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I have a Clima Pro that I am quite happy with, and again, I have a Niche that I am quite happy with. But, I quite fancy giving a Monolith Conical a go since my passion is darker roasted beans, but, am I really going to get anything from a Monolith Conical that I do not already get from the Niche. Guess this question is only to Monolith Conical owners

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Started doing some comparisons between my Niche and Monolith Flat with RedSpeed SSP burrs this morning. Main reason for purchasing the Monolith was curiosity. I had stepped up from a Mignon to th

I think it's extraordinary that people are comparing a £500 grinder with a Monolith flat costing 4x more. I think it shows what a good job Martin did with the Niche. Good quality grinding, affordable,

<pedant alert> You can subjectively compare anything you want to anything else..... Arguably it is more difficult to objectively compare two "different" things... Subjective compa

I’ve haven’t used a Niche but the Monolith conical is effortless. Similar to the clima pro you don’t really need to do any shot prep (I do though) you just get a big fluffy clump free mound ready to go. Plus the taste in the cup is awesome, brings everything out (even the light stuff).
I’ll bring mine up next time I’m in your neck of the woods and you can have a play.

DE1+, Monolith Conical, Osmio Zero. Stuff. Lots of stuff.

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15 minutes ago, mmmatron said:

I’ve haven’t used a Niche but the Monolith conical is effortless. Similar to the clima pro you don’t really need to do any shot prep (I do though) you just get a big fluffy clump free mound ready to go. Plus the taste in the cup is awesome, brings everything out (even the light stuff).
I’ll bring mine up next time I’m in your neck of the woods and you can have a play.

spoken like a true gentleman......LOL I have moved btw, but not far!

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Same dilemma here. I have a Niche and I prefer dark roasts. Happy with it (apart from the dosing cup which could be better). 

My feel is that the MC3 will be similar in terms of performance, but hopefully stronger, better built and more durable. If the coffee tastes marginally better, that's a bonus.

Anyway, to answer the question I decided to get a MC3 and find out. So I'll get back to you in about June :) when I get it delivered.....

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Good man......thats the spirit! I am not interested in a shoot off which claims one is better than the other. I have a Niche which single doses perfectly well.....so I doubt the workflow for the Monolith can be much better. What really interests me is taste, with the focus being on burr size. Even I can usually detect a difference between say 65mm flats and 83 mm but I do not think the conicals have the same taste experience just because they are slightly bigger

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No, apparently with conicals the size of the burrs doesn’t influence taste as much as with the flats, BUT the Niche runs at more than twice the speed as the MC3 so I guess any difference in taste might come from this 

Edited by Carlo
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1 hour ago, Carlo said:

No, apparently with conicals the size of the burrs doesn’t influence taste as much as with the flats, BUT the Niche runs at more than twice the speed as the MC3 so I guess any difference in taste might come from this 

Interesting, but would my taste buds be able to detect the difference?.......loking forward to a potential visit from a kind owner and that might solve the problem!

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No, apparently with conicals the size of the burrs doesn’t influence taste as much as with the flats, BUT the Niche runs at more than twice the speed as the MC3 so I guess any difference in taste might come from this 
Do you know the rpm speed of both? What is it? The Kony and Robur are 400+. The Ceado e92 is 270 or so i think.

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  • 3 months later...

Started doing some comparisons between my Niche and Monolith Flat with RedSpeed SSP burrs this morning.

Main reason for purchasing the Monolith was curiosity. I had stepped up from a Mignon to the Niche a couple of years ago and  thought it was night and day. I couldn't help wondering how hard the law of diminishing returns would hit by stepping up. As I wanted doserless, small footprint, and tend to prefer light-to-medium fruity coffees, Monolith Flat seemed to be the next logical step.

I had plugged in the Monolith earlier this week and did my morning coffee with it. Had Crankhouse El Paraiso anaerobic going on so that's what I used. It was my second bag of it, so think I knew it quite well. And my first bag was one of mild disappointment as I never seemed to be able to dial it in perfectly, always oscillating between slightly too bright (if not sour) and too muddled flavours depending on my extraction with the Niche.

First shot with Monolith was a huge mess. Gushing, channeling shot. Couple more tries and I felt I had nailed it, hitting the notes from the roasters, with no unpleasant flavour detectable. However there was a bit of a lingering taste that bothered me slightly. Tried going a tad coarser and wow!

Still thought I was imagining the improvement vs my memory of same bean through Niche, as we all tend to do with shiny new gear, especially when it's expensive. Pulled some shots this morning with my partner, who's quite fond of the Niche. Once both were dialed in to similar extraction levels (or "perceived" extraction levels, as I don't have a refractometer), she tasted both without knowing which was which and looked a bit annoyed. She liked the Monolith much more than the Niche... And indeed, Niche shot was good, but Monolith was close to perfection. All flavours coming through very vividly but with an overall sense of balance. Niche shot on its own was showing the same flavours but not as clearly, and with maybe very tiny off notes.

Tried again the comparison with darker roasted stuff (Caffe Lusso Gran Miscella, provided with the Monolith). Niche was much, much closer on this one, but we still gave the Monolith a slight edge, where once again, overall balance and "clarity" of taste was better. But not 4x better.

All in all, I'm impressed with the Monolith. Didn't think the incremental improvement over the Niche would be that large (and it's not fully seasoned yet). But that improvement is really perceptible on fruitier beans. Without doing a diret A/B comparison on the darker blend, I would not have been able to say that the Monolith was better.

Also did one V60 with Monolith, which was bang on, but further testing will be required.

I'll keep on comparing Niche vs Monolith, but so far the results seem quite clear. That said, I feel like maybe someone more experimented/skilled than me might be able to get to 90% of where the Monolith allows you to go with the Niche, while I'm stuck at maybe 60-75%. Is the price difference worth it? In my mind, yes, because I'm trying to get the best cup of coffee, but to be honest it's all a bit silly.

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You cannot really compare the taste from a flat to a conical......you might as well compare peeling potatoes with a knife and a wooden spoon! If you doubt me, put the same beans through and half decent flat grinder. 

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You cannot really compare the taste from a flat to a conical......you might as well compare peeling potatoes with a knife and a wooden spoon! If you doubt me, put the same beans through and half decent flat grinder. 

Except people spend £2k on a machine and pair it with... a wooden spoon.

All to their own of course. Your money your decisions.
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I know that's the consensus, indeed. But I only believe what I see (or taste, in that case!)

A more direct comparison would have been MC3 vs Niche, but my tastes drew me toward Flat. Still thought it was interesting to compare two popular single-dose grinders, especially on a darker-roasted bean.

I didn't comment on that, but it didn't seem like the mouthfeel was thinner on the Flat than on the Niche, and that was one of my worries with going to flat burrs.

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9 minutes ago, olivier said:

I know that's the consensus, indeed. But I only believe what I see (or taste, in that case!)

A more direct comparison would have been MC3 vs Niche, but my tastes drew me toward Flat. Still thought it was interesting to compare two popular single-dose grinders, especially on a darker-roasted bean.

I didn't comment on that, but it didn't seem like the mouthfeel was thinner on the Flat than on the Niche, and that was one of my worries with going to flat burrs.

You need to blind taste test for it to be honest ( if you aren’t already doing it )

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

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Just now, Mrboots2u said:

You need to blind taste test for it to be honest ( if you aren’t already doing it )

I didn't fully do it, as on first sips on each cup on knew which was which. But did blind after that to confirm that it was not pure imagination. My partner did it truly blind, and if anything she has a better nose/palate than mine, so I reckon it's not just confirmation bias.

To be clear, my opinion stated a few posts above shouldn't be taken as a definitive statement on the topic. It's just my coffee, my preparation skills, my machine, and my tastes! YMMV.

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1 hour ago, olivier said:

I know that's the consensus, indeed. But I only believe what I see (or taste, in that case!)

A more direct comparison would have been MC3 vs Niche, but my tastes drew me toward Flat. Still thought it was interesting to compare two popular single-dose grinders, especially on a darker-roasted bean.

I didn't comment on that, but it didn't seem like the mouthfeel was thinner on the Flat than on the Niche, and that was one of my worries with going to flat burrs.

Was a little confused by the differences you were noting until I read back and saw you were comparing a conical to a flat. 

It's very difficult to compare grinders anyway without being willing to throw a lot of coffee away. You'd need to try a variety of doses, brew ratios and grind settings. Of course two grinders using the same dose and ratio can be compared (you come to the conclusion that at x dose and x ratio with this coffee, grinder 1 is superior to grinder 2) but I question how useful that is as nobody makes coffee in such a rigid way.

A direct comparison would be Mazzer Kony vs Niche as it uses the same burr set but still the above would apply. Particle size analysis would be interesting.

 

ACS Minima (Beta) with Bianca Paddle -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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Posted (edited)

I think it's extraordinary that people are comparing a £500 grinder with a Monolith flat costing 4x more. I think it shows what a good job Martin did with the Niche. Good quality grinding, affordable, compact, easy to use, seemingly reliable and almost free of exchange (retention). 

Edited by DavecUK
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10 hours ago, PPapa said:


Except people spend £2k on a machine and pair it with... a wooden spoon.

All to their own of course. Your money your decisions.

I am not knocking the Monolith......you cannot compare a flat with a conical in any sort of test, other than to say you prefer the taste of one over the other

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8 hours ago, DavecUK said:

I think it's extraordinary that people are comparing a £500 grinder with a Monolith flat costing 4x more. I think it shows what a good job Martin did with the Niche. Good quality grinding, affordable, compact, easy to use, seemingly reliable and almost free of exchange (retention). 

Agreed, bur people throwing 2k plus into a grinder, naturally want it to be the best out there. That is fair enough. To compare a Monolith conical with a Niche would be closer, but tbh, if the Monlith did not win hands down, then the laws of nature are malfunctioning 

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I think it's extraordinary that people are comparing a £500 grinder with a Monolith flat costing 4x more. I think it shows what a good job Martin did with the Niche. Good quality grinding, affordable, compact, easy to use, seemingly reliable and almost free of exchange (retention). 

They are being compared, but they are not comparable. Otherwise, why would someone spend 4 times more for marginal gains if it did just as good job?
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Posted (edited)
9 minutes ago, PPapa said:


They are being compared, but they are not comparable. Otherwise, why would someone spend 4 times more for marginal gains if it did just as good job?

Just because one forum member decides to effect a comparison of an apple to a grapefruit does not set a logic or a bench mark

Edited by dfk41
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Have compared shots produced through a Niche with a big flat - results were interesting. Beans used included a pretty funky medium to light offering - think it may have been a natural? @Fez ?  Niche held up better than I expected but could not match the clarity the big flat produced or the sweetness. For what it is, Niche offers plenty if your preference is medium to darker roasts. As regards the pursuit of the God shot, it's surprising how much more you have to pay, grinder-wise, to see any marked difference in the cup. The relationship between incremental increases, taste-wise, and price of grinder is, like HiFi, logarithmic.

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Posted (edited)

Monolith Flat vs Niche = potatoes vs carrots.

12 hours ago, olivier said:

A more direct comparison would have been MC3 vs Niche

I don't agree here too. A real comparison should be MC3 vs a conical with the same speed. For people who don't believe that different rpms make a huge difference, please, try different rpms and see !

Edited by struttura.originaria
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13 hours ago, olivier said:

I didn't fully do it, as on first sips on each cup on knew which was which. But did blind after that to confirm that it was not pure imagination. My partner did it truly blind, and if anything she has a better nose/palate than mine, so I reckon it's not just confirmation bias.

To be clear, my opinion stated a few posts above shouldn't be taken as a definitive statement on the topic. It's just my coffee, my preparation skills, my machine, and my tastes! YMMV.

And your money .

glad you are enjoying your new purchase .

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

https://rjwinc.wordpress.com

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2 hours ago, PPapa said:


They are being compared, but they are not comparable. Otherwise, why would someone spend 4 times more for marginal gains if it did just as good job?

You could make the same argument about a number of things.

Golf clubs.

Cars.

Shoes.

Designer clothing vs high street.

Specific to coffee you've got:

VST and IMS baskets Vs stock baskets (approx £5 vs £25) Ditto for shower screens.
-------Then the various coatings of IMS vs 'Stock' IMS.

 A Torr 58.55 sharp edge titanium Vs a Motta 58.5, or Push 58.55 vs a Chinese clone.

An OCD vs a Chinese clone.

A set of Acaia scales Vs Felicita Vs Brewista Vs £10 jeweller scales.

Then you've got coffee machines themselves. Not multiples more expensive but an ECM Mechanica Slim Vs Expobar Office Leva HX or Minima or Mara X. A bit more extreme you've got La Marzocco LM to compares against any non-profiling DB E61 machine. Is the coffee from the LM superior?  

Why spend 4x more if they do a comparable job? Small improvements, that you can afford to pay for and are justified by the overall expense so far. When you spend over £1k on a machine it's logical to spend an extra £20 on a small improvement to the coffee, or even an extra £100 for a slightly better fitting tamper. To make these luxury items more appealing you've got the build quality and aesthetics to gain too. The Monolith isn't 4x more expensive because it produces a vastly superior grind, it's 4x more expensive because of the build quality, the commercial components, but the biggest factor is you're paying a guy to build it by hand in the USA. An antique table, handmade by a skilled carpenter with quality materials will be vastly more expensive than a table from Ikea, but they'll do the same job. The Monolith isn't just a grinder it's a centrepiece, a work of art (if you like it), and if you want, the last grinder you'll ever own. All of those things can't be quantified but still add value for people. The MC3 has bigger burrs (71mm vs 63mm) so you'd expect grind quality to be better but it's not down to the fact you've paid somebody to build it by hand. 

 

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ACS Minima (Beta) with Bianca Paddle -- Reskinned Ceado E8, Niche Zero --- Gene Cafe CBR101 with Dimmer Mod and Bean Mass Probe

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