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Zassenhaus vs. Zassenhaus

Postby Fullsack on Fri Apr 06, 2007 2:42 am

This discussion is a continuation of the following thread, but no longer has to do with an Expobar, Zassenhaus grinder for an Expobar?


I am now the less than proud owner of a second nearly new Zass 151. The first was purchased new in December 2006 from a German seller on eBay, the second from an individual who purchased it earlier this year, new, from a coffee store in the Western United States. In the "Expobar" thread, the posts reported vastly different experiences with the Zassenhaus hand crank grinders. Now that I have the second Zass, I know why. The German purchased Zass is made of high quality materials and is capable of producing grinds fine enough to choke the most powerful espresso machine. The domestically purchased Zass was manufactured with significantly lesser quality materials and on its best day cannot produce a grind fine enough for espresso on any of my machines. When an attempt is made to make a finer grind on the "US" Zass, the top of the grinder bends inward so much that the door to the bean hopper won't open.

Image


The "US" Zass, with the light wood on the right, can be distinguished from the "German" Zass in a few easy to spot ways. The most noticeable is the shinier top on the "US" Zass with an indentation just to the left of the opening for inserting beans into the hopper.


Image

The second is a plastic chute attached to the bottom of the grinding mechanism on the "US" Zass.

Image

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Finally, the "US" Zass says "Made in Germany" while the "German" Zass says "Made in Western Germany" with a lighter colored blue stamp.
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Postby mattwells on Fri Apr 06, 2007 7:27 am

Fullsack wrote:Finally, the "US" Zass says "Made in Germany" while the "German" Zass says "Made in Western Germany" with a lighter colored blue stamp.


That is most likely an age thing, then. "Made in West Germany" was made before Germany was reunited (ie. before 1990 IIRC).

Quality Control must have gone down as of late.
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Postby prof_stack on Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:06 pm

Fullsack wrote:I am now the less than proud owner of a second nearly new Zass 151. The first was purchased new in December 2006 from a German seller on eBay, the second from an individual who purchased it earlier this year, new, from a coffee store in the Western United States. In the "Expobar" thread, the posts reported vastly different experiences with the Zassenhaus hand crank grinders. Now that I have the second Zass, I know why. The German purchased Zass is made of high quality materials and is capable of producing grinds fine enough to choke the most powerful espresso machine. The domestically purchased Zass was manufactured with significantly lesser quality materials and on its best day cannot produce a grind fine enough for espresso on any of my machines. When an attempt is made to make a finer grind on the "US" Zass, the top of the grinder bends inward so much that the door to the bean hopper won't open.

Finally, the "US" Zass says "Made in Germany" while the "German" Zass says "Made in Western Germany" with a lighter colored blue stamp.


Very professionally and politely stated by Fullsack. It was I who sold him the Zass 151 as I was no longer using it, preferring my Trosser and KYM grinders (older vintage). I've offered to take back the Zass (sold for less than I paid for it).

The unnamed shop has been named enough on this site to not be a mystery, but I wouldn't hold them accountable for the Zass quality.

With this "Made in Germany" Zass, one wonders if reunification caused the quality control to take a dive. The factory did move to the Czech Republic in about 2004 and then closed up with some saying that a Chinese factory was used for a time. There have been rumors about Zass reopening and churning out more mills.

Perhaps this Zass 151 can be used for other coffee makings.
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Postby Fullsack on Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:14 pm

prof_stack wrote:Very professionally and politely stated by Fullsack. It was I who sold him the Zass 151 as I was no longer using it, preferring my Trosser and KYM grinders (older vintage). I've offered to take back the Zass (sold for less than I paid for it).

The unnamed shop has been named enough on this site to not be a mystery, but I wouldn't hold them accountable for the Zass quality.

With this "Made in Germany" Zass, one wonders if reunification caused the quality control to take a dive. The factory did move to the Czech Republic in about 2004 and then closed up with some saying that a Chinese factory was used for a time. There have been rumors about Zass reopening and churning out more mills.

Perhaps this Zass 151 can be used for other coffee makings.


To be accurate about this, I approached "prof" about purchasing the Zass, not the other way around. The refund offer was most gracious, but the 151 will serve me well for drip grinding.
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Postby zix on Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:23 pm

Hmmm... Took some close-ups (well... as close as you can get with a 50mm lens on a camera with DX format) of the Zassenhaus 175M (the turkish one) burrs. It was a bit of a challenge getting good pictures of them. Or should I say "bad" images perhaps... The steel is very shiny and really looks good on images, in most angles. I think I managed to nail a few though.
Anyway, this is the inner burr. Sorry about the short depth of field, no time for tripods and long exposures:
Image

And here, the outer burr. Down (fine grind) side is towards the viewer. This is an inverted burr set, with the setting screw in the bottom, pushing the inner burr up against the outer burr. The entire construction of the grinder, BTW, is ingeniously simple and smart. Perhaps not unique among turkish grinders, though.
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Postby zix on Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:49 pm

Sorry, I had to break it up.

It is perhaps interesting to see that the outer rim of the burrs is not machined flat, as it is on larger conical burr sets (and on flat burr sets too). I am not sure if this is a good thing. Have a look at this one, where I hold the burrs as they are meant to be mounted. No, that is not a piece of dust between the inner and outer burrs, above my thumb. It is a piece of sky.
Image
I imagine that some grinds ought to slip through in that size, even though the burrs touch?

Having a look at the burr edges, they aren't exactly straight. Nor are they very sharp, but maybe sharpness is not as important as one might think? This would never do for a flat burr in my Anfim though.
Image

Here is a dirty one as a bonus for you scare freaks. Doesn't the metal look like it is about to come off in some places?
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Aaaand, we have a winner. Once the angle is right and the light is OK, it should be be beyond any doubt that these burrs are worn, man. The upper ("shorter") indent is from the rim of the inner burr.
Image

If the Zass turkish grinder is designed to grind with the burrs touching, as it says on the sweetmarias site, then either
1. Zassenhaus think we need more metal in our coffee or
2. Something is not right with the burrs. Perhaps not only on mine?
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Postby Fullsack on Fri May 15, 2009 2:12 pm

The quality of the metal of the burrs is the most important difference between the West German Zass and the newer model Zass.
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Postby Psyd on Fri May 15, 2009 3:01 pm

This is starting to sound a bit like guit-slingers comparing Stratocasters and Telecasters. The Pre-CBS versions are the primo, the CBS-owned products are OK, but better than the Japanese-made products, and those manufactured in Mexico are not really considered Fender products, really.

*AS I UNDERSTAND IT (and could very well be wrong) Zass made some in old Germany, labeled in German, later, some labeled as West German, then some manufactured in Czech Republic, then some manufactured in China (or Chinese pirated knock-offs?), and there is still a rumour that there will be some made in Germany again.
Along with those rumours, there have been some that the new ones are assembled in Germany, but the mechanicals are imported and manufactured from Chinese steel, and that the new ones are made with German steel and assembled in the Czech Republic, etcetra ad infinitum.
I would love to find a reference that could but locations to timelines, and accurately and honestly represent which ones are valuable as espresso grinders, and which are drip or press candidates. And, of course, which are suitable only for decorations.
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Postby Bluecold on Fri May 15, 2009 5:41 pm

I suspect it ain't the burrs. It's the mounting. Plastic tabs to hold it in place just won't cut it. The ball bearing stepless adjustment at the bottom is way superior. Zass' used to made them like that. So my take on the modern 'hausen is to just not buy them until they get their act together.
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