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For a newbie, a Sage Pro Smart or Mazzer SJ / Mini

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Hi all,

 

Long time reader, first time poster. I have just purchased my first espresso machine (Gaggia) moving up from a stove-top pot. My question is, as a complete beginner, would it be better for me to buy a Sage Pro for versatility or a entry level Mazzer? I am unsure if the home barista hobby will take off or not, so I might end up going back to plungers, filters etc. I just thought that the Sage had more options for the different uses.

 

Cheers,

 

Tim


Working: Gaggia Classic, steam wand mod; 21g naked PF;  Sage SGP; Blind Shaker (faux); Espro P7;  In maintenance, Mazzer SJ, Gaggia Classic. 

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I have a sage dose control pro. Like you, I'm super new to this espresso lark, but well and truly hooked.

 

Of the 60 settings the DCP has, it got all espressoy (I made that word up) around 9 on the dial. By the time I got to 4 I was getting 2x the liquid coffee out as coffee in over 27 seconds, which seems to be in the ball park of right. I'm waiting for proper fresh beans to dial in for taste and crema etc.

 

The DCP and the Sage Smart Grinder Pro use the same burrs from what I can see in reviews. It can just do a little more.

 

I was happy to settle for control over my grind being to the nearest second. Still great.

 

Also inside the burrs are a further 10 adjustments if you aren't getting your espresso fine enough. 3 was starting to choke my Dual Temp Pro.

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My head has just exploded with the terminology. Clearly, I have a lot to learn more, but I if I have this right, Smart Pro can do a few more things without manual adjustment?


Working: Gaggia Classic, steam wand mod; 21g naked PF;  Sage SGP; Blind Shaker (faux); Espro P7;  In maintenance, Mazzer SJ, Gaggia Classic. 

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Mazzer for my money. At least when you want to upgrade it will have a resale value not far off what you paid (assuming 2nd or 3rd + hand) whereas the sage won’t be worth a lot. It’s also likely to be a lot better longer term so you could upgrade your machine and the mazzer would still be a good grinder to pair it with


R58, Niche (midnight black), IMS screen, VST Basket, Acaia Pearl, Torr GF, Feldgrind, V60, Kalita 185 and loads of other stuff I probably don't need :)

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I read somewhere else that the size of the Mazzer's run into problems with the significant other: taking up too much kitchen space and generally looking like a tank. I think I might have to wait a bit before I run down the Mazzer rabbit hole.


Working: Gaggia Classic, steam wand mod; 21g naked PF;  Sage SGP; Blind Shaker (faux); Espro P7;  In maintenance, Mazzer SJ, Gaggia Classic. 

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The SGP is given more stick than it deserves really. At that price level I very much doubt if better can be found. I sold mine because of a bean I use a lot, my usual drink and am pretty locked in to weighing a dose of beans into a grinder rather than using timed doses with the hopper on. After around 20 shots it would choke up. It's a very grinder unfriendly bean. It probably would be ok with the hopper on full of beans. The one built into a a Barista Express was. I used that one for most of my drinks. The SGP was just used for beans I wanted to try. A number of them. No problems weighing in or with the hopper on.

 

Catches - when sold if some one wants to change the % lost is on the high side. ;) It's not that good on any grinder in practice, The other point is that they wont last as long as a commercial grinder is likely to. Not much info about on how long. An earlier model was reckoned according to one source to need a part replacing after 18months of heavier home use. It's been upgraded. An earlier model also had problems grinding for espresso. That's been taken care of as well. ;) The other aspect is taste. Last time I noticed comments some one was against it and another chimed in that he still had one on his bench as it was so convenient but it was interesting what it did in the cup. What I have noticed myself is that I stirred the crema up grinding my usual bean in a Mazzer Mini as I didn't like the taste. I didn't when using the BE and now don't again using the Niche grinder. I'd say that Niche makes the taste stronger but very similar to the SGP. Hard to say really as I am using a different machine. The Mini produced what I would call an earthy taste. The Niche much much sharper.

 

The Mazzer Mini costs a lot more. People sometimes finish up modifying them for weighing in - so called rubber camera lens hood mod to create a puff of air to blow the rest of the grinds out. The antistatic grid needs to be removed. This video shows the basic idea but on a Joly and some one has added an antistatic flap. I found that the brush needed to be used twice.

 

 

I haven't tried my usual bean in it with the hopper on as I would expect it to produce badly clumped grinds. It doesn't when weighing in. That would be my attitude on any grinder. Very oily beans have well known problems and the one I drink daily is really oily

 

Buy used and there is a good saving on both grinders and reselling later if still ok is likely to be at a price very similar to what was paid for it.

 

Differences between the 2, probably taste of the coffee they produce and ultimate life time. All I can say on that score is that I managed to obtain the taste a bean should have with both of them. What I wasn't able to do was have the grinders side by side and make drinks from both with the same bean. However I have used the same bean since I bought an espresso machine and either can produce my idea of a good coffee with them. The difference in the taste of the crema was the only really noticeable change. When I have changed major items I have always found that I need to change the x grams of grinds in and the y grams of coffee out. Personally I stick to 30 secs. Some even change that. Niche for instance has needed another change.

 

:) All IMHO.

 

John

-


In Use Sage DB+IMS Shower Screen, Niche. Others Sage BE, Mazer Mini A,. Projects Little Gem, Gaggia M7D

SageBanner_v01.jpg.a45786743a4eb401969788b45ae7f893.jpg

 

 

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In your opinion !


AKA Toffee chips

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We had the Sage Pro a while back, and have a Mazzer in our collection.

From what you describe, and if the choice is between just those two, then I would get the Sage. It's not the best grinder out there, BUT it is very easy to use. The Mazzers are good grinders, and give fine grinds, but they can be a challenge for a beginner, especially the calibration, and changing between grind settings if you want to experiment with different coffees etc. And they take up a ton of space. If you just want to experiment and see if the barista route is to your liking, I would suggest the Sage - you will spend less time fiddling with the grinder and more time playing the Gaggia and trying new brews.

The only caveat is, as someone already mentioned, selling the Sage should you want to upgrade or drop it, but I see used one going on eBay for around 100 so I guess it depends on how much you buy it for.

Hope that helped :)

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I had the barista express (pretty much the same grinder as the one we’re talking about) & now have a mignon specialita & a Mazzer Mini e.

 

Although the barista express served me well & the grinder was fine for what it was I don’t think I would choose to buy that grinder outside of the barista express body... hope that makes sense.

 

Mazzers are floating around all over the place and if you can keep your cool & hang out for a bit you will find one at a good price. & I mean a bargain if you can wait for the rite one. There are less minis about & they tend to go for more money so if you want a bargain look for a super jolly.

 

Grind retention is a bit higher on the un-modified mazzers & people mess about with them a lot to find ways around this. I played around & spent (wasted) a lot of time & have now just accepted that the Mazzers are a bargain & purging 10p of grinds if I really want to is not exactly a big deal. The lens hood mod is great for single if you want to go that way.

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I read somewhere else that the size of the Mazzer's run into problems with the significant other: taking up too much kitchen space and generally looking like a tank. I think I might have to wait a bit before I run down the Mazzer rabbit hole.

just establish the rules now an tell her to naff off!

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If you have the bench space and can afford it get both. Use the Breville for stove top and french press and using the Mazzer as your dedicated espresso grinder. You may find it frustrating switching between coarse and fine as once you have your fine setting it can take a couple of pulls to return to that setting.

HowardSmith made a good point about the Barista Express. I had a BE for 4 years and it was ok, however, they are not great grinders, adequate and that's about it.

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