HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Doserless grinder comparisons (9 msgs / 306 lines)
1) From: rev mark gilstrap
Unable to spend the money required to worry about 
decisions between the Mini-e and doserless Rocky, I
none-the-less keep some money in reserve for the
bargains that periodically come up here or on alt.coffee.
(the same money I am failingly trying to save for a 
I would like to first thank everyone for these heads-up.
It has let me acquire a level of espresso performance
I could not have imagined 18 months ago when I bought
my FreshRoast from Betty Crocker Outlet for $29, and 
later my Krups Gusto for $50 from Overstock, then a 
couple of Bodum Antiguas on weekly step-down clearance 
at Target for $30 and then $20, a  Gourmet roaster (with 
give-away grinder) for $70 from HW, and eventually a 
Krups Novo from Smartbargains for $99.  
With this set-up  (after modifying the Bodum for espresso 
grind) and misc items (venerable Braun drip pot, Yama 
(from SM!), french press and moka pot etc.) I was quite 
satisfied - for a while.  But then the Bodum began to take 
longer to grind than to pull and drink shots and minutes to 
grind for drip and that with increasing dust.    I could 
modify unit two and be good for another year, but something 
else came along at just the right time.
Thursday I received the component everyone says to start
with - so I guess I am now getting started, finally - I got delivery
on a Cunill El Tranquilo doserless grinder.  It was only $169 
using the promotional code ALTCOFFEE to get an additional 
$50 off the "internet special" $219 price.
I can't compare it to the Mini-e or Rocky, because I have no
experience with them or anything like them, but I can tell you 
that you can acquire a Cunill for yourself since the source will 
honor the ALTCOFFEE discount when his replenishment 
stock arrives (he sold out overnight when this discount was 
posted last Sunday evening). See www.sovrana.com
Looking forward to the future comparisons.   For now all I 
can say is that I used up all my outdated home roast remnants to 
roughly dial-in the new grinder (boy is it fast!).  I also got a 1 lb 
bag of Lavazza to waste while fine tuning the grind, but I only 
had to use a 100 grams or so to find a sweet spot for this 
prepackaged coffee (nice but no challenge to home roast!).  I 
then ground my remaining in-date home-roasted Moka Kadir 
and enjoyed a new level of quality.  By the end of  this it was 
6 pm and I was too buzzed to continue
Yesterday morning I ran through enough of my "standard" 
(which is Vivace Vita...) for a double.   It was less oily,  and 
so it turned out that the setting and tamp for Lavazza gave me 
a very fast pull and only an americano strength brew - still good, 
but not espresso.  At this point I only had enough Vita beans 
left for a big single, so I took a chance and rotated one more 
click and tamped a little harder.   Feeling more confident with 
a double, I loaded up 60 - 70% of the PF with the Vita and 
topped it off with Lavazza.    The Vita overwhelmed the taste 
profile and I thought I was back at Bar Stephano in KC...   yum.
More Vita to arrive in today's mail....
I think this grinder is worthy of consideration in your discussions
of doserless grinders.  If you never brew espresso, this may be 
the premium grinder you have been looking for.  The first grind
before I started adjusting for espresso was ideal for drip and
completely devoid of dust - extremely uniform (by eye and feel) 
and amazingly quick and also very quiet (relative to Bodum).
pr Mark
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2) From: Tom Gramila
On Sat, 1 Feb 2003, rev mark gilstrap wrote:
	I, for one, would appreciate comparisons as well.  Durability is a 
clear issue, although the cunill info at the cited page would seem to 
indicate that they have this covered -- I have not seem a grinder spec 
"pounds before burr replacement" explicitly -- sounds very good if its 
accurate.  Another question important to me is is how the grinder fares in 
the amount of grounds left behind in the machine: I tend to put a measured 
amount of beans in the hopper and grind them all.  This has been an issue 
with some of the other grinders, how is this one??
	Also, is the specific grinder you have bought discussed on this
http://sovranastore.com/esgrin.html	More comments by you or others appreciated!
				Tom G.
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3) From: Prabhakar Ragde
Thanks for your comments. Here are my thoughts, in the absence of
*  I have a Pavoni Pro equivalent, and it's quite sensitive to
   grind. I have a Rancilio Jacky (former little sibling of Rocky, now
   discontinued) which has continuous adjustment. I don't know if I'd
   like the clicks of the Rocky. 
*  Mark in his coffeegeek.com review seems to suggest the upgrade from
   Rocky to Mazzer is worth it. Since I've had the Jacky for more than
   ten years and use it daily, $150 amortized is noise. I'm regretting
   getting the Zabar's Carina Grande (Pavoni Pro with an enamel base)
   and saving $200, because the base is deteriorating.
*  The MME may be quite a bit more expensive than the MM, due to
   frills (the E stuff) that I don't really need. If they just took
   the damn doser off the MM, I'd probably buy it.
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4) From: Angelo
Someone on this list took the doser off and fitted it with a funnel of some 
sort. It looked pretty nice (to me)...
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5) From: Dan Bollinger
That may have been my modification of an MM to a single doser.  Seehttp://www.claycritters.com/coffee/Mazzer%20Mini%20single%20doser.jpg The
ball on the rod serves as a simple valve, just drop in in the funnel, grind,
and when the PF is on the hook pull the ball out. Its working great. I like
being able to switch back and forth from single origins for Americanos to
espresso roasts.   Dan
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6) From: Mike McGinness
From: "Dan Bollinger" 
Reminds of how they must grind coffee on the Wizard of Oz:) Nice work.
BTW, is there any piece of coffee roasting, grinding, brewing equipment that
doesn't get tweaked to make it better! (the answer of course is a resounding
MM;-) aka Kona Konnaisseur miKe mcKoffee
Dual Variable Transformer Rosto Roasting
Rocky grindin' - Miss Silvia brewin'
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7) From: rev mark gilstrap
From: "Tom Gramila" 
    This is how I work too.   I think this is an issue with *all*
    of the other grinders as well.  From what I have read the
    Cunill is at least as easy to clean out as the others.
regarding the Rocky it was said here:
    There is no 'finger cover' on the El Tranquilo.  Maybe that is why
    it only has a CE rating (European Union safety check) and not a
    UL listing (as far as I can tell).
    As noted in a review ..somewhere else.. you will blow out the
    accumulated coffee in the chute when you grind your next
    "dose",  (It displaces - new replaces old)   With it **unplugged**,
    I simply brush out the chute with my finger at the end of session.
    This seems adequate, but I plan to find a brush (for safety' sake).
    The residue seems to be primarily in the chute, and not around
    the burrs,  but I don't have a way to know that yet.   Just in case,
    I grind/blow a gram or two through the burrs before I grind for
    consumption.   I did that this morning by toggling the power
    switch, since the minimum timed grind delivers about "5 grams"
    upon activation.  The power switch let me cut that short.   You
    could also do the same thing by only loading a gram or two into
    the hopper,  or maybe by delivering that much using the gate
    valve between the hopper and burrs (big maybe).
    One person on alt.coffee said that they were going to try attaching
    little fan blades to the perimeter of the burrs to create a breeze to
    blow out any residue.  Someone else (on a totally different topic)
    mentioned they use a shop vac to clean up their countertop as part
    of their routine.  One of my grinds was "ill configured"  (you don't
    want to try to watch) and I used the house vac to clean up.  It sucked
    the chute clean in a flash.  I am thinking a little hand vac with a
    hose could be retrofitted into the funnel in a variety of ways.   My
    second thought was to rig up tubing between the chute and one of
    those compressed air cans used for blowing out dust from electronics,
    etc.  The chute is angled and has an ideal surface for attaching a
    tube at the correct angle to blow all the way around the burrs and
    back out into the funnel again - or up into the bean hopper if you
    forget to close the gate valve.  I plan to try the compressed air
    clean-out...  and the third idea came from the fact that we often
    use nitrogen at work to blow things out.   Now if you rented a
    bottle of N2 you could not only blow out the grinder many many
    times, but you could store a hopper full of beans under nitrogen
    or CO2 - okay, maybe not for home use, but at work...  I digress.
    I don't grind into the portafilter.   I place a small glass under
    the chute to catch the coffee.   At a diameter of 2.75",  an 8oz
    Welch's jelly glass (4" high) fits well between the portafilter
    forks, but doesn't quite vertically overlap the end of the funnel.
    I have a 10 oz.,  4.5" tall, glass from some chinese honey
    which flares out at the top and it fits so ideally that it could
    have been made for this application.  Grounds don't fly
    around from the static when delivered in this manner.  Those
    using this grinder for grinding tens of grams for drip pots
    would want to use something like this as the little tray that
    comes with it would't hold more than enough for about a
    couple of double espressos before spilling over - and the
    4 " drop allows plenty of time for dispersion of grounds to
    the adjacent countertop.  Mole sauce glasses at 4 3/4" are
    just a little bit too tall to fit below the funnel with the tray in
    place, but almost as good as a flared glass if you remove
    the catch tray.  (no, Fr Mark, the flat tray is *not* supposed
    to be installed (as it arrived) in the path of ground coffee
    inside the funnel - see diagram).
    I started out using a 4" diameter 2" deep straight sided glass
    (candy?) dish that I also use on my drip tray as the easier-
    to-clean-than-the-drip-tray  drip catcher..  It actually fits in
    the portafilter fork because at its base is a little circle of
    similar diameter, and at 2" tall it overlaps the funnel so it
    can't fall out even if it gets bumped sideways.  The filter fork
    is study enough that you could use it as the attachment point
    for a sturdy shelf if you need more stability.
    I use my illy scoop (stainless, so it dissipates static) to deliver
    coffee from my receiver glass to the portafilter.  Lots easier
    than chasing coffee in the large plastic receiver on the Bodum.
    I am almost positive that this is where I ordered from (esp if it
    is part of yahoo stores)
    My IE stopped working (shortly after xupiter.com and/or gator
    spyware came to visit uninviited) so I can't answer this question
    right now.   Search alt.coffee via google.com if you don't have
    a newsreader,  or look at the reviews on coffeegeek.com   There
    is a whole thread on the chute area of the Cunill on alt.coffee.
    Purchasing an El Tranquilo deducts points from CSA qualificatons
    if that helps you decide.   That was a plus in my book
    I would buy a www.homeroast.com tee shirt for my wife however.
    pr Mark Gilstrap
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8) From: Dan Bollinger
Thanks!   A larger diameter funnel would have been nice and fit the curve in
LOL!  I don't think I own a single item that I've not 'tweaked'.  My first
impulse when I buy something is to take it apart and improve it.   Dan
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9) From: Ken Mary
There is a finger guard inside the bean hopper. The burr discharge opening
is large enough to insert a finger, so be careful.
The grounds like to cling all over the inside of the "funnel". This does not
clear itself, but will accumulate. However, this does not seem like a static
issue, since the grounds will fall out when the funnel is struck. I found
that a small hammer will do the job nicely. Some chaff will stay behind and
must be brushed or vacuumed out.
My Tranquilo has blades to push out the grounds. Disconnect the power and
rotate the lower burr, you should see them easily. There is not much wind
that comes through the funnel. Maybe increasing this airflow would reduce or
eliminate the grounds buildup in the discharge opening.
BTW, I also was one of the lucky ones to place an order before Sovrana sold
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