Jump to content
coffeechap

My observations on the Niche Zero grinder

Recommended Posts

As promised I said that I would put my thoughts down about the niche grinder. I have had it on the bench for a few weeks now (DFK very kindly sent me one of his down to put it through its paces) and have compared and contrasted it with a jazzer royal, ek43 and a eureka mythos.

 

Design and function

 

First thing to say it that it is very small, is put together well and has been well thought out by the designer. The burrs are my favourite conical burrs and I rate them as very well made. The retention is exactly as it is marketed, pretty much zero. Changing between beans and brew methodology is simple and repeatable. it does what it says on the tin in terms of function. It is well priced and is a better grinder than other commercials within its price range.

 

The shape and design really is not to my preference, but i can see why it would appeal to the masses, my wife said that it looked like something kenwood would make, she also said that there was no way that she would have it in our kitchen, just thinks it looks dreadful! I don't think it looks that bad but it is not something that I like.

 

I wanted to strip it completely apart (but as it is not my grinder I decided not to) to have a look at the gearing mechanism, whether they are metal, composite or plastic as this will determine the life expectancy of the grinder, however as the burrs are under very little load due to very little weight of beans, this should not be an issue.

 

I do not like the fact that it only has an on off function, I would prefer to see a power on and off button in addition to the motor run switch. I suppose you can just lift the lid which isolates the power but this is not that practical, I also suppose that you can switch it off at the plug but I just feel it should be able to be isolated on the grinder itself (time will tell on the longevity of the light which is permanently on when plugged in).

 

As most of you are aware it is pretty easy to adjust, clean and remove the burrs, and all can be done within 5 minutes. I really like this practicality as it makes it easy for the end user to look after the grinder.

 

It is fairly quite and does not take too long to grind a dose of coffee, no more time really than single dosing a commercial grinder, except the ek43. I certainly did not feel as though I was waiting too long, the only time I noticed this was when making 10 drinks for friends that came round. After a couple of shots I reverted to the mythos and smashed out shot after shot with ease.

 

Grind Quality

 

This is the contentious part for me as this grinder has a wide spread of particle size and as a result you HAVE to shake and stir the grinds in order to get a decent pour. I separated a few shots in a row, taking the first 5 g, middle and last of a 15g dose. There is a noticeable difference in the grind size between each of the divided 5g batches, This is because of the way the grinder grinds and is intended to be used. Its a single dose grinder and as such without weight of bean on the burrs, the particle size increases from the start to the finish of each dose.

 

For me this is an issue as you have the whole routine of shaking the grinds and stirring in order to get a great pour. The results are much different when you load as many means as possible into the little hopper and then grind. The spread is much narrower and the ease of a quality pour much simpler. Compared to the no nonsense grinding of the mythos it is a ball ache. However the shot preparation for the ek43 is not so far removed, the main difference being is that multiple drinks are quicker and tastier with the EK. (it is 4 times the price though and huge)

 

That said you can't switch between beans on the mythos or the royal, or easily switch between brew methodology like you can on the niche.

 

In the cup

 

As I said I compared this grinder with 3 other grinders, I used three different roast levels and tasted both the espresso shots and how they did in milk.

 

Make no bones about it the niche is capable of Tasty coffee. I found that it muted the brighter side of lighter roasts and was not to my preference compared to the ek and mythos, the shots from the niche seemed to lose some of the sweetness, although retained a good body and were entirely drinkable.

 

With a darker roast it was great as I have come to expect from conical grinders (this is in my experience) chocolate and nutty tones come pouring through the shots (I must add that darker roasts are really not what I like). I still preferred the large flat burr shots from the other grinders, but once in milk you could not tell a great difference.

 

Summary

 

I enjoyed having the little niche on the bench, I used the EK43 in preference to it with medium or lighter roasts, I used the mythos for multiple drinks and in preference on shot quality for medium and lighter roasts. I do not like the styling of the Niche, it just looks cheap, however it is such a compact grinder, very kitchen friendly, can be stored away in a cupboard (which hides its looks :) ) is quiet and simple to use, is capable of tasty coffee and any brew methodology. The grind quality is questionable (I personally do not think that you should have to do as much prep as you are forced to do with the niche) but that comes with single dosing most grinders. You will save money in discarded coffee for sure. I have to purge a few grams out of the mythos each time I use it and this adds up over time. I don't really drink brewed coffee but this is where the niche comes into its own. You can switch between whichever brew method you like and go back to the previous brew method accurately, this alone makes it a good grinder for the home enthusiast wanting to explore all different coffees and methods.

 

Would I have one on my bench? NO not while I have an EK and I just prefer the push and go grinding of the royal or mythos for espresso everyday. But these are my thoughts based on my requirements and I am sure many readers will have different demands and different opinions.

 

I would however like to commend NICHE for bringing something new to the market and shaking up the competition

Edited by coffeechap
  • Like 3

AKA Toffee chips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds like it has achieved what it set out to do then. Thanks for taking the time, well worth reading. No I don't have one, still not sure whether I should, presently quite happy with what Mr Snakehips let me take on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks chap for what seems An honest and fair appraisal ,

  • Like 1

¿ ǝsǝɥʇ pɐǝɹ ǝuoʎuɐ sǝop

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Uh. Weird thing happens sometimes. I was going to write something very similar about grind quality (I promise)

 

As I told you in the other thread, I just received the grinder, I have to season the burrs well but I see an (expected) issue with the grinding. As you said the particle spread it's too wide due to single dosing with burrs that were not designed to do this (IMHO), so it happens you have to grind a lot of finer than you would do it with a grinder with a full hopper. This obviusly affects the coffee taste, because you end up with some big particles and some very fine particles.

 

The problem with this it's you cannot fix it just with stirring the grinds. This way you homogenize the particles across the puck but still have a very wide particle distribution.

 

I pulled some shots with the "hopper" just with 16g, and the hopper almost full (about 40) but only grinding 16. I have had shot time differences of more than 15", even 20" between the 2. (Faster for single dosing, slower for full hopper)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well rounded comments for both + and -

 

Thanks for taking the time to write.


Expobar Office Leva, Gaggia Classic, Acaia Pearl Scales, Sage Smart Grinder, Ascaso i Mini Doser Grinder, Zassenhaus Hand Grinder, EB Labs Mesh Filter, AeroPress, IMS 18grm 25grm Baskets

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doesn’t sound all that good. The low retention is obviously it’s big draw, along with its size and price comparative to the bigger grinders. But without that grind quality/uniformity, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. It clearly has its USP(s) but does it justify the fanfare? As always, I guess it’s down to individual needs and desires.

 

Disclaimer: I’m still looking forward to receiving mine as I have massive size restrictions for the short to medium term.


LR|F83EV2|Niche|Lunar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Doesn’t sound all that good. The low retention is obviously it’s big draw, along with its size and price comparative to the bigger grinders. But without that grind quality/uniformity, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. It clearly has its USP(s) but does it justify the fanfare? As always, I guess it’s down to individual needs and desires.

 

Disclaimer: I’m still looking forward to receiving mine as I have massive size restrictions for the short to medium term.

 

it may well suit all of your needs and do what YOU want it to do in the cup, lots o folk are happy with their niche.

  • Like 2

AKA Toffee chips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm enjoying mine but I endorse CCs comments. If I had the choice, I'd still rather have a Mythos. I like the darker coffees so it works for me but my methodology means the grind does get shaken up before it goes in the portafilter. I also agree (just from observation) that there is a much wider spread of grind sizes in the mix than a flat. It is obviously a domestic friendly design, more of an appliance than a tool. Might sell mine and the 65e and go for a Mythos.


Rocket Giotto Evoluzione v2, Eureka Zenith 65E, Niche grinder, Pharos grinder with VoodooDaddy mods, Eureka MDL, Torr Goldfinger, Smart Tamp. Various coffee stuff.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My question is whether a set of burrs could be designed for this that eliminate the issue of single dosing particle distribution

 

Not sure really, as many have modified all kinds of conic grinders and all pretty much do the same with particle size when single dosed. The issue is that the the burrs function best under a weight of bean that is pulled through the burrs uniformly. The is impossible when single dosing as the beans move about more as they get less, ending up in pop corning out of the burrs until finally ground through.

@dsc did an interesting experiment by doing bean by bean grinding, which I also carried out. I found that you had to grind a lot finer when doing this, but the uniformity was much better as each bean was ground similarly. However this takes bloody ages and is a complete ball ache. Not something I would like to do each time I used the grinder!

  • Like 2

AKA Toffee chips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I should also add, I prefer lighter roasts so I might be screwed altogether.


LR|F83EV2|Niche|Lunar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm enjoying mine but I endorse CCs comments. If I had the choice, I'd still rather have a Mythos. I like the darker coffees so it works for me but my methodology means the grind does get shaken up before it goes in the portafilter. I also agree (just from observation) that there is a much wider spread of grind sizes in the mix than a flat. It is obviously a domestic friendly design, more of an appliance than a tool. Might sell mine and the 65e and go for a Mythos.

 

what is encouraging to see is that others had similar observations to me, it is also important that ALL observations are available to anyone potentially looking at this as an option. As I said, it will suit most peoples needs.

  • Like 2

AKA Toffee chips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'm enjoying mine but I endorse CCs comments. If I had the choice, I'd still rather have a Mythos. I like the darker coffees so it works for me but my methodology means the grind does get shaken up before it goes in the portafilter. I also agree (just from observation) that there is a much wider spread of grind sizes in the mix than a flat. It is obviously a domestic friendly design, more of an appliance than a tool. Might sell mine and the 65e and go for a Mythos.

 

I’ve always yearned for a Mythos or EK so may employ a similar tactic when I have more space. Still looking forward to trying a conical for the first time though.


LR|F83EV2|Niche|Lunar

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I should also add, I prefer lighter roasts so I might be screwed altogether.

 

 

Not at all, the niche still produces easy shots with light roasts, as others on the forum have attested to, it ws just not MY preference and I found I got more out of the the mythos and the EK. But putting that into perspective, both of those grinders are £2k!! unless you can snatch a cheeky deal for a few hundred quid used!!!!!

  • Like 2

AKA Toffee chips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

May I ask... how does it compare to a Monolith conical, which is also a single dose grinder, with similar burrs? Doesn’t the Monolith also suffer from the same issue regarding particle distribution?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Doesn’t sound all that good. The low retention is obviously it’s big draw, along with its size and price comparative to the bigger grinders. But without that grind quality/uniformity, I’m not sure what the fuss is about. It clearly has its USP(s) but does it justify the fanfare? As always, I guess it’s down to individual needs and desires.

 

Disclaimer: I’m still looking forward to receiving mine as I have massive size restrictions for the short to medium term.

 

Perhaps it will suits you well. A lot of people have been using Compak's K10 Barista modded to single dosing (especially US folks at HB forum) and in my view the quality must be very similar.

 

 

My question is whether a set of burrs could be designed for this that eliminate the issue of single dosing particle distribution

 

Don't think so it's possible. You would need to fit DRM burrs into the Niche. Not possible. Or have a burr carrier like the EK to provide a constant and consistent bean feed into the burrs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Coffechap I was thinking this is only a £500 grinder but you have covered that above a little.. I would be interested how it compares to other grinders in similar price bracket ...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Not at all, the niche still produces easy shots with light roasts, as others on the forum have attested to, it ws just not MY preference and I found I got more out of the the mythos and the EK. But putting that into perspective, both of those grinders are £2k!! unless you can snatch a cheeky deal for a few hundred quid used!!!!!
That's a very good point. Assuming you have the space for either an EK or a Mythos, was the coffee produced 4 times better in the cup?

Laissez les bons temps rouler

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
May I ask... how does it compare to a Monolith conical, which is also a single dose grinder, with similar burrs? Doesn’t the Monolith also suffer from the same issue regarding particle distribution?

 

Getvthe monolith owners to try the same experiment I did? Perhaps @MildredM could oblige

  • Like 2

AKA Toffee chips

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Getvthe monolith owners to try the same experiment I did? Perhaps @MildredM could oblige

 

If dfk’s Niche is on tour then it’s welcome to spend an overnighter here ;)


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / 1998 La Pavoni / Monolith Titan Flat & Conical, MAX Flat on order  / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 12oz pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / in the cellars: Steampunk, North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely husband 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Does the perfect grinder exist? if so, I have never seen it. If you single dose, then due to the nature of the fact there is no weight behind the beans you are going to suffer from article size difference, regardless of which grinder you have (except allegedly the EK but has that got its own foibles?).Personally I am not a big fan of single dosing, therefore cannot really see the point of comparing it to 2 grinders that require hoppers. I am a big fan of the Mythos, always have been and always will be but I cannot really see the point of comparing a 4 wheel drive with a 2 wheel drive then saying it got stuck in a field!

The Niche is what it is, and for £500, probably will be king of the hill in that sort of price bracket for a long time to come. if you want to spend more, then do.....if you want to single dose, then this could be for you.....I will always have one but doubt I will use it a great deal......does having to stir the grinds to mix them up bother me......not in the slightest, remembering that londinium designed a very expensive tool just for this, regardless of what grinder you have, and I reckon quite a few forum members own those tools, or something very similar

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
If dfk’s Niche is on tour then it’s welcome to spend an overnighter here ;)

 

Send Dave your addy M, and it can go to you if you like

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks!

I’m not sure I will do it justice/can add more than has already been said . . . Let me sleep on it ;)


2019 L-R with hand turned Thuya burr handles and toggles / 1998 La Pavoni / Monolith Titan Flat & Conical, MAX Flat on order  / HG-1 / Kalita wave / Stag kettle / OCD / Joey Skateboard Handle Pullman Big Step & matching stirrer / Wenge Handle Lev Tamp / Push Tamper / Puqpress / 15g & 18g vst / IMS 35μM / LDT / Barista Gear Titanium 12oz pitchers / LW Bean Cellars & Caddy / Decent thermometer / Acme Evo 150ml cups / Espazzola / Hottop / embroidered by me bar towels / in the cellars: Steampunk, North Star, Foundry, The Barn, HasBean, Coffee Compass / 6 gorgeous guineas / a dog / a very lovely husband 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks!

I’m not sure I will do it justice/can add more than has already been said . . . Let me sleep on it ;)

Oh but I do think you can do it justice.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Londinium designed a very expensive tool just for this, regardless of what grinder you have, and I reckon quite a few forum members own those tools, or something very similar

 

I have had my eye on one of those for a while but they are quite pricey... but they are very nice...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


  • About:

    Coffee Forums UK is the UK's premier coffee forum Started in June 2008 by Glenn Watson, we now have more than 22000 mainly UK based members, and welcome more than 3000 members and visitors from around the world each day! With strategic investment and digital expertise from the Jackson Lockhart team (Tait Pollack and Adam Bateman), we are taking Coffee Forums UK to the next level, and are delighted to share the journey with you.

    New Members:

    We are often referred to as the friendliest forum on the web and we look forward to welcoming you onboard.

    Terms of Use

    Advertising

    Coffee Forums Media Kit

    Buy Advertising Space

    Donate

    Get Your Supporter Badge (per year)

×
×
  • Create New...