HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Do I need another (better) grinder? (48 msgs / 1079 lines)
1) From: John Haley
For the past year and a half I've been using a KitchenAid KPCG100NP Pro Line
burr coffee grinder, almost entirely for french press brewing after using my
old iR2 to roast. Since getting my HotTop, I've just about decided to get a
Rancilio Miss Silvia and go the espresso route, but will I need to upgrade
the grinder to a Rocky, or will the KA do a good enough job?
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2) From: miKe mcKoffee
One more time, with feeling:
THE GRINDER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE COFFEE EQUATION AFTER THE
BEAN, ESPECIALLY GRINDING FOR ESPRESSO...	 
The KA "may" marginally do the job. But why make your journey tougher.
Getting a good espresso grinder rules out the variable of poor grind. At the
barest minimum you'll need to get new burrs for the KA, and do so every 50#
tops grinding with it for espresso.
Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
www.mcKonaKoffee.com
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
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3) From: Eddie Dove
John,
I used to have a KitchenAid Proline.  I strongly encourage you to
upgrade to at least a Rancilio Rocky or Mazzer Mini.
A new burr set on the KitchenAid Proline will help little unless they
have changed the burrs since I had one; the burrs are just not sharp.
Respectfully,
Eddie
-- 
Stop telling God how big your storm is.
Instead, tell the storm how big your God is.
Home Coffee Roasting Blog and Referencehttp://southcoastcoffeeroaster.blogspot.com/On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 12:13 PM, John Haley  wrote:
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4) From: Brett Mason
I disagree with Mike....  Sorry.  But it's... FORGET THE FEELINGS...
The rebellious side of me says "Go Ahead - the KA is great - as far as you know!
The rest I concur:
THE GRINDER IS THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THE COFFEE EQUATION AFTER
THE BEAN, ESPECIALLY GRINDING FOR ESPRESSO...
All your methods CANNOT overcome a mediocre grinder....  I know, "But
it's good enough for (*&^(*&^ (*&^ (*&^ (*&^ (*&^ (* &^(* &"
Yeah, I heard that all before.
Fine.
No Problem.
Just don't go wasting the good beans on your mediocre grinder.
Yes.
That's what I said....
Brett
On 3/15/08, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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5) From: Sheila Quinn
Speaking from experience here....
As far as the KA Proline, it's "okay" for espresso, but definitely not 
ideal. I used my KAP for a long time as an espresso grinder when I 
couldn't afford to upgrade, and I thought it was fine. I admit I was 
skeptical, and it takes a lot to convince me sometimes. (Yep, I'm 
stubborn.) But after all of the constant grinder talk on the list, I 
finally made up my mind that I was going to give in and buy a Rocky.
I can tell you that I became a believer with my very first shot, and 
subsequent ones were even MORE amazing because of the consistency. I was 
having so much fun with my new toy that I didn't sleep for a couple of 
nights...too loaded up on espresso! One after another....
It makes a HUGE difference, and you'll realize that you've been missing 
out as soon as you upgrade. It sure makes the bottomless (naked) 
portafilter more fun to use when the grind is consistent, too. If you 
can afford a Rocky or Mazzer Mini, go for it. You will NOT regret it.
Sheila
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6) From: Demian Ebert
I think the generic answer to this question is an unqualified "YES"
(probably even for most of us with "good" espresso grinders). I've got a
Rocky and still think about upgrading it someday.
Demian
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7) From: miKe mcKoffee
Our "best" grinders at the Kafe are Mazzer Majors and looking to upgrade. It
ain't just for home use that upgraditis occurs!
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
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8) From: Michael Wade
What are you thinking of upgrading to from a Mazzer Major?
Michael

9) From: Allon Stern
On Mar 15, 2008, at 10:34 PM, "Michael Wade"  wrote:
<Snip>
Mazzer Colonel?
-
allon
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10) From: Barry Luterman
Why upgrade from Majors? What can a more expensive grinder do that the Major
can't?
On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 2:27 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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11) From: miKe mcKoffee
Looking strongly at the Anfim Super Caimano. Near perfect grinds
distribution from doser into PF requiring zero distribution correcting
before tamp, very clean sweep, very little grinds chute hang, very accurate
per shot timed grind reducing waste to near zero, excellent grind from low
800 rpm driven Titanium burrs. I know of a couple top shops who have gone
with them over Mazzer Roburs let alone Mazzer Majors.
I do have a timer mod on one Major at the moment which works very well,
supposed to have had timer installed in two more grinders months ago but
he's been dragging his feet and is now suffering financial consequences for
being months late. (Now third month of $100 per month late performance
penalty, being deducted from payments sent I owe him on promissory note. And
still not getting any communication/replies to emails or updates on when the
heck it'll get done!)
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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12) From: raymanowen
"If you can afford a Rocky or Mazzer Mini, go for it."
If you cannot afford it, but can see your way clear to subject your nicely
roasted best-on-the-planet beans to an indiscriminant bean smasher, the
impossibility of tuning the grind pitch and dose to maximize the flavor of a
particular brew must present some kind of thrill.
I apologize for the crude comment, but you might not taste any difference-
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 5:46 PM, Sheila Quinn 
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13) From: raymanowen
One more thing-
What's in the bottom of your cup when you finish a cup or shot?
I was afraid that using the major to grind flour might be detrimental to the
burrs- It is, the grains are not as hard as the flash frozen coffee beans,
but I do that very intermittently and still do not detect any dry sludge on
the cup bottom after I finish a shot.*
*I just finished a double of the wonderful '05 Nicaragua Matagalpa sample
greens. Exquisite right out of the Fresh Roast- hovering around the onset of
Second, for 20:45 total time. 15 hours rest at this point. Crema Galore [ah,
um] A little lighter, buttery caramel flavor than the Green Stripe. I love
Crema Galore, and her sister with the flying circus in *Goldfinger*. Yummo
(the Crema.)
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Sat, Mar 15, 2008 at 9:52 PM,  wrote:
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Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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14) From: Michael Wade
I see what you mean. I followed a couple of threads that have a lot of 
corroboration for your idea.  The grind quality is only one component of 
your workflow - though a HUGE one.
I'm still looking for a really good grinder for brewed coffee.  There was 
supposed to be a section of the Titan project on the subject but I've never 
been able to find it.  The Macap M7 conical has been suggested but I can't 
find any test results or even opinions on anything other than espresso.
Michael

15) From: Mike Koenig
Regarding grinders for brewed coffee, I'll insert this data point:
I used to be of the opinion that you didn't need a true "top quality"
grinder if you were just doing brewed coffee (and have said as much on
the list).  That was until I got my Macap M4.  I bought this grinder
to replace my Rocky which had some issues (burrs weren't exactly
parallel).  My plan was to use the M4 for espresso, and keep the Rocky
around for brewed coffee.
The difference in espresso was huge, but I was really surprised that I
could taste less bitterness in brewed coffee ground in the M4, which I
attribute to less fines.  I can even tell the difference in back
pressure in my Aeropress.  Grinds of about the same size (as measured
by my eyeball) will take a LOT more force to press the plunger on the
AP,  again, a fact that I attribute to fines.
I also tried bringing my old Solis 166 to work for use with the
Aeropress.  Even higher back pressure, and lots more bitterness,
coffee tastes MUCH better if I pre-grind at home in the M4.  (go
ahead, take away CSA points..)
So I formally recant any statements I've made in the past about not
needing a "BIG" grinder for brewed coffee.
(remember that my Rocky is a little abnormal, so I'm sure a properly
working one would fare better in a comparison).
--mike
On Sun, Mar 16, 2008 at 1:03 PM, Michael Wade  wrote:
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16) From: Brett Mason
I've always said that any grinder will do...
Brett
On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 2:01 PM, Mike Koenig  wrote:
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17) From: John Despres
Brett, Any grinder will do what? Specifics, man, we need specifics!
Brett Mason wrote:
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as
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ever
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n't
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ee.com
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-- =
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Hug your kids
616.437.9182
Scene It All Productions 
JDs Coffee Provoked Ramblings =
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18) From: Brett Mason
LOL....
Actually i have a Zassenhaus Salt & Pepper set, that far outperforms
any pepper grinder I have tried too.  I am a grinder nut...
What this really means is that I don't suffer lousy coffee very long.
I'd rather be thirsty.
Grinder?  well here's what I have...
Zass 499 knee mill
Zass 151 box mill
no-named American Box Mill - not very good grinder
Cory Burr grinder
Cory Grindmaster commercial grinder
Rancilio Rocky
Whirley Blade at the office - but I don't admit it
Armin Trosser in workshop getting refinished...
So, apart from my American box and my whirley-gig, any of the others
will perform nicely...
Brett
On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 4:29 PM, John Despres
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19) From: Les
I am enjoying an AreoPress of Nicaraguan Pacamara ground in my Mazzer
Major.  It is just about the right size grinder.
Les
On Mon, Mar 17, 2008 at 1:36 PM, Brett Mason  wrote:
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20) From: Michael Wade
Mike, thanks for the info.  I've only found a few people that notice the 
difference in brewed taste between grinders.  I had been getting along (I 
thought) with a Solis Maestro for press coffee, but when I bought a TV and 
then a KMB I was not at all happy with the brew.
I got into a dialogue with Doug Boutell about grinders, fines and screens; 
he loaned me a set of screens to experiment with separating the fines out of 
the grind before brewing but I haven't done the testing yet.  About that 
same time I tried the Aeropress and haven't looked back.  The very short 
brew time seems to compensate for fines in the grind and nearly eliminates 
bitterness, at least to my untrained palate.
I'm still interested in a grinder that would give me more uniform particle 
size and cleaner taste at longer brewing cycles.  Good to hear that the 
MACAP M4 is in the right direction.
Off to Texas for a week,
Michael

21) From: Brett Mason
"I've only found a few people that notice the
difference in brewed taste between grinders."
But, hasn';t done the test yet....
Science is amazing.  No wonder we get GLOBAL WARMING while the rest of
the world has uncanny snow and record-setting ice....
Did I digress?  Yes, probably...  Why, cause I didn't toe the line....
 Occasionally I break free of the jacket and say the truth....
GRINDERS MATTER
No they don't.  Like I care.  Have no stock in grinder companies...
All o yall - drink Folgers, cause grinders don't matter.  Save the
good stuff for me...
Brett
On Tue, Mar 18, 2008 at 8:44 PM, Michael Wade  wrote:
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22) From: Dean De Crisce
What are fines? is that coffee dust? Or chaff? Or ???
Dean De Crisce
Sent from a Treo.

23) From: Rich
Coffee "dust".  This is based on the theory that the output of the 
grinder should / must be an absolutely uniform particle size.  The 
undersized ones are called "fines".
Dean De Crisce wrote:
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24) From: Barry Luterman
Coffee dust. Occurs when coffee is not properly ground. If coffee is
properly ground all the grinds will be uniform size. If coffee is ripped
apart or crushed rater than ground it will contain fines
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 7:06 AM, Dean De Crisce 
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25) From: Eddie Dove
Yes, fines = coffee dust.
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 12:06 PM, Dean De Crisce  wrote:
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26) From: Coffee
Yet somehow it is not fine for coffee to have dust.
-Peter
On Mar 19, 2008, at 10:25 AM, Eddie Dove wrote:
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27) From: Allon Stern
On Mar 19, 2008, at 1:43 PM, Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
Let's not forget the original topic.
Do I need another (better) grinder?
The answer is yes.
But you already have a Mazzer major, you say? Ah, but you could  
upgrade.....
No matter what the circumstances, you NEED another grinder. A better  
grinder. One that lovingly slices each bean with a microtome to a  
precise width. One with air puffs blowing imperfectly sized particles  
into a reject bin, for resale to Folgers. Who cares if you have to  
mortgage the house? You NEED another grinder.
Where does grindermania go in the CSA pledge? My wife claims I'm  
stuck at #7 on the pledge. I guess I wasn't humble enough. She's been  
talking "intervention".
-
allon
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28) From: Dean De Crisce
wow thanks for all of the responses...when i had a 50$ la pavoni grinder, i
had fines. now with the rocky...none.
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 1:43 PM, Coffee  wrote:
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29) From: Barry Luterman
Yeah So ??
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 8:04 AM, Allon Stern  wrote:
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30) From: raymanowen
There are fines when coffee beans are just crushed or smashed, as in a
grinder with dull burrs or in the case of a high speed lawnmower blade
grinder with a dull blade.
There is an analogy. Your teacher would never allow you to turn in a
homework assignment on torn-off paper sheets. Your resume might not be
competitive if it were written on sheets torn out of a composition book.
Torn paper has ragged edges, and it leaves a lot of paper dust that is
explosive if it's suspended in the air. Wood kindling and paper dust and
scraps ignite quickly. Coffee fines brew lightning fast, then over extract
quickly. This happens so rapidly that it's impossible to separate the liquid
from the grounds before over extraction occurs. A sad end to some fine
roasted beans.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 11:06 AM, Dean De Crisce 
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31) From: Coffee
Suddenly my Rocky seems so inadequate.
-Peter
On Mar 19, 2008, at 11:04 AM, Allon Stern wrote:
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32) From: raymanowen
No one can fault any facet of your coffee making process if the cup tastes
good to You. For people lacking that perception, you should print up some
business cards for a new carnival ride- The Archimedes Spiral. One free ride
to bearer.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 1:02 PM, Coffee  wrote:
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33) From: Allon Stern
On Mar 19, 2008, at 3:44 PM, raymanowen wrote:
<Snip>
But...but.....what about step #12 ?
-
allon
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34) From: Kelly Wilson
Amen....one man's over extracted is another man's Turkish
peace
Kelly
On Mar 19, 2008, at 2:44 PM, raymanowen wrote:
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Kelly G. Wilson
205 Peabody Building
Psychology Department
University of Mississippi
Oxford, MS 38677
ph: 662.915.5256
fax: 662.915.5398
(do not use either of these spring '08 or any summer)
ph: 662.816.5189 (best phone number)
fax: 662.236.3202
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35) From: Rich
Realizing this is heresy to the assembled coffee snobs.  Depending on 
how you brew your coffee and the method you use there may be no 
detectable difference.
Want to find out?  Conduct an experiment.
Grind coffee and then sift out the fines.  Brew a pot.  Is it different? 
  If yes, then go out and buy a genuine Italian grinder.  If no, then 
order more greens from SM.
Only an Italian made grinder is adequate.
Coffee wrote:
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36) From: Barry Luterman
Sifting out fines is not enough. You will still be left with chunks. The
chunks will result in under extracted coffee. If you sift both the fines and
the chunks you will have precious little left to brew with.
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 10:24 AM, Rich  wrote:
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37) From: Coffee
There was a huge difference upgrading from my old cheap DeLonghi burr  
grinder to the Rocky. I decided that I also needed a second grinder  
for drip/press/vacuum/etc so I could dedicate the Rocky to espresso. I  
bought an Breville after reading reviews. It's about $100. There is  
still a difference between the Rocky and the Breville especially in  
vacuum and press pot -- not so much on the drip. The grind from the  
Breville looks consistent, but the rocky is still tastes better. The  
Breville is still a hugh step up from the DeLonghi though. Not a  
scientific study, but that's my story.
-Peter
On Mar 19, 2008, at 1:24 PM, Rich wrote:
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38) From: miKe mcKoffee
Doesn't matter if it's drip, pour over, vacuum, press pot, moka pot,
turkish, aeropress, coffee sock, espresso etc. fines causing over extraction
will produce bitterness and boulders under extraction sours. Whether your
pallate can detect the difference doesn't negate the reality. Many coffee
professionals and hobbyists HAVE conducted many taste tests.
Oh, nobody said a good grinder needed to be from Italy. Ever hear of the
Verslab grinder considered by some to be the ultimate home espresso grinder?
Which happens to be made in Colorado US of A.
Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee
www.mcKonaKoffee.com
URL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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39) From: Bob Hazen
OK y'all....  I've been reading all these posts about grinders.  I thought I 
was covered.  Now I'm getting concerned I'm getting fines out of my grinder. 
Sure, I've always seen a little bit of dust.  I figured some is normal.  But 
is it too much?  I guess I'm in that "but am I paranoid enough???" frame of 
mind.
The grinder is an old metal frame Gaggia MDF, probably 25yrs old.  Burrs are 
new; about a year old.  Doesn't seem to have worn bearings or burr wobble. 
So would one expect a bit of dust out of this machine?  How many fines are 
too much?  Would you expect no dust at all?
Just when I thought my obsession had come under control.
We probably need to coin a TLA for this obsession we all seem to share.  On 
the Nikon lists, we call it NAS (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome) when people buy 
stuff just because - no real >need< just because.  But I digress...
So, how many fines are too many?
Bob

40) From: miKe mcKoffee
Should you expect no dust or finer grinds at all? The answer is no.
Especially as far as espresso extraction is concerned, a certain amount of
finer grinds seems not only desirable but mandatory. See this H-B thread and
others and or read 
Illy, A. and Viani, R.; Espresso Coffee, Second Edition: The Science of
Quality. "Percolation", p277. http://www.home-barista.com/forums/role-of-fines-and-what-we-really-want-from-grinder-t6098.html
The key seems to be the ratio and specific variance from the main grind. And
it indeed seems confusing!
Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.mcKonaKoffee.comURL to Rosto mods, FrankenFormer, some recipes etc:http://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must
first not know. And in knowing know I know not. Each Personal enlightenment
found exploring the many divergent foot steps of Those who have gone before.
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41) From: Rich
Fines make the brew taste bad (bitter) and the big chunks make it taste 
sour, both are bad, so they say.  Sift out the fines and see how it 
tastes.  Then you can go from there.
Bob Hazen wrote:
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42) From: Bill Allison
I had never heard of a Versalab grinder until this post, so I googled it.
The base price is $1,550; the doser and portafilter holder are extra.
Kona Kurmudgeon miKe mcKoffee said:
<Snip>
grinder?
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43) From: Paul Helbert
In the "if you can afford it" thread... better make that upgrade now. 'Cause
a dollar ain't a dollar anymore. You think the price of fuel is up? Look at
all raw materials. Wheat X3 in ten months, maize X2 in year, phosphates up
70% in two months. A robotic lawnmower I was looking at last spring for
$1000 is now $2000. How much are your wages up? How much more can you charge
for whatever you produce before nobody will buy it? It will not pay you to
wait.
-- 
Paul Helbert
In my opinion, it is my opinion which counts.  ;>)
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44) From: Seth Grandeau
Damn robots are taking over!
On 3/20/08, Paul Helbert  wrote:
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45) From: raymanowen
"...any grinder will do."
Not -ro
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 7:54 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976
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46) From: Brett Mason
This whole thread is really funny...
Do you need a new grinder?
  Of course not.
  You don't need a grinder at all.
  You don't need coffee.
  You certainly don't need anything more to spend money on.
  Why are you on this list?
If there is any possibility that you want the best coffee experience
available, and you want this on a recurring basis, then you ought to
plan and budget a little money to get the tools you need.
Do you need tools?
  Of course not.
  You don't need tools at all.
  You don't need coffee.
  You certainly don't need anything more to spend money on.
  Why are you on this list?
If you persist in thinking coffee should taste good, then I have one question...
  Do you want to improve your coffee?
You may need to budget, save, and then spend some money...
Brett
On Topic.
No Global Warming, Cooling, Or lack of change has been added in this thread.
On Wed, Mar 19, 2008 at 1:06 PM, Dean De Crisce  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
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47) From: Bob Hazen
That's interesting!  Like most everything in this endeavor, there are no 
simple answers.  So how does one go about judging the quality of a grinder? 
It appears that a quantitative assessment of grind consistency through the 
testing of other folks isn't practical, if even possible.  And it would get 
pretty expensive to run around buying and testing multiple grinders by 
taste.
Bob

48) From: raymanowen
"...it would get pretty expensive to run around buying and testing multiple
grinders by taste."
It did. I purchased a Good Idea Comical Burr grinder. When I realized the
Customer Servicing automaton had no intention of making me whole, and the
new burrs I was buying were arriving in progressively worse condition- very
rough cut with a dull hob on a worn out gear shaper- I realized the folly of
making a shiny pretend toy perform like a precision machine.
The Brain Donor probably wished he were back on Mars. I did.
Absent the advertising palaver, I had to decide exactly what I wanted from a
grinder, and what kind of machine was likely to provide it.
Starting at an arbitrary point, I wanted to increment or decrement the grind
pitch and note a definite flavor change. Back to the original setting, I
wanted the original cup flavor. Such was not the case. Since the grinder was
the single variable it proved that a toy, however shiny, would never do.
Aside from all the alleged design features and exclusive cast zinc bolt-on
cheesecake, the bottom line for any grinder is the ability to make the exact
size coffee particles you want. Change and reset particulate size so you can
make small changes and have some basis for comparison.
*$ has machines like that and their baristas just learned how to push the
buttons. The coffee is waiting, ready for syrups, cream or sugar.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Room?
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