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Topic: grinder upgrade (16 msgs / 399 lines)
1) From: Barry Luterman
Suppose I want to upgrade from my mini . What are the suggestions?
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2) From: Joseph Robertson
What's your working $ range?
JR
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:31 AM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Barry Luterman
1500 or so rather keep it about 1K
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 9:45 AM, Joseph Robertson wrote:
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4) From: Joseph Robertson
What do you think of the Cimbali Max Hybrid? I think this is Les's grinder.
JoeR
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
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5) From: Joseph Robertson
I'm real happy with my Mazzer SuperJolly. I have hear of rare but good
deals used. New burrs and your good to go. Spend the $ saved on nice
greens to go with it.
JoeR
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 11:52 AM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
<Snip>
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6) From: Michael Dhabolt
Barry,
On Sun Barry Luterman wrote:
<Snip>
At the risk of being considered a heretic, my appraisal of the recent
interest in comparing the Mazzer Mini vs. the Rocky does not support
Les's conclusions (IOW I respectfully differ).  Prior to purchasing a
Mini, a few years ago, I did what I considered to be a fairly
extensive comparison at 10X and 50X of the grind from a new Mini and a
Rocky with about 3 months of approx. 4 shots a day worth of grinding
history since it was new. I concluded that I was seeing substantially
more fines associated with Rocky and I thought the actual grind was a
bit more consistent with the Mini.  The Mini was 'out of the box' new,
the Rocky was cleaned thoroughly (removed upper burr carrier etc.) so
I had a fairly high level of confidence in the comparison.  I
purchased a Mini.
The difference between different specific machines and different
production runs is not something that I have any way of addressing.  I
have, however, compared the grind from my Mini to the grind from
several Super Jollies.  The difference in quantity of fines has always
been in favor of the Super Jolly, with about the same quantitative
difference as between the Mini and the Rocky.  The difference in grind
quality has not been substantial enough to draw a conclusion.  All of
the SJ's were well used (in commercial environments) with brand new
burrs installed - final appraisal of maintenance prior to returning
grinders to the shops.
This past week I asked a friend (several hundred miles from my home)
who I have a lot of confidence in, to send me about four ounces of the
same blend, ground with the same two grinders - a Mini and a Rocky.
This time the Rocky is 'out of the box' new and the mini is five years
old with a years worth of wear on the burrs (approx. 4 double shots a
day worth of wear).  My inspection of the grinds brought me to the
same conclusion as last time, considerably more fines from the Rocky
and a slightly more consistent (more shaved than crushed) looking
grind from the Mini.  I would, based on this comparison, make the same
decision (easily and quickly) concerning which I would purchase.  The
difference in price of the two grinders has increased substantially
since my Mini purchase, that is a reasonable criteria to consider when
making a purchase at this $ level. Do I believe that grind quality
(that I observed) is worth the extra cost? ...... fortunately not a
decision I am currently faced with.
I don't feel comfortable presenting this as empirical laboratory
results, but I can in all honesty say that I have and would again use
my observances to inform a purchase decision if I needed to make it
again, right now.
I regularly recommend the Mazzer Mini to shops that need a fairly low
volume grinder for decaf (seems there are mostly high-octane folks
around here). I also do cleaning and burr replacement on several of
these in commercial environments - sometimes in truly disgusting
states of cleanliness, having had absolutely no cleaning or TLC
extended to the machines between annual (sometimes less frequently)
burr replacement.
As far as upper burr carrier misalignment and/or movement during
grinding I have observed none.  Movement can be directly observed by
looking at the hopper during grinder operation.  It is directly fit
into the upper burr carrier assembly and would present a considerably
amplified (geometry) physical movement as compared to anything going
on with the upper burr.  The regulator springs keep a substantial
upward pressure on the upper burr carrier which removes any slop in
the threads (thread it in without the springs - not much slop to be
dealt with).  There is something like 3/4 of an inch of fine pitch
thread engagement (seems like a foot when you are working on them)
which ensures axial alignment to the shaft.  On one occasion I had to
remove an upper burr carrier that had been cross threaded and
tightened by what had to be a pipe wrench or a gorilla. Took a little
time to dress the threads and get the machine back to where turning
the burr carrier in the 'loosen' (lefty - loosey) direction would
allow feeling the beginning of the thread (slight 'bump' feel as the
burr carrier threads falls off of the beginning of the housing thread)
prior to tightening (rightey - tightey ).  Cleaning the coffee oil
'Tar' is another story all together .... but that is consistent among
all grinders that are not properly maintained and cleaned.
As a final thought to this, obviously, wordy post: the Mazzer is a
'permanent' machine .... no plastic in the main housing and structure,
and absolutely everything is replaceable.  I remain impressed.
Mike (just plain)
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7) From: Michael Dhabolt
Barry,
Good week at the tables? ;~)
I would sure like to play with Les's current obsession - the 'Cimbali
Max Hybrid'.  I've heard rave reviews from pretty well thought of
folks, not the least of which - including Les himself.
If you need to write off your Mini, let me know off list what you need
for it.  I know a couple of people that need one (whether they are
convinced yet, or not, could be modified by how dear the purchase
would be).
Mike (just plain)
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8) From: Joseph Robertson
Mike,
First, thank you for the lengthy post regarding this highly
dis....cussed topic on this list. It is very hard to get Hard data on
this topic without going to each manufacture with inquiry's.
I'd like to see you do a comparison like you describe with some grinds
from Les's CB to get an idea on the fines issue. When you compare
fines do you use screens, microscope or is it eyeball?
JoeR
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 12:12 PM, Michael Dhabolt
 wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From: Barry Luterman
Mike you figured it out.Plus a hefty tax refund. I have been pleased with my
Mini. and was thinking of retiring it for ground coffee. I too would like to
see a comparison between Les's machine and the Mini. As an old Rocky user
upgraded to a mini. I agree with everything you say. .
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 10:25 AM, Michael Dhabolt 

10) From: jeff michel
I have one also. It needs a coulple of mods and is a espresso grinder
jef
On Feb 15, 2009, at 12:01 PM, Joseph Robertson wrote:
<Snip>
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11) From: jeff michel
I would go with a SJ over the mini. Great grinder. Great price used.
Jef
On Feb 15, 2009, at 12:59 PM, Barry Luterman wrote:
<Snip>
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12) From: Bob Hazen
Mike,
Great post!  I debated snipping to follow those somewhat arbitrary 
netiquette "rules."  But there's too much value in your words to let them 
fall in the bit bucket.
I have been using an old Gaggia MDF for drip, vac, Chemex coffee.  I bought 
it back in the 80's with an OWC Gaggia.  Built like a tank and with regular 
cleanings and burr replacement it has done well over the years.  Recently 
I've been getting upgrade-itis.  It seems like the fines are increasing. 
Perhaps I'm looking more closely.  A change of burrs last weekend helped, 
but I still see more fines than I'd like.
So I'm thinking that if the step up from Rocky to Mini is significant, then 
the step up from an MDF should be more impressive.  Would you agree with 
that?  Also, do you think your findings would hold for the coarser grinds 
that I'd use for drip etc.?
Bob

13) From: Les
I agonized for weeks before getting my new La Cimbali Max Hybrid.  I
looked at all of my notes from the grinders I have used.  I came very
close to buying another Major.  I watched Ebay for about a month.  As
I said before, the Mazzer Mini and the Rocky are both excellent
grinders.    With the Mini costing 300 more than the Rocky, my
conclusion is it is a better value.  With the Mini at $650.00 you are
approaching the cost of the La Cimbali.  Having used a Macap Conical
Burr grinder I knew that it added a lot of nice complexity to the brew
as well and produced a very nice grind.  I grilled a lot of people who
had the Max Hybrid, and it seemed to meet what I was hoping for in a
grinder.  A few things I like about it are first off the excellent
grind. This grinder has a conical burr that begins the grind and it is
finished with a flat burr.  I like the adjustment of the grind.  I
like the power.  It doesn't bog down at all.  That is one of my grips
about the Mazzer Mini.  I think it could use a little more power.
It isn't as simple as the Mazzer, but it is accurate and it is able to
do fine adjustments.  As far as the doser goes, it is a good doser.  I
don't like the bean hopper on the top.  I have replaced it with a wood
one of my design.  I wish it turned a little slower.  I think this
would improve the grind.  Over all after having it for 8 months now, I
am very pleased with it.  I do respect Mike Dhabolt's opinion.  He has
much more experience than I do under the hood of these machines.
Would have I been happy with a Mazzer Mini?  You bet I would have.
However for about $200.00 more, I have a much better machine in my
opinion with the Max Hybrid.  I could have returned my Max and
exchanged it for a Mazzer Mini if I wanted to, however the grind is
better on the Hybrid.  I am very happy with it.  I am hoping Mike is
right and there will be a grinder at a lower price point that will do
a good job for espresso drinkers.
Les
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 2:45 PM, Bob Hazen  wrote:
<Snip>
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14) From: Michael Dhabolt
Joe,
I would love to play with the La Cimbali Max Hybrid, I don't have any
experience with it but some folks whose opinions I value (highly), Les
included, make me feel that it would be a pleasure to use.  Then,
again, maybe I shouldn't ...... I am as subject to up-grade-itis as
most others on this list.  The chance to do a direct comparison will
probably not soon present itself.
I compare grinds with a 10X hand loupe, Bausch & Lomb, that I carry
with the rest of my test tools (Meters, TC's, Scace device, Data
Logger etc.).  At home I also have a chemistry set quality (not much)
microscope with a 100X lens that will focus OK, the previously
mentioned comparisons were with both of these. I can't justify
anything better ($), it would sure be neat to have an unlimited
toy/tool fund.
Bob,
Again, my experience with the Gaggia is limited to quaffing a few
shots that were ground with one.  The shots were of memorable quality
- which would indicate that the grinder (as well as the rest of the
process) was of high quality.  Really good shots do not happen in
conjunction with poor tools, the grinder is the foremost of those
tools.
At the price range that Les identified, I think it would be
un-reasonable to not look at, hard, the Cimbali if a person were
considering an espresso grinder.
Mike (just plain)
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15) From: raymanowen
What the Devil is:" (lefty - loosey) _ _ (rightey - tightey )"?
That really is a crossed- threaded Mazzer!
Do the same thing with self-tapping screws too. Start them with the fingers,
otherwise they'll tap new threads every time. That will wipe out the threads
- for the next guy. Nacho problem. -ro
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16) From: Derek Bradford
I upgraded to a Cimbali Max Hybrid from a Macap M5.  There was a noticable
difference in the cup, but the M5 burrs weren't new.  Overall, I'm very
happy with the CMH.  I think it's an excellent espresso grinder.  I use it
with an Elektra MCAL and a Vivaldi II.
Most people researching grinders have probably heard about the grinds
sitting at the top of the burr carrier and the fixes for that.  The only
other beef I have with it is that it doesn't have a lot of depth between the
portafilter forks and the grinds tray.  So if you have a buildup of grinds
in the tray, your often-damp spouts can get grinds stuck to them.  It's a
quick solution either way--wipe the spouts or empty the tray more often.  I
only notice it when I'm pulling lots of shots in a row for company, or if I
get lazy and forget to empty it throughout the day.
I also see the Compak K10 in action on a regular basis.  It is quite fast
and surprisingly quiet.  It looks nicer than the CMH (to me) and the grind
adjust is a little easier (it's on the side and a little more accessable).
It grinds a double shot in about 6 seconds (my CMH takes closer to 8), and
you can stand beside it while it's grinding and carry on a normal-volume
conversation (you cannot do that with my CMH).  The grinds are pretty fluffy
and the shots from it are also good, but I've never used it myself or on my
equipment, so it's not a great comparison that way.  If I were looking at
grinders again, and I had a few hundred extra dollars in the budget, I'd
think pretty strongly about it (I think it's very much at the outset of your
budget).  That said, I have no reason to upgrade from the CMH.  It's great.
--Derek
On Sun, Feb 15, 2009 at 2:31 PM, Barry Luterman  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate.  --Thoreau
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