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Thread: Advice - will a good grinder make that much difference

  1. #1
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    Advice - will a good grinder make that much difference

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

    First post - this looks like a great community. I've had a Saeco Via Venezia for the past few years and the coffee I make with it is ok, but doesn’t compare to what you might expect from a café. I like a nice coffee but have never been too interested in how to make one - and I think that's why what I have been making is very ordinary. I mostly use supermarket pre-ground coffee (e.g. Vittoria), and when I do buy beans, I just use the $40 blade 'grinder' I have to grind them.

    I work from home so mainly drink coffee that I make. Lately I've been wondering whether spending more money on a better espresso machine would help, but on reading around, that may not be the main problem. What I'm wanting to know is if I buy a decent burr grinder (prepared to spend $500-$700) and start sourcing freshly roasted (i.e. non supermarket beans), is this likely to give me more bang for buck with making a better tasting coffee than going and dropping, for example, a couple of grand on a new machine?

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Paul

  2. #2
    Senior Member artman's Avatar
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    you are spot on. Get a decent grinder (will last you a long time and through many machine upgrades), use fresh roasted beans and you will be on your way to quality brews.

    If your machine does not have a single floor basket, get one of those.

    Cheers

  3. #3
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    Absolutely yes!

    I found a bigger difference going from a cheap bur grinder to a mazzer, than moving up to an e61 hx machine (one of those couple of grand machines you mentioned). So going from supermarket / choppy blade to fresh / good grinder will be night and day.

    Good luck with it

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    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    G'day Paul,
    if your machine uses 'double walled' or 'crema enhancing baskets', you won't notice that much of a difference in the look of the pour, but the taste difference will be greatly enhanced by using freshly roasted beans.
    As an experiment, get hold of some freshly roasted beans and the supermarket beans, then run them both through a plunger and compare the taste of the two cups.
    If you can't discern any great taste difference, I'd save my money and keep the setup you have if it's working for you.
    If it turns out to be a taste sensation for you, I'd look firstly at getting a better supply of beans, then look at getting a better grinder, with the machine being the last thing in the equation you need to change.
    Hope this helps.

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    You dont need to spend much to get a good grinder.
    a solid used Rocky for <$200 , or $100 for a Sunbeam, when used with fresh beans, will get you a enormous improvement

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    TC
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    Agreed. Fresh roast, a grinder and if possible ditch the double wall baskets...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Talk_Coffee View Post
    Agreed. Fresh roast, a grinder and if possible ditch the double wall baskets...
    Thank you everyone so far, for your response - I appreciate it.

    Pardon my ignorance - what is 'double-walled'? Is that the same as pressurised? (I was reading about this last night). If so, I think my portafiller has the rubber ring in it to make it pressurised.

    Thanks

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lovey's Avatar
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    Yes,
    crema enhancing, pressurised, double walled are all the same.
    The bottom of the inside of your basket will only have one or a few small holes, as opposed to a single walled basket which will have holes covering the bottom surface.

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    Senior Member deegee's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pgseye View Post
    Hi All, What I'm wanting to know is if I buy a decent burr grinder (prepared to spend $500-$700) and start sourcing freshly roasted (i.e. non supermarket beans), is this likely to give me more bang for buck with making a better tasting coffee than going and dropping, for example, a couple of grand on a new machine? Paul
    Paul, no matter how good your grinder or your machine you must have fresh, good quality beans, otherwise "garbage in = garbage out"

    I just finished a flat white that was as good as any I have ever paid for (and way better than most of them). The beans were ground in a moderately priced grinder, and brewed in a good basic machine, not too different from your Via Venezia. BUT, the beans were top quality, roasted fifteen days ago and just hitting their peak flavour over the last few days. They will probably be good for another week or so, by which time they will all be gone, and I will be into the next batch (roasted a few days ago).

    So I see your first priority as the beans, closely followed by a decent grinder, and a machine upgrade if and when you feel are ready for that as your next step.

    One more point - Those double wall baskets can hide a lot of flaws in the equpment and the users technique. So if you start using a single wall basket, you may have to re-learn how to grind/dose/tamp, so as to get the best out of the beans. It's not all that hard. and there is lots of advice here on how to get it right.

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    Advice - will a good grinder make that much difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Lovey View Post
    Yes,
    crema enhancing, pressurised, double walled are all the same.
    The bottom of the inside of your basket will only have one or a few small holes, as opposed to a single walled basket which will have holes covering the bottom surface.
    Similar idea but the Via Venezia has a single walled basket and pressurised portafilter instead. You can disassemble the supplied portafilter or get hold of a replacement from somewhere. I know Seattle Coffee Gear used to sell them.

    Edit: one possible advantage of a new portafilter is you could order a bottomless / naked if you're that way inclined.

  11. #11
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    I had a sunbeam cafe series grinder, couldn't get it fine enough for my Silvia even at the finest setting and with the washer mod.

    So I picked up a second-hand very used San Remo SR50 but with new Burrs and works a treat.

    I say there is a huge difference going from say $100 to $400 grinder, but its incremental if you go above this......



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