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Mrboots2u

Buying a stock ek43

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Started this as there was some interesting chit chat re Ek43's on the Niche thread.

In an effort not to derail it , i'll post my thoughts here.

 

Comments were around ' Don't buy a stock ek, they are poorly aligned and come with the wrong burrs "

It was interesting to me, as there were a few of us here who got Ek's after Matt Pergers tilt at the World Bariats Championship with one.

Were they awful ? Was the coffee terrible ? Not for me but across the models they were inconsistent.

Yes you could argue the original coffee burrs were harder to work with, but they still did something different to any other grinder out there.

The fact that Mahl changed the coffee burrs not long after gives some indication that , yes improvements could be made.

Now we are in the era of measuring alignment of grinders , almost to the point where it would seem any grinder manufactured prior to the alignment phase , is now disregarded. When does alignment become marginal in the cup, I have no idea.

Were the Compak e8/e10 bad grinders or just the best they could be at the time? I never saw any alignment figures on a r120, does this mean it's no good ? Nope ? When something like a Niche comes out, I see commentary across the pond on wanting to see laser analysis and it's alignment measurements on a £500 grinder for home .

Re burrs I have no experience with the SSP burrs, all the stuff i read about them is very positive, they cost alot and people put them in general in grinders that cost even more.

I even see people buying these burrs for the mazzer mini's for instance ( seems false economy but hey ).

I don't know what point I am trying to make really , I see discussion of people pulling 25-27% EY shots or ristretto's at 1:1 at 19% EY on the yank forums. Part of me thinks that alot of the coffee i see , just isn't roasted to be tasty or even achieve those EY's (there is some doubt on the yank forums , about how these measurements are being achieved also ) . At 19% TDS risotto would blow my head off, but to each there.

own.


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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There's a strong correlation between coffee, machine and grinder. Some folks are very satisfied with an E61 machine, a conical grinder and medium roasted coffee. And there's really no reason to push the envelope.

 

Advances in coffee growing, processing and roasting are starting a new challenge for those interested. Of course there's more beyond EY and TDS but at the same time couple a Decent Espresso machine with a tricked out EK43 and you might find there's more to coffee than just the traditional "coffee taste". Or, in some cases, it might be a case of chronic upgraditis or GAS.

 

Either way, an Ek43 is just a tool that helps you get the results you want.

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There's a strong correlation between coffee, machine and grinder. Some folks are very satisfied with an E61 machine, a conical grinder and medium roasted coffee. And there's really no reason to push the envelope.

 

Advances in coffee growing, processing and roasting are starting a new challenge for those interested. Of course there's more beyond EY and TDS but at the same time couple a Decent Espresso machine with a tricked out EK43 and you might find there's more to coffee than just the traditional "coffee taste". Or, in some cases, it might be a case of chronic upgraditis or GAS.

 

Either way, an Ek43 is just a tool that helps you get the results you want.

 

Can you not get beyond "traditional coffee taste" (whatever that is, I mean there has always been Ethiopian naturals & washed Kenyans) with normal grinders & brewed coffee?


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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There's a strong correlation between coffee, machine and grinder. Some folks are very satisfied with an E61 machine, a conical grinder and medium roasted coffee. And there's really no reason to push the envelope.

 

Advances in coffee growing, processing and roasting are starting a new challenge for those interested. Of course there's more beyond EY and TDS but at the same time couple a Decent Espresso machine with a tricked out EK43 and you might find there's more to coffee than just the traditional "coffee taste". Or, in some cases, it might be a case of chronic upgraditis or GAS.

 

Either way, an Ek43 is just a tool that helps you get the results you want.

 

Yeah it's been a while since I was into traditional italian espresso ( not that there is anything wrong with that ) , i am not sure if you are referring to me as just liking " coffee taste or not" but hey I had an ek43 years ago at that point i was lucky enough to get one considerably cheaper than today's prices , or beign honest I would not have bothered.

It's hard to say without experience of a ticked out EK and a decent but i'd rather see more consistent and better roasting than having to spend north of £6k plus on a set up ( decent plus ek plus sup burrs ) . I see alot of "speciality coffee " that is just too under developed, full stop , not for espresso and not for italian style espresso. It lacks the sweetness if proteins to have .

As a point of difference you may see more roasters move towards more development in roasts ( perhaps too much for my tastes who knows ) but when you get Go Get Em tiger In the USA starting to do lighter and darker roasts then this signals that the concept is becoming more acceptable .

https://gget.com/coffee/dark-las-brisas

Edited by Mrboots2u

I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

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There's probably little to no point in getting such an expensive setup for medium to dark roasts. Those extract just fine on any espresso capable setup, being lever or pump, conical or flat.

 

I guess you really have to like those "underdeveloped" beans. With some beans you can avoid unpleasant tasting notes even with 0 to 5% development after first crack. And once you get used to using filter roasts for espresso, it's pretty hard to go back to medium.

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There's probably little to no point in getting such an expensive setup for medium to dark roasts. Those extract just fine on any espresso capable setup, being lever or pump, conical or flat.

 

I guess you really have to like those "underdeveloped" beans. With some beans you can avoid unpleasant tasting notes even with 0 to 5% development after first crack. And once you get used to using filter roasts for espresso, it's pretty hard to go back to medium.

 

I have used filter roasts for espresso and omni. And used some good espresso roasts too for espresso ( Roundhill springs to mind )

I am not talking about roasts for espresso here , i was referring to omni or filter roasts that don't deliver the promised sweetness for filter or immersion etc.

yes taste is subjective but if you steep a bean for a period of time and it still cant get to x EY then something somewhere is on malfunction.

I don't use dark roasts. Referencing roasts by colour again for me is problematic , at it doesn't tell you the whole story.


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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Just out of interest what is your drink of choice , espresso ? flat white ? filter etc ?


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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Half straight espresso and half with milk in the morning, V60 after lunch, usually the same bean or very similar.

 

I try to vary what I use, between my roasts and roasted beans just to keep a track of how my beans evolve over time. I've noticed very light roasts take a turn for the better over time.

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I would take anything you read on the forums with a huge grain of salt (*especially* on the yank forum) as when you look in closer detail it's obvious people who claim to hit higher EY consistently are either:

 

  • They are measuring EY outright wrong i.e. without filtering for espresso, so their data is garbage
  • Their calculations are wrong (see Matt Perger's post here - http://cargocollective.com/mattperger/The-EK43-Part-Two/.VyqP0oR96Uk/.XGZs8rh7mUk - the EY calculations are all wrong according to the data given)
  • They're using some super-soluble coffee like some of the washed Kenyans which have a lot of soluble content, extract very easily and are not representative of a broad range of origins and varieties.

I do think perhaps you can hit some higher EY on some of the grinders with bigger burrs but I'm not convinced it translates to superior taste. This is based on my experience with my own EK43 and hand grinder. Now again I find my EK43 joy to use and wouldn't give it up, but it's not strictly about chasing higher EY.

 

Again personal preference but I also don't really enjoy light roasted espresso that tastes like concentrated filter coffee (I'd rather drink the real thing). Appropriately roasted & developed espresso roasts also don't seem to require any special equipment to extract properly. I was recently in Italy (Naples) and had many traditional espresso shots pulled on beans and gear that would make a lot of speciality coffee fans cringe and still they were surprisingly sweet and fruity, and easy to drink without sugar.

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The Italian espresso is not really strict on rules. The 7g in 25-30ml out traditional guideline can be quite forgiving.

 

I've also tasted some very nicely balanced shots from light roasts out of run of the mill cafe equipment.

 

My conclusion is that underextracted shots are more drinkable than overextracted ones.

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The 7g in 25-30ml out traditional guideline can be quite forgiving.

 

My conclusion is that underextracted shots are more drinkable than overextracted ones.

 

Based on what? Who is over-extracting light roasts with typical espresso equipment?


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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The Italian espresso is not really strict on rules. The 7g in 25-30ml out traditional guideline can be quite forgiving.

 

I've also tasted some very nicely balanced shots from light roasts out of run of the mill cafe equipment.

 

My conclusion is that underextracted shots are more drinkable than overextracted ones.

 

In my.experience neither are good.

And depends on the coffee used and the level of extraction.

There is some sweetness for some coffee's at ristretto ish 16.

Under extracted lighter roasts will struggle to hit that tho and that's a world of lemon sucking pain.

Over extracted and add some milk, more forgiving too but again especially for a more developed roast.

The statement itself is too wide to qualify and yep its all personal preference.


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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EK43 or EK43S will be my next grinder, I have tasted the result of it for espresso and I liked it.


CFBG Team

Buying expensive equipment won't make you barista!

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As a point of difference you may see more roasters move towards more development in roasts ( perhaps too much for my tastes who knows )

https://gget.com/coffee/dark-las-brisas

 

Sorry for the noob question @Mrboots2u but what does developed mean in this context? I noticed that yourself & @MWJB mentioned that you liked developed yet lighter roasts in another thread & I'm curious as to the difference between developed & roasted. :)


Gaggia Classic / Aeropress / V60 / Niche Zero / Wilfa Svart / Feldgrind

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Does it produce good coffee? Is it easy to work with? Does it suit the workflow? Is there anything better in this price range?

 

Does it taste N times better than X grinder that is N times cheaper? Probably not, but I’ve been enjoying mine

 

It does, however, have a steep learning curve compared to other grinders I had.

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Sorry for the noob question @Mrboots2u but what does developed mean in this context? I noticed that yourself & @MWJB mentioned that you liked developed yet lighter roasts in another thread & I'm curious as to the difference between developed & roasted. :)

 

Developed in my case means, extracts to a sweet result, with acidity. An under-developed roast would be brothy, umami like, with little sweetness, or acidity.


“Coffee evokes the most insane reactions in people”, Rene Redzepi.

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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It does, however, have a steep learning curve compared to other grinders I had.

@PPapa What aspect have you found most challenging?

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Back in 2014, pulled the trigger and ordered an EK43 after reading a link in a post by forum member and legend Gary Dyke. 3Fe had been evaluating an EK43 following the stir Matt Perger caused with his WBC routine. The clincher for me were the reports that the EK could tame espressos made from lighter roasts. At the time, there wasn't much hands on knowledge so buying one was a step into the unknown. Then, EKs started popping up in most serious 3rd wave shops where the EK's Achilles heel became evident. Stock coffee burrs were peerless for pour over but nigh on useless for espresso when using lighter roasts. You just couldn't grind fine enough and ended up with gushers. I gave up and swapped my original coffee burrs and fitted a set of Turkish which worked for espresso but still ground coarse enough for pour over.

 

EK43 owners who bought their EKs a couple of years after mine noticed subtle differences in the coffee burrs fitted to their EKs. Gary Dyke noticed that the burrs seemed to have a slightly different edge profile compared to the original coffee burrs. Mahlkonig had made some subtle changes but were very coy about acknowledging it. Crucially, what this meant is you could pull espresso without having to align the burrs so they were almost touching as was the case with the original coffee burrs. Had we finally reached seventh stage enlightenment? Not yet.

 

Despite his analysis in conjunction with Mahlkonig that the EK43 produced the most consistent grind - see Barista Hustle, Matt Perger came to the conclusion that the best grinder could be made even better (thanks Matt) by shimming the static burr to ensure even closer burr alignment. Suddenly, the EK was no longer the best unless you embarked on a masochistic labour of love which involved repeatedly dismantling and reassembling to ensure your EK's burrs were correctly aligned. Surely, the reward for such dedication to coffee purism would bring seventh stage enlightenment? Wrong again.

 

Before we knew it, we had the arrival of exotic aftermarket burr options provided by the likes of Gorilla and SSP with special coatings which took, we were promised, the EK to giddyingly new heights. Seventh stage enlightenment? You know the answer by now, cricket.

 

More recently came the engineers professional and/or amateur who viewed Perger's shimming method as all wrong. The way to go now was to embrace skimming (sanding) the housing behind the static burr to ensure greater consistency of alignment within micron tolerances. Everyone cooed and sighed appreciatively. Seventh stage achieved.......??

 

Not immune to cognitive dissonance, I recently bought an EKS because it had been fitted with SSP burrs which I had been considering for my original EK. Surely, the combination of an EKS fitted with SSP burrs would finally bring inner peace and seventh stage enlightenment?

 

So, where am I in terms of coffee nirvana? What are the differences where it really matters - in the cup? Despite the EKS/SSP burrs producing excellent espresso and pour over, I could not ignore, alignment-wise, the pangs of not knowing and checked static burr alignment - 1μm. Impressive. And the SSP burrs? They grind the same dose weight of beans in half the time the Turkish burrs do. Is that important? Nope. Do they make a difference in the cup - a much more important question? Too early to say. Me, the EKS and the SSP burrs are still getting to know each other. If there is a difference between the EKS plus SSP burrs, I am pretty sure it's close to the question, 'how many angels can you get on the head of a pin'. I was amused when I came across, as far as I am aware, the only stockist of SSPs in Europe who recommended SSP Redspeed for espresso and Silver Knights for pour over according to their blind testing results. Perhaps I need to get a set of SSP Redspeeds to do my own blind tasting checks. Then again, maybe I don't.

 

Is there a moral to this tale? Yes there is. If you like lighter roasts, you need flat burrs and size does make a difference up to a point where in the pursuit of the Holy Grail or seventh stage of coffee enlightenment, the more you spend will, whisper it, reward you with very modest increments, taste-wise.

 

Time for a coffee - espresso or pour over - washed or natural? Those are much more important questions.


Londinium-R - EKS43 running SSP Silver Knight burrs

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If you like lighter roasts, you need flat burrs...

...and then you pay a visit to Tim Wendelboe's coffee shop and have reassess everything you think you knew :p

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...and then you pay a visit to Tim Wendelboe's coffee shop and have reassess everything you think you knew :p

 

Some of the shots that really turned my head regarding espresso where from a robur with a Ethiopian sympatheticaly roasted.

Are flat burrs best for extraction, yes, can you make good espresso with a lighter with a conicla. Yes

In not aiming this at anyone in here but I sometimes think people are chasing light roasted espresso with no acidity at all.


I write a blog, it's nothing to do with coffee ...

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...and then you pay a visit to Tim Wendelboe's coffee shop and have reassess everything you think you knew :p
Does he use light roasts in his shop or rather darker espresso roasts?

 

Robur is a great productivity grinder and might be better for milk based drinks.

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Does he use light roasts in his shop or rather darker espresso roasts?

 

Robur is a great productivity grinder and might be better for milk based drinks.

 

I haven't tried TW, but the website says:

 

We wish to preserve and enhance as much of the natural coffee flavours as possible so that you will be able to taste the distinct flavours that is unique to each coffee we import. Therefore we roast our coffees very carefully in order not to cover our coffees with roasty aromas from darker roasts and at the same time stay away from the grassy flavors and sour acidity from a underdeveloped roast. Our espresso roasts are similar to our light roasts but are developed slightly more in order to reduce the intensity of acidity when brewed as espresso. This roast will give you slightly more bitter notes when brewed as a filter coffee.

 

He admits the Robur isn't the best grinder ever, but is great for high volume output. I think they don't do milk drinks in TW, for what it's worth.

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@PPapa What aspect have you found most challenging?

I would have PMed you, but I am curious to see if I’m the only one who was in the same boat. Sorry for the ramblings if anyone finds it irrelevant or boring...

 

With previous grinders, I aimed for 1:2 ratio in ~32s. Worked fine with almost all beans. I assumed “dialling in” is just that. I didn’t find messing with any of parameters made massive improvement - only made things worse.

 

Try that recipe with an EK and most of the time you’ll get an awful shot! Some beans really liked 20s extraction (with 8s PI), some beans preferred longer than that, others smaller ratio, etc... maybe I just haven’t found a ballpark that can work okay with multiple beans.

 

Now it opened a lot in terms of experimentation. It was a can of worms for ~7 weeks since I got an ek43s and I do get amazing shots, but equally I had a lot of shots that just didn’t taste as nice as the god shots I was able to pull. I don’t want anyone to get me wrong - I’m super happy with the tasty shots.

 

I don’t know if it’s me not experimenting enough prior to having an ek, not trying to run LR with E37S for long enough (I ran DTP with E37S, then moved to LR with Niche) or just getting better with tasting lever espresso since my LR is few months old, still. It certainly has been difficult at times - I’m not sure if I’m the only one.

 

Finally, prior to buying it, I wished I could have had an ek at home for a day and see how I liked it. I am now happy I didn’t do that as one day would not have been enough to experience the capabilities of it.

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