Electric espresso-oriented grinder, budget $650-$800

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
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#1: Post by wormraper »

Ok, I'm now looking at spending more money because...well.. that's this hobby.

little background. I started out with a basic Encore years ago but soon upgrades to hand grinders and LOVE them. I have a commandante, an 1zpresso Q2 Hepta, J-max, K-max, and an X-Pro ... for filter they're amazing. for espresso (which I'm now doing more of) I use my J-max for the Cafelat Robot.

Said J-max works WONDERFULLY, and since I mostly do medium to darker roast coffees for milk drinks I've been 100% perfectly happy with my Robot. BUUUUT the one arear the J-max struggles a bit with is super light roast coffee where I'm looking at having a nice fruity Sidamo or Costa Rican. the amount of force to grind the super light roasts can be consuming, and for that reason I'm looking at getting an electric espresso oriented grinder.

now my buying advice question is, what single dose grinder is out there that rivals my J-max for grind quality? My gut reaction is still the Niche Zero as the DF64 has too many drawbacks for my taste (the retention, the need for mods etc), but I wanted to know what else I was missing. I've spent so much time with hand grinders that I know them inside and out, and didn't want to spend a ton of money on a grinder only to find it a step back from my J-max. This particular grinder will ONLY be used for espresso, not filter as I have my treasured hand grinders all dialed in for perfect pour over and I'm one of those people who really enjoys the ritual of hand grinding (I even got my wife her own Q2 Heptagonal so she could make her morning coffee and she won't even use the Encore anymore) but I want a good espresso electric that will rival the J-max so I can do stress free light roasted espresso, I'm just not sure what ELSE is out there that I'm missing ... budget is around $650-$800

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#2: Post by Jeff »

Niche Zero is a step down from a J-Max in the cup for light-roast espresso.

An electric screwdriver or an Option-O Lagom Mini would be by short list. The newer DF64 series may be better than the first, but I have no first- or second-hand experience with the current generation.

wormraper (original poster)
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#3: Post by wormraper (original poster) replying to Jeff »

oh crap. good to know about the Zero being lower quality than the J-max for light roasts. I LOVE my J-max (have 2 of them) just was hoping to find a bit better workflow so I don't break my shoulder trying to grind a super light roast in it lol.

definitely don't want to step down in grind quality. appreciate your input

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#4: Post by thirdcrackfourthwave »

FTR I'm fine with handgrinding for methods NOT espresso so I get where you are coming from--also have a couple of Izpressos.

I have no experience with these so all disclaimers apply but I was recently looking so. . .Supposedly the DF's gen 2's have fixed a lot of the earlier problems. There is a lot of stuff 'out there' that will speak to some of your concerns. The DF 64 gen 2 with ssp brew burrs fits your budget and might be what your looking for.

wormraper (original poster)
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#5: Post by wormraper (original poster) »

after chewing it over I think I'll probably pick up the DF64 gen 2 from miicoffee or espresso outlet with the DLC burrs (is either retailer recommended over the other?). It just seems like it will handle light roasts better and I can always use my JE-Plus or J-max for darker roasts just fine (they both make superb espresso on my robot)

this might not be in your purvue, but with the DF64 gen 2 being basically a chinese OEM would it be advisable to pick up the Miicoffee 3 year warranty for $59 with it?

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#6: Post by luvmy40 replying to wormraper »

For the most part, I find the extended warranties to be wasted money, with a few exceptions. I did buy the 3 year extended warranty with the Bambino Plus I got for my daughter this year. But, that was with the Breville Christmas 25% discount on both the machine and the warranty. I'm not sure I'd have paid full price for either.

I bought my first generation DF64 used, from another member here and have had it now for a couple years. It has the standard burrs and the original de clumper and I have had zero issues with it grinding 2-3 shots a day. even though I haven't had any issues, if I were buying new, I think I might buy the warranty for the reasons you stated.

wormraper (original poster)
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#7: Post by wormraper (original poster) replying to luvmy40 »

yeah, that was kind of why I was wondering about it. Turin grinders are basically the Huwaii of the grinder world and being that it was a chinese product from a chinese company I was wondering if I should spend the extra.

I'm not too worried as it's just $50 or so for 2 extra years warranty and both Miicoffee and EspressoOutlet have good reps...

the only thing that makes me nervous about the DF64 grinders is the random alignment issue you can have from the factory. from what I've read you basically have to play russian roullette to get a good alignment or else be a tinkerer (which I'm not) to align them yourselves

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#8: Post by kye »

I have an unmodified DF64 gen 1 and don't have any issues after using it multiple times daily for 2 years now. I'm also quite mechanically minded and I'm pretty sure I would have noticed if it had started sounding different (I've often noticed the sound change in cars I've had when they are in need of a service or have a fault).
I stir the grind in the dosing cup to break up clumps before putting into the portafilter and I find this makes a significant difference to puck prep quality. After the recent scientific paper on RDT I am curious to try it, but haven't yet.

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#9: Post by GregoryJ »

I've been very happy with the Niche Duo (espresso burrs only) for everything medium to dark that I've thrown at it. The workflow is almost the same as the Zero, but I do like to put some kind of a cover inside, to stop bean fragments from popping out. The clear plastic cover alone does not block all the bean fragments.