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Niche - tell me it's worth it!


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Hi Everyone

I've had the email saying that the new pre-order window for the Niche is opening up today at 9am, so I'm now itching ready with my credit card.

BUT - I have had a bit of a think overnight and I am wondering if it is really going to be worth it for me.

I have a new specialita at the moment, using the 'tube and puffer' method to single dose through it and it's not half bad (to my taste). 

Workflow is a bit of a pain and slightly messy and it looks a bit odd on the counter (the ant powder puffer on top!!). 

So my rationale for thinking of a Niche is thus;

1) Improved workflow as it's designed for single dose

2) Looks better on the counter (ie keeps wife happier)

3) Actual cost to change won't be that great, as I can sell my specialita with remainder of 2yr BB warranty for quite a decent price I'm sure

4) Easier grind adjustment / visualisation of grind adjustment

All of the above a practical things, but one other question - will it actually improve my coffee flavour / extractions?

Has anyone gone from a specialita to a niche or had both?

Thanks

Will. 

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Not had an experience with top grinders, but I am assuming that at the higher end the differences become smaller and smaller (and they can also be in things other than cup quality). At some point the

Forgot no retention? I used to pick the MC2 after each grind, tilt it forward and bang it on the worktop/grind cup to try and get some of the ground out, then get the vacuum cleaner to the spout to ho

It will make you unique, just like the rest of us. 😉

My Niche is my go to Grinder over my Clima pro and any other grinder I have had.

SAGE IS NOT A UPGRADE

 

 

:)

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For what’s worth... Do it. You won’t regret it, specially if you have the money.

if you don’t like the Niche, you’ll be able to sell it for the price you paid. If you do, as you say you’ll be able to sell the Eureka.

there was a guy here who got the Niche recently and sold his Atom 75E in similar circumstances to yours. That tells me something.

will you get an improvement in taste? Quite likely. Single dosing the Mignon like this will not get the best flavours out because that grinder is designed to operate with beans on a hopper. The Niche on the other hand, is a single doser out of the box. That’s a enough reason for me to buy it, and, I think that, for this alone, you won’t regret your purchase. Never mind the rest (easy to keep clean, bigger burrs, consistency, etc, etc, etc).

 

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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1 hour ago, itguy said:

All of the above a practical things, but one other question - will it actually improve my coffee flavour / extractions?

Don't underestimate the 'practical' things. I thought I didn't mind a hopper grinder's workflow annoyances and only cared about the coffee it produced, until I got to experience that grinding coffee doesn't need to be such a pain. We get used to everything, but if you single dose, if you want to use more than one bean, if you want to use different brew methods or try cupping - the Niche is a joy to use. I would not want to go back. The NZ is popular for a reason, even with some people who came from a grinder which was capable of making better coffee. Practical is important.

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21 minutes ago, Doram said:

Practical is important

And, the same goes for hopper fed on demand: if single dose is not your thing, you are just happy to have the same beans every day and just change when the bag is over, and make four 18g coffees back to back, then a low retention hopper fed grinder might be a better option. 

for me, minuscule retention - call it “zero” for those who still complain and are “shocked” to clean the Niche and find grinds in the chamber, and when they meticulously clean everything, every surface and scrape it all so no traces are left, and then decide to weigh it to prove s point... just to be disappointed and find something close to 0.3g - is the deal breaker. I can’t stand wasting coffee (or bottled water), so the Niche for me cannot be beaten at that price point. The next level up in motorised single dosing is over 4x the cost of the Niche. 

for me, if I could have a hopper fed grinder with minuscule retention and exact dosing (Baratza Sette comes to mind), which was reliable, durable and quiet (Baratza Sette leaves mind) that would be my choice. I’d drop the beans for the day in the hopper and just grind away.

Edited by MediumRoastSteam

Current: Lelit Elizabeth / Niche Zero / VST baskets / Distilled water + 100mg NaCO3/L

Previous: Gaggia Classic | Eureka Mignon | Rocket Cellini Evo | Profitec 700 | Profitec T-64 | Gene Cafe CBR-101 | Kinu M68 | Feldgrind 2 | La Pavoni Europiccola 2012

Also at: CoffeeTime Forum & Niche Zero Owners Group

 

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1 hour ago, Doram said:

Don't underestimate the 'practical' things. I thought I didn't mind a hopper grinder's workflow annoyances and only cared about the coffee it produced, until I got to experience that grinding coffee doesn't need to be such a pain. We get used to everything, but if you single dose, if you want to use more than one bean, if you want to use different brew methods or try cupping - the Niche is a joy to use. I would not want to go back. The NZ is popular for a reason, even with some people who came from a grinder which was capable of making better coffee. Practical is important.

This ^^^^^^

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I also love the maintenance workflow, it's super easy to clean and the whole build is super simple. I really hated to spend the whole morning trying to disassemble my previous grinder and possibly damage it in the reassemble!

 

Pour over in morning, espresso in the afternoon just with a few clicks away!

 

Finally the NFC disk improvement gave me cleaner tastes!

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I have only had mine for about a month. I toyed with the ideal of getting one for about a year. The price I always felt was a bit high for what it appears to be.  The Mazzer Major I was using with a hopper was fine for my needs. Workflow was fairly quick as  I used a small hopper. I never bothered with single dosing as others in the family were using it also. Wondered was it being overly championed by a UK fanbois😀 and maybe it would turn out to be a BL Mini Metro!  It isn't it is just cleverly designed and thought out.

From the moment I turned it on I was sold. It is everything that has been posted on myriad threads here.  Very quiet, easy to adjust. No waste anymore and a joy to use if a tad slower because of having to measure out. Also suffers from static in the niche cup which is resolved with a stir of a cocktail stick.  For single home use it is perfect.  Like others who have posted here I will keep my Mazzer for the occasions when I need back to back coffees for visitors. Also I think it is worthwhile having the option to switch from flat to conical.  

 

 

 

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ACS Vesuvius, Mazzer Major Doserless, Niche Grinder, Genecafe, Push Tamper,Motta Leveller, Cheap scales

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Counterpoint - the only thing I care about is improvement in the cup and that's what has stopped me. The best I see is 'yes of course, but it's personal', or 'yes, hard to say how much though', or as MediumRoast Steam says above 'quite likely'. I'm probably going to get one out of boredom as I like to buy myself presents and am irresponsible with money (much to my girlfriend's chagrin), but also safe in the knowledge I'll be able to sell it on this forum within 4 minutes if need be!

Sage Barista Express.

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36 minutes ago, CocoLoco said:

Counterpoint - the only thing I care about is improvement in the cup and that's what has stopped me. The best I see is 'yes of course, but it's personal', or 'yes, hard to say how much though', or as MediumRoast Steam says above 'quite likely'. I'm probably going to get one out of boredom as I like to buy myself presents and am irresponsible with money (much to my girlfriend's chagrin), but also safe in the knowledge I'll be able to sell it on this forum within 4 minutes if need be!

It will make you unique, just like the rest of us. 😉

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1 hour ago, CocoLoco said:

Counterpoint - the only thing I care about is improvement in the cup and that's what has stopped me. The best I see is 'yes of course, but it's personal', or 'yes, hard to say how much though', or as MediumRoast Steam says above 'quite likely'. I'm probably going to get one out of boredom as I like to buy myself presents and am irresponsible with money (much to my girlfriend's chagrin), but also safe in the knowledge I'll be able to sell it on this forum within 4 minutes if need be!

Buy a monolith ...how can they be anything bout better at that price . 
Anyone who tells you if will definitely make a difference isn’t taking into the account we are all different , and experience things in different ways . There are no absolutes .

buy a niche for its functionality and work flow  and hopefully you’ll be surprised by its cup quality , or more likely you’ll keep it as it’s easy to use and makes good coffee ( not necessarily 30 percent Bette than the grinder you had ) .

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1 hour ago, CocoLoco said:

Counterpoint - the only thing I care about is improvement in the cup and that's what has stopped me. The best I see is 'yes of course, but it's personal', or 'yes, hard to say how much though', or as MediumRoast Steam says above 'quite likely'. 

There are no guarantees on this front, anywhere. It's not a real world reason for buying any grinder.

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

 

https://markwjburness.wordpress.com/

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1 minute ago, MWJB said:

There are no guarantees on this front, anywhere. It's not a real world reason for buying any grinder.

Wanting more out of a bean, isn't a reason to get a better grinder? No difference in taste between a £50/100 grinder and a £3000 one? That would be the main reason for most people I would think, before size, noise, workflow etc, certainly those on the 'way up' (as oppose to those that have gone £3k grinder and come back). 

All other factors being equal (and I appreciate that is it's own conversation), I think we have to concede there is a difference don't we? Am I missing some huge part of the puzzle? Whether one cares enough or is able to appreciate it is another story, but there must be a 'percentage difference' along the scale however hard that is to quantify. I just have find (like we all do), where price meets flavour return. For instance maybe £500 is too much for slightly better taste. Or I find yes, my regular bean tastes enough better and I'm happy with that outlay.

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Sage Barista Express.

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Wanting more out of a bean, isn't a reason to get a better grinder? No difference in taste between a £50/100 grinder and a £3000 one? That would be the main reason for most people I would think, before size, noise, workflow etc, certainly those on the 'way up' (as oppose to those that have gone £3k grinder and come back).  All other factors being equal (and I appreciate that is it's own conversation), I think we have to concede there is a difference don't we? Am I missing some huge part of the puzzle? Whether one cares enough or is able to appreciate it is another story, but there must be a 'percentage difference' along the scale however hard that is to quantify. I just have find (like we all do), where price meets flavour return. For instance maybe £500 is too much for slightly better taste. Or I find yes, my regular bean tastes enough better and I'm happy with that outlay.   

 

I think @MWJB may be referring to the fact that tastes and flavours are very subjective therefore there’s no guarantees that a more expensive grinder will mean a tastier cup for you.  Yes it ‘should’ give a more even grind therefore more consistent flavours and make dialling in easier. Look at the flat v conical threads to see that some people may prefer a certain burr type flavour profile even from a cheaper grinder.
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I did find that I had to play with the niche until the conical burrs resulted in a similar taste I used to have with the flat burrs. But, once that happened, I really had no reason to stick with the mazzer. As the niche was better for me in all the other areas. (Workflow, footprint, noise, multiple beans...same grinder, etc)


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3 minutes ago, CocoLoco said:

Wanting more out of a bean, isn't a reason to get a better grinder? No difference in taste between a £50/100 grinder and a £3000 one? That would be the main reason for most people I would think, before size, noise, workflow etc, certainly those on the 'way up' (as oppose to those that have gone £3k grinder and come back). 

All other factors being equal (and I appreciate that is it's own conversation), I think we have to concede there is a difference don't we? Am I missing some huge part of the puzzle? Whether one cares enough or is able to appreciate it is another story, but there must be a 'percentage difference' along the scale however hard that is to quantify. I just have find (like we all do), where price meets flavour return. For instance maybe £500 is too much for slightly better taste. Or I find yes, my regular bean tastes enough better and I'm happy with that outlay.

Let's put this in perspective. 

The grinder breaks up the beans. You decide the ratio & grind size. The bean/roast itself is the biggest factor in relative solubility for a given scenario (grinder/setting/ratio). So in terms of getting the most out of bean in an objective sense, you will get the highest tasty extraction from a grinder that has the finest grind, at a useable level of fines (so the extraction will be high, but the puck still permeable). There is no evidence that you need to spend £3000 to achieve this (Rao cites the Baratza Forte as being capable of this @ £1000-ish, others have suggested the Vario with Ditting burrs, there may be others), not all £3000 grinders will do it anyway, £3000 is a unit of currency not grind distribution. If you have £3000 to spend on a grinder, why are you even considering a Niche? Get some assurances from other people who have a range of £3000 grinders & can be objective about their pros & cons. You still need to dial in £3000 grinders, they still work by methodical adjustment, not magic or AI.

The highest achievable extractions do not taste good.

You can get tasty shots from £50-£100 grinders, but these will be lower extractions & maybe longer ratios (these will also be cheaper hand grinders & loads more faff). There is no study on EY vs taste preference encompassing a wide range of espresso grinders & grind distributions. 

Let's say you have a grinder with a wider distribution, shots will taste good at lower EY's and average EY will be lower, but you can still dial in in 'tasty'. If you know you want super high extractions at any cost, you're in the wrong thread.

Electric espresso grinders start at more like £250+ and re available at many price points between that and £3000. The leap of £50/100 to £3000 is Hoffmann-esque in its absudity (re. £50 burr grinder video).

If there is a "percentage difference" it shouldn't be hard to quantify, if it exists. It should only be hard to quantify if it is dubious.

If you want your coffee to to taste better, buy less coffee on hunches & buy more of the origins & roasters that you know you enjoy. Buy a Niche (or any other grinder) because you like the look of it & it's workflow suits you. Then focus on getting the best out of it.

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Good post, thanks. To me it pushes me in the don't bother upgrading yet direction if I'm reading you right.

I don't have £3k to spend on a grinder, I was using that as a scale that all other things being equal, you're going to get more out of a £3k ground shot than a £50 one. I know it's a ridiculous spectrum but it was an attempt to question when you said improvement in the cup was not a real world reason for upgrading. I'm not saying you can't get tasty shots out of a £100 grinder - I am with a BE grinder!

It may be best described as more expensive grinders have a 'higher ceiling' so you can be more precise and 'get more out of bean'.

5 hours ago, MWJB said:

If there is a "percentage difference" it shouldn't be hard to quantify, if it exists. It should only be hard to quantify if it is dubious.

Again, leads me to believe there's a bit of 'Emperor's new clothes' about this stuff, as so often it seems hard to quantify. That may be a mis-reading of the forum attitudes on my part, coupled the fact it's quite complex and taste is just one factor, maybe not the main one as you suggest.

5 hours ago, MWJB said:

If you want your coffee to to taste better, buy less coffee on hunches & buy more of the origins & roasters that you know you enjoy.

That sounds like excellent advice to those on the fence about upgrading. Take out the variance (which I force every week), specialise beans and get what you have working as well as possible.

Edited by CocoLoco
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Sage Barista Express.

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42 minutes ago, CocoLoco said:

Good post, thanks. To me it pushes me in the don't bother upgrading yet direction if I'm reading you right.

I don't have £3k to spend on a grinder, I was using that as a scale that all other things being equal, you're going to get more out of a £3k ground shot than a £50 one. I know it's a ridiculous spectrum but it was an attempt to question when you said improvement in the cup was not a real world reason for upgrading. I'm not saying you can't get tasty shots out of a £100 grinder - I am with a BE grinder!

It may be best described as more expensive grinders have a 'higher ceiling' so you can be more precise and 'get more out of bean'.

Again, leads me to believe there's a bit of 'Emperor's new clothes' about this stuff, as so often it seems hard to quantify. That may be a mis-reading of the forum attitudes on my part, coupled the fact it's quite complex and taste is just one factor, maybe not the main one as you suggest.

That sounds like excellent advice to those on the fence about upgrading. Take out the variance (which I force every week), specialise beans and get what you have working as well as possible.

It’s hard to quantify coz not all Baristas are equal and people like different things, perceive taste differently  and have have different preferences .

if people, tell you they think grinder a is an improvement over grinder b in the cup , doesn’t mean they are wrong or it’s emperors new clothes effect  , it just means there is no Guarantee you will have the same experience or opinion as them ,

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1 hour ago, CocoLoco said:

I don't have £3k to spend on a grinder, I was using that as a scale that all other things being equal, you're going to get more out of a £3k ground shot than a £50 one. I know it's a ridiculous spectrum but it was an attempt to question when you said improvement in the cup was not a real world reason for upgrading. I'm not saying you can't get tasty shots out of a £100 grinder - I am with a BE grinder!

Not had an experience with top grinders, but I am assuming that at the higher end the differences become smaller and smaller (and they can also be in things other than cup quality). At some point the curve will flatten, and spending more and more money will not directly result in better and better cup quality. Grinders are tools. At the lower end there are 'toys', that can't really do the job properly. But once you are in the 'proper tool' range, spending more and more on better tools will not endlessly improve the output (especially if one neglects the other aspects of the craft and expects the money to replace skill).

If we think about another field, say music, if your use a toy instrument, obviously it will limit you. But once you are in the proper instrument range, it becomes much more important to improve skill. Buying really expensive instruments will not make a difference unless it's in the hands of the top musicians, who know what to do with them. When you don't get the results you want, it is sometimes easier to assume all you need is more expensive equipment, but the equipment is not always the answer or the weakest link. (I don't know anything about music, and very little about grinders, so maybe I am completely wrong about both, lol).  

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