Clarification of an old question: Merits of conical vs. flat burr grinder? - Page 2

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

#11: Post by JDolezal »

Thanks everyone for the input. Regarding consistency, I'll just accept that if I chose to go the conical route I'd probably end up adjusting the grind less often, and leave it at that. With regard to taste:
mgrayson wrote:If the coffee gives you a taste you like, you'll like it fine with either grinder type. The difference will be one of shading. I also prefer a "comfort" shot, and slightly prefer conical to flat, but I wouldn't object to any of the better grinders of either geometry.
another_jim wrote:It takes a long time to tell the difference in taste between competent grinders. If you like comfort food blends, there probably is no difference (in all my testing, I could find consistently repeatable taste differences only when using difficult coffees with narrow sweet spots).
This was really helpful. For some reason, I had it in my mind that conicals would be less suited for this type of shot. It's easy for me to draw false conclusions from all the exaggerations and over-simplifications I'm reading in these "A vs. B" discussions.

On to search for a conical grinder!

malling

#12: Post by malling »

How often you need to make an adjustment really depend on the beans your using, some will hardly need to be adjusted when first dialed in, other beans, need to be on a regular basis, no matter what grinder your using.

Flat burr grinders need to be adjustment regularly, the only exception to the rule seem to be the k30 and Mythos, but these comes at a premium price-tag. And these two grinders are very popular among professional baristas, the Mythos have replaced Roburs in many places, especially in Europe.

The Major is good but, not on par with the above, it definitely need to be adjusted more often then a k30

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boar_d_laze

#13: Post by boar_d_laze »

JDolezal wrote:For some reason, I had it in my mind that conicals would be less suited for this type of shot.
Common misconception. It's promoted, I think, by people who espouse the idea that flats offer a "different perspective," when in fact even most of the big flats have a somewhat restricted spectrum at the top end compared to the big conics.

I disagree to some extent with Jim's comments regarding the suitability of various grinder/machine combinations for any bean with a profile including acid notes. That is, I don't draw a special line for "lighter" roasts. If you're using a competent espresso machine (BDB and up), buying interesting beans roasted FC or lighter, you want the widest spectrum, most separation, most clarity and best mouthfeel you can get.
It's easy for me to draw false conclusions from all the exaggerations and over-simplifications I'm reading in these "A vs. B" discussions.
Yep.

I did a lot of grinder evaluation over a period of about eighteen months centered around my search for a new grinder. What I found is that grinders tend to hunt in packs (largely determined by burr size and geometry), with nearly everything in the class sharing the same or at least very similar "in the cup" characteristics.

The group I call "big flats," might have the most exceptons. The K30 slots in nicely, but has a smaller burr set. So, for that matter do the hybrid La Cimbali and Versalab although they have hybrid burr sets. And perhaps more to the point, the Anfirm Super Caimano Barista, Mahlkonig EK43, and NS Mythos have spectrums as wide as big conics.

In any case it's important to evaluate grinders on an individual basis rather than assuming that an extrapolation based on class will be correct.

Another false conclusion that's easy to draw if you use H-B as your primary source is the putative superiority, either in the cup or in use of Compak conics. For one thing, there aren't as many (any?) "in the cup" exceptions to the rule of big conic wide flavor palette, excellent separation, and good clarity.

One difference which Jim and I both noted comparing the Robur to the Compak is mouthfeel/clarity. Jim rated the Compak better for mouthfeel, and the Robur better for clarity, but I thought it was the other way around. I believe we both preferred the Robur's "in the cup" qualities overall.
On to search for a conical grinder!
Good luck. If you plan on single dosing there are a couple which make the task easier and cheaper than the alternatives in the US market -- the Compak K10 PB and HG One.

The on demand big conics... Ceado E92; Compak E and F 10; Macap M7D and Robur E have a lot more in common than differences. While I think there are some slight "in the cup" differences, they're not large -- at least when comparing "best shot" (my method) rather than "blind" (Jim's).

I thought the Ceado E92 and Robur E were -- by a slight margin -- the best big conics in the cup; but that the Robur E was a relative PITA compared to the other on demand grinders.

Whether Compak's move to more torque and slower rotation in the E and F10 Fresh grinders (compared to their old K10 Fresh) makes them better in the cup... quien sabe? It's really hard to know what makes a grinder different, much less better.

The Anfim Super Camano Barista belongs in the same "in the cup" class as the big conics. I didn't have the chance to try it until it was too late to return my E92; but probably wouldn't have bought it anyway, because of its price. Very pleasant machine to use, by the way; and if you're interested in what a big conic has to offer and can afford the Anfim, it should be on your short list even if it's a flat.

Despite it's popularity with the "objective measurement" crowd, I'm not a big fan of the EK43 for espresso because it's short on mouthfeel.

I hear the Mythos is great; but talk about expensive... Oy.

In case it needs saying, if buying a new grinder I'd choose the E92 again, but would be tempted by the Anfim for its lower retention, and the F10 for its outstanding grind size display.

Rich
Drop a nickel in the pot Joe. Takin' it slow. Waiter, waiter, percolator

OldNuc

#14: Post by OldNuc »

Think Pharos or HG-1. You get the conical burr set without the 4 figure price tag.

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JohnB.
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#15: Post by JohnB. » replying to OldNuc »

True for the Pharos but at $966 + sh the HG-One is a 4 figure grinder.
LMWDP 267

OldNuc

#16: Post by OldNuc »

Shipping on any grinder will be an addition and I did not consider it into price as some of these things are tanks and others are quite light and compact. Shipping defies quantifying easily.

For my $0.02 on this with the OP specifying both single dosing and higher roast levels the Pharos is the way to go. My modified Pharos has basically zero retention and at 29 rotations to grind 15 g it is not a workout. final cost delivered was just over $400 and under $450.

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JDolezal

#17: Post by JDolezal »

Thanks for all the great suggestions. The Pharos is pretty high on my list, for the aforementioned reasons: low cost, great for single dosing, and titan burrs. I'm still thinking through whether or not the $$$ savings is worth the risk of eventually wishing I had just gone ahead and bought a motorized unit. But honestly, if the Pharos ever does come back in stock, I'll probably spring for it.

I'm less interested in the HG-1, with it being a manual grinder that's only a few hundred $$ short of a motorized titan. I'm willing to hand grind for the savings I'd get with a Pharos, but not an HG-1.

My initial scrapings through these (and other) forums have lead me in the direction of the well-loved (albeit slightly over-budget) K-10 PB. However, a post I saw on another thread here at HB gave me pause:
boar_d_laze wrote:Don't buy a grinder in the "titan" class -- such as a K-10 Fresh -- unless you're planning to buy an espresso machine which can make use of its "resolving" quality; i.e., something at the very top of the prosumer range, or a true professional machine. Unless you're looking at $2K or more for a machine, PDQ, the K-10 Fresh is massive overkill.
My espresso machine is an Expobar Office Control, which I think is just fantastic & have no plans to upgrade in the foreseeable future. In your opinion, would a $1000+ titan class grinder be over-kill for this humble HX?

OldNuc

#18: Post by OldNuc »

I use a modified Pharos along with a La Pavoni pro with the non millennium group. Works just fine. This combination works if you can get a set routine so all the timing is correct due to habit. You learn how to set group temperature by feel.

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boar_d_laze

#19: Post by boar_d_laze »

JDolezal wrote:My espresso machine is an Expobar Office Control, which I think is just fantastic & have no plans to upgrade in the foreseeable future. In your opinion, would a $1000+ titan class grinder be over-kill for this humble HX?
Don't know enough about the machine to have an opinion.

Extrapolating from what I know about other compact HXs, I suspect you'll see a big improvement in the cup with a better grinder, but not as much as you would with a "better" machine. Not that it means anything, but I'm an HX fan too.

Rich
Drop a nickel in the pot Joe. Takin' it slow. Waiter, waiter, percolator

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JohnB.
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#20: Post by JohnB. »

OldNuc wrote:Shipping on any grinder will be an addition and I did not consider it into price as some of these things are tanks and others are quite light and compact.
Actually the prices listed on sites like CCS & others for the 4 digit priced grinders you mentioned include shipping so it's only fair to include the total cost of the HG-One. When you consider what the K10 P/B and other similarly priced grinders give you the HG-One is no bargain.
LMWDP 267