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Mazzer doser exit chute modification for cleaner countertop!

Postby TimEggers on Sun Aug 12, 2007 3:51 pm

Preface

Well I'm at it again. I've grown tired of my countertop being littered with stray grounds. Most seem to appear after a rapid thwacking and dosing of my portafilter. I liked my doserless idea but I wanted to devise some method that would allow me to continue to use my doser for its clump breaking attributes but allow me a cleaner workspace (not to mention happier wife).

I think I have it...

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This modification is extremely simple and allows every ground to drop directly into my basket. The chute doesn't interfere with the normal operation of the doser handle and seems to help the grounds throwing problem (especially with rapid dosing) because the grounds go right down into the portafilter. Any portafilter will work (spouted or bottomless) and this modification does not alter the grinder in any fashion (no drilling or gluing involved).

So lets get to what we will need to perform the modification!

Tools:
    One plastic container (I used one that packets of lemonade came in). Really any plastic container that is larger than the doser opening will work.

    A pair of scissors or kitchen shears


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Making the Chute

What we need to make is this:
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What I did that cut down lengthwise then a second cut around the container to effectively remove about a 1-inch ring from the end. The container needs to be cut so that the ring can be overlapped and wound tighter so the diameter becomes smaller. This is important because its the ring's want to expand that will hold it firmly in the exit chute.

Here is the ring wound tight, inserted then allowed to expand against the chute walls:
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In action (sorry for the poor lighting, I only have two hands)
[gvideo]http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8556297924204347679&hl=en[/gvideo]

Conclusion/Observations

Dosing my basket has become much cleaner and the counters are real proof of that. I don't notice any immediate functional problems with this setup. The coffee comes out nice and cleanly (I've even seen some minor further clump breaking) from the chute.

Although the exit chute isn't round, but the chute is I don't get any grounds out around the chute. They all seem to come straight down into the basket via the inside of the chute.

Grounds retention. Yeah it happens, since the chute is inserted up into the exit chute there is a ledge created. It does retain grounds but I haven't seen any grounds exchange (fresh grounds displacing stale grounds) into the basket. My shot quality has not changed as far as I can tell. Just be aware that if you remove the chute you'll most likely get a few grounds with it.

Static also seems to be a non-issue as the grounds are de-clumped and don't seem to retain any static after passing through the doser.

I welcome further thoughts, questions or comments!
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Postby Psyd on Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:23 pm

TimEggers wrote:
Well I'm at it again. I've grown tired of my countertop being littered with stray grounds. Most seem to appear after a rapid thwacking and dosing of my portafilter.
Grounds retention. Yeah it happens, since the chute is inserted up into the exit chute there is a ledge created. It does retain grounds Just be aware that if you remove the chute you'll most likely get a few grounds with it.

I welcome further thoughts, questions or comments!


Well, the desire to keep a clean counter and the ground that spill from the chute you created do seem to be a tiny contradiction...
What're ya, new?!?

Image Image

Once I decided to use the WDT, it just followed that I could put the chute in the PF basket and do my business, and remove the cup over the knock box. A slight tap on the bar, and all of the grounds are off the counter, off the grinder, and in the knock box.
Handy, but especially handy of you're going to WDT anyway.


This is another technique that has been discussed in the past, and how I did it before the WDT. I think it's a Rubbermaid product, but it fits perfectly between the PF fork and the doser's chute exit. once the doser is clear, remove the container and upend it over the PF basket. Actually, placing the basket over the container and then upending it was pretty clean. I reversed the two over the knock box, and VIOLA!, clean counters.

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Neither ever gave me any problems with stray grounds. The biggest advantage of the yoghurt cup is that you get to eat the yoghurt as often as you think you need to replace the cup! Insure that you have a level cut on the cup, and that you have a slight press fit when the cup is settled. If it's too large, it'll make an escape every time. Too small, and it'll rattle around in the basket and tip a lot, pushing grounds out. Get a sixer of your favorite yoghurt and give it a try!
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Postby TimEggers on Sun Aug 12, 2007 4:42 pm

Looks great Chris indeed!

One thing I notice is that your system seems to attach to the basket, where mine remains on the grinder. I should clarify too that the grounds that fall from the chute I use above only happen when the chute is removed and not during regular use. The chute above stays in place without needing to be removed thus no grounds on the counter.

I knew I couldn't have been the first to do something like this, but most that I've seen seem to not be as hands free as I was looking for.

Yet another problem of which there is certainly more than one answer.

What are others doing in this regard?
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Postby luca on Sun Aug 12, 2007 8:48 pm

Hi Tim,

A more commonly seen modification, down here at least, is to use the screws that hold the crappy plastic "tamper" to hold a deflector to the left of the exit chute.

I don't think that it's so much the left-shoot that is a problem, but more the fact that dosing up will always result in spillage. The robur seems to dose pretty straight and I still end up with mess.

The problem is that there isn't really that much space for an extension chute if you want to dose an amount that will go over the rim of the basket at any stage. I note that you didn't seem to dose all that much coffee in your video. My solution would be to remove the PF fork. I don't think that you really need it.

My setup is as shown in the photo below; grinder sits above knock box, which sits in a hole cut into the bench. Might not be practical unless your enough of a nutcase to buy an espresso only bench ;P

Image

The knock box catches the bulk of the mess when dosing, but I rap to settle on the bench, so I still get stuff bouncing off. Perhaps the solution would be to put the PF fork back on! A better solution would be to rig something up to hold the knock box under the hole, rather than slotting in to it. That way, I could just brush everything into the knock box. By far the cleanest way to go ... I'll get there eventually!

Cheers,

Luca
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Postby HB on Sun Aug 12, 2007 9:08 pm

TimEggers wrote:I knew I couldn't have been the first to do something like this, but most that I've seen seem to not be as hands free as I was looking for.

Last week I had the Kony and Super Jolly side-by-side and noticed how the Kony's slower pace meant less mess from overshoot. The Super Jolly was fast, but yikes, talk about overshoot at fast doser thwacks! Your suggestion is a timely one. Seeing it now, I recall a similar mod using a square of aluminum flashing (Home Depot, about three for $1). It may conform to the exit's irregular shape better than the plastic cutout from a cylindrical container.
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Postby TimEggers on Sun Aug 12, 2007 10:29 pm

Luca I love the grinder over knock box set-up. Now that has to be handy.

Dan I also agree that there is most likely a few ways (some better than above) to overcome the throwing issues.

The video wound up being a 12g dose per my scale. I typically go 12-16g these days, which pretty much eliminates the overfilling, then leveling that was the source of my biggest messes in the past.

I may do something a little different to better conform to the exit chute shape and eliminate grounds retention, but frankly this seems to work quite well.
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Postby IronBarista on Mon Aug 13, 2007 7:02 am

I use some metal tape. It's aluminum with a sticky backing. Cut to any length and it comforms perfectly.
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Postby Psyd on Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:12 pm

TimEggers wrote: I should clarify too that the grounds that fall from the chute I use above only happen when the chute is removed and not during regular use. The chute above stays in place without needing to be removed thus no grounds on the counter.


Then it's worse! Stale grounds are staying with the grinder! At least they're (probably) not ending up in your PF basket...
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Postby jesawdy on Wed Aug 15, 2007 6:44 pm

I have a nice clean Super Jolly on the counter now... too bad the counter itself is not quite so clean!

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Used Mazzer Super Jolly Automatic, maybe two scratches

The above is my personal answer for best inexpensive grinder. If one is patient you can find the SJ for $225-235 shipped on eBay. Built like a tank. I had to remove the automatic level control and disable the microswitch in the doser (turns on the grind after 8 clicks or so). Took about 30 minutes to do that and a sacrificial toothbrush (thanks Chris) to clean it up. Jim Schulman inspired my lovely hopper and there is a tamper in there too (I was sad to see the rolled up blue plastic hoppers leave the TGP :( )

I'll have to try some of these ideas, it is a pretty messy grinder since it throws WAY left. I have a new found appreciation for the Cimbali doser handle travel, grinds throw and the Cimbali is cleaner with the integral grinds tray (but not perfect).

What I really like about the Super Jolly (and should be transferable to all doser Mazzers) is the doser access. With the finger guard removed, you can lift the doser lid and it is very easy to access and sweep the grinds chute and most of the doser clean. I also see the need for the "egg/cone" and tape mods... it could sweep much better.
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Postby TimEggers on Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:20 am

Psyd wrote:Then it's worse! Stale grounds are staying with the grinder! At least they're (probably) not ending up in your PF basket...


I don't claim to have the perfect set-up and I agree it's fundamentally flawed. Although I can restate that I don't notice any negligible difference in my shots.

To make matters worse I've been experimenting with a Ken Fox approach of a 14g dose, no leveling, no WDT no nothing followed with a tamp and the shots surprisingly flow evenly and taste great. The bead as evenly as my WDT shots and taste as good. Grind, dose then tamp. I often have tamped the mound and things turned out great. A slow pull of the doser handle has been key though and that negates the need for a chute as I use above.

To each their own.
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