After a few months of using my Encore for espresso and being frustrated with only have 1 or 2 usable settings, I decided to upgrade to a Nuova Simonelli Grinta. I am not very impressed with it for my purposes, and I wouldn't recommend it at a list price of $330+, but I bought it used in very good/lightly used condition. I think I got it at a fair price to upgrade to 50mm burrs and a beefier motor.
I exclusively single dose, so from here on out I will be addressing how this grinder works for this purpose. Here is the stock Grinta:
First, the hopper is huge so not very easy to put a single dose of bean into it. I think the grinder with it is 16" or so tall. So, I took it off and used a yogurt lid on top with my tamper to keep beans from popping out. Then there is an annoying ledge right before the burrs where beans get stuck. You can see the ledge in this picture (ignore the 4 black tabs sticking out for now, will explain this later):
After, the grinder retains a few grams of grinds, so they will need to be swept out. Now, it is a stepped grinder and each step corresponds to a roughly 20 second difference in timing, not ideal for espresso and not much of a difference between my (unmodded) Encore. It took me an entire 12oz bag of fresh (5 days post roast) Stumptown beans to finally get it dialed in, meaning only the last shot was good (it is difficult to keep track of settings without adding some additional markers). So sad, so many sink shots.
I decided to make some simple modifications that were 100% reversible.
Doserless: this one is simple. I made a mini-hopper to bypass the ledge where beans get stuck.
I took a plastic cup, cut it, taped it with black electric tape. I use the tamper as a lid to keep the beans from hopping out. As you can see near the bottom, I added tape so that it doesn't fall in too deep and block beans from going into the burrs.
This is what it looks like on
and with the tamper on top:
I haven't tested the maximum the minihopper can hold, but it comfortably holds 16-19 grams when about 75% full--good enough.
In the next post, I will describe how I made the Grinta stepless.