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Thread: Grinders, bean storage, single dosing and related issues

  1. #1
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    Grinders, bean storage, single dosing and related issues

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    G’day Snobs,

    i want to replace my old EM0480 soon, which got me thinking about a few related issues that I haven’t seen discussed in a unified way on here.

    Dosing
    I currently single dose the Sunbeam. Simplifying my espresso routine appeals to me, so I was considering the Sette 270wi for its dosing functions. But it occurs to me that you only really get that benefit if you keep beans in the hopper - if you single dose then you’re doing the work the 270wi is meant to save you anyway.

    Single dosing avoids the problem of the grinder hopper not being the best bean storage, and since you're grinding all the beans each time you won't have half crushed beans sitting in the burrs going stale and needing to be purged later, meaning less wastage. But it also leads to popcorning and, people say, grinders not performing properly without the weight of beans to feed the burrs. Is this really a big deal? Ultimately the beans go through the burrs to get to the chute, with or without the weight pushing them down.

    Storage
    i currently buy beans from local roasters in 1kg bags, because it’s so much cheaper than buying 200/250g bags. I cut a small opening in the bag and pour out 30g for two shots once or twice a day. I then fold the bag over and store it in a plastic kitchen tub. So the tub and bag are being opened about 30 times over the course of 20-25 days. Switching from single dosing to storing a couple of hundred grams of beans in the hopper would reduce the number of times the bag needs to be opened over the course of 3-4 weeks.

    So it seems like we have three factors in tension: grinder performance (better with weight of beans pushing down), bean storage (hopper isn't the best place to store them), and wastage (not single dosing will probably lead to some need to purge grounds). What are your thoughts snobs? How do you work through these factors?

  2. #2
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Depends on your budget. How much the lack of weight of beans on top affects the grind quality varies greatly grinder to grinder, depending on if it's designed for single dosing or not. Some thing like a Niche Zero is designed for single dosing only and has no issues with popcorning.

    I deal with storage by keeping just over the minimum required beans in the hopper.

    I deal with wastage by purging beans every session, I accept the cost for the better coffee.

    It's a bit of a balancing act.
    Dimal and Yelta like this.

  3. #3
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    Quite a few people freeze beans in small single doses and then grind the beans frozen (Ona promote this too)- see thread: The old freezing beans theory...
    https://r.tapatalk.com/shareLink?sha...1&share_type=t

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    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Depends on your budget. How much the lack of weight of beans on top affects the grind quality varies greatly grinder to grinder, depending on if it's designed for single dosing or not. Some thing like a Niche Zero is designed for single dosing only and has no issues with popcorning.

    I deal with storage by keeping just over the minimum required beans in the hopper.

    I deal with wastage by purging beans every session, I accept the cost for the better coffee.

    It's a bit of a balancing act.
    I use a Mazzer Mini in a similar manner, no beans stored in hopper, single dose, purge after every session, easy, great results, no waste.

    I store my 750 gram roasts in two one way valve bags, works for me.
    Dimal likes this.

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    A Niche Zero will sort out most of your grinder problems, in my happy opinion.

    If you are worried about opening the 1 Kg bag 30 times, yet think dividing up the whole lot into single frozen doses a bit OTT, divide a new bag into four 250 g lots then needing to open each of those only seven or eight times. You can keep reserve bags in the freezer if you like. Often, 80% of the solution is pretty good.

    If you go for the Sette, you could still do the bag division thing then keep about 100g in the Sette, refilling with each couple of shots. Again, bags not opened often, machine works as it should.
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    It's important to remember that fresh beans don't go stale in one day. In fact if they were very recently roasted it can help to let them breathe a bit.

    It's perfectly OK to run with a day or two's supply in the hopper, as long as: 1) The grinder isn't in direct sunlight, and 2) You start with fresh beans (which you are).

    I normally have a "float" of about 150-200g in the hopper at any time, and purge a few grams at the start of the day. All good, and if we have guests I can just tip more beans in as needed.

    We pull about 4 doubles on weekdays and about twice that on Sat/Sun (more if guests are over). Much prefer the workflow of on-demand rather than single dosing.
    Dimal and DaveD like this.

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    For those who keep beans in the hopper, are you grinding onto a scale or just dosing by eye?

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    Quote Originally Posted by level3ninja View Post
    Some thing like a Niche Zero is designed for single dosing only and has no issues with popcorning.
    What's the verdict on the quality of the grind coming out of the NZ? I admit to being intrigued by it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattAttack View Post
    For those who keep beans in the hopper, are you grinding onto a scale or just dosing by eye?
    Grinding into a dosing cup, then weighing. If slightly over remove a little with a teaspoon. With practice though you get remarkably close once you know your grinder.

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    Quote Originally Posted by herzog View Post
    It's important to remember that fresh beans don't go stale in one day. In fact if they were very recently roasted it can help to let them breathe a bit.

    It's perfectly OK to run with a day or two's supply in the hopper, as long as: 1) The grinder isn't in direct sunlight, and 2) You start with fresh beans (which you are).

    I normally have a "float" of about 150-200g in the hopper at any time, and purge a few grams at the start of the day. All good, and if we have guests I can just tip more beans in as needed.

    We pull about 4 doubles on weekdays and about twice that on Sat/Sun (more if guests are over). Much prefer the workflow of on-demand rather than single dosing.
    Agree with this. In fact since I started roasting I'm struggling to keep ahead of myself! I like to think its the fam's reaction to the significant upturn in bean quality compared with buying 1Kg every couple of weeks from the roastery leading to increased consumption...

    If I can get a weeks supply (for us about 500g) ready a week ahead then none of this is relevant, because those beans won't be around long enough.

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    Any views on what's actually wrong with single dosing/popcorning? Once the beans are between the burrs it's hard to see how a hundred grams of downwards force here or there would actually make a difference to the particles that come out the other end.

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    Grinders, bean storage, single dosing and related issues

    Quote Originally Posted by MattAttack View Post
    For those who keep beans in the hopper, are you grinding onto a scale or just dosing by eye?
    Programmable timed dosing.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattAttack View Post
    Any views on what's actually wrong with single dosing/popcorning? Once the beans are between the burrs it's hard to see how a hundred grams of downwards force here or there would actually make a difference to the particles that come out the other end.
    IMHO, nothing, most of the problems are imaginary.
    Dimal likes this.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Jackster's Avatar
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    My 270w was definately a different grind setting when single dosing. So that must mean the grind changes as the hopper empties.
    I single dose my lido2e now, and feed it from little baggies of preweighed beans.
    Maybe a more commercial grinder doesn't change?

  15. #15
    Senior Member Gavisconi007's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattAttack View Post
    Any views on what's actually wrong with single dosing/popcorning? Once the beans are between the burrs it's hard to see how a hundred grams of downwards force here or there would actually make a difference to the particles that come out the other end.
    I found it varies from grinder to grinder. My old Elektra Nino couldn’t grind a decent shot and was totally inconsistent unless it had a column of beans applied as a surcharge (and then it was great). Whereas my Robur manual (with auger) will happily push out consistent grinds every day with no surcharge; I just place a small glass on top to stop pop-corning.
    Barry O'Speedwagon likes this.

  16. #16
    Senior Member LeroyC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattAttack View Post
    Any views on what's actually wrong with single dosing/popcorning? Once the beans are between the burrs it's hard to see how a hundred grams of downwards force here or there would actually make a difference to the particles that come out the other end.
    I agree that it very much depends on the grinder. I’ve had grinders that handled single dosing and a bit of popcorn action just fine, but others were truly awful without at least another 10-20g on top. The proof was mostly in the large variation in extraction time, but in fact on one of my grinders I could even see the greater particle spread. I’d also get ugly naked portafilter extractions.
    Someone did some testing on this a few years ago and found that the way the beans travel through the burrs is affected by what is above them on some grinders which leads to greater particle spread. I can’t remember who, it may have been a manufacturer. Interestingly the worst offender was my Compak K10. On the flip side it gave me the best quality grinds and best flavour profile if I used it right. My current grinder is a Mahlkönig Vario and it has no problem at all single dosing.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by MattAttack View Post
    What's the verdict on the quality of the grind coming out of the NZ? I admit to being intrigued by it.
    I like it a lot. The NZ's particle distribution isn't perfect but good enough for me.
    0.4-0.6g retention after a full clean but then 18g in, 18g out nearly all of the time.
    level3ninja likes this.

  18. #18
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    Single dosing on the Mignon Specialita works fine, minimal popcorning.
    rossross likes this.



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