Considering (grinder) upgrades

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

#1: Post by mwynne »

Current setup (just assembled over time, not with too much intent):
- My wife and I mostly drink pourover (Melitta style) and french press coffee at home (usually 2 cups each/day).
- Recently got a Rok GC to have the option of something else at home during quarantimes (I like manual things in general - wanted a Cafelat Robot myself, but she got the Rok for me as a gift).
- Use a Baratza Virtuoso grinder for everything - love it for our drip, press, cold brew, etc.

I've been playing with the Rok (experience notes here, if interested), and it's been.... fine. Now, I'm kind of debating where I want to go next - I really want this to be a nice experience at home.
- Right off the bat, I'm pretty sure I don't want a fully-fledged espresso machine. Space, plumbing, heat up time, cost, etc is just not the right fit for now.
- On occasion milk drinks would be nice (on the weekends kind of thing). Considering a Bellman steamer or something similar for those occasions.
- I bet I could get better results with the Rok if I had a better espresso grinder (I know that my process is a factor here as well - puck prep, etc). Given that the majority of our coffee drinking is very well handled by the Virtuoso, I wonder if an espresso-focused hand grinder would improve the Rok experience, if I can find one for a modest price...
- Or have I kind of hit the limit of decent espresso from the Rok? I think I'd be much happier with a Robot, but if I can't get an appreciable better experience/drink, my wife would not be thrilled with the cost.

So, I am curious about peoples' thoughts and experiences! Extremely subjective, and I don't think there is a single "right" choice for me, but I figure I should ping smarter, more experienced minds instead of just obsessing on my own ;)


#2: Post by megamixman »

You need a better grinder. The big difference between the Rok, Flair, and Robot will be the ease of use from different prep/clean processes. All three can make good quality espresso. The ability to grind fine and consistent enough is a critical factor in making espresso and virtuoso just won't cut it. A proper espresso-tuned grinder: hand or electric, should be your next upgrade.


#3: Post by mwynne »

That's very much in line with what I've read - good to know that I wasn't way off base.

Now, finding an "affordable" grinder, hm. I think a hand grinder may make sense given the amount of kitchen space available and frequency of use.


#4: Post by DaveB »

mwynne wrote:Now, finding an "affordable" grinder, hm. I think a hand grinder may make sense given the amount of kitchen space available and frequency of use.
As crazy as it might sound, I would say "affordable" starts at $179.00 for the Flair Royal grinder, and goes up from there. The time-tested Kinu Phoenix at $200.00 is a great option in the "affordable" range for a grinder capable of producing great espresso.
Von meinem iPhone gesendet


#5: Post by mwynne » replying to DaveB »

I was wondering about the Flair Royal - the price is quite appealing.
Having trouble finding the Kinu Phoenix in stock, but it seems like a good option.
The 1zpresso JE-Plus also sounds promising, if a bit on the higher end of this group.

I also need to keep reminding myself to check shipping, import, and conversion rates since I'm in Canada...


#6: Post by Bluenoser » replying to mwynne »

email they are often getting new shipments of the Phoenix.. and they are great to deal with.. I've used a friend's Phoenix.. excellent machine.. very smooth.. He uses it with a Flair Pro V2 and his espresso is excellent. If you haven't registered with them.. I think you can join their email group and get 10% off.


#7: Post by mwynne » replying to Bluenoser »

Good call - we've ordered from them before, will definitely ask about the Phoenix.


#8: Post by DEFCON 5am »

I just got a 1ZPreso JX Pro for 169 with shipping. I bought it to use with my Cafelat Robot until my Niche Zero comes in. It came in yesterday, so it's too early for me to comment, but the build quality is nice and I think a lot of people are having espresso success with this grinder.

Doesn't save you too much money over some of the other hand grinders listed, but you might add it to your list for consideration.


#9: Post by mwynne » replying to DEFCON 5am »

I was trying to parse out the differences between all their models. Looks like mostly a different burr set between the JE-Plus and JX-Pro? Definitely curious once you give it a go. it's definitely the nicest option so far, price-wise.


#10: Post by mwynne »

Alright, setting aside availability for now, here is my short list. Any thoughts very much appreciated!

- Kinu Phoenix
- 1zPresso JE-Plus
- 1zPresso JX-Pro
- Flair Royal

Kinu is obviously very well respected. The JE-Plus sounds also very good, but the JX-Pro is a fair bit cheaper (useful chart here). Flair also pretty cheap, but I just haven't come across many reviews of it.