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Thread: Help needed deciding on an entry level grinder

  1. #1
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    Help needed deciding on an entry level grinder

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hi guys

    I'm preparing myself for the likely scenario of upgrading the grinder with a budget for around $500.

    Based on my research, it looks like the best options are:
    - Compak K3 Touch/Push
    - Eureka Mignon
    - Macap M2M
    - Sette 270 or 270wi

    I'm currently single dosing each time I make coffee so it would be best to go with a grinder that best fits this usage. Aesthetically, Eureka Mignon looks the best and has small footprint but keen to find out from your personal experiences pros and cons of each of these grinders.

    Sette seems pretty good too but not sure about it's reliability and plastic build doesn't excite me either.

    I'm currently using Breville Smart Grinder Pro and hoping I will be able to see significant difference in the cup with the upgrade.

    Any advice would be much appreciated.

    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Junior Member davltay's Avatar
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    I will suggest Mahlkonig Vario (used) was one of the best grinders I've used and had a tiny footprint.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Sullo's Avatar
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    whats more important, how it looks or what it does? very important question often overlooked.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sullo View Post
    whats more important, how it looks or what it does? very important question often overlooked.
    What it does is more important but ideally would like something with bit of a balance. Don't think wife would appreciate some big ugly thing sitting around on the kitchen countertop.

    I think my wife could live with the look of all the grinders I have on the shortlist, but not sure about Mahlkonig Vario though...

  5. #5
    Junior Member davltay's Avatar
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    The Vario imo was better than the M4D which is way better than anything on your list.
    Theres not much retention with the Vario so good for your single dosing.

    I had chute blockages and clumping with the macap. 0 with Vario.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by davltay View Post
    The Vario imo was better than the M4D which is way better than anything on your list.
    Theres not much retention with the Vario so good for your single dosing.

    I had chute blockages and clumping with the macap. 0 with Vario.
    Could you please expand on what you mean by better? In terms of grind retention or in other aspects as well?

    I guess even if I want to get the Vario, it would mean having to wait for a good used example to come up for sale as brand new is way over my budget.

  7. #7
    Junior Member davltay's Avatar
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    Yeah retention build quality, ease of use.

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    I presume Mazzer Super Jolly Automatic isn't ideal for home use, especially if I'm looking to use it for single dosing?
    There is a barely used one on scumtree for sale for $650, which I could probably negotiate down, but regardless of whether it's a good deal or not, I want something that fits my needs.

  9. #9
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    Try this for single dosing; cheaper, better, from a fellow CSer so less risky than scumtree:

    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-ha...k-up-only.html

    Or one of these:

    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-ha...-modified.html

    https://coffeesnobs.com.au/coffee-ha...lectronic.html
    Last edited by level3ninja; 4th November 2019 at 12:14 PM.
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  10. #10
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    Unfortunately, I'm located in Brisbane and would prefer something that hasn't been tinkered with as a noob.
    Budget-wise, I would need to negotiated down the price fair bit anyway.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by coladuna View Post
    Unfortunately, I'm located in Brisbane and would prefer something that hasn't been tinkered with as a noob.
    Budget-wise, I would need to negotiated down the price fair bit anyway.
    The first link Ninja posted for the mazzer E is what I would be buying, at $450 and setup for single dosing itís a dam steal.. Far better than anything on your list. And itís got new burrs installed.

    i would buy used from CS long before I consider buying coffee gear off gumtree etc. the chances are good that anybody on this forum would have taken way better care and maintenance of their equipment.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ardent View Post
    The first link Ninja posted for the mazzer E is what I would be buying, at $450 and setup for single dosing it’s a dam steal.. Far better than anything on your list. And it’s got new burrs installed.
    That's pick up only from NSW anyway though. Well, this grinder I saw on gumtree supposedly only had 5kg of coffee through it so I can't imagine it would be in terrible condition.
    Regardless, it's a doser grinder so probably not suitable for my requirements anyway. It's a big grinder too.

  13. #13
    Senior Member level3ninja's Avatar
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    You could always message the seller asking about postage. They don't appear to have had much interest (surprisingly), and may be wiling to drop it off at their nearest pack n send or similar. The only way it's been tinkered with is bypassing the hopper switch that doesn't let the motor run if the hopper is not in place. Should be a 2min job to unbypass.
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  14. #14
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    As a three Vario owner (one with optional steel burrs for the coarser grinds, like my modded "stirrer plunger"), I would add to the davltaypost. In the Turkish to espresso range the Vario will trounce any of the grinders on that initial list (and the "E" or even my old Major for that matter) in terms of extraction and "goodness in the cuppa".

    I am a function first guy, so the less faffing around the better. The Vario is a piece of (Ditting) Swiss engineering that "just works". No static, clumping, excess retention, uneven particle spread (my pet peeve), poor dosing (timer is within 0.1g - the limit of my scales) or any of the other "traditional grinder headaches" are included - to the point they are now distant memories. My 2014 Vario is still not showing any sign of wear (even under a microscope) despite grinding over 300Kg of coffee - and that is on the original "long life ceramic" standard burrs.

    None of my previous grinders (about 50 of them, some in cafes) come close in terms of lack of fuss / easy to live with domestically - and as a bonus it makes a better tasting coffee with VST baskets.

    I really have a sly chuckle when I read about all the arcane dosing (including funnels) & distribution methods (Weiss, Staub etc) which the Vario bypasses as utterly unnecessary. Surely not creating a mess in the first place is a better option?

    Anyway, just my two cents.

    TampIt
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    Saw a used Macap M4D listed in the for sale section. Any thoughts guys? It is a bit over my budget though.
    It's really hard to decide as there are varying opinions on the web. Vario does seem like a good grinder, but reliability and less than appealing building quality is kind of putting me off TBH.
    I haven't written it off my shortlist however.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by coladuna View Post
    Saw a used Macap M4D listed in the for sale section. Any thoughts guys? It is a bit over my budget though.
    It's really hard to decide as there are varying opinions on the web. Vario does seem like a good grinder, but reliability and less than appealing building quality is kind of putting me off TBH.
    I haven't written it off my shortlist however.
    I would buy one again especially second hand. I had one and it is well engineered and well built. I had no issues with it. it comes down to price as you can get a lot under $1000 in the way of quality grinders both new and second hand.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by coladuna View Post
    Saw a used Macap M4D listed in the for sale section...
    No brainer I say...
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    I would buy one again especially second hand. I had one and it is well engineered and well built. I had no issues with it. it comes down to price as you can get a lot under $1000 in the way of quality grinders both new and second hand.
    Sorry, are you referring to the Vario or M4D?

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by coladuna View Post
    Sorry, are you referring to the Vario or M4D?
    The M4D. The Vario is very loud so would avoid it if you are liable to wake neighbours etc...

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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    The M4D. The Vario is very loud so would avoid it if you are liable to wake neighbours etc...

    Did you have any clumping issues with it? I was doing some research and read about some people having crazy amount of clumping on their M4D.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by coladuna View Post
    Did you have any clumping issues with it? I was doing some research and read about some people having crazy amount of clumping on their M4D.
    Most all grinders clump especially if the roast is dark or oily.

    Some grinders such as the Eureka have anticlumping fittings to help but clumping still isn't zero. Grinders with dosers strangely enough don't have much clumping as the operation of the dosing paddle breaks it up. Doser models are no longer flavour of the month which is a shame as they are surprisingly capable. A Mazzer Mini with a doser is cheap to pick up too. 58mm burrs and built like a brick sh*thouse.

    I personally didn't have much problem getting good shots from the M4D but remember most grinders do clump. As TampIT says maybe the Vario doesn't but it is noisy and any grinder is a compromise in design.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    As TampIT says maybe the Vario doesn't but it is noisy and any grinder is a compromise in design.
    I think you may be mis-quoting. The Vario is particularly quiet. The Sette is a jet engine.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by saeco_user View Post
    I think you may be mis-quoting. The Vario is particularly quiet. The Sette is a jet engine.
    Well the one TampIT bought over to my place a year or two back was VERY loud whichever model that was. I remember everyone being surprised.

    I'm sure that it was the Mahlkonig Vario there is also a Baratza. Noise is an issue for many but not all people.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    Well the one TampIT bought over to my place a year or two back was VERY loud whichever model that was. I remember everyone being surprised.

    I'm sure that it was the Mahlkonig Vario there is also a Baratza. Noise is an issue for many but not all people.
    Replying to my own quote but listening to a video, it seems while the Vario is not exactly quiet, neither is it like a jet on takeoff like the Sette is.

    Maybe TampIT will reply in due course.
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  25. #25
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    Ended up picking up the used Lelit PL72 that came up for sale a few days ago from a CS member.
    It's a bit of a left field choice and probably not the best grinder in that category but it seems to do a decent job, it's quiet and matches my espresso machine.
    Last but not least, it was hard to pass up at that price.
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  26. #26
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    G'day wattgn

    I think you are mixing up my oldest Vario with Artman's early Sette - which got replaced shortly afterwards. You commented to me at the time about the noise level - and it was pretty severe.

    I believe the newer Settes are much quieter. The Vario is much quieter than most, however no grinder is really quiet - grinding is a mini explosion according to Illy, hence the noise.

  27. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    G'day wattgn

    I think you are mixing up my oldest Vario with Artman's early Sette - which got replaced shortly afterwards. You commented to me at the time about the noise level - and it was pretty severe.

    I believe the newer Settes are much quieter. The Vario is much quieter than most, however no grinder is really quiet - grinding is a mini explosion according to Illy, hence the noise.
    That makes sense but you were using the grinder at the time I think trying to do a single!

    Noise isn't necessarily a showstopper but the quieter the better.

  28. #28
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    I think it also comes down to the pitch of the noise being made.
    Lower frequency noise doesn't seem to be anywhere near as annoying as a higher pitched one...

    Mal.
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  29. #29
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    I like the sound of the Robur, just a business like growl. Low RPM of 420.

    The Specialita is nice too. Eureka have done a great job of quietening it. Good design.
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  30. #30
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    Have a mazzer and vario.
    prefer vario, tiny.
    wife likes mazzer, it matches our ECM TECHNIKA BETTER, better looking.
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  31. #31
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    If it comes up to your standards of what ends up in the cup, then that's all that matters...

    Mal.

  32. #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by wattgn View Post
    That makes sense but you were using the grinder at the time I think trying to do a single!

    Noise isn't necessarily a showstopper but the quieter the better.
    G'day wattgn

    True - I did use the Sette at your place one day - trying to match the steel burr Vario at coarser grinds. It didn't. Then Artman replaced it with a later "much better" (and quieter) Sette. I have no idea how the newer Settes perform in terms of particle spread, however the newer ones are under half the noise of the original "Jet Settes".

    TampIt

  33. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franc View Post
    Have a mazzer and vario.
    prefer vario, tiny.
    wife likes mazzer, it matches our ECM TECHNIKA BETTER, better looking.
    Ah. cosmetics rule again... Reminds of an ex "So what if the roof is falling apart, the cutlery is polished..." (fair dinkum - word for word!)

  34. #34
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    Ah. cosmetics rule again... Reminds of an ex "So what if the roof is falling apart, the cutlery is polished..." (fair dinkum - word for word!)
    Cosmetics are very important in a kitchen. I think just the way it is. It doesn't always come first when selecting coffee equipment but it is important as the equipment is not something that is hidden in a cupboard until used. If I had a muddy mustard coloured big espresso machine for instance, I think my wife would have a lot to say. Even my Robur, although it looks good, is rather big. Fortunately my wife is accommodating.... She doesn't even like coffee to the point where she hates the smell of it.
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  35. #35
    Mal Dimal's Avatar
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    Haha....

    My lovely lady is much the same - Loves instant, can't stand fresh...

    Mal.



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