HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Grinders for Drip/Vac/Press (not espresso) (11 msgs / 354 lines)
1) From: Bob Hazen
The list seems to have been quiet for a while, so I thought I'd stir things up a bit and ask that age-old question:
What is the best grinder for....
Before I get the storm started, though, let me explain.  Doug's Vac Pot adventures with light and dark roasts, coupled with a new and improved grinder have me thinking.  There's been lots of discussion in the past over grinders for espresso.  I'm curious what people have to say about grinders for methods using coarser grinds (e.g. drip, vac or press).
Too many fines are evidently a bad thing.  But folks have said that fines are inescapable, so how many are too many?  Some folks have reported different taste experiences from different grinders when a critical view of the grounds doesn't reveal anything remarkably different.  I've even heard that completely eliminating particles below a certain size by filtering doesn't produce a better-flavored cup.  
Is it the surface texture of the grounds that makes a difference?  Recent discussion about breaking in a grinder or new burrs makes me wonder about that.
Is it the particle shape that matters?  Intuitively, a flattened particle would extract more quickly than a spherical or cubic shape.
How on earth do the big producers of canned coffees like Foulgers and Minwell House avoid fines?  Not that I drink that stuff, but looking at the "material" in their cans, I've seen little evidence of fines, but very regularly-sized and shaped granules.
I've been using and old Gaggia MDF forever and regularly replacing the burrs.  Still, upgradeitis has me wondering if I "need" a new grinder.  I wonder if I'd be able to discern the difference between the MDF and say a Mazzer when brewing with non-espresso methods. 
So I'm looking for opinions and experiences.  Do y'all think I'd see an improvement in my Drip/Vac/Press coffee if I replace my MDF with something better?
Bob
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2) From: Michael Mccandless
Just a wild guess here but it would make sense to assume that they use the
fines to make instant.
Nothing wasted.
McSparky
On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 3:52 PM, Bob Hazen  wrote:
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3) From: Doug Hoople
Hi Bob,
I hasten to repeat in short form the one significant finding in my little
experiments... that although I'm seeing a difference in drawdown timing
between light and dark roasts in my vacpot with glass rod, it doesn't appear
to be related to difference in fines.
More succinctly, there appeared to be no difference whatsoever in the number
of fines between the light and the dark roast, and, in fact, the number of
fines in both were fairly minimal.
I'm struck by the consistency of the grinds I'm getting, and am also struck
by the overall similarity in the look of the light as compared to the dark.
And, not to sound like a broken record, but all the coffee I've been
drinking since Thursday has been vastly improved, even the pots that have
been overextracted.
Doug
On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 3:52 PM, Bob Hazen  wrote:
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4) From: Seth Grandeau
Instant coffee is actually a pretty complicated process.  It's actually
dehydrated brewed coffee. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instant_coffeeOn Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 7:57 PM, Michael Mccandless
wrote:
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5) From: miKe mcKoffee
Bob,
MDF for other than espresso brewing with regularly replacing the burrs is a
solid low end commercial grinder though weak for espresso. (not fine enough
adjustability) I highly doubt you'd notice much if any improvement with a
Mazzer for non-espresso brewing, be it ~$600 Mini or ~$3k 3phase Robur. 
Slave to the Bean Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffeehttp://www.mckoffee.com/Ultimately the quest for Koffee Nirvana is a solitary path. To know I must">http://www.NorwestCoffee.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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6) From: Doug Hoople
Bob,
My understanding squares with MiKe's, and the MDF is thought to be
comparable in terms of grind capability and grind quality with the other
grinders at the same price point.
I had a quick look at it, and thought it might be workable for my purposes
(vacpot, Chemex, press, no espresso).
What put me off it were the general observations that the doser was a pain,
especially for a grinder that would be used primarily not for espresso. An
espresso doser seems like a pretty counterintuitive thing for something you
planning on not making espresso with. My 0.02.
Doug
On Sun, Apr 5, 2009 at 6:29 PM, miKe mcKoffee  wrote:
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7) From: Bob Hazen
Thanks for the comments, guys.  Seems like the MDF will be sticking around 
for the foreseeable future.
Bob

8) From: raymanowen
"Intuitively, a flattened particle would extract more quickly than a
spherical or cubic shape."
As usual, the proof is in the cup. The intuitive or obvious assumption can
get you in trouble.
"Obviously," hitting another car in a head-on collision, each at a speed of
50mph, is the same as hitting a brick wall at 100mph.
On the scale at which water molecules infuse particles of coffee, the coffee
particles look like gigantic open pored sponges. The scale is terrific. A
formation of water molecules 1000 wide could march right in to the cavernous
open pores. The fines are the same, but so small that they are completely
infused/ extracted in milliseconds.
Then in several milliseconds, the fines become over extracted. The same goes
for fines that are still attached to the main coffee particles, that are the
result of the beans being torn apart. Ever get a torn cash register receipt?
The edge is the same as on a crushed or torn coffee particle, compared to
cut or shaved particles produced by new, sharp burrs.
The auger-shaped central burr of the so-called comical burrs in even the
expensive Mazzer Robur grinder had a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM)
study of the grounds. Such burrs tend to crush the beans together in their
primary stage. The fines and rough edges produced aren't repaired when they
pass untouched through the secondary stage of the burrs.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder? If you can't taste it, save your money. Don't worry- Be Happy!
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9) From: John MacIntyre
RAY-
How do the other types of grinders (plate) avoid "crushing" the beans
together when they are ground?
This whole grinders topic is very confusing.
Thanks in advance.
John in Nor Cal
On Wed, Apr 8, 2009 at 10:19 PM,  wrote:
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10) From: raymanowen
I just barely start to understand the process [I don't] of coffee bean
infusion and extraction. The flavor, aroma and oil emulsions yield the drink
experienced as coffee.
Suffice it to say that the infusion and extraction depend on the depth to
which the water goes to soak the coffee particles. Whole beans could be used
to brew coffee, but only the surface shell of the beans could be involved in
the brew.
The first water molecule encounters the top surface coffee molecule* and
extracts the essence. A flood of water molecules flow into the veritable
sponge that is the microscopic domain of coffee particles. Maybe some of the
first million water molecules passing the first layer of coffee molecules
extract the coffee normally.
*(Very few actually cohabit with each other at any location)
Under high magnification, coffee grounds look like a bread loaf with the end
cut off, and the fines look like little chunks of sponge scattered about.
Zooming out, some chunks are seen to be attached to the bigger particles
while others are loose. Loose or not, they act the same.
Here come the rest of the Army of water molecules. They haven't dissolved
anything yet, so extract, extract, extract, extract and way over extract the
top layer of coffee molecules of the coffee grounds. Say, half way in, the
first water molecules have absorbed as much as they can, and they're
saturated.
One water molecule probably extracts one coffee molecule and they extract no
more. One coffee molecule can be stripped by several fresh water molecules
The scale is so large that my description is misleading. An individual water
molecule could be likened to a meteorite passing through our solar system.
Probably won't hit anything. Maybe scrape a little red paint off of Mars.
Most of the water molecules don't extract anything; the few that do are
saturated.
Everything is a compromise. To win this game, the coffee particles have to
be close to the same size, so that "Extraction Time" has any meaning. Very
fine particles or highly irregular shapes will tend to over extract first.
The water molecules will take the path of least resistance. They won't take
the Sunday drive through the long dimension of a flat particle.
Some grinders are notorious for crushing the coffee beans together and
creating more coffee flakes. Such was the description of the grounds
observed using a Scanning Electron Microscope. A grinder with an auger
shaped center burr apparently pulled beans down into a restricted burr area
faster than the burrs could shave them. Many were initially crushed.
The flavor in the cup always wins. Maybe the microscope was just a $Million
toy and a certain PhD had time on his hands.
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
Got Grinder?
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11) From: Tom Ulmer
While I certainly appreciate the images, particularly the red paint
scrapings, solubility meagerly comes to mind. There are indeed
intermolecular forces between the solvent and solute which can be affected
by temperature, pressure, the shape of the grounds, etc. that come together
to make press my favorite extraction of the subject methods.
Cheers back to you.


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