Looking for grinder suggestions: ~$1000 max budget, preferably lower

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

#1: Post by Logos »

Hey all, I've done a ton of research on this site and others and have a general idea of what I'm probably going to get but figured it was worth checking for other suggestions before pulling the trigger.

For some background, I started out a number of years ago with a De'Longhi EC155 and Capresso Infinity. I managed to get a Breville Infuser through my work's rewards program and I've gotten increasingly frustrated with the limitations of the Infinity. I generally will make at most one double shot per day in the early afternoon so volume/speed are not really a concern for me (even before the current lockdown I worked mostly from home).

My main criteria in choosing a grinder are as follows:

1. Overall grind quality. I want to get something that will hold me for a while. Doesn't need to be top of the line, but consistent and solid quality would be nice
2. Low retention. Since I generally only have the one drink per day and I'm still weighing to try and get a decent espresso I'd prefer to avoid dosers and the like
3. Easy to clean. Definitely not enjoying fussing with trying to get all the debris out of my current grinder and would prefer not having to deal with that in the future

With that in mind, these are my current top contenders:

1. HG-1. Probably more of a pipe dream since I'm not sure I can convince my wife of the necessity of a $1000 grinder, but definitely my overall top choice. Just seems like a great-quality, solid grinder
2. Pharos 2.0. Seems great overall for the price but I've seen some complaints about some aspects of this grinder (getting out grounds, feeding beans, etc)
3. Niche Zero. Looks like a good choice for the single dosing type of flow I'm usually doing. Obviously costs more since it's electric, overall not as great a value as a manual
4. Ceado E5P. Gets lots of good reviews and I have to admit I find the prospect of having a grinder where I can just grind directly into the portafilter strangely appealing
5. Breville Smart Grinder Pro. I own a number of Breville appliances and I've always been very happy with their quality/usability. Also seems like this grinder gets generally good reviews and is by far the cheapest of the options. My main concern is that I might want to upgrade from it again in a couple years

I've looked at a lot of the other manual grinders but in general I don't like the standard design (cylinder with a crank handle on top); it seems to be a design more for something portable and not a home-use machine. That could just be my own dumb bias, though.

So I guess my question is twofold: which of the grinders in that list would you all actually recommend, and are there any others I should be considering that I'm not? Leaning towards manual grinders because of the greater value for the money but I could also just be overthinking it and I'd be completely happy with something like a Sette 270. Thanks in advance for any and all help!

luvmy40

#2: Post by luvmy40 »

Will the grinder be for espresso only or will you be wanting to use for other processes?

What roasts do you prefer? Dark, Medium, Light?

How many drinks per day will you be making?

Will you be entertaining with your coffee set up?

Personally, I don't see a better value than the Niche Zero, unless you actually prefer a manual grinder. In which case, I will be of little help as I've never used a good quality manual grinder.

The Niche zero will handle any roast you throw at it, has stepless adjustment and it is very consistent with extremely minimal retention. The only down side would be if you plan on entertaining and need to pull many shots in a row. This issue could be minimized by pre dosing in bean vaults or the like.

The SGP is also a good value if you gravitate toward darker roasts but doesn't do so good with lighter roasts. Durability may also be a concern. My SGP is going strong but has only been in use for about 8 months, grinding 4-8 shots/day, medium or dark roasts.

Both the Niche Zero and the SGP are easy to clean and easy to adjust and easy to move back and forth from espresso to pour over or drip.I don't know if either are any good for French press and doubt if either will do a turkish grind.

HotLava
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by HotLava »

I'll second the the Niche Zero. Easy to clean and easy to dial in. It doesn't take up too much counter space and it's stylish so you're wife should approve.

I also like the smart grinder pro. But the smart grinder pro is not in the same league. It doesn't have the control of the Niche. But if price was the issue, you're talking $175 for the SGP as compared to the Niche for around $600.

I did own a Ceado e6p for a quick minute. Even though people love the Ceado e6 and e5, I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe if you were making 6 or more coffees a day. It is not a good single doser and does better with a semi full hopper. You have to purge coffee daily and after changing grind setting.
Joe

Logos

#4: Post by Logos »

luvmy40 wrote: Will the grinder be for espresso only or will you be wanting to use for other processes?

What roasts do you prefer? Dark, Medium, Light?

How many drinks per day will you be making?

Will you be entertaining with your coffee set up?
Sorry, should've included that info from the start. I'm looking for a grinder for espresso only. I've never really tried a medium/light roast; I figure with a dark I still haven't really gotten a shot I'm completely happy with so it's worth getting that right before branching out. I usually do one drink per day and sometimes entertain but not as often.
HotLava wrote: I did own a Ceado e6p for a quick minute. Even though people love the Ceado e6 and e5, I wouldn't recommend it. Maybe if you were making 6 or more coffees a day. It is not a good single doser and does better with a semi full hopper. You have to purge coffee daily and after changing grind setting.
Definitely good to know, thanks. I didn't see it on that list of good single dosers so I was wondering if that might be the case.


So if I'm looking at choosing between the SGP and Zero, what's the main difference in quality? Is it just more fine control of grind? Consistency? Reliability? I guess I'm not always clear on what you get for the higher price (besides for the better/bigger burrs, of course).

JoeyDollar

#5: Post by JoeyDollar »

I would recommend the Eureka Mignon Silenzio, at $479. It is an excellent espresso grinder, very fine increments, and very low retention. It's built like a tank, strong motor, very quiet and small footprint. You can grind directly into a portafilter.
( I also have a Ceado E5P but I think it is overkill for what you need right now. The Ceado is also not as low in retention as the Silenzio.)

HotLava
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by HotLava »

The smart grinder pro is a great grinder for the price. You can get very good espresso from it. You can dose into the portafilter. It also has a pause feature so you can pause mid dose and shake down the grinds then resume. It is easy to clean. The only issue you will have, is after a while when you get more experienced with espresso, you realize the settings are too wide. Meaning you can't fine tune in between steps. If you are on setting 7 and it's not perfect there is no 7.25, 7.5, or 7.75 micro setting. If there were I would have stayed with my SGP. I still havi it but have not used it since the Niche.

The NICHE has that infinite adjustment. You can rig up a way to dose into the portafilter but it's more gadgets to clutter the counter. I just dose in the cup. Then stir or WDT before transferring to he portafilter. It has a huge professional 63 mm Mazzer Kony burr. The Mazzer Kony grinder is a $2000 grinder. So the burr is bad ass.

The difference that matters is price. The niche is 3 x the price of the SGP. But I don't see me need in to upgrade from the Niche at this point.

If you watch James Hoffman's review of it, he liked it so much he kept it for himself instead of giving it to one of his patrons. You will see him use it in many of his other video reviews. That should tell you something.

If you have a $600 budget I would go with the niche.
Joe

jmotzi

#7: Post by jmotzi »

I also like the Niche Zero as high value and a great grinder. I moved to the Niche Zero last year from the Ceado E37 (2012 model) which I used without a hopper as a single dose grinder. The Ceado E37 was a capable grinder but the Niche is so much better as a single dose grinder. When used with the supplied doing cup, the Niche Zero is very neat (keeps the counter clean) and the grind uniformity is much better than what I was getting with the more expensive Ceado in single dose mode. I saw the difference in my first shot of espresso. The Ceado E37 was/is a good grinder but it's not really designed for single dose.

Also in the price range are the Baratza Vario & Baratza Forte if you want something that can handle more than single dose.

JM
My equipment: La Spaziale S1 Dream; Niche Zero Grinder;

PIXIllate

#8: Post by PIXIllate »

It seems like since the Niche Zero came out the Baratza Vario has been forgotten. Flat vs conical. The very few head to head comments I have found generally lean to the Vario being the better in-the-cup grinder.

It's easy to single dose and once the ceramic burrs (no RDT rust if that's your thing) are broken in with 5lbs it becomes seemless to use day to day. I put an OE funnel on the portafilter and never lose a grind.

Logos

#9: Post by Logos »

JoeyDollar wrote:I would recommend the Eureka Mignon Silenzio, at $479. It is an excellent espresso grinder, very fine increments, and very low retention. It's built like a tank, strong motor, very quiet and small footprint. You can grind directly into a portafilter.
( I also have a Ceado E5P but I think it is overkill for what you need right now. The Ceado is also not as low in retention as the Silenzio.)
I have heard good things about that one as well, and it's slightly cheaper than some of the other models. I'll look into it; thanks for the recommendation!
HotLava wrote: The smart grinder pro is a great grinder for the price. You can get very good espresso from it. You can dose into the portafilter. It also has a pause feature so you can pause mid dose and shake down the grinds then resume. It is easy to clean. The only issue you will have, is after a while when you get more experienced with espresso, you realize the settings are too wide. Meaning you can't fine tune in between steps. If you are on setting 7 and it's not perfect there is no 7.25, 7.5, or 7.75 micro setting. If there were I would have stayed with my SGP. I still havi it but have not used it since the Niche.

The NICHE has that infinite adjustment. You can rig up a way to dose into the portafilter but it's more gadgets to clutter the counter. I just dose in the cup. Then stir or WDT before transferring to he portafilter. It has a huge professional 63 mm Mazzer Kony burr. The Mazzer Kony grinder is a $2000 grinder. So the burr is bad ass.

The difference that matters is price. The niche is 3 x the price of the SGP. But I don't see me need in to upgrade from the Niche at this point.

If you watch James Hoffman's review of it, he liked it so much he kept it for himself instead of giving it to one of his patrons. You will see him use it in many of his other video reviews. That should tell you something.

If you have a $600 budget I would go with the niche.
Great, thanks for the detailed breakdown/info. Definitely super helpful. It does seem like the Niche Zero might be a better long-term investment overall.
jmotzi wrote:I also like the Niche Zero as high value and a great grinder. I moved to the Niche Zero last year from the Ceado E37 (2012 model) which I used without a hopper as a single dose grinder. The Ceado E37 was a capable grinder but the Niche is so much better as a single dose grinder. When used with the supplied doing cup, the Niche Zero is very neat (keeps the counter clean) and the grind uniformity is much better than what I was getting with the more expensive Ceado in single dose mode. I saw the difference in my first shot of espresso. The Ceado E37 was/is a good grinder but it's not really designed for single dose.

Also in the price range are the Baratza Vario & Baratza Forte if you want something that can handle more than single dose.

JM
PIXIllate wrote:It seems like since the Niche Zero came out the Baratza Vario has been forgotten. Flat vs conical. The very few head to head comments I have found generally lean to the Vario being the better in-the-cup grinder.

It's easy to single dose and once the ceramic burrs (no RDT rust if that's your thing) are broken in with 5lbs it becomes seemless to use day to day. I put an OE funnel on the portafilter and never lose a grind.
Yeah, I'd looked into various Baratza grinders as well but I've seen a fair number of complaints about inconsistent manufacturing quality. I assume that's not an issue either of you ran into?

Mountain

#10: Post by Mountain »

I upgraded from a Macap m4 that was 15 years old to the Niche Zero about six months ago. I couldn't be happier. Paired with my Decent DE1Pro my shot quality and consistency took a step-function improvement. From feedback I've heard/seen on the Decent private forum, the Niche is definitely the most popular grinder with almost all owners very satisfied. People that upgrade from the Niche go to very expensive Kafateks usually.

The Niche is a fantastic value. I couldn't imagine using a manual grinder for day-to-day. But, to each their own.