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I have been experimenting using an antique Zassenhaus Nr. 495 grinder with surprisingly good results. It is not only better than my newer Zassenhaus but also the Gaggia MM, and a damn sight more convenient. There is something quite satisfying about hand grinding - you feel more part of the process somehow. The only downside comes if you want to pull more than a couple of shots at a time.

 

More pics here http://coffeeforums.co.uk/album.php?albumid=22

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Congratulations on a nice and streamlined set-up. I'm a hand-grinder myself, also a Zassenhaus though a current one. It is indeed a pleasing part of the morning process, as well as one less likely to wake the baby :) which is helpful too.


Eurka Mignon grinder | Gaggia Classic | Rancilio wand | Auber Instruments PID | bottomless PF | VST baskets

Admetior digital spoon scale | OE dosing funnel | Reg Barber tamper (flat) | Bodum double-wall and Butlers.de cups

Latest beans: Londinium Decaf Costa Rican, Square Mile Tegu AA, Hands-On Lusty Glaze.

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I think folks tend to underestimate how good these grinders are. I certainly got a sceptical frown from the person at Extract Coffee Roasters, from whom I bought some beans this morning, when I mentioned I was using a Zassenhaus hand grinder. However, I think the consistency and fineness of grind rivals much more expensive electric grinders. A good hand grinder is a very sensible alternative if you are short of space or on a tight budget - although perhaps not so good if you need to make a lot of coffees in quick succession.

 

My setup perhaps isn't as streamlined as it looks. I have a lot of paraphernalia which I keep in the cupboard above.

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Cheers! Lee

I think that photo came out particularly well. The rest of the photos were a bit hit and miss because I was focusing on getting the coffee right - that said, it worked out better than I thought it would. I would have probably been better off either faking the whole thing or getting my wife to take the photos.

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Naah that's part of the fun! I've never really been in to photgraphy but I really enjoy it when it comes to snapping coffee! Have you seen my pucks?!

 

What tamper is that?


Coffee consultant, barista trainer & technician based in North Devon!

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Have you seen my pucks?!

 

another puck up line from Lee...

 

I like the minimalist look - my wife wishes I could fit my coffee gadgets into a cupboard and is badgering me for a new house (not just a new kitchen)


Home Barista Training - contact me to discuss your requirements

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I must say your pucks are particularly well formed. The tamper is a Concept Art one that Drury Tea and Coffee sell. You customise them by choosing the handle separately from the base http://www.shopdrury.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=120&CAT_ID=121&numRecordPosition=1. The great thing is that when my old base got dented as a result of my clumsiness I was able to replace just the base rather than the whole thing. Mine is the Wengewood handle with flat aluminium base. I think stainless steel is meant to better but I have now got used to the feel and weight of the aluminium base so I replaced with the same.

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A nice setup you gave. My Gaggia TS is so bulky I can hide a lot of paraphernalia behind it!

 

Your photographs of the ground and the pour are a good example for people to aim at.


Still learning on... Gaggia TS, Cunill Tauro, PTM Tamper, Motta Tamping Stand and Knock Box, Gaggia Milk Jug and fresh beans!

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another puck up line from Lee...

 

I like the minimalist look - my wife wishes I could fit my coffee gadgets into a cupboard and is badgering me for a new house (not just a new kitchen)

 

I really didn't think that through did I?!

I must say your pucks are particularly well formed. The tamper is a Concept Art one that Drury Tea and Coffee sell. You customise them by choosing the handle separately from the base http://www.shopdrury.com/prodtype.asp?strParents=120&CAT_ID=121&numRecordPosition=1. The great thing is that when my old base got dented as a result of my clumsiness I was able to replace just the base rather than the whole thing. Mine is the Wengewood handle with flat aluminium base. I think stainless steel is meant to better but I have now got used to the feel and weight of the aluminium base so I replaced with the same.

 

I'm quite interested in that grinder. You obviously get good results. How consistent is the grind size etc? I take it it's a burr grinder?

 

Is there a particular model you'd suggest and what kind of price are we looking at?

 

Lee


Coffee consultant, barista trainer & technician based in North Devon!

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Cheers BanishInstant - that has made my day.

 

Hi Lee, The grinder is a Zassenhaus Nr. 495 (left on photo below) which sadly is no longer made. According to German forums on the subject the older Zassenhaus models are better made than their modern counterparts. Certainly, that the grind consistency is much better with this than my newer Zassenhaus Nr 156 (Santiago). (right in pic below) Both are more than capable of grinding sufficiently fine for expresso.

 

attachment.php?attachmentid=425&d=1286733954

 

The 495,496 and 498 are favourites among espresso connoisseurs because they have step-less adjusters which are independent of the drive shaft (unlike newer models). The best place to find them is on German eBay using the search terms "Zassenhaus Mokkamühle" or "Zassenhaus Kaffemühle". A brief search of completed listings on eBay reveals they are currently fetching anywhere between 15-60 Euros (which seems quite good). Ideally you would need to test to see that there is not too much play in the driveshaft and that the grinding mechanism was reasonably rust-free before buying. Obviously this is not possible in most cases on eBay so you have to guess on the condition from the photos provided - and maybe take a punt if it is cheap enough.

 

How to recognise various models (in Japanese but good pics)

Nr. 495: http://www.doitsuya.com/zassenhaus_knee10.html

Nr. 496: http://www.doitsuya.com/zassenhaus_knee04.html

Nr. 498: http://www.doitsuya.com/zassenhaus_knee03.html

 

Some current Ebay examples

Nr. 498:

http://cgi.ebay.de/Kaffeemuehle-alte-Mokkamuehle-Zassenhaus_W0QQitemZ310250626014QQcategoryZ19361QQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp3286.m7QQ_trkparmsZalgo%3DLVI%26itu%3DUCI%26otn%3D1%26po%3DLVI%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D5064413722940756869#ht_634wt_1141

 

Nr. 495:

http://cgi.ebay.de/Alte-Zassenhaus-Kaffeemuhle-Mokkamuhle-Nr-495-1-/200529689930?pt=DE_Elektronik_Computer_Haushaltsgeräte_KleingeräteKüche_PM&hash=item2eb0803d4a#ht_500wt_1156

 

http://cgi.ebay.de/Alte-Zassenhaus-Kaffeemuhle-Mokkamuhle-Nr-495-2-/200529707972?pt=DE_Elektronik_Computer_Haushaltsgeräte_KleingeräteKüche_PM&hash=item2eb08083c4#ht_500wt_1156

 

Depending on your proficiency in German and Japanese I suggest that you cut and paste the above links into Google Translate

Edited by liquidmonkey2000

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That's great! Thank you fir all the info I will have a good look from the pc later!

 

Regards

 

Lee


Coffee consultant, barista trainer & technician based in North Devon!

Email me! Tweet me!

Call me! 07455 188935

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Hey, I can't believe I've missed this thread!

 

I didn't realise there was anyone on this forum besides for me and ChiarasDad that used a hand grinder.

 

I've become a hand grinder nut in the past few weeks. I also have the newer 156 Santiago model like you, but sadly, it doesn't cut it. Zassenhaus make the parts in Eastern Europe and assemble it in Germany. The problem is the design is flawed, see this link.

 

Over time the grind starts to get very inconsistent especially for coarser grinds as I use for Aeropress.

 

There is an amazing thread over on Home Barista, all the hand grinder enthusiasts together. Check it out here

 

Anyway, I went down the German eBay route and picked up 2 old German grinders for very little money. It's a bit of a gamble as some of them can have very worn burrs. The first I picked up was an Armin Trosser Mokka. It grinds amazingly for espresso, and the taste difference is amazing.

 

The second purchase was a Dienes (AKA PeDe), however the outside burr seems to be quite worn an even though it grinds quite fine, it just doesn't cut it for espresso. The taste is also quite dull.

 

It's a bit of hit and miss, sometimes you get lucky, other times not so.

 

The Zassenhaus grinders tend to fetch a premium, especially those in good condition as yours, however I don't think their mechanisms are superior to the other manufacturers. I wouldn't want to pay so much for one that I couldn't try before buying.

 

The best part of it is getting one that is really tatty, stripping it down and cleaning and restoring it. The engineering is amazing - you will never see that these days. To think that some of these hand grinders are 40+ years old and as strong and study as the day they were built!!

 

I quite understand what you said about the looks people give when you say "hand grinder". I'm sure these hand grinders are as good, than most sub £300 electric grinders. Not to mention the costs, space, and practicality. If you make only 1-2 cups a day, it's ideal. I can have one for home and one for work. And the smell that it creates as you grind is priceless.

 

Anyway, enough rambling. I'll try and post some pics some time.

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I got my antique Zassenhaus a couple of years ago on eBay from an English seller for £10 where it was merely described as "Vintage Coffee Grinder" (hints and tips on picking up a bargain #1). However, it was not in pristine condition and until recently it just sat on a shelf decoratively. Then I got my Silvia and I realised that the Gaggia MM I had been using wasn't up to the job. My original plan was (and too some extent still is) to buy a Rancilio Rocky grinder at a bargain price off eBay. Unfortunately these are few and far between. So in my search for an alternative (until I find my dream machine) I thought I would try cleaning up my old Zass to see how it got on. Too my surprise it worked really well and after a couple of tweaks I was consistently pulling near perfect shots with it.

 

You are absolutely right about the newer Zassenhauses. This was my first grinder and although it ground finely it was not nearly consistent enough for decent espresso. This often led to channeling and very hit and miss results. I don't suppose I realised what the problem was at the time but I was aware that some cups were coming out better than others. I was also probably over-tamping to compensate. It seems obvious now that the fault is the teflon housing.

 

I do believe that Hand-grinders are the way forward if you want an affordable but decent grinder. I wouldn't be at all surprised if there is a niche resurgence in their popularity in much the same way that fixed gear bikes have had a revival in recent years. After all they are well suited to low volume home use, they are greener, they look attractive, they cost less and take up less space than their electric counterparts. Don't forget you read it hear first.

 

We should create a wiki about hand grinding.

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It's amazing how many of these old grinders are lying around in peoples attics. Most of them are in bad cosmetic condition, but good working order. In those days they made things to last.

 

Just out interest, what did you use to get the top plate shining? I'm assuming it was tarnished when you bought it.

 

BTW, you should check out that mammoth thread on the home-barista forum. It makes good reading for a rainy day, and you can pick up some interesting tips too!

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Hi I used white spirits and a metal polish called Peek which incidentally is good for the stainless steel parts of coffee machines too. Fortunately it was more gunky than rusty. Which was good because gunk prevents rust to some extent and is easier to get rid of than rust. The white spirits was primarily for getting rid of the gunk.

 

I will check out the thread on the home-barista forum, thanks. http://www.kaffee-netz.de is also a good source of info for hand grinders in German (Google translate can help here). I really think we should try an pool our collective knowledge (although mine doesn't amount too much) and create a wiki page.

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That's a great tip. I used (my wife's) nail varnish remover to take off rust, and WD40 to get of sticky marks. But this doesn't bring out the shine.

 

Her first language is German so I have no problem understanding the German web pages.

 

I agree that we should write up something about hand grinders - it would probably get lot of newbies interested.

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