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Thread: which grinder

  1. #1
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    which grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    My apologies straight away. I know there are various posts on this but I'd like to ask some specific questions to my choices.
    I do have a Breville smart grinder which is on it's way out. I'd like to replace it with something better but am still budget constricted.$700 is my max at this stage.
    I sort of have limited it to a Mazzer Mini, ideally -e, a Mahlkonig Vario W or a Baratza. The Mazzer would be second hand since I do not like the doser versions.
    It would grind mainly espresso.
    I'd like to change settings easily and reliably since I noticed the coffee changing after a couple of days, i.e. less crema.
    Anyway, I am a beginner in regards to making coffee but know what i lie in a good cup.
    The machine we use is a Isomac millenium due.
    PS. Are the Baratza Vario and the Mahlkong Vario the same machine? I noticed in some posts that they get quite frequently interchanged and quoted as being
    the same
    Thanks

  2. #2
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Why have you limited your choice to those grinders?

    As you are making largely espresso-based drinks, the Macap M2M will do what you want it to, is stepped (and easily adjustable), and will save you a couple of hundred bucks. That said, it's not clear what you mean by changing settings 'reliably'....the amount by which you need to adjust the grind is not a constant, so a K3 is also an option I guess. Depends on the reasons for your choice of constraints I guess.

    The Varios are the same (but be careful, there are variants within the Vario range).
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  3. #3
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    ^^^. After having read reviews on a lot of forums I thought that the VArio's provide most bang for buck and the mazzer seems to be an all time favorite. I have not really heard or read a lot about Macap grinders.
    The nerd in me really likes the ceramic burrs though. I do have experience in flour mills and there is nothing better. 'Steel', no matter how good, essentially cuts whereas stone or ceramic 'grinds'.
    Having said that, I am a novice and will consider all suggestions. Thanks

  4. #4
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    If you are prepared to consider pre used machines, your $700 will go a lot further than a MMini.
    There are "as new" SJ Mazzers available for less than that and new MMini E's for only a little more.
    ( I could have picked up a K30 recently for $500.....but I have too many toys already.!)
    keep an eye on the small adds and a few $$$'s back in case a new burr set is required.

  5. #5
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Coffee ain't flour.

    No matter whether you have steel or ceramic, the burrs are designed to shave, not grind.

    Unless you 'grind' a kilo of beans a week, or more, even steel burrs will last 3-6 years..... upgraditis will often

    get you before you have to replace your first set of burrs. And at 500 gms a week... up to 10 years. Replacement will

    depend on burr size, burr material quality and roast depth.

    You don't read 'a lot' ( how much is a lot anyway?) about Macap simply because they are outstanding performers, esp models

    such as the M4D. It's sort of like "I have a Macap.......'nuff said". Have you searched Macap on this site?
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  6. #6
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    You don't read 'a lot' ( how much is a lot anyway?) about Macap simply because they are outstanding performers, esp models

    such as the M4D. It's sort of like "I have a Macap.......'nuff said". Have you searched Macap on this site?
    Agreed. There are some of the best on the market and the M4D should be the aspirational grinder for most. They rarely get sold 2nd hand and unlike the Barakonig gear, they don't break either.

    Anyone with a $500 budget should seriously look at the M2D. Like the M4D, it punches well above its weight.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member saroadie's Avatar
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    ^ agree with what chokkidog said.

    Changing grind reliably due to ageing beans - any grinder in the up to ~$700 range will suit if used correctly. Read - only adjust the grinder when it is running. The rest is learning your gear.

    Look around at all your options including the Macap M2M and K3 (plus many more), there's a lot of grinders available for this spend.

  8. #8
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by saroadie View Post
    there's a lot of grinders available for this spend.
    There sure is, including in the CS 4-Sale section...

    Mal.
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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddyrat View Post
    My apologies straight away. I know there are various posts on this but I'd like to ask some specific questions to my choices.
    I do have a Breville smart grinder which is on it's way out. I'd like to replace it with something better but am still budget constricted.$700 is my max at this stage.
    I sort of have limited it to a Mazzer Mini, ideally -e, a Mahlkonig Vario W or a Baratza. The Mazzer would be second hand since I do not like the doser versions.
    It would grind mainly espresso.
    I'd like to change settings easily and reliably since I noticed the coffee changing after a couple of days, i.e. less crema.
    Anyway, I am a beginner in regards to making coffee but know what i lie in a good cup.
    The machine we use is a Isomac millenium due.
    PS. Are the Baratza Vario and the Mahlkong Vario the same machine? I noticed in some posts that they get quite frequently interchanged and quoted as being
    the same
    Thanks
    Hi daddyrat

    Firstly, the difference between the Baratza Vario and the Mahlkong Vario is that Mahlkong (subsidiary Ditting) make all Vario's in Switzerland. USA markets them as Baratza Vario and the rest of the world as Mahlkong Vario. Having seen "gen1" (in quotes because it is really just the first version) side by side other than the badge, the voltage is probably the only difference (although FWIW, the M was heavier than the B...). In Oz, Baratza's are a parellel import with associated warranty implications.

    Personally, the first Vario I had (for three weeks) was a "gen1". A FIFO (remote WA mining job) friend was flying out on a Sunday night when his older grinder broke, and I knew I could pick up a new Vario the next day. Sheer luck, my next one was a gen2. Vast improvement in every way. I actually ordered a second gen2 within a week (two main "home setups". so everything is "two by two"). It rendered obsolete 17 mainly commercial grinders I had accumulated over the years (including a few mentioned in this thread): the Vario is smaller, quieter, no bench mess / static / clumping etc, no less powerful but having massively better particle spread and virtually no grind retention - like you, I cannot abide dosers unless it is a really busy cafe. Stale coffee doesn't rock, it sucks.

    For a home grinder the Vario only has two downsides.

    1) The gen2 is outstanding in the Turkish to espresso range. For anything requiring coarser grinding your Breville or any other decent burr grinder would be better.

    2) For some utterly unfathomable reason it does not have a "push p/f in to start" like almost any other doserless grinder on the market. I ended up modifying my technique to cope however even after 18 months it still "annoys me greatly" (actually stronger thoughts than that!) when I go to one of the other setups I commonly visit and back again. On the positive side, the timer is dead accurate (15g +/- 0.2) so I perhaps I am being a bit persnickety?

    On the positive side, unless you are into oily roasts, the Vario only needs a quick clean (two minutes?) every 500g (i.e. two hoppers worth) as the chamber takes around 750g or so to fill (and then the sound and the particle spread both change). Oh, and after 100+Kg's, my older one still has unmarked burrs and very little sign of wear. The grinding module is a Ditting commercial one (a scaled down version of the 20 year old spice grinders you see everywhere), so short of dropping it onto concrete I suspect it will last a very long time.

    There are about 50 "real espresso settings", which means it remains the only grinder I have encountered that can "chase a roast" even during the first 4 days of havoc whilst the beans degass.

    I would be remiss if I didn't point out its two quirks

    1) Must be running to adjust the grind finer if beans are in the hopper. I always do this anyway, ever since a cafe friend bent the adjusters on his commercial grinder (starting with "M") by doing it when the motor was stopped.
    2) Both adjustors must be at the top before you turn it upside down (the adjustors can slip off the pegs according to a website I saw). I managed to do this once, and so did a "helpful friend" to my older one - a simple 5 minute repair, instructions on the Baratza / you tube video site.

    Enloy your coffee, it seems that it is going to get a big bump up in quality soon.

    TampIt
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    No-one has mentioned the Mazzer Major. Also available in good condition for under $700 if you look around. And IMHO far better than any of the above mentioned grinders. I can hear it already- "grind retention" and "overkill for home use". Utter bollocks. A Major is what I'd be looking for if I was in the OP's position. Cheers
    chokkidog, daddyrat and Pejtan like this.

  11. #11
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    Compak K3. You'll come in well under budget and get a great grinder.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gavisconi007 View Post
    No-one has mentioned the Mazzer Major. Also available in good condition for under $700 if you look around. And IMHO far better than any of the above mentioned grinders. I can hear it already- "grind retention" and "overkill for home use". Utter bollocks. A Major is what I'd be looking for if I was in the OP's position. Cheers
    Hi Gavisconi007

    1 Major and two SJs were in the 17. Not even close to a Vario in terms of "in the cup quality", and don't even get me started on "easy to live with", burr life and SWMBO friendly issues.

    TampIt

  13. #13
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Not even close to a Vario in terms of "in the cup quality"
    Absolute rubbish and tripe mate, yet again...

    Mal.
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  14. #14
    Member water_dragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Absolute rubbish and tripe mate, yet again...

    Mal.
    I also have a Vario and could not be happier, while tampit's remarks are not true or false I find your remarks "very fanboi harsh" This is all subjective and not based on any fact's, we are talking about home use not a busy café. this grinder has a small footprint and is very well made despite "coffee talks" view of the parts that may need replacing due to plastic parts. Let's be real how many of us make more than a dozen coffee's a day at home.

  15. #15
    Life-long Learner DesigningByCoffee's Avatar
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    Making absolute statements based upon subjective opinions (like cupping preferences) is always going to bring down a rain of beer bottles here
    I am constantly humbled by how good smaller burr grinders like the m2 or larger m4 macap (both of which I experience regularly) make my own roasts taste through milk. I might prefer espresso from my conical for the clarity - doesn't mean my grinder is 'superior in every way' though - just preferred for how I like to drink espresso!
    I also have sampled brews from a vario, and it is a great little grinder, and gives very clean results in the cup. It won't last as long as others being more plastic, but won't fall apart overnight either. Small, a little noisy, but easy to live with I reckon.
    My advice - go to a reputable coffee retailer, lift, listen, shake and taste - buy the best grinder you can afford then enjoy learning how to get the most out of it. There is no silver bullet when it comes to coffee gear - just improved results from hard won experience!
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  16. #16
    TC
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    Making absolute statements based upon subjective opinions (like cupping preferences) is always going to bring down a rain of beer bottles here

    I cannot agree more DBC- There is no better way to set off the BS detectors!

    Nice to have a little common sense for once!

    Cheers

    Chris

  17. #17
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    Thanks you all for your kind advice. After my 'smart grinder' gave up after just over two years and the part responsible can not be gotten as a spare I have decided to go with a more commercial unit, i.e. Mazzer mini or macap M4D. Have not quite figured out why an M5 is cheaper than a M4? CAn anyone enlighten me on that? It seems M5 are actually cheaper than M4? Anyway. Am just waiting for a good second hand deal or my patience to run out , whichever happens first. Thanks again. :-)
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