HomeRoast Digest


Topic: advice on grinders (32 msgs / 784 lines)
1) From: Sue Stevenson
Hi, 
I'm in the market for a grinder. The only one I have right now is a whirly blade one.  Any suggestions? I do have an old Kitchen Aid but it looks like the burrs are really worn out (of course, I don't really know because I've never seen a new one). The grind is very coarse and uneven. Can these parts can be replaced and is it  even worth trying to fix? I don't know how good of grinder it would be even if it were fixed. Sue

2) From: Peter Barnes
You will get many, many opinions on this subject, but it would be 
helpful to know what you intend to use the grinder for (sounds like 
espresso is not part of the deal).  Personally, I wouldn't settle for 
anything less than SM's Zassenhaus grinders, or, if you don't want to 
grind by hand, the Solis Maestro Plus (but only if you aren't planning 
on using it for espresso).  But save yourself the torture and get an 
Anfim, Rocky, or Mazzer Mini so you never have to ask this question again.
cheers
peter
Sue Stevenson wrote:
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3) From: DEchelbarg
Sue wrote:  I'm in the market for a grinder. The only one I have right now is 
a whirly blade one.  Any suggestions? I do have an old Kitchen Aid but it 
looks like the burrs are really worn out (of course, I don't really know because 
I've never seen a new one). The grind is very coarse and uneven. Can these 
parts can be replaced and is it even worth trying to fix? I don't know how good 
of grinder it would be even if it were fixed. 
I recently bought a Solis Maestro Plus and was amazed at the improvement over 
a blade grinder.  Some folks have had trouble with these, but for me it has 
worked wonderfully.  Very consistent -- one of the biggest things you can do to 
improve coffee in my opinion.

4) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
As far as I can tell replacement burrs for the KitchenAid A-9 - early 
model - are not available.  Your description sure sounds like dull 
burrs.  There is a guy who sells restored ones on eBay and he does not =
replace the burrs, says they don't need to be replaced.  If you can 
open it up and get the dimensions of the burrs, you might be able to 
find some that will fit.  You may have to drill new holes and thread 
them for the mounting screws.
Jim Gundlach
On Mar 23, 2004, at 8:14 PM, Sue Stevenson wrote:
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5) From: Ralph Cohen
On Tue, 23 Mar 2004 22:09:38 EST, DEchelbarg wrote:
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I have to agree.  I moved from a whirly-blade grinder to a Solis burr
grinder 4-5 years ago and have been enjoying great drip and press
coffee ever since.  I got my grinder about a month before I started
home roasting and the improvement in flavor with the store bought beans
I had used for years was immediately apparent.
Ralph Cohen

6) From: Lesley Albjerg
This is a complex question.  What type or types of coffee are you grinding for?  If you are doing strictly espresso, I think the Rocky is a great buy.  I do many grinds, so I bought a Mazzar after looking real hard and checking out  many grinders.  I was upset that my Solis Maestro died after about a year with no easy way to replace worn out parts.  One thing I really love about the Mazzar is you can replace any part on them.  If I were buying a new one I would go with the Minni, even though I really like my Super Jolly.  Do you want to spend $300 plus in the next two years on replacing grinders that wear out and have to be tossed, or do you want to spend $250.00 plus for a grinder that will last for years and years, with an occasional burr replacement?  I am sure others will have a different opinion.
 
Les
Sue Stevenson  wrote:
Hi, 
I'm in the market for a grinder. The only one I have right now is a whirly blade one.  Any suggestions? I do have an old Kitchen Aid but it looks like the burrs are really worn out (of course, I don't really know because I've never seen a new one). The grind is very coarse and uneven. Can these parts can be replaced and is it  even worth trying to fix? I don't know how good of grinder it would be even if it were fixed. Sue
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Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time.

7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Agree 100% with Peter. Solis Maestro fine grinder if not used for finer
espresso or Turkish grinding. After purchasing three "upgrade" grinders in a
year, the second one a Maestro that espresso grinding wore the burrs out in
a few months, the third was a Rocky. After over a years use still very happy
with Rocky. Great for all grinds. (maybe not as good as a MM, not as finely
adjustable for espresso, but I haven't compared them head to head and "get
by" very well with Rocky:-)
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

8) From: miKe mcKoffee

9) From: Lesley Albjerg
Mike,
 
It is just a personal opinion.  I have not owned a Rocky, but the one I used seemed like it might not adjust back to the same point as easy as a Mazzar.  I also liked all the steel parts found in the Mazzar, and it seems to me the burrs are tougher in the Mazzar and can stand the abuse of adjusting the grind more often.  I have no real problem with the Rocky, and it would have been my second choice.  I also like not having the clicks, but infinite adjustment.  Grind hang is a problem with all grinders I think.  Like I said before, we all have our opinions.
 
Les
miKe mcKoffee  wrote:

10) From: Ben Treichel
DEchelbarg wrote:
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only when you use them to grind espresso. Then they don't hold up.
<Snip>

11) From: Mike Gallant
	I have to agree with Mike on this one. I used a Rocky for 3 =
years, and 
now have been using a MM for the past 8 months or so. I think the lack =
of infinite adjustability actually makes the Rocky easier to use when 
switching between espresso and other grinding chores - the detents make =
it very easy to go right back to exactly where you were grinding before =
the change (that being said, I prefer the infinite adjustment of the MM =
for espresso)  As for durability, IIRC all the important bits of Rocky =
(ie. burrs, burr carrier, etc) are solid brass/steel. The MM feels more =
solid, but I think you would be hard-pressed to wear out a Rocky in 
normal non-commercial use, no matter how often you changed the grind 
settings.
	Just another personal opinion - I don't own stock in either =
Rancilio 
or Mazzer. :-)
-mike
On Mar 24, 2004, at 7:10 AM, Lesley Albjerg wrote:
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like 
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for
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12) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
To continue the agreement, I agree with Mike and Mike.  Having used a 
Rocky until I lucked on a good buy on a Mazzer Major, It is quite 
capable of grinding for multiple uses.  However, the Mazzers can sure 
make one into a Mazzer snob rather quickly.  There is a real 
satisfaction in making that final adjustment of about 2/3's of a notch 
to tune the ideal size shot from 20 seconds to 23 seconds.
Jim Gundlach
On Mar 24, 2004, at 11:09 PM, Mike Gallant wrote:
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13) From: Lesley Albjerg
Let us just say that Mazzers and the Rocky are great grinders!  It is a matter of personal preference.  However, Jim you are the one that lead me to become a Mazzar snob :>).
And for that I must say a big THANKS.
 
Les
Pecan Jim Gundlach  wrote:
To continue the agreement, I agree with Mike and Mike. Having used a 
Rocky until I lucked on a good buy on a Mazzer Major, It is quite 
capable of grinding for multiple uses. However, the Mazzers can sure 
make one into a Mazzer snob rather quickly. There is a real 
satisfaction in making that final adjustment of about 2/3's of a notch 
to tune the ideal size shot from 20 seconds to 23 seconds.
Jim Gundlach
On Mar 24, 2004, at 11:09 PM, Mike Gallant wrote:
<Snip>---------------------------------
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Yahoo! Finance Tax Center - File online. File on time.

14) From: Tom Ulmer
Anyone out there ever have experience with the KitchenAid pro series
grinder?

15) From: Bob
Tom,
We've been using the model A-9 for the past couple of months, is this the one
you're referring to?
Bob

16) From: Gene Smith
And now for a heterodox viewpoint...  While I doubt neither the sincerity or
the accuracy of the advice given, the fact remains that there are those of
us for whom several hundred dollars for a grinder remains out of the
question, and who aren't ready or willing to grind by hand.
For those of us with budgetary constraints, cruising the resale shops
remains a viable option. (I can't believe I'm having to say this on a list
that sounds like an ad for the excitement of shopping at Goodwill about half
the time)  What made me think of it was finding a barely used Capresso burr
grinder about an hour ago, for which I paid the princely sum of $15.00 (plus
the usual confiscatory tax, of course).
Now, if you have just spent the price of a motorcycle on your brand new
Rockettoni, then the Capresso - at any price - would be a silly choice.  But
for me it's a step up from my Krups Mr. Fusion - mainly because the Capresso
has burrs that easily remove for cleaning.  For a cheap appliance, it's also
a pretty sassy looking addition to my countertop coffeeshop.
For beginners & po' boys like me, cruising the thrift shops is worth a shot.
Gene Smith
riding the wild learning curve, in Houston

17) From: Brian Kamnetz
Gene,
I too have a Capresso burr grinder. You may find that it is hard to keep 
clean. I clean it most every time I use it, by removing the burrs, then 
using a can of compressed air (with the long tube stuck into the nozzle) to 
blow out the area between the bottom of the grinding mechanism and the hole 
where the ground coffee is blown out. Works pretty good, and a can of air 
doesn't cost much and lasts a very long time. Use the cheap air, for 
keyboards, etc, not the expensive air intended for cameras and other 
delicate equipment.
brian
At 01:28 PM 3/25/2004 -0600, you wrote:
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18) From: miKe mcKoffee
Good luck with your Capresso. I bought a new Capresso 551 about 3 years ago,
used it 1 or 2 days and "bit the $ bullet" and ordered a Solis Maestro. I
hated the 551 and more importantly Debi hated it, loud and terribly static
prone. While waiting for the Maestro we went back and used our about 8yr old
Braun $20ish worn out burr grinder that was better the the Capresso IMO,
then used the Solis Maestro for almost a year before giving up on the it's
worn out dull shot burrs and springing for a SS Rocky.
$15 for a used sub $100 grinder, fine. You usually get what you pay for.
Just don't waste your money on them new... The Zass grinders do a good even
grind and are actually fairly fast grinding (except the smaller burred
Turkish) and are the best solution until willing/able to spend $200+ on a
decent electric. At the barest minium if not being used for espresso for
finer grinding the Solis. As always, YMMV and all IMO.
My most important piece of equipment for even extraction, any brewing
method, is a good even grind.
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer etc.http://mdmint.home.comcast.net/coffee/Rosto_mod.htm

19) From: Tom Ulmer
Congratulations on your new acquisition. My Capresso burr grinder has served
me well for several years. While it still functions quite well (despite my
less than gentle method of cleaning it by inverting and giving it a solid
knock on the bottom side), I am finding myself in a position of trying to
locate a grinder that operates at many decibel levels lower. I am not averse
to manual grinding but there are those in my household who find this
behavior abhorrent. It seems to me the only way to quiet the electric
grinder down is to equip them with a more powerful motor and encase it in
solid metal.
Has anyone else has been down a similar path?

20) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
Gene,
Just to add that we make the recommendations out of experience.  It 
took me three or four years to finally move up to a decent grinder 
because I felt that a few hundred dollars for a grinder was beyond 
reach/reason.  However, during those years I went through eight to ten 
unsatisfactory dust producing excuses of a grinder.  I finally got a 
Zass and discovered what a difference a good grinder makes.  I then 
realized that the cost of all those excuses was more than what a Rocky 
cost, so I saved up and bought one.  Soon after I got the Rocky I found 
a chance to get a Mazzer Major for about $65 and thought it was worth 
the chance even if it looked rather rough.  Probably the best buy I 
ever made.
Remember that you are throwing away much of the potential good taste in 
the coffee as long as you stick with the cheapo's.
This whole discussion reminds me of how youth is wasted on the young.
Jim Gundlach
On Mar 25, 2004, at 1:28 PM, Gene Smith wrote:
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21) From: Brian Hyde
Hey old man I have listened!  I got the Giotto and the Mazzer right 
away.  =)   And I don't regret a second of it...
Pecan Jim Gundlach wrote:
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22) From: Ed Needham
There is no reason that an inexpensive burr grinder can't handle drip or
press pot brew.  Sure, a grinder with better designed burrs will achieve a
better grind, but most could not tell the difference in the cup.  I took a
$30 Salton grinder on vacation last week, and it did just fine with my Chemex
manual pourover drip.  As good as my La Pavoni ZIP grinder?  No.  Good
enough?  Sure.
Here's where the differences occur.
1- The cheaper grinders use a cast grinding burr, made of softer metal.  The
burr will have much less precision, and they will wear out faster.  Resulting
grind will also have less precision, making some chunks and some powder.
2- The cheaper grinders will have a smaller diameter grinding burr.
3- The cheaper grinders will make quite a bit more noise.
4- The cheaper grinders will be made of lighter weight, mostly plastic parts,
and won't be as durable.
For most people, the $20-$30 burr grinder from Wal-Mart or similar mega store
will suffice.  Espresso users will definitely need a higher level grinder
though.  I have a $600 commercial grinder, and the Mazzer Mini seems like it
is built with a similar level of quality.  The motor in the Mazzer Mini runs
totally quiet.  There is literally no sound (OK, a bit, but not much) when it
is not grinding.  The grinding controls are precision and allow infinite
adjustment. That is critical for great espresso, but not so important for
drip or press.  Overall, the Mazzer (or something with similar grind quality)
should be in anyone's kitchen who considers themselves a coffee aficionado.
The grind does make a difference at higher levels of coffee criticism.
***********************************************
Ed Needham
To Absurdity and Beyond!
"Nunc Aut Nunquam"
homeroaster ... d.o.t ... com
***********************************************

23) From: Sue Stevenson
All of your input is really appreciated. I have been so tempted to purchase some other coffee brewing equipment and an espresso machine before getting a good grinder. I now know how important the grinder is and will be getting that first.  I'll let you know what I end up getting! Sue

24) From: petzul
Hi Sue,
Just reading my email today, and I had to add something. We started with 
a whirly grinder, and upgraded to inexpensive burr mills. These were not 
fun because we were constantly chasing grinds around the kitchen. Static 
electricity was a big problem. Thought about a Rocky, and buying a big 
expensive grinder for cheap off of ebay. Finally decided a Mazzer Mini 
was the best bet. It works just swell!!! :)
No static problem, the grind goes where it is supposed to go, and it is 
very consistent. I leave it set in one spot for anything from drip to 
press pot, and make it finer for espresso. Very nice grinder. If you 
want a grinder that you can taste the difference with, and will last a 
very long time, I recommend it highly.
PeterZ
Just my .02, from here in LHC
Sue Stevenson wrote:
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25) From: petzul
Congratulations on your new grinder Gene!!!! :)
Honestly, I much prefer to buy things in thrift shops when things are 
available, but I just got too frustrated looking for a good used grinder 
  so I bit the bullet and got a new MM.
  'Spensive, sure, but no regrets. (Although my wife still says she 
can't tell the difference, alas.)
The Estro Vapore for $5.00 is the best deal I could come up with at a 
thrift store so far, but I am not giving up.
PeterZ
Just breaking in to the espresso world, here in LHC.
Gene Smith wrote:
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26) From: Sue Stevenson
OOps, I forgot, it says RR4590 as the model on the Nuova Simonelli. He bought a little shop and that came with it. Sue

27) From: Pecan Jim Gundlach
On May 8, 2004, at 2:44 PM, Sue Stevenson wrote:
<Snip>
I can't find anything for that exact model.  Can you get the basic 
specs, watts, weight, and burr diameter?  If it came out of a shop, it 
could be in need of new burrs.  Try a sample grind, if it needs burrs 
you will find dust among the grinds.
         Jim Gundlach

28) From: David Lewis
At 12:44 PM -0700 5/8/04, Sue Stevenson wrote:
<Snip>
I think it's the MDX, which as I recall is a fairly decent commercial 
grinder. I think it's stepless. At worst, you might have to clean it 
up and put a set of burrs into it, which will cost you about $50. 
It's around $750 new, and used ones seem to go for about $250, so I'd 
say it was a pretty decent deal.
Best,
	David
-- 
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by 
men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis Brandeis

29) From: Sue Stevenson
Thanks David and Jim,
 I think it is the MDX. I called my friend.  It measures about 22" to the top of the hopper (14 without), about 101/2 deep, and 7 wide. It's black with a smoke colored hopper and a doser with a counter. The only thing on the label was MOD RR45, 110/60 and Nuova Simonelli. It looks like the MDX I saw on the NS web site, except for color. Dont know about the burr size, and  he didn't have a scale with him. He did say they ran it once before putting it away and it seemed to work well, although he's not a coffee person. It was in a deli that tried to serve coffee as well. Apparently they didn't do either very well because they had to close! 
 
David - I was wondering about the Grinta grinders. They look nice, sized a little nicer for home use, and the price was a bit easier than alot of the others, like the MM! What didn't you like?
 
Thanks again, Sue
At 12:44 PM -0700 5/8/04, Sue Stevenson wrote:
<Snip>
I think it's the MDX, which as I recall is a fairly decent commercial 
grinder. I think it's stepless. At worst, you might have to clean it 
up and put a set of burrs into it, which will cost you about $50. 
It's around $750 new, and used ones seem to go for about $250, so I'd 
say it was a pretty decent deal.
Best,
David
-- 
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by 
men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis Brandeis

30) From: Mark
Sue,
I've had simonelli grinders in my shops since the beginning (4 years 
ago). also have a couple of Mazzers now as primary grinders (3 grinders 
in each store, 1 for milk-based espresso drinks, 1 for straight shots 
and americanos etc., i.e. ristretto shots with a different espresso 
blend, and 1 for decaf). The model # you mention doesn't fit with my 
understanding of the model names - which may be more a function of the 
funky label than anything else. FWIW, we use the MDX grinders. My sense 
is that the smaller ones (the MCF and MCI) are pretty solid as well - 
they don't make sense for a retail shop as they are nearly as pricey as 
the MDX model, but I think they are okay. Don't know about the "grinta". 
Are Simonelli's as good as a mazzer? Well, of course not. Depends on 
what you mean by good though. Not as fast etc. But I've got 4 of them 
and they've been running alot for 4 years with no significant problems 
except burr changes (and a couple of other part replacements). My 
opinion is, given the prices on eBay for grinders, if you can get a 
commercial machine for home at a good price that works, you could 
probably do a lot worse than the simonelli. I have a Gaggia at home that 
is not a Rocky, but a darn solid machine. Worse case scenario, you can 
sell it and upgrade, as it is probably of more value (i.e. higher 
demand) than your blizzard machine... again, assuming it's an MDX.
mark
OOps, I forgot, it says RR4590 as the model on the Nuova Simonelli. He 
bought a little shop and that came with it. Sue
<Snip>

31) From: David Lewis
At 8:11 PM -0700 5/8/04, Sue Stevenson wrote:
<Snip>
The RR45 is a Rossi designation; NS must re-badge them. The have 
quite a good reputation, although they're reputed to be noisier than 
the Mazzers.
<Snip>
Hi Sue,
First, the Grinta isn't in the same class as the Mazzer as far as 
build quality; much of what I did was to bring them closer. As 
delivered, the Grinta is a stepped grinder, and the steps are both 
larger than a Rocky's, which are already too large for an espresso 
grinder in my opinion, and don't match the markings on the shell, 
which makes them confusing to use. It also has two ledges in the 
chute from hopper to burrs, on which beans hang up. There's also 
rather too much play between the burr carrier and the housing, so 
that a grind isn't very repeatable when you adjust to it from high 
and low directions. The ledge was easy to fix with a cut-off plastic 
funnel set into the chute, but the second required adding three tubes 
that carried spring-loaded wooden plungers. These in turn pressed up 
on the burr carrier, taking out the play in the threads and adding 
enough friction to run it stepless. Now, I like the grinder, but if 
you're not a tinkerer, I'd go for the MDX and clean it up.
Best,
	David
-- 
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by 
men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis Brandeis

32) From: Sue Stevenson
Thanks, I will make the trade. I can always try to sell it if it doesn't work out. It sure has to be better than what I have (millions of times better), a whirly blade!  I'm not a tinkerer at all. I don't get it, and I don't have the time. I can barely find the time to roast (I only have the FR+), next I need a larger capacity roaster! I wish I could get a HT, but for now it's way out of my reach! Thanks again!! I'll let you know how my grinding goes! Sue
David Lewis  wrote:At 8:11 PM -0700 5/8/04, Sue Stevenson wrote:
<Snip>
The RR45 is a Rossi designation; NS must re-badge them. The have 
quite a good reputation, although they're reputed to be noisier than 
the Mazzers.
<Snip>
Hi Sue,
First, the Grinta isn't in the same class as the Mazzer as far as 
build quality; much of what I did was to bring them closer. As 
delivered, the Grinta is a stepped grinder, and the steps are both 
larger than a Rocky's, which are already too large for an espresso 
grinder in my opinion, and don't match the markings on the shell, 
which makes them confusing to use. It also has two ledges in the 
chute from hopper to burrs, on which beans hang up. There's also 
rather too much play between the burr carrier and the housing, so 
that a grind isn't very repeatable when you adjust to it from high 
and low directions. The ledge was easy to fix with a cut-off plastic 
funnel set into the chute, but the second required adding three tubes 
that carried spring-loaded wooden plungers. These in turn pressed up 
on the burr carrier, taking out the play in the threads and adding 
enough friction to run it stepless. Now, I like the grinder, but if 
you're not a tinkerer, I'd go for the MDX and clean it up.
Best,
David
-- 
"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by 
men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
Justice Louis Brandeis


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