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Thread: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

  1. #1
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    Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    I recently bought a new Macap M4 for my birthday. (Sponsor plug: Thanks Chris at Talk coffee for great advice and service)
    I have had an Iberital challenge for 1 year but since I started drinking more decaf I was finding it a pain to constantly switch between beans in the mornings. I have been looking at the m4/mini/k3 trio and in the end it came down to the Macaps doser sweeping cleaner and being slightly quieter. After my first few coffees I thought I could taste a difference but I wasnt really sure. Today I pitted them in a grind off to make direct comparison:
    1 cup each of PNG and Ethiopean Sidamo
    Grinding
    Both times the challenge was finished grinding quicker 23s vs 30s on the Sidamo and 30s vs 31s on the PNG. The shots were quicker on the challenge so the grind was slightly coarser. The biggest difference was volume. You can actually hold a conversation while the m4 is grinding, a pleasant change from the noisy iberital.
    Changing grind is so easy on the m4 and you can quickly and accurately change grind settings for different beans. Having used the iberital for a year I am still getting used to the steps on the m4 but they are certainly not big enough to be an issue.
    Dosing
    The m4 has a longer and lighter dosing action which took a bit of getting used to. Both give slight clumping but the m4 clumps break up much easier so distribution is less work.
    Shots
    Both gave good looking shots with tiger striping and even extraction. The m4 was slower in both cases but that is most likely just a grind adjustment. Hard to separate the two grinder here. Crema on m4 seemed marginally redder.
    Taste
    The acid test (pun intended). I am no cupping expert so this is all very subjective. One thing I had noticed before and was evident today is that the shots out of the m4 have more sweetness. Both brought out the characteristics of each bean nicely. The m4 also scored better for aftertaste; it seemed to hang around a little bit longer.
    Conclusion
    I had high expectations for the m4 and I was not disappointed. I was suprised that it does not grind any quicker than the iberital. I wasnt sure if I was going to be able to taste the difference in the cup. The difference is marginal and my wife couldnt taste a difference between the two.
    There is no doubt the m4 is the better grinder; At more than twice the price it should be! The fact that the iberital is so close is significant. Based on the more robust construction of the Macap I would expect it to last longer. Only time will tell how much longer.
    So the winner is the MACAP M4! A round of applause please ;D
    If your budget doesnt stretch that far then you can rest assured that the Iberital Challenge punches well above its price range and will not disappoint.

    Regards
    Gavin



  2. #2
    TC
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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulcrum link=1183248483/0#0 date=1183248481
    I recently bought a new Macap M4 for my birthday. (Sponsor plug: Thanks Chris at Talk coffee for great advice and service)
    I have had an Iberital challenge for 1 year but since I started drinking more decaf I was finding it a pain to constantly switch between beans in the mornings. I have been looking at the m4/mini/k3 trio and in the end it came down to the *Macaps doser sweeping cleaner and being slightly quieter. After my first few coffees I thought I could taste a difference but I wasnt really sure. Today I pitted them in a grind off to make direct comparison:
    1 cup each of PNG and Ethiopean Sidamo
    Grinding
    Both times the challenge was finished grinding quicker 23s vs 30s on the Sidamo and 30s vs 31s on the PNG. The shots were quicker on the challenge so the grind was slightly coarser. The biggest difference was volume. You can actually hold a conversation while the m4 is grinding, a pleasant change from the noisy iberital.
    Changing grind is so easy on the m4 and you can quickly and accurately change grind settings for different beans. Having used the iberital for a year I am still getting used to the steps on the m4 but they are certainly not big enough to be an issue.
    Dosing
    The m4 has a longer and lighter dosing action which took a bit of getting used to. Both give slight clumping but the m4 clumps break up much easier so distribution is less work.
    Shots
    Both gave good looking shots with tiger striping and even extraction. The m4 was slower in both cases but that is most likely just a grind adjustment. Hard to separate the two grinder here. Crema on m4 seemed marginally redder.
    Taste
    The acid test (pun intended). I am no cupping expert so this is all very subjective. One thing I had noticed before and was evident today is that the shots out of the m4 have more sweetness. Both brought out the characteristics of each bean nicely. The m4 also scored better for aftertaste; it seemed to hang around a little bit longer.
    Conclusion
    I had high expectations for the m4 and I was not disappointed. I was suprised that it does not grind any quicker than the iberital. I wasnt sure if I was going to be able to taste the difference in the cup. The difference is marginal and my wife couldnt taste a difference between the two.
    There is no doubt the m4 is the better grinder; At more than twice the price it should be! The fact that the iberital is so close is significant. Based on the more robust construction of the Macap I would expect it to last longer. Only time will tell how much longer.
    So the winner is the MACAP M4! A round of applause please *;D
    If your budget doesnt stretch that far then you can rest assured that the Iberital Challenge punches well above its price range and will not disappoint.

    Regards
    Gavin
    Great review Gavin and thanks for the feedback [smiley=thumbsup.gif]. The Macap has larger burrs than the Iberital and will therefore have a better throughput. I guess its possible that your grind was coarser with the Iberital and that there are quite possibly dose variations as well...

    Glad youre happy!

    Chris

  3. #3
    Sleep is overrated Thundergod's Avatar
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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Happy Birthday Gavin and congratulations on your Macap purchase.

    I have the Macap M5 to go with my Expobar Leva, so looking at your picture is reminiscent of my own setup which Im very happy with.

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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Hi Gavin,

    Is that an Espro tamp that is going to roll off the bench top and damage itself when it lands on the hard floor?

    I recommend getting a Bumper Tamp Stand. ;)

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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Sure is my Espro click 8-)
    I am still trying to arrange everything with 2 grinders. I think I may need to build a small shelf.

    Gavin

  6. #6
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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Hey Gavin, I just noticed this thread and have a few comments:

    - Did you build the walls and nook around your equipment? ;D

    - Love the addition of the mirror - thats cool! 8-)

    - the teatowel hanging up...no comment :P

  7. #7
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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Nah, its just a part of our kitchen. Im sure the architect knew what he was doing...
    The mirror is the only way to use a naked portafilter. NO more bending over or hunching down.
    Its nice to watch each shot and see if I made any mistakes in my dose and tamp.

    Gavin

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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    I found some small cloths that fold nicely in half then thirds to fit perfecly under the front feet of the Expobar.

    I keep a regular chux in a small bowl on the left of the machine to wipe the steam arm and a third cloth similar to a heavy duty (thick) chux as my cleaning cloth, that sits at the back/top of the drip tray.

    All neat and unobtrusive.

  9. #9
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    Re: Macap M4 vs Iberital Challenge - mini review

    Nice review! Having two grinders at home is pretty cool.

    The Macap has larger burrs than the Iberital and will therefore have a better throughput.
    Maybe flat vs conical has something to do with it? Greater surface area for cutting? The conical Ascaso seemed faster than the 54mm flat burr Ascaso.

    Let us know how the experiments go!

    Cheers,

    Luca



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