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Grinder for passable espresso with a probably not great machine


meanmrcustard
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So I have an integrated whirlpool machine (ACE010) that came with my flat and I figured it would be a good opportunity to get into making decent coffee. I knew I needed a decent grinder to get anywhere but I've ended up in a google wormhole which has led me here at 1am.

 

 

 

I don't want to spend much more than £150, less ideally and I'm not obsessive about coffee so something that will get passable results will suffice. What i cant figure out is what is too little money to be worth even bothering with but also what is too good/expensive to be worth using with my (I think quite limited) machine.

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So I have an integrated whirlpool machine (ACE010) that came with my flat and I figured it would be a good opportunity to get into making decent coffee. I knew I needed a decent grinder to get anywhere but I've ended up in a google wormhole which has led me here at 1am.

 

 

 

I don't want to spend much more than £150, less ideally and I'm not obsessive about coffee so something that will get passable results will suffice. What i cant figure out is what is too little money to be worth even bothering with but also what is too good/expensive to be worth using with my (I think quite limited) machine.

Welcome,

I'm not familiar with your machine apart from a quick google. It looks like it has a pressurised portafilter (the same it you put the coffee in) so a more expensive grinder would be overkill. If you have the space, an ex-commercial 2nd hand grinder like a mazzer super jolly should be within your budget especially if you're willing to collect. Buying new, a Sage smart grinder pro should give acceptable results though it's near the top of your budget.

 

Also, I suggest you don't use tap water to fill your tank as limescale can quickly kill a machine. Volvic, tesco ashbeck, essential waitrose stretton hills or essential waitrose lockhills would be better.

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Check out this thread on the baskets. No brainer upgrade as the supplied ones are pants.

 

https://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?38101&p=494232#post494232

 

I'm sure there will be many suggestions on a suitable grinder, but my advise would be to look out for a good second hand machine from this forum. They tend to be well looked after and have documented history. £150 will get you a good Mazzer Super Jolly e.g.

GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

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Check out this thread on the baskets. No brainer upgrade as the supplied ones are pants.

https://coffeeforums.co.uk/showthread.php?38101&p=494232#post494232

 

That's really interesting - I was aware that the pressurised filter was something of a compromise but wasn't aware that was something I could change.

 

Would this be the right thing? a quick google threw up many many options!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Replacement-Portafilter-Basket-Espresso-Machines/dp/B073RC6BX1/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1521823692&sr=1-1&keywords=La+Pavoni+basket+51mm

 

Also, I suggest you don't use tap water to fill your tank as limescale can quickly kill a machine. Volvic, tesco ashbeck, essential waitrose stretton hills or essential waitrose lockhills would be better.

 

My fridge has a water tap which has a filter - would that be sufficient or should I be going bottled?

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Feldgrind would be my recommendation too unless you can snag a great second hand deal.

 

Be aware that Made by Knock have a great reputation for their grinders but a terrible one for posting orders. Some people wait months for delivery, others days - its a lottery.

 

You could get a Lido 3 as an alternative, but near enough double the price: https://www.coffeehit.co.uk/lido-3-hand-coffee-grinder.html

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That's really interesting - I was aware that the pressurised filter was something of a compromise but wasn't aware that was something I could change.

 

Would this be the right thing? a quick google threw up many many options!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Replacement-Portafilter-Basket-Espresso-Machines/dp/B073RC6BX1/ref=sr_1_1?s=kitchen&ie=UTF8&qid=1521823692&sr=1-1&keywords=La+Pavoni+basket+51mm

 

Yes that would work. Straighten the edges out with pliers and tap down to make it nice and flat. Don't forget a 51mm tamper.

GS3 MP, Ceado E92 and E37s, Feldgrind. Niche.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

 

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Bodum bistro burr grinder is a decent little grinder that's served me well with my Sage DTP for a couple of years now. This can be had new for under £100. Slight limitation is that it will only just about grind fine enough for a unpressurized basket but with pressurised baskets it will be perfectly sufficient.

Edited by ksuddell
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I've modded the bodum grinder with a 3d printed burr holder from shapeways that allows me to grind much finer and I can now over extract and/or choke the DTP if I so wish!. This means I have much more control over my pours but this won't stop me upgrading to a Mignon as soon as my finances allow

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Thanks for your help everyone!

 

So I've managed to find that Bodum grinder for £35 on Ocado (https://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/Bodum-Bistro-10903294UK-Electric-Coffee-Grinder-Red/94561011?from=search&tags=%7C20000&param=bodum+grinder&parentContainer=SEARCHbodum+grinder) and also bought the 3d-printed mod. Seems like it's a decent first point of call, and at that price no huge loss if/when i eventually upgrade.

 

I've also bought the basket recommended here, will report back once I have everything in place!

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There are a few grinders about that people reckon that they modify for espresso machine use. Various versions of this one for instance

 

https://www.solis.com/com_en/solis-kaffeemahlwerk-scala

 

It's sold under several names such as Starbucks at one point and more usually just mentions Swiss components. The internals of the adjustment mechanism on the Solis are different though but it can still be adjusted to grind a bit finer. It grinds cleanly. ;) I adjusted one out of curiosity. There are video's on youtube This one as well

 

 

Pass on how good the results will be.

 

John

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  • 4 weeks later...

Update:

 

So as mentioned I bought the bodum bistro burr grinder (as it was on offer for £35 from Ocado). This on it's own, with the supplied pressurised filter, made a big difference to the quality of my coffees.

 

I also bought and modified a non-pressurised basket and the shapeways 3d printed part for the grinder to get a finer grind. Both worked really well and the grinder can now easily go fine enough for the new basket (i'm still fine tuning but somewhere around the 3rd notch is feeling about right) and the quality of my coffees have improved a lot again.

 

This is easily where I wanted to get to, with what was actually a much smaller outlay than I was expecting (granted i got lucky with the half price grinder). No doubt after a while I might want to dial it up again, but for now I'm super happy so thanks a lot everyone for your help!

 

edit: also worth saying, the mod for the bodum was very simple to fit, literally took 30 seconds, though it looked like it was probably possible/easy to put it on the wrong way round, not sure if/how that would've affected how it worked, but worth being careful with that, but pretty simple if you're aware

Edited by meanmrcustard
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  • 2 weeks later...

If you don't mind the exercise, a budget hand grinder like the Hario Skerton would do the job perfectly, especially for pressurised baskets. These baskets are usually a lot more forgiving compared to their unpressurised brethren. It should cost around 30-40 quids and doesn't really require much in the way of maintenance.

 

If you prefer the convenience and speed of an electric grinder (since hand grinders normally take around 2-3 minutes to grind enough for a double shot), then the Sage Smart Grinder Pro (if you can get it during one of those sales, expect to pay around 150-160 quids) will be a good choice. You can also go for the bodum bistro grinder, as mentioned by ksuddell (I remember tkmax selling those for around 50-60 quids). Just don't expect them to last forever since grinders at this price point are not made to be repaired nor for durability.

 

Personally, I started off with a Hario Skerton (hand-grinder) and it paired really well with my old DeLonghi Eco 310, which uses a pressurised basket.

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Before I took the plunge for a more expensive grinder, I was looking at the graef cm800 which is around 150quid (cheaper if you order from Amazon.de).

It looked like a decent enough starter.

 

I tried one of Graef's machines and sent it back. The dearer one. The fine grinding settings on it had problems and could choke the entire machine up. You will also see youtube video's some showing rather poor results on both models. There aren't many options buying new in this price range. Sage Smart Grinder Pro which in the UK is a bit over your budget off amazon and some people seem to rate the Iberital MC2. Happy Donkey may have that at the cheapest price. Never owned one so pass.

 

The size and usual modifications to larger used commercial grinders might put you off that route. Also some methods of using them. The Sage for instance has a relatively small bean hopper and can be used with that as it comes. People do all sorts of things to the commercial grinders ;) me included. The smaller commercial grinders that people tend to rate well are out of your price range even used maybe with bits missing.

 

Sage also do a cheaper model. The Dose Control Pro. Less powerful motor and different grind adjustment and timer. Not owned one so pass. One problem is that currently buying one doesn't save much over the dearer model.

 

To be honest in MHO given that budget Sage is probably a no brainer. Expectations though - the output from timed grinders will vary and needs checking now and again. Also a Sage and most if not all grinders with a timer will need to grind some beans before that starts getting even reasonably consistent.

 

Double, triple or more your budget and there is far more choice.

 

I bought the Graef as I thought the problems I saw where down to the users as results varied. When I had it I found that wasn't the case. Finer settings that couldn't really be sensibly used. It was very solidly built. The Sage may have some of those as well but I haven't found any that I need to use.

 

John

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One thought - you might find one of these or the smaller version for sale used within your price range

 

http://www.ascaso.com/div-espresso-coffee-machines-grinders/i-1.html

 

http://www.ascaso.com/div-espresso-coffee-machines-grinders/i-steel-1.html

 

Probably in other makes as well. I haven't actually used mine so can't comment on performance but there is a decent review of these machines with the flat burrs about. Lack of a timer has put me off using mine also currently no stop on the finest setting. Something I shouldn't have bought really, I'm a grinder timer freak.

 

The review

https://bellabarista.co.uk/pdf/compactgrinder1closerlookv3.pdf

 

John

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