HomeRoast Digest

Topic: Newbie Intro, + how to clean your burr grinder (31 msgs / 936 lines)
1) From: Shannon
Good day all, I'm Shannon. I thought I'd introduce myself, having just 
First, here's my contribution to info - how to clean a burr grinder - 
if anyone has tried this, does it work and is it ok for the grinder?
http://www.ineedcoffee.com/03/cleangrinder/I have a <$100 burr grinder (Bodum Antigua) that I've had over 1 year 
and like so far, having tried an Amish-made hand-crank burr grinder 
(didn't function well, and the grind wasn't remotely even) and eschewed 
the pulverizing Braun style. It does have a couple of quirks but they 
are easy to work around.
Will I get a noticeably tastier cup of coffee with a better grinder?  I 
don't use it for espresso, only drip and press.   How do people like 
the Solis (the one rebranded "Barista" by Starbuck's)?
For the past couple years I'd been using a whirly-pop style popcorn 
popper to roast my coffee, with decent results, but it requires full 
participation, and I pretty much have to roast 1/2 lb. at a time in 
order to get a fairly even roast.  I bought the Fresh Roast, which 
makes a good even roast in small batches, IMO - I'm getting pretty good 
at stopping the roast where ever I want it.
I've managed to "addict" a few of my coworkers to my coffee, which is 
far better than the swill they provide here at work, so now I have a 
little coffee club, with a featured bean or blend each morning, and a 
coworker even split the cost of the roaster with me!

2) From: Ralph Cohen
On Wed, 5 Nov 2003 11:52:28 -0800, Shannon wrote:
Hi Shannon,
Welcome to the list.
When I first decided to get involved in home roasting a few years ago,
I purchased a Solis grinder and a Hearthware Roaster and some green
beans from SweetMarias.  The grinder arrived before the roaster so I
first used it to grind the same store bought roasted beans I had been
using for my drip coffee.  Despite having read a number of messages on
alt.coffee that discussed the importance of the grinder, I was truly
surprised at the tremendous improvement in flavor that resulted from
the beans ground in the Solis compared to those ground in my old blade
grinder.  So, my answer to you is yes - you can definitely get a
tastier cup of coffee with a better grinder.
Ralph Cohen
P.S.  The Solis is also very easy to disassemble and clean.

3) From: Joseph A. Feliciani
Hi Shannon,welcome to the list. 
After having used a Bodum Antigua since 1996, I purchased a Solis
Maestro Plus from SM, after the Bodum died recently. Even though the
burr set looks exactly the same, the difference in grind quality is
substantial. It is a slower grind, it is much quieter, and the most
important part for me is there is no static problem as there was with
the Bodum. After grinding with the Bodum, I always had to clean the
counters. Now, unless I spill it, there is no cleanup at all. Finally,
you can taste the difference in the cup. I would highly recommend you
make the change.
Hope this helps,
RK Drum #9, Solis Maestro +, *$ Proteo Barista

4) From: jim gundlach
      Welcome to the list.  You will find several discussions about 
grinders in the archives.  The Solis grinder will work well for drip 
and press pots but if you are considering moving up to espresso ( In my 
opinion nothing gets the good flavors out of a properly roasted bean 
better than a good espresso extraction) you will need a stronger 
grinder.  But, yes, an even grind dramatically improves the flavor of 
coffee.  The reason is that you can only get a proper extraction from a 
consistently ground coffee.  There are distinct off tastes that come 
from under and over extraction.  If your grind is a mixture of dust, 
pieces, and hunks and you properly extract for the pieces, the dust 
will give you over extracted bitterness and the hunks will give an 
almost metallic to musty taste.  A bad grinder cannot help but ruin 
good coffee.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
On Nov 5, 2003, at 1:52 PM, Shannon wrote:

5) From: Rick Farris
On the other hand, even if you are considering moving up to espresso
someday, you may find that your espresso grinder options are
considerably widened if you won't need it to grind *both* drip and
-- Rick

6) From: Ken Mary
Welcome to the list. I assume you have googled "Bodum Antigua". If you have
not done so, I recommend that you remove the metal door in the grounds
chute. You can then clear nearly all the grounds by lifting the grinder,
tipping it toward the grounds hopper and spanking the top with your hand a
few times. Do not grind so fine that the burrs touch and the grinder should
last a few years.
Any grinder should be cleaned by disassembling to get access to the grinding
chamber and lower burr. Brush or scrape out any grounds, an old toothbrush
is ideal for this. The antigua upper burr lifts out after the bean hopper is
removed. I recommend that you put nothing but coffee beans in the grinder,
no rice or oatmeal.
A better grinder in the Rocky/Tranquilo class will get you a marginal
improvement in drip and french press quality. This improvement is due to the
finer graduations in adjustment and less dust. But more importantly, a
grinder in this class will last many years, due to the much better quality
and materials of construction.

7) From: MMore
The Solis Maestro Plus (see SM) is one fine grinder.  I grind a lot and have never had any trouble...even grind, never varies.
Michael A

8) From: John Abbott
Then there are the extremist who have a grinder locked down for espresso 
and another locked down for vacuum brew with yet a third (built into the 
pot) for Safe Cremas :O)   Who was it earlier that said stop me??   Does 
anyone believe that caffeine makes one obsessive? :o))
John - getting ready to place my Central Order
Rick Farris wrote:

9) From: John Abbott
Then there are the extremist who have a grinder locked down for espresso 
and another locked down for vacuum brew with yet a third (built into the 
pot) for Cafe Cremas :O)   Who was it earlier that said stop me??   Does 
anyone believe that caffeine makes one obsessive? :o))
John - getting ready to place my Central Order
Rick Farris wrote:

10) From: Lowe, David
Don't know about caffeine, but combining coffee, home roasting and the homeroast list has a way of doing it!
Dave Lowe

11) From: David Gwyn
I'm still amazed at messages like this, as I continue to have problems
grinding "larger" beans.

12) From: Brice D. Hornback
I too own a Solis Maestro Plus and have never had a problem with it.  It
produces an even grind no matter what I put through it or what grind setting
I use.  It easily adjusts from super fine to coarse and anywhere in between
repeatedly.  I absolutely love it.  The *best* thing about it is absolutely
zero static.  It is a pleasure to use and I highly recommend it.
- Brice

13) From: David Gwyn
That's what I hear from others as well, but if I grind anything other than
something like a mocha, I have to stir it with a chopstick to keep it
grinding. I'm ready to drop-kick the darn thing, if it wouldn't break my

14) From: Mike Fronzaglia
Have you called Neil or Kyle at Baratza?  I have owned both the 166 and now
the M+.  The new M+ is simply amazing compared to even its predecessor the
166!  Good luck...
Mike Fronzaglia
MCP, CSSA, A+, Dell
Freelance Trumpet Performance and Instruction

15) From: Michael Guterman
<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN">
David Gwyn wrote:
  That's what I hear from others as well, but if I grind anything other than
something like a mocha, I have to stir it with a chopstick to keep it
grinding. I'm ready to drop-kick the darn thing, if it wouldn't break my
David,  You should consider calling Neil at Baratza.  I only use my
Maestro for drip, but it stopped grinding.  Beans just didn't feed.  He
had me do some stuff to the grinder while we were on the phone and then
ended up sending me a new upper burr.  Problem solved.  They seem very
eager to resolve problems.

16) From: Felix Dial
Welcome to the list Shannon.  You wrote:
... some snipping ...
Thanks for posting this link.
The general consensus is that for good to excellent espresso, a good to
excellent burr grinder is required (about $250 on up, or sub $100 for a Zas
manual).   I don't make espresso at home, but from my experience with my
moka pots, I would not recommend the Solis Maestro for espresso.  I'm
finding more and more dust appearing in my moka coffee.  I grind with the
marker about 2-3 clicks coarser than the espresso mark
Some might disagree with what I say next, but I think for drip through a
paper filter, a whirly-blade grinder will do just fine.  A burr grinder
isn't needed for this brewing method.  I own the Solis Maestro grinder (not
the plus) and it works well for me and my press and vac pot.  Although I
think the coarsest setting isn't coarse enough.  I know the maestro plus
improves this.
 I was wondering if you still roast with the whirly-pop?  If you've roasted
the same coffee in the whirly pop and the FreshRoast, how would you compare
overall the results between the two methods?  Did you modify the FreshRoast.
Felix "stopped at a thrift shop on way home and bought a poppery1 for
$4.25!!" Dial

17) From: Ben Treichel
Felix Dial wrote:
Actaully to quote a website we know;
"Everyone talks about "conical burr grinders" as a requirement for good 
coffee brewing. But the fact is that pour-over or automatic drip brewing 
does not require these expensive mills. The humble little blade grinder 
is a remarkable little machine, long-lasting, low-maintenance, and not 
$100! "

18) From: Peter Barnes
Well, I suppose when the words "needed" and "for me" appear", there's 
not much room for argument.  It's all personal preference.  Maybe the 
whirly blade works well enough for you, but I certainly noticed a 
discernable difference when I upgraded to a Zass from my whirly blade.  
The difference was in all sorts of areas - less mud in my press and 
swiss gold drip, more flavor and less bitterness in drip and press, a 
smoother cup in the vac pot.  Especially with the vac pot and the press, 
where the coffee sat and extracted, the whirly press did not produce 
good coffee (speaking comparatively, of course). 
For most of my life, the whirly blade was suitable.  But the upgrade to 
the Zass was both inexpensive, and added a nice ritual to my life.  On 
top of that, my coffee tasted 100% better.  At least.
Just my $.02
Felix Dial wrote:

19) From: AlChemist John
Sometime around 19:58 11/6/2003, Felix Dial typed:
Too some degree I will agree with you.  For the longest time I used a 
whirly blade for drip.  Over time my coffee quality deteriorated to until I 
purchased a Zass 169, then my coffee improved again.  I would say whirly 
blades are pretty good for drip IF they are still sharp and do not JUST 
whack the beans.
John Nanci 
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting and Blending by Gestalthttp://www.dreamsandbones.net/blog/

20) From: John Abbott
Sometime around 19:58 11/6/2003, Felix Dial typed:
I'd be one to disagree, but gently and smiling.  I own several grinders 
and I am about to add just one more to the collection. As my coffee 
mania developed I moved from drip to pour over but stayed with my whirly 
blade.  When I bought my Cona-D from Tom & Maria I went through all 
kinds of trouble trying to prevent stalls. It was on the advice of many 
on the list that I picked up a burr grinder.  The grinder I picked was 
the Zass 169 which solved my problem. a couple of years later I built a 
portable coffee bar for travel and the whirly blade fit nicely into the 
package.  I take the Chemex (pout over) along with a large French 
Press.  We noticed a degradation in flavor immediately when using the 
whirly blade.  My last trip was for 10 days and I used the 169 to grind 
and then vacuum sealed it.  MUCH better.  So being the kind of guy that 
likes data - I did a side by side taste test with a group of six folks 
-and to the person the zass ground coffee was rated better - and they 
didn't know which was which when sampling.   So we are now going to add 
a Zassenhaus Turkish Mill to the collection for our traveling because we 
are convinced that it does make a difference.  Besides that we've been 
hanging on to too much of Tom & Maria's money :o)
John - looking forward to the daily grind

21) From: David Westebbe
Nicely said.

22) From: Angelo
I'm wondering if using a super-fine mesh screen to remove the dust would 
help in eliminating the taste of over-extraction....Anyone tried this?

23) From: Felix Dial
"Peter Barnes"  wrote:
Maybe I should have been more careful with my post and verbiage.
Please replace "A burr grinder isn't needed for this brewing method."
"A burr grinder is ideal for most if not all brewing methods, but the
correctly designed whirlybird grinder with the correct whirlybird grinding
technique (shaking, tilting, time, praying, etc) will produce adequate to
excellent results for the correct type of drip brewer with the correct type
of paper filter."
Recall that I assumed a drip brewer with a paper filter.
This is the exact reason why I upgraded from a whirlybird to the Solis
Maestro. It was too much work with the whirlybird to get decent results with
my press, vac and moka pot. With the Solis Maestro, grind consistency
improved and so did the resulting coffee.
p.s.  Peter a few weeks back I sent you an email off list with several links
to bean cooling devices.  I was wondering if you received this?  If not, I
can resend if you like.

24) From: Rick Farris
I think you're making an assumption that our complaint about whirly
birds is that they leave sediment in the coffee.  Nothing could be
further from the truth.  Many of us like sediment.
Our complaint about the whirly bird is that instead of milling the
coffee into small, roughly equal-sized particles, it generates a product
that is a continuum from coffee dust up to the largest particle.  Sort
of a fractal composition.
The entire essence of good coffee making is to get the right amount of
the right temperature water into contact with the right amount of coffee
for the the right amount of time.
The "right amount of time" is totally dependent on the SIZE OF THE
COFFEE GRANUAL.  Therefore, if, instead of having equal-sized particles
you have an infinite gradation of particles, there will only be one very
narrow range of the coffee granuals that will extract properly.  The
rest of the coffee will be both under-extracted and sour (the larger
particles) and over-extracted and bitter (the smaller particles).
THAT is why you've heard so many testimonials from people who used a
whirly-bird and then moved to a Solis-or better burr grinder.  It has
ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with whether the coffee is to be filtered or
-- Rick

25) From: jim gundlach
On Nov 7, 2003, at 9:15 PM, Rick Farris wrote:
But if you grind it all to dust you have an even grind for Turkish 
coffee.  This is the only coffee the whirly blade chopper is good for.
Jim Gundlach

26) From: Felix Dial
"Rick Farris"  wrote:
Just so I'm not taken out of context, here's what I originally posted:
Now here's what I posted in response to PBarnes:
I later state in my post to PBarnes:
 ... some snipping of what you wrote ...
You're preaching to the choir.  This is my last post on this topic.

27) From: Rick Farris
It doesn't matter how many words you wrap around it, Felix, when you
tell a newbie that whirly birds are just dandy as long as you use a
filter, it's wrong.
-- Rick

28) From: sho2go
Reminds me of the local fire chief telling the reporter, during the
conflagration in which nearly 3000 homes were on fire (Southern CA), that
the "taxpayers were too cheap" and hadn't coughed up enough of the [city's,
county's,and state's] money to put out these fires.  Of course the fact that
for the previous 20 years the wacko tree huggers insistence that not one
inch of forest have the underbrush cleared, leading to this inevitable
tragedy, had nothing to do with it...........On the same note, did anyone
notice that  Tom Daschle's bill to prohibit clearing underbrush and
maintaining the federal forests specifically exempted South Dakota??????
Unhappy camper here, having 2 friends and their families homeless, and
waiting for next fire season..................
 > Besides that we've been

29) From: jim gundlach
This is not a political forum!  Getting way off topic.
    Jim Gundlach
On Nov 8, 2003, at 8:58 AM, sho2go wrote:

30) From: Felix Dial
Well I said I wasn't going to post anything else to this thread, but I'm
going to.
I was going through last months archives and came across the protracted
HTML/plain text discussion.  There were a couple of posts on this thread
that pretty much echoed my sentiments and compelled me to reply.
Here they are:
+RE: HTML in email
Rick Farris homeroast
Thu Oct 30 12:54:01 2003
And is it your opinion that everyone should like what you like and do
what you do?
-- Rick
P.S. I'll tell you that it's a good thing everyone doesn't have to like
what *I* like and do what *I* do, or you'd all have been married to my
ex-wives.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone!
+OT: HTML in email
Rick Farris homeroast
Thu Oct 30 14:35:16 2003
Barging in here and trying to enforce your standards on everyone else is
roughly the equivalent of farting in the elevator.
-- Rick
Now this is my last post on this topic.  Reply if you like, but I won't lest
Tom Owen's "hooey" alarm gets triggered.
Felix "holding his nose" Dial

31) From: Rick Farris

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