Macap M4 grinder 16 years old - replace with?

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

#1: Post by howard seth »

My Macap M4 grinder (flat burr) was bought in 2006 - mostly used as an espresso grinder - but also used sometimes for pour over, French Press. I changed burrs 2 years ago.
Now - I recently sold my only espresso machine (Elektra Semi Automatica - also from 2006)

I plan to buy a new espresso machine soon. Possibly the ECM Puristika (reviewed here at Home-Barista)
My coffee is 75%+ of the time espresso shots. Is it worth buying a new grinder too?
Any recommendations for a new grinder under $700? (I see talk about the Niche Zero, and DF 64, Lagom MIni)
Howard Seth Miller

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Kaffee Bitte

#2: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

You bought your Macap about a year before me. Mine shows no signs of quiting. Just new burrs every so often and she just keeps going. In the 700 range you are going to get grinders that are pretty much equal to the m4 maybe a bigger burr. Maybe get a conical to pair with the m4?

I have been contemplating upgrading grinder as well, but realizing recently at work that my M4 was every bit as good as the 64s and 75s I use, it's just slower to grind, and not really even that much.
The m4 is such a common decaf grinder in shops, it's everywhere, and I have used them more at work than at home. The grinder is a tank that I will probably pass down to the next gen.
Others may tell you that you need to upgrade for light roasts, and maybe you might, if you drink the Nordic style roasts. Often light roast issues come from bean density as opposed to roast level. Dense beans won't grind as consistently. But not all light roasted coffee is super dense like Geishas.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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maximatica
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by maximatica »

Hi,

I have had the Macap MXKN conical for about the same length of time as you.

I bought the Niche about 3 years ago.

I had configured the Macap for single dosing many years ago, and the workflow was fine with a little brushing out of the grinds to attain zero retention.

I bought the Niche partly due to the "I need to buy something" itch we all fall victim to.

I now use a little puffer to get all of the grinds out of the Niche, and with that, I have about the same workflow as I had with the Macap.

The Niche is quieter, and the workflow is a little easier/quicker, but not by much.

So, I like the Niche and will be selling the Macap, but I did not get a big step up for the extra $300 (the difference between the Niche and what I think I will get out of the Macap). In fact, the Macap may provide a better grind but I am not going to monkey with A - B comparisons to find out.

The Macap has the advantage of the worm screw adjuster, and that was very useful over the years as I had it down to 1 half turn of the knob per day to keep the grind perfectly adjusted through a bag of beans.

But the heavy-duty switch was a bother when I used it to "burp" the grinds around to brush them all out. So, that is the main benefit I get with the Niche.

Plus, it is much smaller, and that was another incidental benefit as I have minimal counter space.

HTH

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howard seth (original poster)

#4: Post by howard seth (original poster) »

While I figure things out, I took the time to clean up the Macap M4 a bit, I removed the hopper, brushed out grinds around the burrs. Meanwhile, the plastic ring with plastic teeth that turns with the stepless worm gear - is cracked in a couple of places - I wonder if a replacement part can be found in some dusty repairman's bin?
This grinder chatters and grumbles like an old guy... like me. The motor still sounds strong.
Howard Seth Miller

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Jeff
Team HB

#5: Post by Jeff »

What do you want to improve (other than the cracked part)?

As noted, the shop grinders from that era are often workhorses that do a great job in the cup. It's ok to say "fits under cabinets", "no doser the I need to thwack" or the like.

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howard seth (original poster)

#6: Post by howard seth (original poster) replying to Jeff »

I suppose I'll have to see how well this Macap 4 does - when I get my new espresso machine - (model not exactly determined yet).
I have not used a different grinder in over 16 years, so I have no comparisons to make - except my old Krups blade grinder - re-assigned to spice grinding years ago.
Howard Seth Miller
★ Helpful

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Kaffee Bitte

#7: Post by Kaffee Bitte »

There are definitely parts available for repair. They haven't really changed much since aside from the electronic models. Should be a relatively cheap and easy fix. As easy as cleaning the burra and carriers.
Lynn G.
LMWDP # 110
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howard seth (original poster)

#8: Post by howard seth (original poster) replying to Kaffee Bitte »

You are correct.
I just Googled 'Macap M4 grinder parts' -and Stefanos Espresso Care popped up - and they have the 'stepless collar gear' for the M4 grinder in their parts catalog. Took less than a minute to find - It's ordered. $12 + shipping.
Howard Seth Miller

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mrgnomer

#9: Post by mrgnomer »

Depends on what your extraction goals are.

The Macap M4 is a solid grinder. I replaced the burrs on my 16 year old one and gave it a good clean but still got a Ceado e37j thinking it was an upgrade. The Ceado was on a crazy good sale. Macap was still running like new.

I like the Ceado engineering. Grinds are really good and consistent. I have no issues with light roasts I'm aware of. Adjusts easily. Really easy to open up to get at the burrs for cleaning. However neither the Macap or the Ceado are for single dose which is all I do.

I found a lot changed since I got my Macap M4 and dropped out of progressive espresso extraction. There's way more focus on dose volume and yield/time extraction control. Good single dose grinders are pretty well engineered for changing roasts on the fly, easy adjustability and consistency with light roasts.

I used the M4 as a single dose grinder almost from day one. I've modded the Ceado to be a single dose but still have to coax the grinds out for zero level retention. If I knew when I got the Ceado what I know now I'd have stuck with my new burr replaced cleaned up M4 and pursued a good resale Monolith or Versalab. Going after a solid single dose grinder that offers really good burr sets is what I'm going to end up doing anyway. Should have bit the bullet and done it in the first place. That's just me.
Kirk
LMWDP #116
professionals do it for the pay, amateurs do it for the love

bluesman13

#10: Post by bluesman13 »

I'm in the same boat. I bought a Macap M5 around the same time as you. I just ordered a Lucca 75, thinking it would be an upgrade from the Macap, but now I'm having 2nd thoughts. My Macap works fine, but sometimes the when I turn it on, it just hums, and after I clean out all the beans (it seems like a bean is stuck in the burrs?), it works ok. Mine is a stepless (which I like) and a doser (which I'm liking less0, but recently the doser paddle seems to drag when I'm dosing, I cleaned it out and took it apart, but it's the same. So, I don't know, maybe it's fine...