Help picking a grinder to go with Decent DE1PRO

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
veloespresso661

#1: Post by veloespresso661 »

Hello all,

As a gift for my dad (who currently uses a Nespresso) I am getting him a Decent De1Pro. He's retired, plenty of time on his hands, and he loves to play around with machines. I think he will appreciate the variability the Decent offers.

The Decent is an easy choice. However, finding a grinder is proving to be a bit problematic. I'd like to get him a Monolith, but the likelihood of getting one before June or July seems unrealistic. I would consider a Niche, but they seem troublesome to procure as well. I have Eg-1 and I could get him one, but it's a bit tall to comfortably fit under their cabinets above their counter. I could do a Ceado single dose, but I have read some conflicting reviews of how it meshes with the Decent. So, I am seeking some advice. What do you folks think?

Requirements are: single dose machine, under 17 inches tall.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Black Niche US available as of 9:45 AM PST (a few minutes ago)

veloespresso661 (original poster)

#3: Post by veloespresso661 (original poster) »

Do you order it through their Indiegogo site?

Jeff
Team HB

#4: Post by Jeff »

That's where they were at that time. (I already own a Niche Zero.)

Given what I have read of modern flats and their reported sensitivity to puck prep and grind, I would hesitate to recommend one of them to a first-time hobbyist. I don't have any first-hand experience with modern flats (P64, Ultra, Monolith, Bentwood, ...) so I am going on what I have been reading in making my own decisions. Based on that reading, I also don't classify the current crop of grinders from most of the established brands as "modern flats" due to their older burr designs and generally lower alignment levels.

veloespresso661 (original poster)

#5: Post by veloespresso661 (original poster) »

Jeff - I take it you approve of the Niche and Decent combo?

Mountain

#6: Post by Mountain »

I have a DE1 Pro and Niche and find it quite acceptable. It is the most popular grinder amongst DE owners though some who favor very light roasts have other favorites though there is no consensus. Some people call the Niche boring which to me is high praise. I've been very happy for over a year now.

Jeff
Team HB

#7: Post by Jeff »

Thinking back on how I learned how to make espresso, the biggest challenges were around trying to figure out if something I did (or didn't do) made the result better or worse. The second biggest challenges were understanding what "better" really meant. Especially with "espresso" roasts and blends, a cup can be frustratingly both bitter and sour at the same time. You can't really answer "Is it bitter or sour?" and then have to make a guess on what to change. It's different in the next cup. Was that your machine at a slightly different temperature, wetting the puck differently, having a pressure drop in the middle of the shot as it refilled the boiler, ... , grind setting slipped or didn't come back to the same point, ground differently because of hopper loading, grounds mixed in from yesterday morning, ... , or a result of what you intentionally changed?

It's further complicated as I think few people that come to espresso have the "language" of a culinary specialist. We're generally pretty good at remembering phrases, but until I really started concentrating on flavor subtleties, the best I had was long the lines of; good, OK, fair, poor, burnt, dirty, and an occasional sweet or berry thrown in there. I still don't have innate "flavor memory" of a shot from a few days ago the way I can, for example, can recall the sound I've heard in the past.

For most people, they've got imperfect flavor to describe a shot, and maybe run time and weight. That's not a lot to learn by. It's almost like telling an archer that they "missed the target high" and that's all.

The DE1 is one of the most repeatable machines available to consumers today. That helps with the first set of learning issues. The feedback that it gives with flow rate during the shot (for the pressure-driven profiles I'd suggest people stick with as they learn the skills) has at least two-fold benefits. The first is that "36 g in 25 seconds" becomes "1-2 ml/s during later extraction". Changing the grind by one mark is no longer "Hmm, it ended with 38 g in 26 seconds. What does that mean?" but "the flow rate went up 10%". The second is that if you haven't changed your grind, seeing a change in flow rate gives you more feedback on prep than does "well, that's a pretty looking pour".

Though the DE1 can be set up for some of the fanciest extraction techniques around, it can be just as easily set for a Default profile that does a great job with classic espresso blends and roasts, or even a reduced-pressure version that is more forgiving of errors in learning how to prep a puck.

The DE1 community has a surprising (at least to me) number of first-time machine owners. "Well, how does it taste"" and "Grind finer" are still the most common answers, but there's a huge amount of knowledge and support for people across the spectrum improving their skills and knowledge.

As for the Niche Zero, I consider it to be in the same class as my Compak K10 WBC as far as in-cup quality goes. They're different in the cup and the Compak is built for commercial use. On the other hand, the Niche Zero is built for ease of adjustment, use, and cleaning, as well as a more approachable price. I consider the Niche Zero to be an entry-level, high-end grinder. At least for me, a simple puffer is plenty to get effectively no shot-to-shot retention, without spray bottles or other rituals.

veloespresso661 (original poster)

#8: Post by veloespresso661 (original poster) »

Thank you for the super thoughtful post. Much appreciated.