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Thread: Choosing my new grider...my head hurts

  1. #1
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    Choosing my new grinder...my head hurts

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Good morning all
    It's been a while. Life changes have meant I have not been here as regularly as I used to be.
    I am now in a situation where I will be upgrading my grinder from my trusty moderator bought (thanks Dimal) rocky to something in the next bracket up.

    I have read and read and read and I will be going to visit a site sponsor before making a final decision as I think seeing and testing them in the flesh will be best (plus I can actually take it home with me at the time!) I did want to raise a few things so that I go in a bit better prepared.

    OK so background is that I own a ECM Botticelli II single boiler machine. It has been in mothballs for 6 months and today I pick it up after having a full service.
    Very excited!!
    As stated it is currently paired with a Rocky that I guess would be about 10 years old.
    I had planned on buying a whole new set up (which I still will do - eventually) but budget wise at the moment I think it will be grinder upgrade then machine.
    Most coffee will be made for only 1 or 2 people at a time. I drink mainly picollo Latte's and flat whites
    OK so here is the questions
    At this stage my plan is to look at -
    Macap M4 doser - $795
    Mazzer Mini Doser - $690
    Compac K3 Elite WBC - $689
    Compac K3 touch - $559

    The next step up (which for me would only be the Macap M4D) is a pretty big price jump. I've heard people say that the difference between the 2 Macap's is " sunroof & leather seats" that essentially you pay for extras like speed digital timing doserless but grind quality is the same.
    Have I read this correctly? If it is the case I think it will make my choice to save some coin a bit easier.

    My plan is that this grinder will keep me happy for a while and be able to keep up with my machine upgrade (which will be something in the range of domobar Junior/ ECM Manufacture Technika IV Profi/ Rocket Giotto etc)

    Personally I think that I will be happy with the lower price bracket grinder but would like to know others thoughts given for me this is a pretty big purchase, I want to just make sure that I am not missing something major between these 4 and the jump up to the M4D.

    I guess I am wondering also about the fact that all bar the K3 touch are doser models in this group and with the amount of use it will get (not as much as most) should I look at other similar doserless models?

    Thanks for any help you can provide. I know there are lots of threads oround this sort of thing, but I just couldn't find one that gave the comparison between the M4 doser/ mazzer mini etc & M4D.
    Cheers
    Shannon.
    Last edited by Shannon; 20th November 2014 at 11:12 AM.
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  2. #2
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    The next step up (which for me would only be the Macap M4D) is a pretty big price jump. I've heard people say that the difference between the 2 Macap's is " sunroof & leather seats" that essentially you pay for extras like speed digital timing doserless but grind quality is the same.
    Have I read this correctly? If it is the case I think it will make my choice to save some coin a bit easier.
    I read somewhere the M4D grinds much faster than the M4 doser, which to me suggests that it may have a different burr set ?
    (someone will confirm) ...which is like the Mazzers,.. mini E vs the doser version,... which also have different burrs.
    Its your decision, but if you are wanting to save money, why would you pay more for any of the manual dosers over the K3T ?
    ...unless you are a committed manual doser fanatic !
    Infact, depending on how you plan to dose ( single dose weight?) ... why not consider the even cheaper K3P ?

  3. #3
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    FWIW, check the grind on the rocky until you get an extraction rate of around 55ml in 30 secs. I have a Kony but also an old rocky. I found that I was not grinding fine enough with the Rocky. It is now set to about 6 on the side scale. Once that is right - look for something that is actually better.
    I gave Rocky a good clean and found the grind good enough to use at work to produce reasonable coffee. Also I grind on demand, that is if I want to have 17gms of grinds I put 17 gms of beans in the hopper. So the leather and the sunroof are an overkill. Evenness of the grind with good burrs I think is the key.
    PS: I have a six year old Rocket Giotto Premium at work.

  4. #4
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    G'day Shannon...

    Yep, the Rocky is a pretty solid workhorse, maybe not as refined as some of the newer kids on the block but still a good machine. You could even consider the Rocky "Stepless Mod'" to enhance controllability of grind size leading to more control over your espresso shots. If you do a search for the Rocky Mod' there's quite a bit of detailed info to be found.

    Another grinder you can add to that list is the Macap M2M which is doserless and a great quality unit. Cheaper than the M4 family but not at the sacrifice of quality in the cup. Here's some info about it from one of our Site Sponsors...
    Macap M2M | Talk Coffee

    All the other grinders are great contenders too but I think the M2M would be ahead of the Compak K3 Touch in terms of build quality and longevity. The M4D is probably right at the top of the tree where programmable prosumer grinders are concerned, in terms of both quality and consistency of grind, plus grind speed. You don't see too many ever put up for sale, so that's got to say something about them.

    WRT to your Botticelli, they are a great little unit and you are right to consider upgrading the grinder before the espresso machine, but you may find that just by applying the Stepless Mod' to your Rocky will give you all the extra control you need over your grind, while saving up for the M4D. Might be worth thinking about...

    Mal.
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  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon View Post
    Good morning all
    It's been a while. Life changes have meant I have not been here as regularly as I used to be.
    I am now in a situation where I will be upgrading my grinder from my trusty moderator bought (thanks Dimal) rocky to something in the next bracket up.

    I have read and read and read and I will be going to visit a site sponsor before making a final decision as I think seeing and testing them in the flesh will be best (plus I can actually take it home with me at the time!) I did want to raise a few things so that I go in a bit better prepared.

    OK so background is that I own a ECM Botticelli II single boiler machine. It has been in mothballs for 6 months and today I pick it up after having a full service.
    Very excited!!
    As stated it is currently paired with a Rocky that I guess would be about 10 years old.
    I had planned on buying a whole new set up (which I still will do - eventually) but budget wise at the moment I think it will be grinder upgrade then machine.
    Most coffee will be made for only 1 or 2 people at a time. I drink mainly picollo Latte's and flat whites
    OK so here is the questions
    At this stage my plan is to look at -
    Macap M4 doser - $795
    Mazzer Mini Doser - $690
    Compac K3 Elite WBC - $689
    Compac K3 touch - $559

    The next step up (which for me would only be the Macap M4D) is a pretty big price jump. I've heard people say that the difference between the 2 Macap's is " sunroof & leather seats" that essentially you pay for extras like speed digital timing doserless but grind quality is the same.
    Have I read this correctly? If it is the case I think it will make my choice to save some coin a bit easier.

    My plan is that this grinder will keep me happy for a while and be able to keep up with my machine upgrade (which will be something in the range of domobar Junior/ ECM Manufacture Technika IV Profi/ Rocket Giotto etc)

    Personally I think that I will be happy with the lower price bracket grinder but would like to know others thoughts given for me this is a pretty big purchase, I want to just make sure that I am not missing something major between these 4 and the jump up to the M4D.

    I guess I am wondering also about the fact that all bar the K3 touch are doser models in this group and with the amount of use it will get (not as much as most) should I look at other similar doserless models?

    Thanks for any help you can provide. I know there are lots of threads oround this sort of thing, but I just couldn't find one that gave the comparison between the M4 doser/ mazzer mini etc & M4D.
    Cheers
    Shannon.
    Hi Shannon

    Two quick thoughts, which one of which you may not agree with, the other may give you a fresh view on the subject.

    1) Personally I will never have a doser at home again. Too much grind retention means you are either forever cleaning it out or "enjoying" stale coffee. Full disclosure: Apart from a pair of Varios, I do have a doser Bo-ema RR45, although it is banned from the house itself due to noise issues (think airport...). I only use it for plunger coffee or cold steep these days. Its doser can be set up to approx 20g clicks.

    2) Although dated, this CG "sub-article" is worth a read, as is the whole "how to buy a setup" guide it is a part of.
    CoffeeGeek - Don't Skimp on the Grinder

    Hope this helps

    TampIt

  6. #6
    mds
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    Hi Shannon

    You should include the vario it is a great little grinder

    Mel

  7. #7
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    Thank you all for your replies thus far.
    I will clarify a couple of things and then as always ask more questions!!
    I don't have strong feelings regarding doser or doserless. I prefer less grind retention though and I would be grinding on demand 99% of the time. I know that this generally means doserless is the way to go but at the price point I was looking at they were all doser models and at the time I thought that the K3 doser model would have had different (upgraded) internals over the K3 touch/push - I am now assuming I was wrong in this department. If the K3 touch/push are the same basic design and perform the same (grind wise I mean) as the doser WBC then that is great.
    As for the Mazzer and the Macap from my readings it seems that at this level I am only able to buy a doser model.

    Now for the added questions.
    What I am after is a grind quality and consistancy above that of the Rocky. I am not after a small step up (which I thought the K3 touch/push/M2M would be) as I wanted my next purchase to be one that I could live with for years to come.

    I thought (maybe incorrectly) that the Macap M4 or K3 WBC or Mazzer would provide that step. That the next step from that - Macap M4D - might be a step too far. Maybe however I am selling the Rocky short and if I do convert to stepless then the Rocky might punch above its weight a bit more than I thought.Therefore this would mean that to get a reasonably significant improvement in grind quality/consistancy I do need to go to the higher price point.

    I still plan on seeing a site sponsor and will discuss all of this with them in person, but as always I value your point of view also.
    Thanks again.

  8. #8
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Hi Shannon
    I've owned a Macap M4 - was great grinder. Used an M2 and a K3 - great grinders still, though much messier.
    The doser is a non-issue IMHO - it is all about technique. I'd grind to fill two doser segments including sweeping out the chute with a little wedge, then sweep the whole lot into the portafilter. Settle, level, sweep a gram or two swept in the knock box (or back into the doser for next round - just to wind up the grind retention obsessives!). I found this method very clean - much cleaner than many of the doserless grinders, as the coffee spews out and collects in the doser, which then gathers and sweeps it neatly and perfectly clean - so what retention!

    All the grinders on your list are great. All will make some degree of mess. You'll be happy with any when you learn to drive it. Choose the one you can afford and like the look of!

    Happy shopping
    Cheers Matt

  9. #9
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    Hi Shannon,
    We decided to make a big jump rather than several smaller which ultimately may have been more expensive. We ended up with a Mazzer Kony e. Because it is a commercial machine it took quite some time for the cones to bed down. It now grinds flawlessly and will do so as it has done for many years. The downside of this unit are:
    The extra cost of the electronic timer is wasted for us.
    We removed the inner screen so we could clear the grind chute to stop old grind retention
    The grind chute unfortunately is not sloped enough to clear its own grinds - I have a little brush for this.
    We replaced the bean hopper with a finger/electrically safe poly pipe extension - enabling strict grind on demand.
    None of this was expensive and was rather a lot of fun.
    The result is a fantastic grinder. Having bedded in it produces a lovely stream of clumpless grinds.
    I grind around 16gms for two cups at a time.
    The cheaper Kony was a doser model, as are other in other brands as you have discovered.
    The Kony-e grinds for a Rocket Premium Plus v3.
    Lot of money, yes, but about half what we would have spent having a daily second cup of coffee locally. So in that sense we are laughing all the way to the bank!

  10. #10
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    As desnbycofffe said "it's all in the technique" .. And in my experience that includes if you make a mess or not !
    i have used a Rocky, K3T, Fiorenzato 75e, and a large commercial conical,...all doser less and none will lose a single coffee grind if you use them properly. Mess is far more dependent on the bean and roast as to how much static is generated, but even that can be dealt with.
    i see no advantage in a manual doser in normal domestic use, and several disadvantages.
    be aware the Mazzer mini manual doser, is a slower grinder than its grinder "E" brother.
    the biggest advantage of the K3 over the Rocky I found was both more flavour delivery, and much faster grind.
    Remember , you could sell rocky for >$200 and put that towards a better grinder

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon View Post
    Thank you all for your replies thus far.
    I will clarify a couple of things and then as always ask more questions!!
    I don't have strong feelings regarding doser or doserless. I prefer less grind retention though and I would be grinding on demand 99% of the time. I know that this generally means doserless is the way to go but at the price point I was looking at they were all doser models and at the time I thought that the K3 doser model would have had different (upgraded) internals over the K3 touch/push - I am now assuming I was wrong in this department. If the K3 touch/push are the same basic design and perform the same (grind wise I mean) as the doser WBC then that is great.
    As for the Mazzer and the Macap from my readings it seems that at this level I am only able to buy a doser model.

    Now for the added questions.
    What I am after is a grind quality and consistancy above that of the Rocky. I am not after a small step up (which I thought the K3 touch/push/M2M would be) as I wanted my next purchase to be one that I could live with for years to come.

    I thought (maybe incorrectly) that the Macap M4 or K3 WBC or Mazzer would provide that step. That the next step from that - Macap M4D - might be a step too far. Maybe however I am selling the Rocky short and if I do convert to stepless then the Rocky might punch above its weight a bit more than I thought.Therefore this would mean that to get a reasonably significant improvement in grind quality/consistancy I do need to go to the higher price point.

    I still plan on seeing a site sponsor and will discuss all of this with them in person, but as always I value your point of view also.
    Thanks again.
    Hi Shannon

    I am not alone in regarding the Mahlkonig / Mahlkoenig Vario (I have the domestic gen2, not its commercial "gen 1.5" sibling the K30 Vario) as the next big step as an espresso grinder*. In my view (and have had CS flames for this, however my first front line espresso experience was in 1970) the Vario gen2 at $700 is by far the best domestic unit available. It is a Swiss Ditting commercial module wrapped in domestic clothing and has around 300 (26 * 11) settings. A "real" 50+ is in the espresso range, and the ceramic burrs will outlast three sets of Mahlkonig steel burrs (their figures). After 100+ kilos my older Vario burrs are still unmarked, and I need the serial numbers or my texta markings to tell them apart when I clean them (the other one is probably still well under 10 kilos).

    Andy just posted this:
    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/general-co...equipment.html

    Vario is good enough for that yet again for the coming few years. Oh yes, the EK43 is slightly better again (for a small fee...) but not for "easy to live with" domestic use unless you are getting really extreme!

    as an espresso grinder*: I would suggest you keep your Rocky for coarse grinds, as the Vario is unashamedly oriented to the Turkish to espresso range. Especially if you are running VST baskets (i.e. finer grind than trad espresso), they are a flavour revelation compared to any of the trad grinders mentioned above. My SB 480's or my Bo-ema are slightly but significantly better at drip / plunger textures. Mahlkonig offer optional steel burrs to deal with coarser stuff. FWIW, I regret selling my second 480 (2 locations, everything in pairs for daily use) for that reason, and may even end up picking up another one before summer for "iced plungers" and "cold steeps & drips"... The Bo-ema is so noisy (as are most commercial grinders) that I need my industrial earmuffs to use it. I have posted more than enough about the Vario on other CS posts, if interested track a few down.

    Note: My Varios have never had any issue with static or grind retention regardless of roast, in my view that is what a 21st century grinder should achieve as a matter of course now it is known to be possible.


    TampIt

  12. #12
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    Hi,Shannon
    What about this one Baratza Forte UK | Coffee Grinders | CoffeeHit ?
    grinding 4 ALL brew methods


  13. #13
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    Thanks all once again for your input. I have been doing even more reading to take some of what was said above into consideration.
    I'll keep you informed when I have made some progress (or bought something!)
    Cheers
    Shannon.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Banny View Post
    Hi,Shannon
    What about this one Baratza Forte UK | Coffee Grinders | CoffeeHit ?
    grinding 4 ALL brew methods

    That is a slightly beefed up Vario, the one I tried would do all 4 grinds (just like my "Vario Home gen2"), however it does not really do all 4 grinds as well as most CSrs would like (neither does my gen2).

    In my view, "salesman's claims" are often a long way from "living with reality". I stand by my comments that for coarser grinds, stay with the Rocky...

    TampIt

  15. #15
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    Mmmm, so embarrassing, my Rocky at the moment is giving my Kony a run for its money. Okay Kony is so very much faster and static lump less but Rocky has pulled up his socks after eight years! About time. I did 5 flat whites and one long black for folk at the office and they were very satisfied. It means I am going to have seriously adjust the Kony grind I thought I had it right.
    I'll definitely keep the old repaired Rocket PP and use it at work to keep the folk happy and on side. I have also realized the advantage of doing the crema for all 6 mugs first then doing the milks as the coffee can be served quicker and is around the same temp.

  16. #16
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    I'm trying to decide the same Shannon! I keep oscillating between the K3 Touch Adv and the M4D. If I could find a 2nd hand M4D I'd be all over it in a heartbeat.

  17. #17
    TOK
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    Welcome to CS.

    Re: ".....If I could find a 2nd hand M4D I'd be all over it in a heartbeat....."

    Afraid there's very little likelihood of that happening. Great grinder, rarely comes up second hand. All you can do is keep an eye out.

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    What about the Macap M2D which is doserless and programmable via an adjustment on the base of the unit.?

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    Hey mate, I don't own or have even seen an M2D/M4D/Any Macap in the flesh, but I do have a K3 touch that I got from site sponsors at tax time this year. Just thought I'd throw my hat in the ring by saying I've found it's a great grinder.

    It'll last you a life time (hopefully) and I've found it to be effortless for my espresso needs. I was in the same buying boat as you and went for the touch rather than the push because I thought the timer would be handy - but I find myself weighing the beans in the (small) hopper and my Gaggia portafilter is heavy enough to keep the light tongue depressed until all the beans are ground. You have to 'calibrate' the timer and although this is easy - it wastes all the beans I spend my time lovingly roasting!

    If I bought again, all I'd change would be the fact that I should've waited for the polished version, I got the silver because I'm too damned impatient.

    Good luck!



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