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Thread: Help me pick a grinder at or under $1600

  1. #1
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    Help me pick a grinder at or under $1600

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I'm looking at purchasing a Profitec 700 soon and can't decide on a grinder.
    My budget is $1600 and I've decided that I want a doserless model.

    Generally, I only make 1 or 2 milk based coffees a day on weekdays, although I'm hoping that will change when I step up from my current machine/grinder combo and include more macchiatos etc.

    I'd love to hear some opinions but after some research, I've whittled the list down to:

    1) Super Jolly
    Cons; Retention and size although it's currently at the top of my list.

    2) Baratza Forte
    Cons; Possible issues with build quality after reading a number of reviews and few retailers stock it which also makes me worry about quality. Mazzers are built like tanks and time tested.

    Super easy to clean and recalibrate though and looks kinda trendy.

    3) Eureka Zenith 65e
    Cons; Not stocked at all in Australia? Well reviewed and almost a perfect package(?)

    All the features I could hope for really including value for money. I just wish the site sponsors stocked it. Not sure why no one has picked it up yet.

    4) Quamar m80
    Cons; Seems to suffer retention issues too and not commonly recommended compared with Mazzer.

    I want good, sturdy build quality, low retention and doserless. Quick, quiet and clean are bonuses that I'd value highly. Personally, I'm not a fan of doser models because they seem to be messy (we have a doser model mazzer mini at work).
    Last edited by Marxy24; 15th October 2015 at 11:03 AM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Why not a Macap M4D?
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    I might cop a bit of flack about this but I think it's a bit ugly. They also seem a bit messy although I'm probably exaggering a tad.

  4. #4
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    Have you looked at the Profitec T-64? That's one quick grinder.

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    You're right. They do seem super quick and initially it was at the top of my list. They also seem pretty quiet! I struck it off my list because I couldn't find many reviews and I worry about heat potentially affecting taste in the end product although that's probably completely unfounded.
    I also worry about build quality in the long run but that boils down to general lack of reviews and a couple of comments on the UK coffee forums. I also noticed the little rubber sleeves on the portafiler supports had worn away a bit on one of the YouTube videos.
    Again, mostly unfounded stuff all based on heresay but Mazzers are still recommended commonly.

    I'd hate to spend all that cash and try explaining that a need a new grinder to the missus in a few years.

    If anyone has had a chance to compare this and the models listed, and has a preference for this one, I'd seriously consider it again.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Barry O'Speedwagon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marxy24 View Post
    I might cop a bit of flack about this but I think it's a bit ugly. They also seem a bit messy although I'm probably exaggering a tad.
    Well, beauty is obviously in the eye of the beholder, but they look fairly inconspicuous to me. Mess? Bugger all in my case, but I've always used an OE dosing funnel with it....never tried without it. And, um, they're a great, fast, grinder.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    If you're pulling two shots a day, you'll get more heat from sitting your grinder beside your coffee machine than from the grinding itself! I wouldn't worry about build quality. If you're happy to buy a profitec machine, you should be happy to buy a profitec grinder. Same engineering, same quality control. I hear you on the reviews, but with Mazzer so dominant that's expected. Go play with one and see what you think, or just get the Super Jolly (I'm hoping to buy a super jolly or a Macap M4D)

  8. #8
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    I suggest scratching off 2-4 from your list, add the T-64 and the M4D, and maybe a higher ranged Compak as well, and see who distributes them for you to go have a play with. If you don't want to purchase another grinder down the track, the Quamar and Baratza won't do the job, and if the Eureka has no support in Oz there's no point buying it.

  9. #9
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Don't over think it. Or over internet it. ;-D

    I can't understand why the SJ is at the top of your list. Noisy, slow, big and not made for the home environment.

    You'll have to buy the short hopper if you are limited for height.

    Can't fault the M4D for home use.
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    Quote Originally Posted by chokkidog View Post
    I can't understand why the SJ is at the top of your list. Noisy, slow, big and not made for the home environment.
    Bloody love my SJ for home use. It's no noisier than the coffee machine. Grind retention not really a concern for me, I always do a 1-2sec purge. The overall footprint isn't really that big but I guess if your limited in height by low cupboards you'll need either a short hopper or just pour beans in the collar, which holds more than enough for a double. 12-13sec grind time for my double is more than quick enough for me. Plus I just love the looks and solid build of it.

    Have to disagree with you on that one chokkidog - Prefect home grinder in my experience.
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  11. #11
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    Have you comsidered an Hg one? A bit slower as its a hand grinder, but for one or two coffees??

    retention - once you suss out static if
    that's an issue - is virtually zero.

    its not noisy. Only sound is that of beans being whittled down.

    easy to clean.

    looks cool.

    ~$1400

  12. #12
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CaffeinatedAndrew View Post
    Bloody love my SJ for home use. It's no noisier than the coffee machine. Grind retention not really a concern for me, I always do a 1-2sec purge. The overall footprint isn't really that big but I guess if your limited in height by low cupboards you'll need either a short hopper or just pour beans in the collar, which holds more than enough for a double. 12-13sec grind time for my double is more than quick enough for me. Plus I just love the looks and solid build of it.

    Have to disagree with you on that one chokkidog - Prefect home grinder in my experience.
    Glad to hear someone discount retention as an issue when selecting a grinder.

    Great that you like your SJ, don't want to take that away from you... an opinion based on personal experience has more weight.

    Still.... the M4D is top of my list for low volume home use.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marxy24 View Post
    I might cop a bit of flack about this but I think it's a bit ugly. They also seem a bit messy although I'm probably exaggering a tad.
    There is a fully chromed model too that looks pretty awesome next to a shiny espresso machine...

    Mal.

  14. #14
    Senior Member readeral's Avatar
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    But for looks, even just seeing the machines in person makes all the difference I reckon. I used to think the Profitec grinder looked ugly as heck, then I saw it in situ and was almost tempted to buy one on the spot! Black M4D is just as appealing as Chromed imho. Internet research is important, but the amount of times my hours of research have been wasted by walking into a shop and trying what is on offer... Too many.

    Sturdy build quality and doserless are good factors. Looks, that's a good factor too, although obviously does nothing positive for the grind. Heat and retention really isn't something worth worrying about, at the end of the day 90% of your coffees won't suffer for a stray gram, and if they do, purging is easy.
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  15. #15
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    Hi,
    I sold a Mazzer mini and bought an M4D about 7 years ago. I love it and would replace it with the same grinder again
    Cheers Dr Dave
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr_Dave View Post
    Hi,
    I sold a Mazzer mini and bought an M4D about 7 years ago. I love it and would replace it with the same grinder again
    Cheers Dr Dave
    Glad you still love it Dave. Best prosumer planar burr grinder on the market. Outperforms all the big names <$1.5k.
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  17. #17
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    Trying to advise some one on a forum which grinder to choose, is much like advising them which woman to marry !..so much personal preference involved..
    asthetics/looks
    Size..will it fit the location
    budget...can you afford it ?
    how much noise does it make
    how fast for a double shot
    how much mess will it make
    availability
    maintenance costs
    Is there a " try before you buy". Or 30 day return option if not satisfied ?
    How about a 2nd hand, or " pre loved" version of a up market model ?

    i would rather keep out of those decisions for someone else !
    You really have to get off the keyboard and go for some "hands on" research on a few different units, to be sure there is not too much vibration or clumping etc.
    And don't forget to use them to pull a few shots to check for smoothness and "mouthfeel" etc.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    If you've got $1600 to spend on a doserless grinder I'm not sure why you'd even consider the Baratza or Quamar. By all accounts both of them offer great features at their price points, but if you can afford a better grinder then definitely get a better grinder. I've used a Super Jolly and I really like them, although it was a doser model. It sounds like the Mazzer doser models are definitely better performers than the doserless ones, but that's just from what I've read online and is based more on commercial situations.

    So although I've never even seen a Macap I'm yet to hear anything bad about them so the M4D would have to be a consideration. If you're not sure about the looks then try and find a stockist to check it out in the flesh. I've found viewing things online to be deceptive. The only other range to consider would be Compak as Al suggested, especially as you have the budget to buy a new one, and I'd be looking at the doserless 6 and 8 models. I was recently on the hunt for a 2nd hand SJ for home after having the opportunity to use one. However due to the name they tend to fetch premium prices here in NZ so I ended up with a Compak K8 Silenzio. It’s slightly bulkier, but I’m using it without a hopper so it’s roughly the same height and boy am I happy. What a grinder!! From what I’ve read the Compak doserless models outperform the equivalent Mazzer doserless models. You can get them with a short hopper too. So have a look at the A and E ones and see what you think.
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  19. #19
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blend52 View Post
    Trying to advise some one on a forum which grinder to choose, is much like advising them which woman to marry !..so much personal preference involved..
    asthetics/looks
    Size..will it fit the location
    budget...can you afford it ?
    how much noise does it make
    how fast for a double shot
    how much mess will it make
    availability
    maintenance costs
    Is there a " try before you buy". Or 30 day return option if not satisfied ?
    How about a 2nd hand, or " pre loved" version of a up market model ?

    i would rather keep out of those decisions for someone else !
    You really have to get off the keyboard and go for some "hands on" research on a few different units, to be sure there is not too much vibration or clumping etc.
    And don't forget to use them to pull a few shots to check for smoothness and "mouthfeel" etc.
    +1 to that. It doesn't hurt to ask, but you're going to get a variety of opinions so don't get too hung up on them.

  20. #20
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    Another vote for the HG One. I used my MD4 for the first time in about a year yesterday and whilst it performs OK the quality in the cup can't compete with the HG One.

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    My Profitec 700 is currently accompanied by an HG one. Looking forward to seeing what the successor grinder from Lyn Weber offers.
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  22. #22
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    +1 to blend52 post.
    The only sub $3000 grinders I would consider for home use are the HG1 or (my actual purchase) 2 Mahlkonig Vario gen2's @ $700 each. Either of those choices are so far ahead in terms of making good coffee that comparisons tend to embarrass their competition. Oh, among the 50 or so grinders I used heavily are every other brand mentioned so far plus a few more. Particle spread is the key factor if you want a good cuppa. IF I ever was insane enough to back to a cafe environment again - my (ex)Mazzer Major (with a doser, which I never want to see at home again) wins hands down.

    At home I just want something that performs well, is compact, quiet and fuss free. Every time I read about static, clumping, mess etc it just makes me smile - the Swiss made Vario merely puts a precisely timed amount of coffee (within 0.1 gram - the accuracy of my scales) exactly where it should go - directly into the middle of the p/f. No funnels, screens, or any other additions required to keep the coffee on target. For home use I can run one for a dark blend or decaf, one for my preferred medium SOs. That also gives me a spare if one breaks. Considering it is a Swiss Ditting commercial module wrapped in domestic clothing, I don't expect a failure for quite a few years. My older one is 2 years old next month and has topped 200Kg* without a glitch - to the point that the spread is identical to my other one (a mere 18 months old / 20Kg or so).

    Of course, as blend52 stated, everyone has different priorities. They are mine.


    TampIt

    200Kg*: Just as well I had a spare, a friend's SJ in his cafe killed yet another set of burrs so we shuffled all his grinders around for a few weeks. The Vario did 20+Kg a week of decaf for 6 weeks and then another three weeks at a later time. The Vario ceramic burrs are still unmarked & identical to my "barely used Vario". For home use burr life may as well be infinite unless you feed it a foreign object. Ironically, that is two sets of SJ burrs worth of life as they clag out at around 80Kg - you can keep using them but the spread goes from OK to atrocious. Italian steel vs Swiss ceramics is yet another invidious comparison.

  23. #23
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    From my understanding Flat burr grinders generally retain less grinds. Also if you dont mind buying second hand, large flat burr grinders resell for much lower than their conical friends. I have noticed a couple of fancy cafes in Brisbane changing back to flat burr which is interesting.

    If you want to buy a second hand grinder (and i think you ought, they resale so much cheaper than new, and work like new with new burrs, these things will all outlast humanity)
    I would reccomend a non-Mazzer because everyone knows what a mazzer is worth. no one (at least on gumtree) knows what a macap, cimbali, elektra, compak, wega, or berezza is worth. case in point i bought two grinders advertised as 'commercial grinders' for the kind of money that could not buy you a sunbeam or brevvile grinder.

  24. #24
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    Big thumbs up to the Eureka Zenith 65E - had mine for several months now and compared to previously owned Compak K3 and Mazzer Mini easily wins for grunt, speed and ease of adjustment. Although the 65e is not available here, other models are, with some common parts availability in Sydney at least. ELEKTRO'S in Italy did an excellent job getting mine here quickly, although the poorer exchange rate has put it over the GST free A$1k now.

  25. #25
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    Thanks to everyone for the valuable input- Some great food for thought.
    My list has been narrowed down to two Compaks. After some more research, and deciding that I can save for a few more weeks if required, Ive been looking at the E8 OD and F9 OD grinders.
    I know they look a bit Macap-ish but I personally think they look a bit more serious and they’re super quick. Im just trying to work out the differences in hopper adjustment between the two models and whether it warrants the difference in price tag before I go have a fiddle.



    Quality in cup kept popping up quite a lot in my research along with the importance of grinder quality. Im far less worried about retention now.
    With regards to the suggestions made above, I decided:

    Mazzer Super Jolly: Too slow and loud. At that price, I think the E8 OD would be a far better choice.
    HG One: Cool idea but I honestly couldnt imagine hand grinding beans for guests.
    The Vario: Strong argument. Its crazy but Ill admit that my vanity wouldn’t allow a small plastic grinder on the bench. It’s silly to think like that, but I like the Forte more because of its heft.
    Zenith 65e- Still tempted. I still don’t understand why no one in Australia offers it.

  26. #26
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    Good call. I'm all for the quality of the HG one and the convenience of the MD4. Hoping I can achieve both with a Compak E8.

  27. #27
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    I have owned a Compak K10 which was a nice grinder, plus I have had big flat burr grinders and other high end conicals, but I switched to an HG One and I wouldnt go back to an electric grinder. I have a commercial lever and making coffee for larger groups of guests is just a matter of having a good work flow, the grinder certainly doesnt slow me down. I love the lack of electrical motor noise with the combination of a lever and the HG One.

  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marxy24 View Post


    3) Eureka Zenith 65e
    Cons; Not stocked at all in Australia? Well reviewed and almost a perfect package(?)

    .
    I bought the Eureka from Cosmorex some years ago to replace the Sunbeam which didn't quite do the job.
    I suspect Cosmorex still support this machine but haven't seen it there lately.

    It seems great to me but only had cheaper machines before that.

    I had an issue with the coffee not dividing equally and tried everything - jacking one side up - but after I got the Eureka the problem went away.
    I was very surprised how much difference the grinder made to everything, coffee extracts better, tastes better and easier to to the art - chalk and cheese.

    They told me it does not leave a lot of grinds inside so I don't need to worry about that. Well I don't worry and find it works well. Today I decided to clean it out and remove the top burr. There was a surprisingly lot of grinds inside the machine, I probably need to clean it out regularly.

    Very solid robust machine.

  29. #29
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    From personal experience, the HG1 is a great grinder. Quiet, consistent grind directly into a blind tumbler, and I follow their advice on grind redistribution ( wooden chopstick). Pairs beautifully with my Cremina



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