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Recommend me a new grinder

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After almost 10 years using a Mahlkonig/Baratza Vario as a single dose grinder I am starting to think about upgrading it.

I am pretty certain of the features I need from it such as single dose, low retention and big burs. I normally use the grinder for at least a couple of double espressos during the week and a 4 espressos during the weekend. I normally enjoy trying different coffees (Have a in my mug subscription since forever) and I am a big fan of fruit and floral notes on my coffee while despite anything that resembles caramel or roasted nuts. 

With that in mind it seems that the only available grinders for me are the niche (don't think it will be much of an upgrade over the vario), Monolith flat (pricey and very limited availability), EK43s (pricey with the additional need of calibrating burrs), eg-1 (pricey but at least seems easier to get than the monolith). Am I really getting this right? So it is either keeping the Vario or upgrading to a grinder costing well above the £2000 mark with nothing in between? 

I am the kind of person that would rather not spend money unless it is something I will keep so I am tempted to save for a while and go directly for the monolith but if there is anything else in between please let me know. I am also not certain I really need the Monolith Max but I have never tried espresso from very light roast on a big burr grinder to really be certain I will appreciate it. 

  

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No! There are tons of grinders out there better than the vario and cheaper than monoliths. Too many to mention, but if you like light roasts then go for a large flat eg Mythos or E8 or E37s etc etc.


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

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Niche will retain less than your vario. Taste improvement , it wont be any worse. 

You can single dose lots of grinders with different results. 

Do you have a space requirement?

Caedo range ? Modded Mazzer Major ? Versalab ? Titus ? 

Some people have been trying to get a monolith forever, so if you set your hear on one you could be eating forever. 


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

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Not sure the E8 is the best grinder for single dosing  and retention tbh. 

 


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

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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3 minutes ago, lake_m said:

No! There are tons of grinders out there better than the vario and cheaper than monoliths. Too many to mention, but if you like light roasts then go for a large flat eg Mythos or E8 or E37s etc etc.

I am familiar with those but how do they fare as single dose? 

 

3 minutes ago, Mrboots2u said:

Niche will retain less than your vario. Taste improvement , it wont be any worse. 

You can single dose lots of grinders with different results. 

Do you have a space requirement?

Caedo range ? Modded Mazzer Major ? Versalab ? Titus ? 

Some people have been trying to get a monolith forever, so if you set your hear on one you could be eating forever. 

 I understand the Niche will retain less but I have a feeling tasting wise it is probably more of a side step than a step forward so I am not sure it is worth the upgrade path. If anyone close to Cambridge as one I could try by all means let me know. 

I do have space requirements as they need to fit under a cabinet. I am away on holiday at the moment however which is why I have more time to read the forums but unfortunately it is not possible for me to measure the space under the cabinets. 

I have looked into the compak e8, ceado e37s, mazzer major and mythos (I am assuming this is the Nuova simonelli one? 75mm burrs?)  but they don't seem to have the best reputation as single dosers. The e37s seems to be the best suited for the task but even then it is not clear to me how good it actually is with retention. The Vario has something like 2/3g and it mostly stays in place after the first grind (tested it by mixing a dark roast with a light roast and aware the proportion will change based on roast level) so something similar would probably be fine. 

Versalab I am not sure how to classify since it is a mixture of conical and flat burrs so how well does it actually performs with LSOL coffees?  And have not seen the Titus will have a look. 

And yes that is my mainly concern with the monolith

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I’ve just acquired a E37s so will be able to report how it fares against the Niche as I have one of those as well.

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

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What about the E37sd which is a E37s modified for single dosing with titanium burrs that Are corrosion resistant for RDT .

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

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What about the E37sd which is a E37s modified for single dosing with titanium burrs that Are corrosion resistant for RDT .
The reviews seem to point it at basically a e37s without the hopper and they are more scarce as second hand but I hadn't considered the advantages of the titanium burrs.

This grinder business is difficult maybe I should build my own

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I’ve had the E37s for a week and only used it with one bean type. I haven’t as yet checked the burr alignment, and the burrs are still new.

Against the Niche with the same bean the E37 produces a lighter flavour with higher acidity. The Niche tastes bolder and fuller but lacks the clarity. 

With this particular bean which is a darker roast I prefer the taste of the Niche.

Next up is @Hasi LSOL Monkey surprise. 

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

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One thing to add is that I have struggled to get a good even pour from the bottomless on the E37. I’ve resorted to really vigorous WDT to get anything like the evenness I get from the Niche. 

This may indicate the burrs are slightly misaligned - I’m not sure if this is how it manifests. Pretty sure my prep technique is OK. Will check tomorrow. 


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

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On 31/08/2019 at 14:09, Bacms said:

The reviews seem to point it at basically a e37s without the hopper and they are more scarce as second hand but I hadn't considered the advantages of the titanium burrs.

This grinder business is difficult maybe I should build my own emoji23.png

Sent from my SM-G950F using Tapatalk
 

The single dose version of the Ceado reminds me of a sink plunger. ;) In fact I have a feeling I have seen one somewhere with the same general shape. Perhaps they just cut the handle off it. ;) Bit tongue in cheek.

Not sure about their current iteration. At one point they used a style of adjustable flap over the exit from the grind chamber. Later going on my 64mm they replaced it with a springy piece of stainless. Then I think they made something that was easier to remove but not sure what. Might be the flap as it was difficult to remove for cleaning. Awkwardly placed self tapper so the screwdriver needs to be at a bit of an angle. If the flap is removed grinds go all over the place. Latest model may be different. The flap does leave things more open than a grid so puffs of air may clear all of the grinds.

The all time favourite for single dosing is Mazzer especially with a funnel as it's easy to clean. I managed to get what went in to come out on a Mini. Removing the antistatic grid may not have been a good idea as it had an electronic timer and that failed. Some people modify an octopus funnel and use it to replace a doser. Octopus brings up the cheapest from china - or did on ebay. In my case getting it all out needed the puff from the usual rubber lens hood. Brush as usual in the outlet from the grind chamber and then another spin up of the grinder followed by another brush that got very little out but gave me what went in came out. Favourites for this are the big flat bur models.

Niche is a lot easier. As usual if there is a spout and anti static precautions it does retain grind well up the spout. They just build up and stay there. Any grinder with a spout may do the same thing. The spout on Niche doesn't collect much at all.

I've found that it's not possible to judge the taste a grinder will give until it's had several kg through it from new.  Maybe 5 or so. Clumping tends to improve as well. I don't much care about pure static clumps. They mostly break up if the portafilter is tapped on the tamping mat. Not keen on real clumps though but if they smear with an extremely light touch I feel they are unlikely to be a problem - or they haven't been for me.

Grinders in my view are a compromise. I've seen photo of a really clumpy mess coming out of all sorts including an EK. They also do things that aren't immediately apparent - a certain degree of compression of the grinds on their way out. For instance same weight, same bean etc and the pile out of a Niche is way way higher than what came out of my mini modified for weighing in. Sorry but didn't get round to running the Mini  after it was run in hopper on and with the antistatic grind in place.

John

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

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One thing to add is that I have struggled to get a good even pour from the bottomless on the E37. I’ve resorted to really vigorous WDT to get anything like the evenness I get from the Niche. 
This may indicate the burrs are slightly misaligned - I’m not sure if this is how it manifests. Pretty sure my prep technique is OK. Will check tomorrow. 

Niche for one or another reason always produced perfect looking shots compared to flat burr grinders such as E37S or EK43s (although ek is notoriously bad for good looking shots). I couldn’t say the same about the taste.
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2 hours ago, lake_m said:

One thing to add is that I have struggled to get a good even pour from the bottomless on the E37. I’ve resorted to really vigorous WDT to get anything like the evenness I get from the Niche. 

This may indicate the burrs are slightly misaligned - I’m not sure if this is how it manifests. Pretty sure my prep technique is OK. Will check tomorrow. 

Depends on your definition of misaligned. Comparing it to the tolerances of boutique made grinders like a monolith then it will be different , have variance .. Comparing it to other commercially manufactured high volume grinders then it isn't. 

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

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

Instagram - rjw_inc

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6 minutes ago, Mrboots2u said:

Depends on your definition of misaligned. Comparing it to the tolerances of boutique made grinders like a monolith then it will be different , have variance .. Comparing it to other commercially manufactured high volume grinders then it isn't. 

I get that. I read somewhere on this forum that there can be quite a variance on the E37 and noticeable improvements can be had by aligning the burrs.

I also take PPapa’s point about large flats being more difficult to get an even pour so maybe I’m barking up the wrong tree.

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

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Lead by the taste and your preference, not numbers, visuals or opinions from others...

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30 minutes ago, PPapa said:


Niche for one or another reason always produced perfect looking shots compared to flat burr grinders such as E37S or EK43s (although ek is notoriously bad for good looking shots). I couldn’t say the same about the taste.

;) I just went back to the cup with it and tried the world champion barista's technique with a cup and had the worst pour I have ever had. Not surprising really as the heap finished up very lopsided so had to finger it flat. Result unequal pressure tamped in across the puck. Getting that even for me results in perfect flows. Achieving it isn't easy. Clumps within reason no big deal but ideally none other than very light ones caused by static. That's all that should cause.

On taste currently I'm drinking Colombian Medellin Supremo, medium roast. It comes out as I would expect. Push the ratio up and muted acidity starts to appear. It's the first time I have used a medium on Niche but one thing is clear -  no point in judging taste until a lot of beans have been run through it. Another ratio alters taste. Problem there is people one way or another are often encouraged to use one. Actually for a starting point I feel Sage give a better one - a little over 3 but I have had beans that better from higher or lower. Strength of taste can have an effect as well. One in particular brewed the normal way leaves no scope what so ever for detecting nuances. I'm thinking of Mandheling and in a medium roast if the acidity is wanted.

I will get to the point of trying larger burs eventually but frankly I have no doubts about benefits if people wont adapt their work flow to suite the bean and the grinder.

John

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

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1 hour ago, PPapa said:

Lead by the taste and your preference, not numbers, visuals or opinions from others...

Absolutely agree. And I want to get the full potential out of the grinder as well.


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

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