HomeRoast Digest


Topic: The Great Grind-off! (25 msgs / 673 lines)
1) From: Derek Bradford
Well, the results are in.  I spent some time this weekend comparing my
Zassenhaus with my Maximo grinder, and comparing various ways of using the
Zassenhaus.  The results are on my website, which you can see directly by
going here:http://uglyroast.atspace.com/grindoff.htmlThe lowdown on the results: The Maximo beats the Zassenhaus (a new model),
and the motorized Zass beats hand cranking.  Stablized  cranking is better
than knee cranking.
I also posted pics of my burrs.
Enjoy!
Cheers,
--Derek
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

2) From: Brett Mason
...So I took apart my Beechweed Zassenhaus 499 because I had to do a
comparison...  My burrs are not trashed such as the ones you
portrayed.  Neither are my burrs perfect, there are a couple cuts that
look nicked.
...So how is the Maximo after 6 months of use?  What do the burrs look
like?  We certainly want to see those too...
...I believe you are correct about the QC at Zass seems to be going down...
All for a perfect cup!
Brett
  ZASSMAN still...
On 1/22/06, Derek Bradford  wrote:
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Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

3) From: Ed Quesada
Great Stuff Derek,
I do not own either, I am just a coffee drinker, but great comparison, I 
am sure there will be lots of feedback. The Maximo looks identical or is 
it just me to the La Pavoni grinder.
Regards,
Ed
Derek Bradford wrote:
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4) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/23/06, Brett Mason  wrote:
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I've only had the Maximo for about a month, and getting at the burrs is no
small feat.  Perhaps in the next couple weeks I'll look into disassembling
it, but for now I'm just too busy. I regretted not making the comparison
when I did the grinder thing though.  Not good science.
I'm also building a new roaster right now, and that should be finished next
weekend.  It's gonna be cool. :)
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

5) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/23/06, Ed Quesada  wrote:
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It's a rebadged PGC, you're right.  It's just 80 dollars cheaper.
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

6) From: Sandy Andina
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I have the PGB (fake brass finish). It was $80 when Zabar's  
introduced it. I find it is quite static-y when grinding into the PF,  
and the plastic base warped when I had it a tad too close to the  
stove--causing the catch bin to slide on off off-center, sometimes  
triggering the direct-to-PF grind switch lever accidentally (I  
generally kept the bin in place and used the rocker switch on the  
side). However, grind quality was good (though speed was slow), and  
the stepless adjustment was even more convenient than the one on my  
Mazzer Mini.
On Jan 22, 2006, at 11:15 AM, Derek Bradford wrote:
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Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com
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I have the PGB (fake brass =
finish). It was $80 when Zabar's introduced it. I find it is quite =
static-y when grinding into the PF, and the plastic base warped when I =
had it a tad too close to the stove--causing the catch bin to slide on =
off off-center, sometimes triggering the direct-to-PF grind switch lever =
accidentally (I generally kept the bin in place and used the rocker =
switch on the side). However, grind quality was good (though speed was =
slow), and the stepless adjustment was even more convenient than the one =
on my Mazzer Mini.
On Jan 22, 2006, at 11:15 AM, Derek =
Bradford wrote:
On 1/23/06, Ed Quesada = <equesada> = wrote: Great Stuff = Derek, I do not own either, I am just a coffee drinker, but great = comparison, I am sure there will be lots of feedback. The Maximo = looks identical or is it just me to the La Pavoni = grinder. It's a rebadged PGC, you're right.  = It's just 80 dollars cheaper.    -- The Uglyroast = 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly! http://uglyroast.atspace.com= Sandy = Andinawww.sandyandina.com = --Apple-Mail-10-726811220--

7) From: Brian Kamnetz
After a brief search, I see that La Pavoni PG Burr Coffee Grinder
is listed for around $200 and the Maximo for about $120. In many
grinder recommendations on this list I don't recall seeing many, if
any, recommendations for grinders in the range between the Solis
Maestro Plus Mill ($150) and the Rancilio Rocky at $280-300.
The veterans on this list seem to have a pretty good grip on these
grinders; any chance you can help some of the rest of us understand
the levels of utility represented by the sub-Rocky grinders?
Thanks,
Brian
On 1/22/06, Derek Bradford  wrote:
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8) From: Brett Mason
Pictures man, pictures....
Don't take apart the grinder unless quality starts to diminish, and
you get to not using it.  Then DISECT the thing, and share, share,
share!
All for the perfect cup!
Brett
  Zassman (old used off eBay) still!
On 1/22/06, Derek Bradford  wrote:
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--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

9) From: Brett Mason
I LOVE my Zass.
But for espresso, I use my Rocky (doserless - cause I like getting
grounds sprayed across the counter and onto the tile floor) for
espresso, and it is incredibly adept at very fine consistent grind. 
This quality is necessary if you are working to get exactly a 25
second shot before blonding on a good pump machine.
I hate one thing about my Rocky - it takes 3 hands to adjust fine for
espresso following the setting for drip.  I DO HAVE 7 KIDS, so I can
get another set of hands.  I just don't like that one item.
I love my Zass, and the "dust" I hear about is not prevalent like I
find with a CHEAP $20-50 burr grinder (did those too).  I have bought
6 Zasses along the way, all used, all older, and all wonderful
quality.
Any Zass completely outperforms any cheap grinder.
Brett
  That's why they call me Zassman
    (at least whent hey bother to call)
On 1/22/06, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
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, I
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ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>
--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

10) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/23/06, Brian Kamnetz  wrote:
<Snip>
That's 'cause there aren't many.
The veterans on this list seem to have a pretty good grip on these
<Snip>
That's a big question.  Here's what I'll initially throw out: The Maximo
will grind more than sufficiently for espresso on my Europiccola.  It is
loud, not particularly fast when compared with commercial grinders, and
clumps.  The clumps are manageable with careful dosing, and the slow
grinding (20 seconds per double) aren't really that bad.  There are people
on Coffeegeek who advocate the PGC/Maximo for espresso as well.  I trust
their judgement, and my experience tells me they're quite right.
Why did I buy a Maximo?  It wasn't my first choice.  It wasn't even close.
I have the money set aside for, and will buy immediately upon my return to
Canada, a Mazzer Mini Electronic Doserless.  However, living in Seoul,
buying a "proper" grinder means spending literally twice the price of the
grinder.  That, to me, is unacceptable, and the Maximo will suit until I ge=
t
home.
For the casual home drinker (a shot or two a day), or for a non-espresso
drinker, the grinder is quite fine.  I don't know how it will hold up over
the years, but for the price, it's a fine grinder.  As a coffeegeek, as
someone constantly striving for better coffee, I can say that it has solved
my grinding problems for now.
How's that?
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

11) From: Brett Mason
Or should I say the grounds TUMBLE onto the floor - they don't fall
uniformly into the portafilter... alas what a doser might do... 
except the doser doesn't get rid of all the older rancid grinds...
Brett
   Zassman
I do like Rocky, the movie....
On 1/22/06, Brett Mason  wrote:
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on, I
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or is
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scribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>
--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

12) From: Brian Kamnetz
Derek,
Thanks for your thoughtful discussion of grinders and their respective
characteristics.
Brian
On 1/22/06, Derek Bradford  wrote:
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13) From: Sandy Andina
With my Rocky DL, the downside is that before the PF fills, the  
grounds begin to dribble over my wrist and on to the counter.  I've  
tried dosing into a ramekin, but that's a messy extra step that  
doesn't offer much of an advantage.  I compromise by grinding to just  
before the dribble starts, then shaking and knocking the PF to level  
the grounds, and then resuming.
On Jan 22, 2006, at 11:47 AM, Brett Mason wrote:
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Sandy Andina
www.sandyandina.com

14) From: Geary Lyons
<Snip>
At $200, the Baratza Virtuoso definitely fills the void between the SMP and
a Rocky. I have only had mine a few weeks, but it is a quality grinder.  The
improvements over the SMP are substantial and obvious - stronger, quieter
motor; bigger, better burrs; better, more solid burr carrier and minimal
static problems.
Ergonomically, IMO, it easier to use than most of the "pedigreed" grinders:
straight drop into the grinds bind, smaller footprint and easier to clean.
No "futzing" around chasing down those stray, lingering grounds.  Yes, it
works very well for espresso, even with Miss Sylvia, but one must call
Baratza and get the directions to zero set the burrs. (A 5 minute, at most,
task.)
Will the Virtuoso burrs last as long as Rocky and group? Don't know yet.
Will replacing the upper burr restore like new grinding? Don't know yet. Is
the lower burr replaceable? Didn't ask Baratza, but guess I should.
Cheers,
Geary

15) From: Scott Miller
I have enjoyed all the discussion on Zass grinders and the new v. old 
opinions. My only experience with Zass is an old brass Turkish mill that 
my aunt uses for pepper.
Yesterday, I won an old Zass on ebay that is marked 120-Record ... I'm 
guessing that means it's got metal from the Record Tool Company, but am 
not sure. Are there any sites with info on older model #'s and 
manufacturing details? For $46 shipped, I hope to get a chance to see 
what the older models are like. If it's a bust, at least I'll have an 
attractive ornament.
cheers,
scott
Brett Mason wrote:
<Snip>

16) From: Jared Andersson
Wow, great work Derek.  I love the pics and your descriptions.  My brothers
new Zass is sadly way more inconsistent than yours.  It looks like Tom will
need to "cup" the next batch of Zass grinders when they come in.  Jared
On 1/22/06, Derek Bradford  wrote:
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17) From: Brett Mason
I wonder if my OLD Zasses are appreciating in value...
Brett
On 1/22/06, Jared Andersson  wrote:
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--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

18) From: Rick Copple
Derek Bradford wrote:
<Snip>
Hi Derek,
Thanks for taking the time to go through those tests and post them.
Yes, it does seem your Maximo produces a more consistent grind than the 
Zass (something which I don't think I disputed, I just didn't know). 
I've always understood that the Zass produces some "dust" and inconstant 
particle size. Less at the finer settings and more at the coarser 
settings. From what I could see on your pictures, the Maximo did produce 
a more consistent grind. I'll try to keep that in mind next time I have 
a spare hundred laying around and want to look into getting a motorized 
grinder. :-)
On the look of your burrs, yikes! I looked at mine as best I could 
without pulling them, and after over a year of use they don't look 
anything like that. Don't know why yours were like that, nor whether 
that is "normal". If very many went out like that, no doubt Zass would 
soon get a reputation as no longer quality (which it seems perhaps they 
are, for reasons maybe only the management knows). I would pull them, 
but I tried that once and didn't get very far. Particularly, the handle 
didn't seem to come off the shaft very easily, and it was apparent that 
would have to come off before you could drop the burs and pull them. Not 
wanting to destroy and bend the handle, I applied what I though would be 
as much pressure as I dared but it didn't budge. So I cleaned it as best 
I could and put the box back together. I suppose I could possibly pull 
the bottom of the box to get a better look at the bottom section of the 
burrs. From the top, it looked sharp, no nicks I could see, etc.
On the issue of stabilized vs. knee, which was one of my points, I 
couldn't tell from your pictures what you were describing, so I would 
have to take your word that one had more inconsistent pieces than the 
other. You also didn't state what grind settings you were using, as in 
how many turns from fully closed (or however you measure it).
I ran my own test on this point and they too were inconclusive as to 
which grind had more dust. From a visual inspection, they both appeared 
to have about equal amounts. Seems the only way to really measure dust 
would be to have a way to extract the particles that were under a 
certain size and measure the quantity. I used Uganda Bugista, ground at 
1/2 from fully closed and 1 3/8 from fully closed. I guess the only 
scientific way to really measure that would be to have a screen that 
only allowed dust particles to go through, and put it on a machine that 
would shake equal parts of ground coffee the two different ways for the 
same number of minutes and then measure what gets through. Don't know if 
you have a way to do that, but that would probably be instructive.
All I can say is when I ground with my Zass keeping it stabilized on the 
counter, my vac pot always stalled no matter what setting I used for 
grinding. Then I went to grinding between my knees and suddenly, it 
could drain without stalling (but not every time either, but a much 
higher success rate than previously which was zero). Perhaps there was 
another reason why that worked than the dust...I don't know. Since 
everyone said too much dust was the culprit and I figured that the knee 
method kept the top bracket from moving too much (I noticed you didn't 
have the open hopper model, and that might play a factor in it to, 
different design) and reduced the dust. The world may never know.
On the motorizing the Zass, do you need to remove the handle to do that? 
How much do you have to tear apart the Zass to hook a drill up to it? Is 
it easily reversible? My success at removing the handle might be the 
sticking point at whether I could even test with my Zass to see if the 
grind was better with the motor. BTW, from what you have on the web 
link, it doesn't look you ran a test of the motorized version between 
the knees. It might be consistent with your hand cranked version, but 
would be an interesting comparison. If I could temporarily do the 
motorized thing just for comparison and pull the burrs to get a better 
look, it might be interesting.
One other item of interest, if someone here could do it. I would like to 
see someone who has an older Zass when the quality was suppose to be 
better, show their burrs and grind quality just to compare with what 
I've have. I'm interested to see if the grind size is more consistent 
with the older models or is it just the "placebo" effect...people say it 
is so people begin to see more inconsistent grind sizes? A side by side 
comparison with an older Zass *might* give us some valuable info in 
knowing how far the quality has fallen.
-- 
Rick Copple
Marble Falls, TXhttp://blog.copple.us/?sectionid=5

19) From: Brett Mason
If several people will send me their Zasses, I will conduct some
careful tests and post the results.
Similarly, if people would send me their Espresso machines, I am more
than willing to help out with a side-by-side comparison.
Imagine what we would learn and how we would each benefit!
I just came to serve...
Brett
  Zassin around for fun....
On 1/22/06, Rick Copple  wrote:
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the
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by
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--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

20) From:
Bravo, Derek-
Your pictures are worth 10,000 words.
The Zass burrs look almost identical to the Solis/ Bodum Antigua burrs, but
the center burrs on the Solis/ Bodum were much better-looking. The outside
ring burrs were at least an order of magnitude worse, from Day 1. They were
made on a dull cutter that was getting worse by the month. Production was
totally out of control.
As a side note, the Mazzer Major also produces some visible dust even with
the new burrs. It's just a few specks among the mass of evenly cracked/
sized grounds.
I saw no fluff in the week-old Ethiopian Yirg @ FC. Could that fluff have
something to do with your roast? I saw a lot of that with the SMP, but
that's in a different location now.
Cheers and thanks -RayO, aka Opa!
Don't let a Bad Grinder ruin your coffee-

21) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/23/06, Rick Copple  wrote:
<Snip>
Good point.  I calibrated the grinder to work with my Europiccola, which is
just a hair shy of the tightest setting without rubbing the burrs.  But I
suspect every Zass is a little different here.
 I guess the only
<Snip>
Interesting idea.  Of course such screens could be purchased; if they
weren't too expensive it would be a fun project.  Something to think about
for this and future grinders.
On the motorizing the Zass, do you need to remove the handle to do that?
<Snip>
Yup, not much, and yup.  :)
To remove the handle, simply clamp onto the shaft inside the hopper with
pliers and turn the  handle.  It's just screwed (tightly) onto the shaft.
Replace the handle with a nut and you can attach the drill with a properly
sized socket.  Remove the nut and replace the handle the same way.
Switching between the two takes about a minute.
BTW, from what you have on the web
<Snip>
Good idea.  I did not do that,  and I should have. In fact, I have never
done that.  I will, and will post the results.
--Derek
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

22) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/23/06, raymanowen  wrote:
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h
<Snip>
Thanks.  I'm assuming here that you're referring to fluffiness of the
grinds, not fines (as in super small dusty particles).  As far as fluff is
concerned, I consider it to be a very good thing.  I would think it would b=
e
a bad thing to have the grinds compressing at all, until you do it
yourself.  Before I tamp, I want to disturb the grinds as little as
possible.  Nice, fluffy grinds going into the basket are just what I'm
looking for.  I'd imagine you're seeing some good fluffiness on your Major.
Cheers,
--Derek
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com

23) From: Brett Mason
I have begun laying out a dishcloth under the operation, and then
proceeding with a normal "load" to the PF.  I hate contributing the
jumpers to the compost....  but it comes back in the summer squash...
Brett
On 1/22/06, Sandy Andina  wrote:
<Snip>
ribes) go tohttp://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings<Snip>
--
Regards,
Brett Mason
 HomeRoast
      __]_
   _(( )_  Please don't spill the coffee!

24) From: Alchemist John
Derek,
Thanks for the shots.  I really like the close ups of the 
burrs.  Those are really great.  OTOH, from my screen, all the 
grounds looked the same.  Any chance you have the full sized images 
you can really zoom in on to show your points?  I believe you, I 
still want to see the fines and chunks though.
Looking forward to the new roaster BTW - 68% less ugly?
At 08:59 1/22/2006, you wrote:
<Snip>
John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

25) From: Derek Bradford
On 1/23/06, Alchemist John  wrote:
<Snip>
Gimme a few and I'll see what I can do.
Looking forward to the new roaster BTW - 68% less ugly?
74.
--
The Uglyroast 2 Coffee Roaster.  ...Now 40% less ugly!http://uglyroast.atspace.com


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