stuff that just works.

    So you end up with a bunch of products offering points of difference for people to obsess over. Do they really grind or deliver coffee any better one from the other when used properly, or is it just a difference of bells and whistles for marketing purposes and for people to sell their products?

    It should be the stuff of endless BLIND CUPPINGS to show people that what they think is not always what they taste

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    Just as a comparison , i took a half hour to strip and clean thoroughly my K3 collecting and weighing every grind i could find.
    Result..and this id from a grinder that has not been cleaned for near 2 months of daily use... was total 4.2 gms.
    Most of that was "loose grinds in the discharge port and hanging about in the sweepers, and one bean jammed in the center of the lower burr.
    There was probably less than 1 gram stuck to the "non working areas of the grind chamber.
    This gives me no concern as i have the common habit of purging the grinder with 4+ gms each morning before the first brew, and as those "stuck" grinds dont come into contact with the grinds in process, i am pretty confident that my shots are fresh grinds from the start.
    With a good sensible operating procedure , retention is a non issue.
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    Yeah I'm fairly confident the commercials would be better grinders than the home varieties. I agree with Tok in that I'm not after all of the 'features' outside of those that help me standardise my coffee making.

    Why do I want that? so I can learn more about what different coffee's taste like and even different ways shots can be pulled for different flavour.

    Don't be so quick dish crap at me for raising "The grind retention" issue either. Stale coffee does not taste like fresh coffee.
    Purging my grinder of a few grams a time, and completely cleaning it has resulted in better coffee Vs not dumping the retained grinds.

    You think I'm being silly about it or unreasonably obsessive? Coffee is only going up in price so I'd like to keep my wastage down. Doesn't seem like much to dump a few grams each day? My Breville is working at about 15% a shot (working on 1/day). That's ~$65 a year for me. If I want to enjoy higher profile blends, a cup at night, or single origins then the cost goes up a lot more.

    If part of the cost is the extra $ a grinder may cost me, then 'mess' etc is simply about opportunity cost. If I'm cleaning up coffee I'm not using that time more effectively elsewhere. For those who find it cathartic or somehow a pilgrimage into the authentic coffee experience.... good for you and keep making mess! :P I have other ways I escape the world.

    Good food for thought too Denwol . A friend has an M4D and it's a lovely grinder. Didn't seem that messy and can be set quite accurately I thought??
    Last edited by mgrobins; 5th July 2014 at 09:09 PM.

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    Really sounds like you need a HG-one

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    I'm Concerned that I may just be trying to convince myself of that Steve :P.

    Once I got past the reviews citing it as some sort of orgasmic, spiritual experience it became clear that it is a very elegantly designed product. I've spoken with another fellow and already have some thought on how to motorize it in a reversible yet neat manner. Hand grinding was the single issue I have with it . Versalab also sound great but I can't budget the $2.2k+.

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    Mgrobins will be interested if you do go down the pathway of a diy motorized HGone. The key is to still maintain its elegance with a motor attached to it.

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    I have some ideas . If I'm happy using it as a hand grinder then anything more is a bonus . Just need to decide if that's the case!

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    Quote Originally Posted by noddyc43 View Post
    .... if you do go down the pathway of a diy motorized HGone. The key is to still maintain its elegance with a motor attached to it.
    Have you seen the German built grinder using Robur burrs ..? ..not exactly "elegant" !
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    I like it actually...

    Could probably do with a little in the way of aesthetic refinement where the motor and control is concerned but certainly appreciate the bespoke workmanship...

    Mal.



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