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Thread: New grinder up to $500

  1. #1
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    New grinder up to $500

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hello,
    I currently have a sunbeam em0480 grinder which is teamed up with the em6910. I would like to upgrade the grinder (around the $500 mark) and Iím after opinions on my best options.


    I make approximately 2 flat white per day. I generally grind my beans on demand so it would be ideal if the grinder could work well with a minimal amount of beans in the hopper. I have limited bench space so size is important as well. When I can afford it I hope to team the new grinder up with the Lelit PL60T v2 or similar.

    From the research I have done on this site so far it looks like the macap m2m or compak k3 push may be good options. What do you all think?

    Amanda

  2. #2
    Senior Member tobeanornottobean's Avatar
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    Yep, they would be about your best options. This is an interesting read on the topic Buying guide- coffee grinders | Talk Coffee.i moved from an em480 to the compak and was totally blown away with the resultant shift up in quality. A mate thinks I'm just selling it to myself but I know what better espresso tastes like.

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    I recently upgraded from a nemox lux to a compak k3 - it has made a significant difference in the quality of espresso I have been producing - so I would recommend it. The two grinders I had come down to were also the M2M and the k3. I really don't think there is much to separate the two. As far as I could discern they will both provide reasonably consistent grind size and allow you to make the required adjustments in grind size. I think the main differences are probably cosmetic and the fact that the k3 is stepless, whereas the M2M is stepped.

    Since upgrading I've really enjoyed the stepless control over the grind size on the k3. It makes dialing in good shots easy if you have nailed down a constant dose and yield. Sometimes it was not possible to hit the sweetspot with the nemox lux just by adjusting the grind because of the size of the steps, so you had to play with the dose or yield a bit to get your shots right once you had found a grind size that was nearly where you wanted it. However, from what I have read I don't think the steps on the M2M will put you in any worse a position than the k3 because of its steps - they seem to be sufficiently small. Also, I only grind for espresso with the k3, but if you intend to grind for filter or french press etc. as well as espresso you might prefer the stepped adjustment because I understand it is easier to remember where your settings for each application are.

    Hope that helps in some way

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    I have a eureka mignon and love it. should be close to your price range and meet your wish list
    Brewster likes this.

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    Some day I will have to try an M2M to see what difference it makes to my shot.
    And even if I can taste the difference between that and a grind done on my EM 480.

    I suspect if bought one I would have to tell eveyone it makes such a difference, so as to justify my purchase!

    One thing for sure, plenty of cafes do not make a coffee that tastes the way I like it.

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    I have been using a Quamar q50 for around 9 months and have found it great. It's a doserless grind on demand style, just shoots the grinds into the portafilter. I generally only have a small amount of beans in the hopper and it works well. I paid $600 for mine. Looks pretty smart too.

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Hello Amanda, One maker that gets very little mention here on CS is Bezzera. I have had a BB005 for a couple of years now, and I'm very pleased with it.

    It ticks all your boxes - it is small and neat, grinds well with few beans in the hopper, has low retention, low maintenance and is within your budget. The importer is located in Brisbane and according to their website they have a retailer in Noosaville.
    It has a very fine step-less adjustment, so it is not good for switching from espresso to plunger and back, but it is great for dialing in the best grind for a good extraction, and tweaking it when you change beans, or as they age.

    Unlike a couple of other grinders I have had in the past, I have no regrets about my Bezzera.

    I have not used an M2M or a K3, though the M2M was on my short list at the time, so I can't compare them with the BB005 or with one another.

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    thank you all for your feedback. I really appreciate it.

    I'm now leaning towards the compak.

    tobeanornottobean and mrsakata, did you get the push or touch option? Any tips you could provide when learning how to use the compak k3?

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    Hi amea26

    I ended up opting for the touch version of the k3 (which costs more than the push). As far as I am aware it is exactly the same as the push but with the addition of the ability to use time controlled dosing. When using the touch feature you can leave the portafilter sitting resting on the forks and held by the small hook on the tongue of the grinder after pressing the tongue and the grinder will dispense a timed shot. I use that feature frequently, however, it is not as useful as I had hoped. The problem is that controlling dose with time assumes that the grinder will grind the same amount of grams per second every time you grind - but in reality the time it takes to grind a gram of coffee seems to change slightly with a change in the amount of beans in the hopper pushing the beans into the burrs and the type of coffee you are grinding, and more significantly with the size of the grind. The upshot of all that is that you need to set the timer up to give you the amount of coffee you want per dose after you have a grind size you are happy with for the bean and dose you are using to get consistent dosing. I don't mind taking some time to do that - so I would still recommend the touch version of the k3, but unless you think you will make use of the timed dosing it certainly isn't a necessary feature.

    Hope that helps!

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    Cant go wrong with the k3 push. No fancy bits. Just a great grinder. Push portafilter in and coffee comes out. Very happy with mine. I had a breville smart grinder before this and that had all the dose and time features. Dont miss them one bit.

  11. #11
    kbc
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    I have had several grinders. The k3 touch was great in most ways expect for grind retention. There's a small plastic flap that ensures several grams of stale grind at the start of each day. The m2m is a beauty. The m4d is better but that's over $1000

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    Hi. Same situation as the TS, and I'm also an EM6910 user. I used to pair it with a BCG800 until it stalled recently.
    Without any knowledge of how to open it, looks like I have to give up on it.

    So 3 brands are now in my consideration - Macap, Compak and Baratza. While the first two are already discussed in this thread, any inputs on the Baratza? Would be very useful if anyone can share if Baratza Vario is better than the K3 and M2M.
    Also, is grind retention an issue in K3 Push, or is it only in the Touch?
    Thanks

  13. #13
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    The only difference between the touch and push K3 is the times operation. The retention isn't huge. If it's a concern run the grinder for a couple of seconds to clear the stale grinds.

    Cheers

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    Senior Member tobeanornottobean's Avatar
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    agree. grind retention doesn't seem to be much of an issue in the k3. re the Vario, there is a member here goes by the name of TampIt. He's got Varios and swears by them. He's written a bunch of stuff in different threads about his love.

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    axs
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    Quote Originally Posted by artman View Post
    The only difference between the touch and push K3 is the times operation. The retention isn't huge. If it's a concern run the grinder for a couple of seconds to clear the stale grinds.

    Cheers
    You can try other way to clear the stale grinds on K3 push, just lift chute (it’s spring loaded) and release it. It’ll run a motor for a fraction of second and dump stales. One time should be enough but can repeat it if required.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rigs View Post
    Hi. Same situation as the TS, and I'm also an EM6910 user. I used to pair it with a BCG800 until it stalled recently.
    Without any knowledge of how to open it, looks like I have to give up on it.

    So 3 brands are now in my consideration - Macap, Compak and Baratza. While the first two are already discussed in this thread, any inputs on the Baratza? Would be very useful if anyone can share if Baratza Vario is better than the K3 and M2M.
    Also, is grind retention an issue in K3 Push, or is it only in the Touch?
    Thanks
    G'day rigs

    I originally stayed out of this thread because the Vario is around $700 which is way over your budget (no use in playing with CSrs stated $$$'s).

    Firstly, the Vario is marketed in the rest of the world (i.e. outside the USA) as a Mahlkonig - the Baratza is a parallel import in Oz, with all the warranty issues that may imply. Whether the badge is the only difference I do not know (from some US forums, I suspect the US Vario may be a different mechanism, however they may have been the original ("gen1") version. Both my Oz Mahlkonig Vario gen2s are actually Swiss made Dittings (they merged with Mahlkonig a while back).

    As a previous owner of 2 EM480s, I tried everything I had space for at home (very small kitchen) and the Vario was the only real step upwards in cup quality that would a) fit and b) beat the Breville Smartgrinder and the 480s by enough to bother upgrading. I offloaded 17 commercial grinders a while back as the Vario trounced all of them in the cup and was also suitable for domestic use. If I ever worked in another cafe (no chance), I would regret selling my Mazzer Major: the only one that did a similar job, albeit at a lot more noise, space and grind retention. FWIW, I actually regret selling both of my 480s, as when summer rocked up I needed something to grind coarse for my iced coffees / cold steep and cold drip. I should have kept one of them. Be aware, the Vario is really a Turkish to Espresso specialist grinder, anything grinds better at coarser settings IMO - that is why the Vario has an optional set of steel burrs for those who want coarser grinds (shakes head thinking why would anyone spend that kind of dollars for a grind texture that anything else can do easily?).

    I just cut and pasted this next bit from my CS notes. After another year or so of use, they are still an accurate reflection of living with a pair of gen2s:-

    For home use the gen2 has two minor quirks/annoyances*, neither of which affects the flavour in the cup. Both my gen2's have the rare gift of being small, quiet, unobtrusive & SWMBO inoffensive. An accurate timer (repeats are within 0.1g!), well over 50 real "within espresso range"settings, a very narrow particle spread and minimal grind retention adds to the charm. The gen2 is still the only electric home grinder I know of that can also go straight into my Ibrik when I feel like a (very) traditional Turkish coffee. My antique Turkish hand grinder is now "surplus to requirements" other than as an ornament. No static, no clumping, no mess on the bench** helps to make the gen2 the easiest grinder to live with at home that I know of - and since my first espresso encounter was 1970, that is a hell of a lot of grinders!

    Of course, all the above would be completely irrelevant to me if they didn't also happen to produce the best quality of "in the cup" espresso / Turkish coffee of any home grinder I know - and not by a small margin. Very few commercial grinders come close to the in the cup experience. The commercial ones that do are well over $2000 - i.e. three times the price and they are not really suitable in a domestic kitchen for low intermittent home use anyway AFAIAC.

    * The quirks
    a) You have to have the motor running to adjust it finer. Failure to do this usually ejects the fine adjuster - a below 5 minute fix requiring the removal of one phillips head #2 screw - you don't even have to move it off the bench or empty the hopper to fix it. Several of my friends have Varios and most of them have needed this at least once (as have I...one sleep deprived morning). I suppose it is the price of trying to fit commercial adjusters into an impossibly small space - a fair trade off I guess.
    b) It does not have a grind on demand (start stop) switch. For the life of me I cannot see why Ditting did not integrate a "push in the portafilter to start" switch with their timer. To this day, every time I go to a site with grind on demand switch I resent the Vario's lack - especially the ones with Ditting commercial grinders... I would even buy a gen3 if that was the only difference.
    ** Update: The Varios have yet to throw a single grain of coffee onto the bench. No way did I expect to be able to say that about any grinder - ever!

    Hope this helps.

    TampIt
    PS: my older gen2 has done well over 150Kg, my newer one is probably at around 10Kg. Both sets of ceramic burrs are unmarked and look identical. I expect both Varios to have a long domestic life if they are cleaned out properly every 500g or so of coffee (keeps the chamber empty enough to keep the particle spread tight).
    BTW, the last gen2 a friend bought a few weeks back now has an all metal portafilter holder. As my "antistatic plastic" / metal combo ones have never given any trouble, I have no idea if that is more than a sideways move. It still fails to spray grounds all over the bench, so it is not a move backwards. Otherwise it is identical to my much older ones.

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    Wow, thanks heaps, @TampIt. That's a very thorough and helpful review.
    I also make cold steep on weekends as it's practically summer all year round here
    So that warning about the grind size is really something to consider. And I definitely don't have the space for two grinders.

    I can't find a reference to the Vario's price in Australia so I just did a rough conversion from the price in Indonesia. Turns out I was off by quite a lot.

    It seems Baratza is more commonly sold here than the Compak K3 and the Macap M2M. I haven't managed to find a place in here that sells Macap (which means it would be difficult when service is needed)

  18. #18
    TC
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    Quote Originally Posted by rigs View Post
    I haven't managed to find a place in here that sells Macap (which means it would be difficult when service is needed)
    Hi rigs.

    My recommendation- Macap M2M.

    In time, you will need service on the Baratza- because they can and do break.

    On the other hand the Macap is a simple and robust compact grinder. Service requirements will consist of cleaning it and a burr change once you have ground 200 or so kg- both of which you can do yourself as only a screwdriver will be required.

    Perhaps you might investigate if you can get a friend to bring one over for you.

    If you would like me to check freight costs to Indonesia, please make contact via email.

    Chris

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    Hi rigs, I also lived in Indonesia until recently and found the prices locally were exorbitant - I ended up buying my equipment (including a Macap M2M) from Talk Coffee while on a trip to Melbourne. No regrets. I wouldn't recommend importing by post - you will almost certainly have to pay exorbitant duty as well as postage.

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    New grinder up to $500

    Thanks, Chris and mjoyce.

    The Baratza Vario is IDR 6,450,000 in Philocoffee Jakarta. Doing proper conversion with rate from a local bank, that's A$656.

    Chris, if I end up choosing the M2M, I'll be in contact regarding shipping.

  21. #21
    Senior Member tobeanornottobean's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by amea26 View Post
    thank you all for your feedback. I really appreciate it.

    tobeanornottobean did you get the push or touch option? Any tips you could provide when learning how to use the compak k3?
    Fwiw I have a push. I've heard lots who have the touch tend not to use the timer. As for learning how to use, it's plug and play. No grinds on bench. Nice step less adjustment.

  22. #22
    kbc
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    I love the M2M. It's my second grinder (for pourover and cold drip) and it really does grind as well as my first grinder - Mazzer Super Jolly E. The Super Jolly has the looks but for performance the M2M really matches it.

  23. #23
    kbc
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    I also use my M2M for espresso regularly with my R58 as and its up to the job, on par with the big Mazzer.

  24. #24
    kbc
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    New grinder up to $500

    Here she is - hidden away in the Laundry.

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    A local roaster offered me a secondhand Carimali K1 for about $460.
    Anybody has an experience with the brand?
    Thanks

  26. #26
    Senior Member magnafunk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rigs View Post
    A local roaster offered me a secondhand Carimali K1 for about $460.
    Anybody has an experience with the brand?
    Thanks
    Looks to be a rebadged macap m4

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    Turns out it is. I'll head over to the Macap thread then. Thanks

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    Hi Amanda,

    You probably have a shiny new grinder by now but thought I'd chime in with my second crack worth anyway as I started with the same grinder - the 480. I had a lot of trouble with both static and clogging with the 480. I was forever pulling it to bits and cleaning it out. And it sprayed coffee grounds all over the place. I roast my own beans and tend to grind them when they're still pretty "young" and I think this may have contributed to the clogging. I use a Silvia and it likes the grind quite fine and the 480 struggled to achieve this. But it was my first grinder. I knew no better.

    Then a friend said he'd recently replaced his Rocky with a Baratza Preciso. I'd never heard of them but he let me try his out at home and I was immediately sold. It's not only quieter and faster than the 480 but it doesn't seem to suffer the same static problems and it doesn't block up. Ever. Yay! I've had for a year or so now and I love it. Like the 480 it does need to operate quite close to its finest setting to work with the Silvia though. Under $500 too.

    Pete L

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    I guess Amea26 has got her grinder since she hasn't even replied to this thread after posting her question...Although $500 is a decent budget to buy a good grinder for home.



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