HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Newbie Grinder Question (12 msgs / 252 lines)
1) From: Jeffrey Vandegrift
OK, so I've got the Hario ST, the HW Precision,
ten varieties of green beans, and a Braun burr
grinder ($30 to $40 when new 8-10 years ago).
So my question is, am I really missing something
by not spending $125 or so on a better non-espresso
capable grinder?
I have a second burr grinder that was a discontinued
Gaggia when I bought it three years ago that I use for
espresso. The Braun is used only for non-espresso.
Do I need to tell Santa about the Solis?
Jeffrey Vandegrift, Principal Software Engineer
Trilogy Inc, 1732 Main St, Ste 101, Concord MA 01742-3810
Voice: 978.371.3980 x104    Fax: 978.371.3990
Email: jvande  Web:http://www.tril-inc.com

2) From: Chris Schaefer
nahhhh.  you'll be fine.
From: 	Jeffrey Vandegrift[SMTP:jvande]
Sent: 	Monday, March 27, 2000 10:30 AM
To: 	homeroast
Subject: 	+ Newbie Grinder Question

3) From: Mike Geis

4) From: Hugh Solaas
You didn't say what kind of Gaggia grinder you use for espresso.  Do you
know for sure that it won't grind coarse enough for your non-espresso use?
I have a Gaggia MDF that has no trouble going back and forth between
espresso and press grinds, as long as I keep it clean and am careful to
expel the coarser grind from the doser before switching to espresso.
I know this practice is heresy to some around here, but it works for me.  I
would get rid of the Braun, anyway, just because of all the racket it makes!
It just makes too much of an inconsistent grind, even for filter coffee, and
certainly for press.  I strongly disagree that paper filters filter out all
the overextraction products that result in solution when powdered coffee is
induced to the grind.  Bring out the blindfolds!
...."Here comes Santa Claus, Here comes Santa Claus, right down Santa Claus

5) From: Michael Snow
Well, we recently visited some friends. We brought our coffee and our 
Bodum Santos along, and used Brita-filtered water there as we do 
here. We thought bringing our own grinder would just be too much, so 
we used their Braun whirly-blade instead of our own Braun burr 
grinder, thinking it would be an interesting experiment. What a 
difference! The grounds didn't LOOK any different, but the brewed 
coffee sure tasted different! Not nearly as flavorful or as rich.
Michael Snow
vac pot - drink black - HW Gourmet - DeLonghi Air Stream convection oven
Michael and Anna Snow
Snow Creative Services

6) From: Hugh Solaas
I've had EXACTLY the same results on several occasions, Mike.  A little
embarrassing, isn't it?  And you'd only compound things by telling your
friend his grinder sucks, too!
From: "Michael Snow" <

7) From: Mike Geis
From: "Michael Snow" 
I don't mean to diss you but:
Now do a blind test.  Have a friend who does not know of your conclusion
brew coffee both ways and put them in numbered cups.  Have him leave the
room.  Then have both of you go into the room and independently taste and
judge the result.  Only then will your judgment be meaningful.  As it is,
your perception of the taste had to be colored by your prior disdain for the
whirly-blade.  The scholarly research demonstrating the effects of such bias
is long standing and overwhelmingly one-sided.  (Actually the research shows
that even single-blind studies like I propose aren't enough.  One needs
double-blind experiments.
Some anecdotes concerning another beverage.  I knew a bar owner in
Champaign, Illinois during the late Sixties who ran out of Pabst, his normal
tap beer, and he substituted a keg of Budweiser.  He got nothing but
complaints though most everyone complaining would probably say he/she
preferred the Bud.  He also told me that one could make lots of money
betting people they can't pick out their favorite beer out of a set of three
beers.  They will taste differences but not be able to identify their
favorite enough to stop you from taking their money.
Mike Geis

8) From: Michael Snow
This is not true. Actually, I assumed there wouldn't be very much 
difference -- maybe a little, but not a lot. We were excited about 
brewing some great coffee for our friends, and neither of us thought 
much at all about the grinder, especially my wife who is not at all 
into the technical aspects of coffee making. I'm sure if we both had 
in the back of our minds, "well this was ground with a whirly-blade", 
and were looking to find something wrong with the coffee, that would 
have influenced our perception. We had previously visited these same 
friends and brought only our coffee, using their automatic drip 
coffee maker, and the coffee was awful! We assumed the vac pot would 
make a huge difference, much more so than the grinder. I'll bet if 
you look under a microscope, there would be a big difference between 
the whirly-blade and a burr grinder for coffee that looks to be the 
same fineness of grind. This would HAVE to mean that you'd have to 
adjust your brewing technique at the very least. The coffee we had at 
our friends' was definitely weak and under-flavored, no questions! If 
the difference had been slight, I might be open to considering that 
maybe it was just subjective, but there was no doubt here!
Michael Snow
vac pot - drink black - HW Gourmet - DeLonghi Air Stream convection oven
Michael and Anna Snow
Snow Creative Services

9) From: Ken Mary
Your old Braun burr grinder may be worn out and burning the coffee instead
of grinding it. If you must have the proverbial "coarse grind for french
press", then buy the Solis. I have no experience with the Solis but as an
interested observer, it appears to be the best buy for the money.
As for *my* preference for french press, I use a Braun blade grinder
modified with a knife edge blade and bean chamber volume reduction to
achieve a very fine espresso type grind (but probably too much powder for
espresso). Now that I am homeroasting, the residual powder in the cup has
become an asset, rather than a liability. When I used 8 O'Crock (yes I mean
crock) or even Gevalia's coffees, I could not tolerate any remaining grounds
and used a paper filter with my french press. Also, I do not get any
over-extraction with my homeroasted. In fact, I had to make "cowboy coffee"
boiled for at least 5 minutes to get even a slight overextracted flavor.
Ken Mary - Mars Pennsylvania - modified Melitta Aromaroast - modified
whirlyblade - French Press
"Nothing works like it is supposed to."

10) From: Ken Mary
Do not ignore the source of the water. My recent experience is a visit to my
parent's home for a family gathering, my first chance to show my home
roasting prowess to my parents, sister and her husband. I took my coffees
(Sulawesi Toraja and Ethiopian Sidamo), my grinder, and my french press, but
had to use city water. What a total disaster. The city water, while good
tasting even to me, utterly ruined the coffee. The taste and color of the
brew resembled weak tea. Next time I will take a few gallons of my home well
I had been a daily tea drinker for more years than I care to remember, and
was well aware of the need for good well or spring (natural) water for
brewing tea. I questioned a chemist about this at least 20 years ago. He had
done some research on protein (and similar organics) solubility, and found
that the water must have some dissolved salts with some buffering capacity.
The calcium-magnesium-carbonate-bicarbonate complex normally occurring in
well or surface waters is a good example.
A Brita filter only takes away, it can't put the natural elements back into
the water.
Of all the variables in making any kind of coffee, good water outweighs all
others by far.
Ken Mary - Mars Pennsylvania - modified Melitta Aromaroast - modified
whirlyblade - French Press
"Nothing works like it is supposed to."

11) From: Eric Bear Albrecht
At 8:13 AM -0500 3/28/00, Mike Geis wrote:
I used to know a guy who told me a story about going into a bar and 
ordering a Schlitz and being served Hamm's, even though it came out 
of a Schlitz tap. He accurately identified the discrepancy and the 
bartender told him that they had been out of Schlitz for three days 
and that he was the first to know the difference.  Have I told you 
guys this story before?  I'm suffering from CRS (Can't Remember 
Stuff), AKA old-timer's disease.
         Eric Bear Albrecht     ebear      W5VZB      Box 6040
                                Presto Computers
            Macintosh repairs - used Macs - training & troubleshooting
         505-758-0579           fax 505-758-5079          Taos, NM 87571
                           http://www.taosnet.com/ebear                      - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Notice posted at the trial of the King in some revolution, probably French:
              "Anyone who applauds the King shall be whipped.
        Anyone who insults him shall be shot."  [or maybe it was hung]

12) From: Prabhakar Ragde
Personally, I can't tell the difference between Schlitz, Hamm's,
Pabst, Budweiser, and Perrier.
--PR, from Canada, where we drink real beer (though I bet Mandy has
something to say on this subject)

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