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Thread: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative...

  1. #1
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    Opinions please on IC or similar alternative...

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

    Currently trying to decide on a grinder in the $250-$400ish range. Im leaning towards the Iberital Challenge as it seems good bang for buck, but have two minor concerns:

    - Lifespan compared to something like the Rocky, due to the fact I believe the IC has plastic burr carriers? This may be an impossible question, but very roughly what service life could be expected from an IC and a Rocky, grinding say 10-20 cups worth per week? Or, how would the two likely compare? (Asking since the Rocky seems to be well-known and something of a benchmark within its category)

    - The whole stepped vs. stepless thing. Id be using it primarily for espresso (most likely with a Silvia), but would also be grinding a batch of plunger coffee once a week to take to work. What are peoples thoughts on the benefits of stepless fine-tuning vs. the occasional (weekly at most) hassle of re-tuning for different grind type?

    Im looking to get a sturdy, quality grinder that Ill be happy with for many, many years (though I suspect some of you may be quietly chuckling to yourselves reading that ;)). Ive checked out Mals "Choosing a Grinder for the First Time" post, as well as the Info/Reviews thread. Both have been extremely helpful but Im still having trouble deciding. Id love to hear others opinions, thoughts, and any alternative grinder suggestions.

    Thanks in advance! :)

  2. #2
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    In a nutshell, the IC is a pretty terrible grinder in most respects except for the quality of the cup that it produces. It is loud, slow, plasticky, etc. but you cant fault it in the cup. The Ascaso I-mini is very similar, but with a nicer fit and finish. I havent had a chance to run them head to head, though, so I cant comment about relative speed or noise, but I recall them being similar.

    Personally, I think that stepless grind adjustment is pretty important for getting great espresso. I actually found it easier to get better shots on the IC than on the Rocky that I had for a while. Frankly, I have often heard the claim "the steps are small enough that its not a problem," but I have still never used a stepped grinder without wishing that it was stepless. That said, Im sure that there are many people out there who dont mind stepped grinders.

    The number of turns required to move an IC from espresso to French Press puts it squarely in the espresso-only camp, unless you are very determined. The Mazzers and Compaks are probably the most civilised stepless grinders for going back and forward between french press and espresso, but even then I still found it enough of a PITA that I bought a cheap sunbeam grinder for non-espresso use.

    Cheers,

    Luca

  3. #3
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    Im no expert but I would suggest stretching the budget a little further if ur looking for something that will make you happy for many many years.

    If ur reading the forums, posting, and the last thought before u hit the sack is coffee, then ur probably obsessed about coffee like most of us here and would probably benefit more from a stepless grinder. Its not very difficult to swap between a plunger grind and espresso grind especially if ur only doing it once a week. Just mark the adjustment collar.

    just my 2cents

    Gav

  4. #4
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    ditto to Gavins comments...Im suffering from severe upgradis with no possible way of satisfying it. hopefully the tax man will return some funds. ;D

    anyway...Im looking at a similar combo to yourself and think I have settled on the Compak K3touch. If you can stretch your budget this seems to be a far superior product. But if you need to constantly adjust for plunger maybe go for something stepped like the Rocky or ECM Best (or get a second, cheaper grinder for that).

    good luck,

    Kit

  5. #5
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    Just a clarification, some stepless grinders like the lux/ascaso/IC us a worm gear for the stepless adjustment. This involves many many turns of a fine knob and it is not really possible to mark a position and return to it. *On the plus side you get extremely good resolution.

    Others like the compak or mazzer have a large rotating collar.
    On mine, a compak, *[if you imagine a clock face] the espresso zone sits in the *7:30 to 4:30 position.

    For a particular bean, that adjustment may swing +/-10mm from the sweetspot, depending on time of day / age of bean etc.
    You can easily pencil mark the "sweet spot" for a particular blend/bean and infact easily run several types of beans/blends at the same.
    Once you start home roasting and blending, this is an invaluable feature.
    Plus *you can easilly go back to these settings from a plunger grind.

    I think this style of adjustment gives best compromise for espresso precision and ease of returnability [if there is such a word].

    Ideally, you need to get your hands on and use different grinders to make the assesment.
    Other factors such a doser vs doserless are worth considering too if you are making a long term investment.

    Check out GPs mazzer vs compak review as it gives a great overview of operation, & btw the play on the thread in the compak adjustment is easilly overcome with a bit of teflon tape.

    http://www.coffeetamper.com.au/kb/reviews/mini-k3/

    Statistically it is proven that CSers with post counts under 10 do not believe they will ever roast at home, by 30 posts they spend "curiosity" time in the home roasting section and by their 50th post are scouring cash-converters for poppers and breadmakers....so do factor this into your grinder decision.

  6. #6
    Senior Member GregWormald's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    I find my Rocky gives a good grind--and it is much better since I modded it. I could taste the difference that stabilising the burr carrier and tightening the adjusting threads made. If you are handy with mechanical stuff these are fairly easy mods to do. They also make the Rocky stepless.
    If you arent into modifying, then the Rocky may not be good enough to get the best out of a Giotto.
    I use a VBM Levetta.
    Greg

  7. #7
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    Quote Originally Posted by vector_director link=1209644644/0#0 date=1209644644
    Currently trying to decide on a grinder in the $250-$400ish range. Im leaning towards the Iberital Challenge as it seems good bang for buck, but have two minor concerns:

    - The whole stepped vs. stepless thing. Id be using it primarily for espresso (most likely with a Silvia), but would also be grinding a batch of plunger coffee once a week to take to work. What are peoples thoughts on the benefits of stepless fine-tuning vs. the occasional (weekly at most) hassle of re-tuning for different grind type?
    Re-adjusting your grind for this purpose with the Iberital can be a pain in the...
    I used to do it by counting the number of twists of the knob (usually about 20) then turning it in reverse the same amount of times. This involved a bit of tweaking of the grind once I returned to an expresso setting though... Then I ended up buying a good hand grinder at a garage sale for $2! Problem solved as far as grinding for French-Press brewing.

    If your budget is really $250-$400 then you cant go past the grind quality of the Iberital. And it will last.

    If you can spend more, my advice is go to the top of the heap and buy a Mazzer or similar for around the $700 mark.

    To my way of thinking if you go 1/2 way bwetween the Iberital and the Mazzer (say a Rocky at $430) you will spend more $ for very little gain in grind quality and end up upgrading down the line any way...

    I bought a Iberital about 3 months back (2nd hand- $150) and I reckon its a good little grinder...despite its noise, slowness, mess...!

    Good luck- Anthony

  8. #8
    cremakid
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    f your budget is really $250-$400 then you cant go past the grind quality of the Iberital. And it will last.
    Same applies to Cunill Tranquilo. No mods required either as with some others.

  9. #9
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    Thanks everyone for your comments.
    The Challenge sounds a good first grinder, and hey I can always upgrade later if I really must ;)
    Ease of adjustment between espresso and plunger is something I think Ill just have to compromise on for now.

  10. #10
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    I got an IC today, and think it is totally awesome (in particular the fine step less adjustments!).

  11. #11
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    I have an Iberital Challenge and find it works well and made well

    At the start when I was setting the grind consistency right
    I got some regular salt to compare the coffee grind
    (sprinkle a little of the salt and then the coffee over the sink)
    It should be about the same (for espresso) you then get less coffee waste and any other grind adjustment after that is easy

    Plenty of reviews on the net for this grinder 99% good

    More grinder reviews including the Iberital Challenge in CS threds from mostly there owners

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1163235531

    With regards to the plastic burr enclosure read this review

    http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache:wonwJVhI6CwJ:www.happydonkey.co.uk/mc2review/mc2review.htm+review+iberital&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=7&g l=au

    Koffee Kosmo


  12. #12
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    Re: Opinions please on IC or similar alternative..

    Hi vector_director,
    Before looking at the IC, have a look at the Lelit PL053, about $275. This is espresso only, though, with a worm gear. I would strongly advocate, along with others in this thread, that you buy another grinder for plunger. A good hand grinder would be perfect.

    And to see how well a less sophisticated version of the Lelit, plus the Rocky, and even a hand grinder, can perform, as well as seeing something to really drool over, go over to:


    http://www.home-barista.com/forums/t...obur-t4499.htm


    And, yes, ergonomic considerations are very important.

    Good luck in your quest.

    matt



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