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Thread: Grinder Upgrade?

  1. #1
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    Grinder Upgrade?

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Im sure this kind of thing has been done over many times but anyways here goes. Ive been using an iberital for almost a year now and been contimplating upgrading whether i should upgrade given that i browse this forum and read through some of the various discussions. Ive looked through the grinder short review/sticky note in this forum and the compaks appear to be mid market price wise but perform just good as the top end ones. Now i dont want to unecessarily upgrade for the sake of it but if need be, for the right reasons and something worthwhile. So i guess my point/question is whether an upgrade from the iberital to a mid level grinder is justifiable in that at the end of the day what ends up in the cup going to be noticeably any better than what is produced using the iberital?

    less noise would be good too :)

    Cheers

  2. #2
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_drinker link=1187316979/0#0 date=1187316978
    Im sure this kind of thing has been done over many times but anyways here goes. Ive been using an iberital for almost a year now and been contimplating upgrading whether i should upgrade given that i browse this forum and read through some of the various discussions. Ive looked through the grinder short review/sticky note in this forum and the compaks appear to be mid market price wise but perform just good as the top end ones. Now i dont want to unecessarily upgrade for the sake of it but if need be, for the right reasons and something worthwhile. So i guess my point/question is whether an upgrade from the iberital to a mid level grinder is justifiable in that at the end of the day what ends up in the cup going to be noticeably any better than what is produced using the iberital?

    less noise would be good too *:)

    Cheers
    Hi CD...

    In a sentence, yes and yes to all ;). If your technique is sound, you will see benefits in terms of consistency, quietness and longevity. The Compaks are excellent grinders and offer great value (albeit in champagne powder coat at present). All grinders have their particular feature set.

    We sell the Compak K3/K3 Touch in this price bracket and would be more than happy to discuss them with you...

    Chris

  3. #3
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Hi C_D,

    You should expect a K3 touch to be faster, perhaps a little bit less messy, lower in pitch, more durable and perhaps the burrs will need changing less often. That noise thing is an interesting point, actually ... the baby commercial grinders actually seem to put out more or less the same number of decibels, but at a less objectionable pitch. In practical terms, Id call that quieter! I doubt that the K3 will produce a better result in the cup. In fact, I know someone who insists that the small conicals produce the superior cup.

    Cheers,

    Luca

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    Senior Member coastal_coffee's Avatar
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Really Luca?

    Thats the first time I have ever heard mention of that!

    Perhaps it is a secret that should be yelled out to the world, or is it just one opinion from someone

    who can make good coffee with just about anything?

    Im not having a shot here (excuse the pun).

    Craig.


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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Hi Craig,

    I think that I have been pretty consistent in saying that these little conical doohickies deliver the goods, but just about everything else about them sucks. In my recent blog post about Aroma, I mentioned that my best shot came from Renzos Ascaso I-Mini and Expobar. Im not sure what more Im expected to do to bring this to peoples attention.

    I was interested to check this out for myself because Jim Schulman from coffeecuppers.com and a fellow moderator at coffeegeek.com told me that his innova (now ascaso) grinder rocked, but he got rid of it for a mini because he thought that the mini was easier to use, better built, less noisy, less messy, etc. I think that Jim might have mentioned that Michael Teahan, who works for Brasilia and knows e61HX machines like the back of his hand, also likes these grinders a lot ... seems plausible, as the brasilia/rossi competition grinder uses a tiny conical burr set that whizzes at a million miles an hour. I have also read a lot more opinions, but frankly, I just use internet opinions as a starting point to do my own research.

    Anyhoo, I need another grinder for Vac Pot, so, thanks to a CS member who read my post in the B/S forum, Im picking up a second-hand sunbeam conical. It wont go near espresso, but well see how it goes for vac pot.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  6. #6
    Senior Member coastal_coffee's Avatar
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    thanks mate just goes to show the more you know the more you need to learn.

    Craig.

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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Yes i understand technique, beans, machine also play their part in what ends up in the cup but all other things being as equal as they can be, will a coffee made with grinds from a $500+ be any better than what an iberital will give u?

    So far there is +1 "for" and "against". This is a tricky one.

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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Well lets look at it this way....
    With a bit more use and over time the Iberital will begin to wear out, as all things do.
    Eventually you will be faced with decision to replace burrs and/or other parts of the grinder,
    and afterwards will it be as good as new? (This is an honest question, not a slur on the Iberitals, or is the cost of rebuilding back to as new justified?)

    Alternatively you could then purchase a new grinder that is better made and should be more durable as well as giving good quality grinding.
    Maybe it wont give better shots compared to a new Iberital, but it should give better shots than a worn out grinder, and should be able to do it for longer than a cheaper grinder.

    One of the reasons I went for a Rocky was the relatively long service life that I should get, and ability to replace bur set to make it like new.
    Also the ability to easily change grind setting from espresso to plunger/vac pot is a bonus for me.

    Regards
    Bullitt

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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    I dont have an Iberital, however I do have a Mazzer Mini and a Sunbeam EM0480 side by side in my kitchen. There is a reason why the 0480 is only used for decaf - there is no comparison between them, the Mazzer is by far the superior grinder, from the noise level to the grind to how the shots taste - definitely sweeter and richer. Is it enough of a difference to be worth paying the extra money? For myself it was. Others will disagree. :)

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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    It would seem logical to think that a more consistent and uniform particle size would result in a more equal extraction from each coffee grind but in the whole scheme of things and being in a non-perfect world, is this totally true and the in cup results reflect this?

    Still mulling the idea of an upgrade for the time being.

    What are the signs of when burrs might need to be replaced? I mean if the grinder is not grinding fine enough, ud adjust it to grind finer again, so at which point would u have to actually replace them?

  11. #11
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Gday CD,

    I can vouch for the improvement in the cup that Viviane describes above... in my case it was an upgrade from a Rocky to a full-on commercial La San Marco grinder, the brews are sweeter, individual flavours are more discernible and a much cleaner cup all round.

    Whether you would notice this much difference going from an Iberital to a Macap/Mazzer grinder, I dont know as I have never owned or tried any of these grinders. The only way to really know if such an upgrade will do it for you, is to to see if you can arrange a side-by-side comparison with your grinder and one of the more expensive grinders mentioned and make your own decision.

    Regarding the useful life of grinding burr-sets, most commercial manufacturers quote numbers between 300-600Kg throughput so in a domestic situation, the reality is that you will probably never wear them out in under 10 years of constant use, probably more.

    All the best,
    Mal.

  12. #12
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    A quick scan of the coffeeparts site shows the price of many popular burrs... pretty cheap, really for something which as Mal says may not need replacing for several years.

    There is no denying the importance of the burr set as a component of the grinder.

    But judgements about the choice of grinder should not be made on the strength of that item alone....that Grinder As burrs will last 10 years, therefore it is a better unit than Grinder B with its 6-year burr lifespan.

    There are other considerations which will be more pertinent during the daily grind of those years .......whether the grinding chamber and doser sweep clean, how robust are the mounts for the burrs, how good are bearing materials within (to prevent detrimental free-play), is the portafilter fork placed inconveniently.

    If you are very happy with your grinder, and after 5 years or so are up for the cost of new burrs, and the rest of the machine is still in excellent order, it makes no sense to me to upgrade to an $800 model for the sake of not replacing $40 burrs

  13. #13
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Well, machine is being used in a home environment with the odd occassion of having a few people over. I think any reasonably built machine will last quite a while in a domestic environment. Beside the fact of each machine havings own features, quirks and strengths the question is more a matter of what it spits out into the filter basket and resulting coffee that gets produced, rather than it whether it will last for X years. Obviously thats not to say that reliabilty is not a concern.

    My other query was, regardless of whether the manufacturer says something is meant to last X years or process X kgs of beans, what are the signs of when burrs might need to be replaced? I mean if the grinder is not grinding fine enough, ud adjust it to grind finer again, so at which point would u have to actually replace them?

    Cheers

  14. #14
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    Re: Grinder Upgrade?

    Quote Originally Posted by coffee_drinker link=1187316979/0#12 date=1187766195
    My other query was, regardless of whether the manufacturer says something is meant to last X years or process X kgs of beans, what are the signs of when burrs might need to be replaced? I mean if the grinder is not grinding fine enough, ud adjust it to grind finer again, so at which point would u have to actually replace them?
    Gday again C_D,

    Its actually the other way around funnily enough.... When the cutting edges of the burr-plates/cones start to become dull, you tend to get a higher proportion of fines or dust in with the overall output. This will result in your machine choking sooner than it used to and the subsequent shots tasting more bitter as these fines result in a higher proportion of over-extracted coffee in the brew.

    A visual inspection of the burrs will reveal that the cutting edges start to have a slight rounded appearance to them and if you scrape your thumbnail against them in the direction of cut, the burrs will no longer catch or shave your nail. Burrs in good condition are quite sharp and will easily shave your thumbnail and even cut you if carelessly handled.

    Cheers,
    Mal.



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