Big budget home espresso grinder? (UK)

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
Drekly

#1: Post by Drekly »

I'm considering an EG-1, as it seems to tick every single box. However I'm aware in this forum, the Monolith is considered a better product due to it's creator.

Watching James Hoffman's recent grinder video really solidified the choice of the EG-1 to me. It really helps that it just about passes the wife/kitchen test, where it looks like a cool futuristic microscope, but the monoliths look a little too lab-like.

What are people's thoughts on the 'best' home grinder? I wish I could just try them all out before buying!

I have a Sette 270 at the moment, and I'm getting frustrated with it, as it keeps losing it's grind adjustment.

This will likely be my last big personal purchase before having a child!

megamixman

#2: Post by megamixman »

I always have the same question when someone starts these threads.

What don't you like about your current grinder? List EVERYTHING, beyond the lack of retaining grind adjustment, no matter how minuscule or potentially impossible to fix, and then make a decision based on how a grinder will affect those gripes. Otherwise, you'll get the same cookie-cutter answers which won't really help.

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Drekly (original poster)

#3: Post by Drekly (original poster) »

Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go.

I'm always striving for the 'best cup' at home. Of course that's a high priority. It's my belief that a better grinder will produce a better cup. So my first point would be


1. It's not a top-tier grinder in terms of taste or consistency. I feel like I have outgrown it with my Bianca, it doesn't tend to bring out any uniqueness in beans that I can taste in the cup at my local coffee shop. (I think they're using a Victoria Arduino Mythos One). And then...

2. The grind size is not consistent, and constantly gets vibrated out of the setting I want. It's almost always on the coarsest setting, and I have to hold it in place to stop it moving coarser as it grinds.

3. I don't like the big hopper, I want a single-dose machine.

4. I don't like the plastic build.

5. It's very noisy. Although I have no idea how the more expensive, flat burr grinders will compare as they could be louder. Especially annoying when my wife has guests and are talking, and I have to interrupt them or wait for a pause, with my finger on the grind button.

6. The Pacamara I'm currently using is on the finest 'big' setting without choking, with both shims installed. The 'fine' settings are all over the place every day.


Positives:

1. Low retention.

2. Apparently quite fast, 18g in 10s.

3. Small footprint.

4. Easily cleaned inside and out

5. Looks OK, not amazing but not offensive.

6. No static that I can notice.

7. I like being able to grind for a cold brew or a filter coffee on the rare occasion.

MNate

#4: Post by MNate »

I like your embedded question: why does it seem H-B people call Monoliths king, instead of the EG1?

(I don't have either just because my budget isn't unlimited).

Like you mentioned, I think it's the perceived approach of the two:

Monolith: set out to make the best espresso (and brew works too). Alignment seemed to be the first area to target so as to make better grounds. Keeps tweaking it as he sees ways to improve, burr sizes, geometry, etc. But form follows function, making the individual pieces look as good as he can, but function is primary. His personally building and testing the machines helps the buyer know they are getting a grinder that will work perfectly. Having different burr options optimized for different taste preferences makes the buyer get some control making the grinder fit the individual.

EG1: Weber has talked about solving the big problems of the process of making espresso, primarily retention. Grind path and having burrs very easily accessible for cleaning are big parts of this. But I think they also tried to make very nice looking machines with easy user interfaces. I haven't heard as much from them about really striving for the best grind possible. They don't seem to play with different burrs or say much about why the burr they choose is ideal. And you don't hear anything about who actually builds them or how they test them. You just think for that much money it must be done right.

Is Hoffmann right that the difference in the cup is negligible between these top flight grinders? If I knew that he was making the very bean blend/roast level I like I might go along with it. But what if I like lighter roasts? Or darker? Or this or that? It quickly makes you doubt and think the Monolith's options must be a better fit for you.

But personally I think I'd be like Hoffmann here and think, first, the espresso is very very good from both, and I rather like the user features of the EG1 as well as looks (although it's huge and more money), so I'd go with the EG1 too! I did order the Key much because I like Weber's form. But again, he seems to have just gone with that big conical burr without telling us why... does it make the best espresso? Most versatile? Did he test a bunch? Or is he just thinking we all want the biggest size possible? To me the EG1 has those questions too so I'm glad Hoffmann reviewed them.

User avatar
happycat

#5: Post by happycat »

Drekly wrote:Thanks for the tip, I'll give it a go.

2. The grind size is not consistent, and constantly gets vibrated out of the setting I want. It's almost always on the coarsest setting, and I have to hold it in place to stop it moving coarser as it grinds.

...

5. It's very noisy. Although I have no idea how the more expensive, flat burr grinders will compare as they could be louder. Especially annoying when my wife has guests and are talking, and I have to interrupt them or wait for a pause, with my finger on the grind button.

6. The Pacamara I'm currently using is on the finest 'big' setting without choking, with both shims installed. The 'fine' settings are all over the place every day.
This likely won't change your mind about upgrading but you need to know a few things about the Sette 270

The grind adjustment is loose because you need a new felt in the adjuster. Baratza will provide for free. Quick and easy fix.

The grinder may be noiser than first purchase due to premature gear wear. This also affects vibration. Baratza will provide a new gearbox free. It's an easy swap out.

These two easy repairs will put the Sette back in order... a firm grind setting that doesn't move, and more consistent and quiet grinding.
LMWDP #603

megamixman

#6: Post by megamixman »

How many different kinds of beans have you tried? Are primarily drinking light roasts or dark roasts?

As far as consistency goes, have you tried various prep techniques like WDT?

The end-game single dose grinders are: EG-1, Monolith Max, Versalab/Titus, P100, Levercraft Ultra. Note, if you're not primarily drinking light roasts, step down to a nice big conical or something like the Lagom P64. Anything more than that will not buy you anything in the "best" tasting shot department. For dark roasts, I would focus really on spending the money on the workflow as the beans don't need much more to get the maximum flavor profile out.

A good friend of mine loves his Levercraft Ultra for light roasts, but keeps a Sette 270wi around for Vivace Dark Roasts as he doesn't notice any difference in cup between the two grinders for those beans. I have tried the two and came to a similar conclusion.

Drekly (original poster)

#7: Post by Drekly (original poster) »

I don't just drink one thing. I buy your average boring South American choco-nut bean some weeks, others I'll go with a light ethiopian with subtle berry notes. I like to try lots of different things. Different espresso/milk drinks, different roasts, different varietals, and different brewing methods. I'm not looking for something to grind one bean in one size and never change.

Of the grinders you've listed it still seems like the EG-1 is for me due to it's versatility... and that all the other machines look like engineering/lab/meat mincing equipment. so likely won't pass the wife test :lol:

Out of interest how would you 'spend on the workflow'?

I was thinking eventually going for: Bean counter>Bean cellar>EG-1>OCD>Decent Tamp>Acaia Lunar+Bianca?

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megamixman

#8: Post by megamixman »

The end-game grinders are all versatile. But yes, passing the looks good enough on the counter for the wife is an important test and the EG-1 clearly wins that one.

Spending on workflow involves addressing the issues that happen during and after pulling a shot:
1.) How much WDT does it need?
2.) How much clean-up is there?
3.) How quickly does it grind?
4.) How easy is it to dial in?

The Hoffman videos are actually good critiques of points 1 - 3. Conicals are better at 4.

I tried something like bean cellars. Couldn't pre-measure out beans consistently enough that they were useful. The bean counter is not my cup of tea either. Rather than an expensive single scale, I have multiple cheap amazon scales: one near my stash of various beans with a dosing cup, one near my grinder, and one on my Decent to weigh the shot live.

If you want a preloaded tamper, look at the force tamper too. You shouldn't need the OCD with a $3K+ grinder. This goes back to how much WDT do you need.

Jeff
Team HB

#9: Post by Jeff »

I'd pass in the OCD and go with a LeverCraft WDT tool. I've tried several and it's the only one that I have found to be "worth it" over acupuncture needles in a cork. The Bravo tamper is my preference, in the same class as The Force.

Unless you're recording from the scale over Bluetooth, I agree that a good US$15-35 Scale is sufficient. If you are using the Bluetooth, the Skale II has been the most reliable of those I'm familiar with.

aliced

#10: Post by aliced »

Drekly wrote:I don't just drink one thing. I buy your average boring South American choco-nut bean some weeks, others I'll go with a light ethiopian with subtle berry notes. I like to try lots of different things. Different espresso/milk drinks, different roasts, different varietals, and different brewing methods. I'm not looking for something to grind one bean in one size and never change.

Of the grinders you've listed it still seems like the EG-1 is for me due to it's versatility... and that all the other machines look like engineering/lab/meat mincing equipment. so likely won't pass the wife test :lol:

Out of interest how would you 'spend on the workflow'?

I was thinking eventually going for: Bean counter>Bean cellar>EG-1>OCD>Decent Tamp>Acaia Lunar+Bianca?
pardon me, but what's wrong with "average boring South American choco-nut bean"? :lol: