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Thread: Need a new grinder!

  1. #1
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    Need a new grinder!

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight
    Hubby and I have just decided we need a new grinder - throwing out the old delonghi blade grinder - we were SO ignorant 5 years ago!

    We really like the Mazzer Mini but want some more advice before deciding. We have a cheap espresso machine which were hoping to upgrade sooner than later, but we want a grinder which will do espresso WELL (we roast our own beans, havent gotten to the espresso yet). We also still do drip and french press, so something that will grind for a combination would be great.

    Looking forward to hearing ideas! Our budget is probably under $500 (Canadian funds, so who knows what that works out to be in the end....).

  2. #2
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Hi Laura and welcome! Im a newbie here and its a really nice place to talk coffee :D

    I have just gone through the exact experience as you so can point you to a few threads where the collective knowledge in them from the community here can help you make a decision :)

    Basically Im was in the same position as you - (very) cheap machine, looking to upgrade it, but then aware of the need to buy a decent grinder (it seems you already realise the importance of the grinder so youve got a head start already ;))

    This thread talks about how much of a budget should be spend on the grinder vs. the machine - if on a small budget, should I ignore upgrading the machine for now and spend the entire budget on the grinder? Turns out "yes" was the answer :)

    This thread talks about my grinder options, and whether I should go as high as the Mazzer Mini. How much are Mazzer Minis in Canada compared to the Rancilio Rocky and other options? YMMV

    Finally, after much searching throughout the country (New Zealand), I was able to find a well used Mazzer Super Jolly for a fraction of the cost of a new Mazzer Mini. This thread details the decision process and advice of others on how to clean this machine if you do get a 2nd hand one that has never been cleaned (like mine).

    At the end of the day this is a summary of my advice:

    How important are cosmetics? A brand new Mazzer Mini will probably fit under your kitchen shelving and look great. But if you can fit a larger Mazzer Super Jolly (many people here use it without the hopper attached or have been able to source a "mini" hopper that fits in a fraction of the height), and dont care too much if it has chips and/or cracks to the paintwork, then you get a slightly faster grinder that is "truly commercial" in some senses and is likely to last you a long time. The machines are easy to get serviced, and replacement burrs are inexpensive.

    A second hand Mazzer Mini may be an option too - I cant really advise about those but Im sure they would be fine also.

    There are other options - not just Mazzers. I opted for a Mazzer due to NZ being a small place and not having wide penetration of other brands - because they are common I presume they would be easier to service if required, and resale values higher if required. If you have a shortlist Im sure people here could advise you further :)

    Good luck!

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    If you do a google search youll find you can pick up a brand new polished" Compak K-3 Touch for just under $500 CDN including free shipping from at least one Canadian site). *:)

    If youre not looking for a grinder with a doser I can highy recommend one. Easy to use once you become familiar with position(s) of grind settings (you may have to mark the settings if bouncing around from machine to machine), very little mess or hassle, excellent grind quality. One of the best NEW grinders youre going to find given your budget of less than $500. Ideal for home use, grind on demand for small qtys of coffee (i.e. I use ours primarily in the morning for my wife and I). The Rocky is another option if you want to spend even less.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new grinder!


    Welcome Laur

    We really like the Mazzer Mini but want some more advice before deciding.
    Mazzer Mini is rated light commercial so you will have no problems and a good choice on your part

    Also consider the grinder range from Macap and Compak. They are of similar quality

    We also still do drip and French press, so something that will grind for a combination would be great.
    All the grinders mentioned will do the job
    However it will be easier and quicker to adjust from plunger grind to espresso grind with a stepped adjustment collar rather than a micro metric adjustment?

    But the choice is yours

    KK





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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    A slight correction there, KK. The Mazzer Mini is unstepped but has an adjustment collar that is marked, and is simple to switch between brewing methods. I have espresso at home, but grind for a vietnamese pot at work. Apart from that, I agree that any of the three, Mazzer, Macap and Compak will keep you happy, Laur.

  6. #6
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Mazzer Mini is rated light commercial so you will have no problems and a good choice on your part

    Also consider the grinder range from Macap and Compak. They are of similar quality
    The Mazzer Mini is stepped and noted that it was a good choice
    However should Laur choose another model or brand I felt it should be noted that a stepped model would be more appropriate for the intended use

    KK



  7. #7
    TC
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Correcting you again KK,

    The Mazzer mini is not stepped. I repeat- it has a stepless adjustment via infinite adjustment of the grinder collar.

    A stepped grinder has incremental adjustment via a locking pin. The Mazzer does not do this.

    I suspect that you might be thinking only of micrometric adjustment via worm drive. This is but one way of producing a stepless grinder.

    Chris

  8. #8
    Senior Member Koffee_Kosmo's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Yes you are correct Chris my thoughts were jumbled at the time of writing
    I was thinking of the Mazzer Mini as easy adjust via the collar and adjusting arm



    My train of thought on step-less was in the form of worm drive as you pointed out

    Sorry for the confusion ::)

    KK

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Wow, heaps of good information on here. Thanks! Keep it coming :0)

    We just pulled out our Salton (wedding gift :D) espresso maker, and it is S-H-O-T! Will not pump the water.

    So it looks like were now in the market for another one as well as a grinder. We know a guy who sells decent machines (Gaggia) for a good price, so we may have to do it and continue the grinder research.

    Just to clarify, the Mazzer Mini IS able to do a variety of grind types by adjusting the collar?

  10. #10
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Hi LaurM83, YES the Mazzer Mini will definitely do the job. But so will other machines. Any particular reason your heart is set on the Mazzer Mini? The snobs here may have an opinion on other options you have :)

    You need to decide if you are happy to have a STEPLESS grinder like the Mini.

    If you are not sure what that means, here is a brief explanation:

    A "Stepped" grinder like a Rancilio Rocky has a dial where you dial up a setting (eg. 1-30). So you might end up using (for example) 10 when you need espresso, and 15 when you need it for the French press.

    The fact that there are distinct "steps" is an ADVANTAGE if you are constantly switching between different grinds. However lets say that your espresso machine finds 9 too fine and 10 too coarse - you wont be able to set it at 9.5 (without doing some modification).

    The Mazzer Mini is a stepLESS grinder - you basically have an infinite range of settings by turning the adjustment. So you can dial in 9.5 (or 9.6 or 9.7) by turning in tiny steps until you are happy.

    But if you need to change to a coarse grind for your French press, then you will have to find your espresso "sweet spot" manually all over again when you go back.

    Another thing that *may* be a consideration. The Mazzer Mini uses a "doser" (that dispensing chamber in front of the grinder) whereas something like a Rancilio Rocky has a "doserless" option

    I am not entirely sure but I would imagine that if you constantly change grinds that a doserless machine may have the advantage of not having "leftovers" in the doser that would "contaminate" the other grinds when you change the setting.

    Food for thought :)

    Do post a shortlist of other machines you have considered though - the snobs here are fantastic.

  11. #11
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Hi LaurM83, the Mazzer Mini, and Macap M4 or M5 (only difference is hopper size), have very similar grind results, next down in $$$ and quality is the Compak K3. Dont go below that. It sounds like youve got the budget for the Mini, so go for it or the Macap M4, whichever you personally prefer.

    (And welcome to CoffeeSnobs!)

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    I was in a similar position to the original poster only a few weeks ago. Decided to spend the money, and bought a Mazzer Mini. I cant describe what an excellent decision that was.

    Go for it, if youre already thinking about buying one.

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1226768945/0#10 date=1227941136
    next down in $$$ and quality is the Compak K3. Dont go below that. It
    According to Greg Pullmans thorough review, the K3 may be a step down in price, but not necessarily in quality. Anyone with direct experience of both care to weight in?

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Yes, I too would be interested in hearing from someone that is grinder smart how the Compak K-3 shapes up against the other 2 brands. I assumed much the same quality wise (I have read the review as well), but then it is less expensive so what gives? *:-?

    Quote Originally Posted by flatwhite link=1226768945/0#12 date=1228119288
    Quote Originally Posted by Intellidepth link=1226768945/0#10 date=1227941136
    next down in $$$ and quality is the Compak K3. Dont go below that. It
    According to Greg Pullmans thorough review, the K3 may be a step down in price, but not necessarily in quality. Anyone with direct experience of both care to weight in?

  15. #15
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Quote Originally Posted by Buschy link=1226768945/0#13 date=1228124752
    I assumed much the same, but then it is less expensive so what gives? :-?
    They are manufactured in Spain where, for the time being, labour and manufacturing costs are lower than other European countries....

    Mal.

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    I guess I cant say much more than what I already did in the review. I dont think the Compak is a step down in build or component quality as such. Its more the implementation that I think lets it down a little - no usable scale and wobbly adjustment collar (which is simply normal slack in the thread). If you have the money for a Mazzer thats fine and I dont regret keeping mine, but dont think for a moment that the extra $$$ on a Mazzer translates into a better grind than the Compak - and of course you get that beautiful milled hopper on the Compak rather than the (comparatively) high-school metalwork job on the Mazzers.

    Greg

  17. #17
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg Pullman link=1226768945/0#15 date=1228133718
    rather than the (comparatively) high-school metalwork job on the Mazzers.
    I had a laugh.... ;D

    Good one mate ;)

  18. #18
    Senior Member ozscott's Avatar
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Getting back to your budget, can I suggest that you look at the Rancilio Rocky (nowhere near the Mini in price). *Whilst it is stepped from the factory (and depending on your machine it will be small enough in increments from the factory) you can (very) easily make it stepless with $2 worth of black plastic tube and about 10 mins (I did a thread on it a while back). *With the small amount of carrier play taken care of and stepless adjustment afforded in that one mod, make no mistake the Rocky is a very competitive grinder...I have the Mazzer SJ to compare it to.

    The Rocky is built akin to the proverbial outhouse. *Its grind quality when modded as above is not quite as good as the Mazzer but we are not talking a yawning chasm here....and whether you would notice any difference is debatable until you have a more demanding machine.

    Cheers

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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Quote Originally Posted by ozscott link=1226768945/0#17 date=1228166101
    until you have a more demanding machine.

    Cheers
    what does you machine demand of you? perfection in every cup? must stress you out big time ozscott

  20. #20
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    Re: Need a new grinder!

    Ive had my rocky doserless for about 5 years or so. Never felt the need to make stepless, as steps are very small anyway. Dont know about in canada, but here second hand rocky grinders have very good resale value, so even if you did start with a new rocky and wanted to upgrade after a few years you woulndt be losing out much. I figure if I were to sell sell mine I will have lost about $20 a year!



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