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Thread: Mazzer Mini E and the cursed chunky clumpyness

  1. #1
    Junior Member quadshot's Avatar
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    Mazzer Mini E and the cursed chunky clumpyness

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

    Been playing around with my Mazzer Mini E doserless unit tonight cos i've had a gutful of the clumping that has started to rear its ugly head,resulting in bad shots channeling etc etc...
    Plus my missus was complaining about my coffee tasting like a McBarista made it,and I had to agree!

    Thinking it had something to do with humidty, I did a few forum searches, and found a few threads relating to this issue

    First suggestion- Throw way the finger guard.......done
    Second suggestion Throw away the small wire mesh sheet attached to the back of the hopper/feeder.......done.

    In removing this little mesh grid, I found something abut the design of these units that concerns me, I mean they're not cheap eh!
    My discovery was that not only did this meh sheet extrude the coffee into little blocks, but the horizontal orientation of the exit chute from the burrs, actually retains stale coffee grounds of about 4-6 gms

    The whole idea of buying this unit was to eliminate this issue, but it seems Mazzer has forgotten about the design.

    IMO the exit chute should tilt out of the burrs at a heavily raked angle,so a not to retain any grounds, I am sure you are with me when I say I don't want To waste my Precious stash by discarding 6 gms for every shot.
    I will add at this stage , I have not had any issues relating to static at all.

    So it got me to thinking,why don't I "port out" the little sucker to prevent grounds retention?
    Pull the unit apart, get the die grinder out,create a nice angle,polish it smooth VOILA!!!

    The only issue I could see, is that the thick Aluminium cast body might not have enough meat in it to achieve a sharp angle, creating a lovely view of internals

    SO MY QUESTION IS- Has anyone tried this, or pulled one apart to know f this can be achieved?

    Don't worry about advice on warranties,not an issue for me.

    I have had the pleasure of running a kilo or so through an EK43, and it has not dawned on me until now how bloody good this direct feed of grounds is after looking at me Mazzer (not that im thinking of EK43 Heaven though, only cos it wont fit under cupboard HA HA !!!)

    Anyway,was hoping for some feedback from fellow snobs, Thankyou in advance

    Steve

  2. #2
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Mini-e's aren't my favourite grinder in that price bracket......but 4 gms retention is a worry?

    Not in my book.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    I have been wondering the exact same thing. Most grinders have a decent length horizontal section of the chute before it hits the angles section. I have no idea why, perhaps to control the way the grinds fall? I can't think of another reason.

    Can't help with you query but your theory seems sound to me. If you do break through to the innards you could always fit a stainless false floor to fix it?

    Cheers

  4. #4
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    Don't think I have ever seen people done that mod, you'd probably be the first one. Most people I've seen had the doser version and sweep it out. I don't like retention too and 4g is alot(don't forget about the ground coffee under the burrs too). That's about ~20% of a 18g, and even more for smaller dose. Taste aside, it will affect the flow and making you believe your grind is too coarse when it's not. Purging is probably your best bet, or make more coffee per day. :P

    We talked about how great coffee can be, how much care was done at the farm level(read $$$), how fresh coffee should be, and then we proceed to stale it in the throat? Not cool. ;p

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Off the top of my head I'd guess the chute isn't angled because the grounds, especially when using dark roasted/oily beans as so many do, would stick and build up where they impacted the wall. Not immediately when the machine is new, but once it had some time on it. Plus with a horizontal chute it's much easier to clean it out with a little brush.


    Java "Horizontal is calling me" phile
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  6. #6
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    4g is a lot
    No, it's not, Sam. Your comment re wasting any coffee is pertinent but 4g? My Robur-e retains more than 25.

    One of the issues is lack of competition at the high end of the market, which, in turn, has led to low R&D. .... It's only recently that

    something is being done about it but outfits like Mazzer have been taking the easy road for ages as they have been at the top

    of the heap for a long time and have ridden the wave of growth in the café industry without changing anything much.

    The EK43 is a big$$ planar grinder and not designed for espresso (lacks portafilter holder and dose timing), the Versalab

    is close to the pinnacle of espresso grinders but are only made when the Versalab people feel like putting one together. Almost zero retention <0.5g

    but not designed for a 70kg/week operation.

    I'm still waiting for someone to take the grinding game by the scruff of the neck and give it a good shake up. Then we might see some

    meaningful R&D resulting in some new kit.

    In the meantime, I'd be thankful for a grinder that only retains 4g...................
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  7. #7
    TC
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    Yes- it's important to keep in mind that 4 grams may represent all of about 15c (half that if you're roasting your own)- all in the context of thousands of dollars of espresso gear.

  8. #8
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    Seems like you're going through a lot of coffee - it comes down to usage and perspective then. For someone who pulls 1-2 shots a day, 4g wastage (owner quoted 4-6g without counting the coffee under the burrs) translate to about >50g in a 250g roasted beans.

    Yup, it's not bank breaking, but doesn't mean we should waste mindlessly, surely not when we can avoid it. If everyone does that, the coffee price will be driven up fast. Just like fossil fuels(electricity and petrol) in general, they're dirt cheap, doesn't mean we should applaud wastage.

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Javaphile's Avatar
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    Buy an appropriately sized/shaped artist's brush and you can clean the chute out in a couple of seconds.


    Java "Waste what?!?" phile
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  10. #10
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Buy an appropriately sized/shaped artist's brush and you can clean the chute out in a couple of seconds.


    Java "Waste what?!?" phile
    Yep...

    What I and probably several thousand other CSers do every day. Takes all of 5-6 seconds at the end of each coffee session...

    Mal.
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  11. #11
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    Yup, it's not bank breaking, but doesn't mean we should waste mindlessly, surely not when we can avoid it. If everyone does that, the coffee price will be driven up fast. Just like fossil fuels(electricity and petrol) in general, they're dirt cheap, doesn't mean we should applaud wastage.
    You need to buy a Lido or HG1. You can provide the elbow grease and not a bean will be wasted. You'll save fossil fuels as well. You may however need to crack a bean in half in search of that perfect dose

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    You need to buy a Lido or HG1. You can provide the elbow grease and not a bean will be wasted. You'll save fossil fuels as well. You may however need to crack a bean in half in search of that perfect dose
    Haha, I do have a Lido. And in the meanwhile when fossil fuels are still dirt cheap, I'm using a dosered Compak grinder which I manually and religiously sweep every time. There I have my almost zero retention...(for making more than 3 shots in a session a doserless will make sense) But yeah, it's true that all electric grinders especially one runned with hopper are going to have a few gram minimum in the system. For a doserless grinder run with the hopper, sweeping the chute kinda defeat the purpose (it will cause inconsistent dosage).

    So yeah, I agree it's just a matter of purging it out and problem's solved. It's just that I don't agree 4g twice a day(for my usage) for two daily shots is an insignificant number. Maybe the solution to that, is to drink more coffee each session and make that retention becomes negligible.

    Anyhow, back to our OP's topic. There's also a go-around solution posted by our CS member saoye for the retention - that is if you don't want to go deep into modifying the grinder(all I know it's not an easy mod and easily eats up your hours, and still may not work as you expected).

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=76ffYo2m-c0
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pAX0yzeX3hQ

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    I flush 5-10seconds in my sm90 and put that in a container for later(for the breville) just to avoid waste so I can get that better shot now for me
    But Chris's leftovers worked better than my charcoal at any life point

  14. #14
    TOK
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    Quote Originally Posted by samuellaw178 View Post
    ...I don't agree 4g twice a day(for my usage) for two daily shots is an insignificant number....
    I disagree with the sentiments expressed. The problem does not lie with the equipment or even with the retention as such, it lies with incessant cyclic theoretical discussions that somehow convince people that grind retention is in fact a problem, when in practice it may well NOT be. And then the next problem lies with people buying overly "large" (for home use) commercial equipment, to use at home, which is outside the design brief for the equipment.

    Lastly, I'll bet my bottom dollar that on a blind cupping, most people would not be concerned with the character of a well made coffee containing almost any amount of older grinds up to even say...half the required dose. Given that *most* punters drink milk coffee anyway. All these discussions are participated in and read as if everyone in the room is a professional Q Grade Cupper and is drinking only the very very best espresso when that is simply not the reality, and we well know that the way the milk is handled to make a "cuppa" is extremely important to the overall character of the brew.

    I am not talking comparing two "coffees" side by side where one has no older grinds and one has...I am talking simply being offered a coffee "blind", and adjudicating it for what it is.

    There is far too much discussion of academics to the nth theoretical degree, without regard to the realities of drinking a cup and observing whether it is "good" or not, "blindly", ie without knowing the mechanics of how it was produced for you. And there are of course, the miriad of other variables in the coffee making technique of individual baristas, that will make or break the cuppa regardless of the theoretical effect of any grind retention or not.

    That would be, the *reality* of a cup of coffee to any particular individual. I walk into a cafe. I order a coffee. I have no idea how it was produced because I am not looking over the grinder or the working side of the machine. I dont know how the grinder and machine are set up together. I dont know what the barista's technique is like.

    All I know, is what the brew cups like when it hits my palate, and odds are if there is something wrong, it wont have anything to do with so called "grind retention".

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    Well, I have no intention to derail the topic further, but this is a worthy topic itself.

    Without purging the 4g, it will affect the flow, lesser crema at that even if the flow is right. That was proven in and through my own experience. I spend good efforts in sourcing excellent beans. and I enjoy a well-made espresso and do appreciate the fine subtleties. Thus I have no intention of drowning my coffee in milk. If I choose to do so, I will happily do so with cheaper beans(Starbucks even, with some condensed milk or sugar) and a cheaper equipment. The forum is Coffeesnobs which I assume most people are in for the same spirit as mine, but I may well be wrong based on the responses here.

    But yes, there're way too many individuals out there with different preferences to make a brushed statement. This doesn't make the difference nonexistence, just irrelevant to those people that have a different drinking habit.

    Let's agree that we are all different and I shall excuse myself out of OP's way.

  16. #16
    TOK
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    Sure,

    For the very small number of people are are "vocal" in these forums regarding that they say grind retention is a problem, there are thousands if not tens of thousands of silent forum readers that dare not mention they don't sweep out their grinders between uses, lest they receive a lashing for their heathen approach to coffee making, and are perfectly happy with what they are doing and getting in their cup.

    Its all about understanding that perspective, and grind retention is only a problem for those who think it is...

  17. #17
    Senior Member saoye's Avatar
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    Use a camera dust blower and a pastry brush. I use the Giotto Q-ball for it's angle-ability. Not the cheapest but it's fantastic. gets every gram out ready for the next clean dose.

    By the way, the Mini-E grind retention is nothing in comparison with the Rancilio Rocky! I gave up on the rocky and just purge...but for the Mini-E it's really achievable with the blower and the brush.
    Last edited by saoye; 10th July 2015 at 12:20 PM. Reason: reference to Rocky

  18. #18
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Javaphile View Post
    Off the top of my head I'd guess the chute isn't angled because the grounds, especially when using dark roasted/oily beans as so many do, would stick and build up where they impacted the wall. Not immediately when the machine is new, but once it had some time on it. Plus with a horizontal chute it's much easier to clean it out with a little brush.


    Java "Horizontal is calling me" phile
    Good point. You could have best of both worlds though, horizontal top, sloped bottom. Just as easy to clean, less chance of holding grinds in chute (some grinder hard to get to chute, eg K3).

    Cheers

  19. #19
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dimal View Post
    Yep...

    What I and probably several thousand other CSers do every day. Takes all of 5-6 seconds at the end of each coffee session...

    Mal.

    Can just imagine a scene from Blackadder......"Perhaps a bigger brush is in order M'Lord......"
    Last edited by Gavisconi007; 11th July 2015 at 06:13 PM.
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  20. #20
    Caffeinated kopigeek's Avatar
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    Mazzer Mini E and the cursed chunky clumpyness

    Quote Originally Posted by TOK View Post
    Sure,

    For the very small number of people are are "vocal" in these forums regarding that they say grind retention is a problem, there are thousands if not tens of thousands of silent forum readers that dare not mention they don't sweep out their grinders between uses, lest they receive a lashing for their heathen approach to coffee making, and are perfectly happy with what they are doing and getting in their cup.

    Its all about understanding that perspective, and grind retention is only a problem for those who think it is...
    Reading silently here..... I cannot tell you the last time I purged any grind retention in my Macap m2m. I just grind and brew and enjoy my coffee without thinking about it too much. And yes first thing in the morning it's black followed by a latte with left over grinds from the night before and my coffee tastes awesome.

    The only time I do purge is when I change beans to a different blend, single origin, dialling in.... The norm.
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  21. #21
    Coffee Nut fg1972's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kopigeek View Post
    Reading silently here..... I cannot tell you the last time I purged any grind retention in my Macap m2m. I just grind and brew and enjoy my coffee without thinking about it too much. And yes first thing in the morning it's black followed by a latte with left over grinds from the night before and my coffee tastes awesome.

    The only time I do purge is when I change beans to a different blend, single origin, dialling in.... The norm.
    Exactly what I do

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    Running a Macap M4 here (the doser version).

    I clear grounds from the doser after use, but I generally grind just enough such that this is minimal.

    However - as the grinder is used frequently, I generally don't bother about the small amount of grounds left in the chute. I've tested a fully "clean" batch of grounds after clearing the chute and compared with a shot that includes the few grams of day-old grounds in the chute (i.e.: of the 18grams used for the shot, around 15-16 grams is fresh and a couple of grams is day old). I didn't discern a difference.

    Certainly though, if the machine is not used for a couple of weeks (e.g.: going away on holiday) I clear the chute, the doser and the hopper.

  23. #23
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    I always use a timed dose and I find that purging keeps the dose fairly consistent. If I don't purge first thing in the morning I notice that I end up with a smaller dose, maybe half a gram or more. So i don't purge from a freshness point of view more from a consistency point of view.

  24. #24
    Junior Member quadshot's Avatar
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    Thanks to all forum members for your response so far.

    Chokkidog, you are bang on about the lack of R&D with the current grinder offerings

    After all, we purchase these items, with expectations of refinement that some sponsors herald as the best thing since sliced bread, but then scoff at the questioning of why these items do not "tow the line" in ensuring that items job is done to the highest possible standard. I also disagree at the suggetionof a MINI E being oversized for home use
    Im not comfortable wasting beans,thats my choice, just like I don't letdiesel piss over my feet when fuellng up,just because the pump is knackered
    so stale grinds are good??MMMM , if that's what works for you fine,but not what I want when it is preventable by either design or manual clean. I might start buying pre ground bricks from IGA

    Myquestion was in relation to the prevention/rework of he grinder retention, but seems to have turned a bit feral.

    Anal about getting the best out of my coffee?? For sure, But I reckon that's half of the fun of the endless variables of research/roasting and drinking,

  25. #25
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    Do a blind taste test.

    Pull two doubles

    Shot 1. A couple of grams of day old grounds from the chute mixed into 14-16 grams of fresh grounds

    Shot 2. 16-18 grams of fresh grounds

    If you can't discern a difference, then you no longer need to keep worrying about it, and you can simply enjoy your coffee. It's only ever going to affect the first shot of the day in any case.
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  26. #26
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by quadshot View Post
    Thanks to all forum members for your response so far.

    Chokkidog, you are bang on about the lack of R&D with the current grinder offerings

    After all, we purchase these items, with expectations of refinement that some sponsors herald as the best thing since sliced bread, but then scoff at the questioning of why these items do not "tow the line" in ensuring that items job is done to the highest possible standard.
    All of this needs to be taken in the context that Coffeesnobs and similar individuals represent a small percentage of the purchasers of commercial grinders. The issues you mention are in the main totally irrelevant to cafes.

    R&D for the commercial market is about producing better grinders for commercial applications- so given that there would probably be relatively few sales of your "perfect" and probably expensive home grinder, the R&D component would take a looooong time to deliver a return to a manufacturer.

    If you want something with zero retention, you have options- most of which are non-commercial and/or very expensive if they're close to good.

    The choice of what style of sliced bread you prefer is up to you but hundreds or thousands of $$ in the pursuit of savings of a few grams per day may well represent a lifetime of repayment to repay the extra investment. If you purchase a tank to drive to the local shops, you'll probably waste some dinosaur juice. You could walk...

    Sometimes there is value in being just a little real.
    Last edited by TC; 14th July 2015 at 05:51 PM. Reason: more info
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  27. #27
    Senior Member sprezzatura's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fg1972 View Post
    Exactly what I do
    I have a M2M and do this too but the first dose goes in the Hario for my (looks over shoulder at lovely wife concentrating on FB) lovely wife who takes milk and then I gets the non-retained next dose through the Hario (black maybe a pinch of panela).

  28. #28
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    My thoughts
    1. My work Rocky still clumps but they are soft. I now have no channeling. Taste nearly as good as the home kony-e. Grrr!
    2. I leave grinds in the Rocky shute the next day grind to clear (7gms?) then grind. The stale grinds remain in place and only the fresh come out. Problem solved.
    3. I really think after many years that lots of grinders need to be run in. My Rocky above took several years of two coffees a day before it ground non-channeling grinds (likewise my Kony). That is to grind to a consistent even size. If the grind is uneven (small and large bits) then the hot water finds the easiest path.

  29. #29
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    when i purchased my Super Jolly E I experienced the buildup of grounds in the chute making dosing so inconsistent. I have now devised a setup that delivers exact doses with no retention. I removed the mesh screen from chute and have placed a cut-down kitchen whisk inside the cone to disperse any clumps as they fall towards portafilter, I use an Orphan Espresso dosing cone attached to group handle to keep things tidy while dosing, I use a small paint brush to clear out the chute. I weigh each dose on the scales (app 21.5g), once I developed my routine it runs smoothly, not suitable for high volume but works a treat for my needs!
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  30. #30
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Do what I did. Buy an a Elektra Nino and remove the issue altogether

  31. #31
    Junior Member quadshot's Avatar
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    Thanks to all CSrs for your responses! Gaviscon that is a nice piece of kit the Elektra! I think I'll wait till u upgrade?? Put me first in line for purchase of your used!!!!
    I think I might try greenmans approach until I can be RSed to get out the die grinder



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