Mahlkonig EK43s worth it?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.

Postby plumbfire01 » Nov 08, 2018, 3:54 pm

Hello All HBers. I currently have a Eureka Atom and R58 at home and a QM Alexia Evo and Macap grinder at firehouse. I am considering upgrading to an EK43s at home and take Atom to work while selling the Macap grinder. I drink 98% SO espresso and wife uses it daily for lattes. I do drink americanos for the long drive to work but that doesn't matter much. I feel upgrading the grinder may be a worthy choice but not sure if its worth the extra coin... Thanks for any advice and tips.. I should also mention that I would be able to make more pour overs and trash the cheap grinder I use for it if I get a EK.. That is a secondary factor in the decision.


Postby CwD » Nov 08, 2018, 4:24 pm

You should look into a Monolith Flat Max. Same burr size, but everything else is just better executed. The form factor sure doesn't hurt either.

The EK43 is, at its peak, an amazing grinder and worth every cent. But Mahlkonig is hit and miss QC lately. It's 100% mandatory to align it yourself for full performance, they're never perfectly aligned from the factory. Ideally ship it off to Titus to do it right on a lathe. Failing that, you can get close with the sandpaper alignment method on the chamber and carrier (I can explain in detail if needed). Shims are next to worthless for alignment. The burrs themselves are also hit and miss quality wise lately. Not the same between grinders, and only some can do shots at all. Can get lucky, and it does just come down to luck, with good ones or replace with SSP with their much more consistent QC (and imo better burrs). Old ones may be safer if you can somehow confirm very low usage.


Postby DaveB » Nov 08, 2018, 5:33 pm

Wow, people drop $2700 on a grinder and then have to fuss with aligning the burrs?!?

You gotta be kidding!
Von meinem iPhone gesendet


Postby ryuemura » Nov 08, 2018, 7:19 pm

I've been hearing that the Monolith Flat Max is a fantastic grinder. However, it's $600+ more than a new EK43(S) and it's for espresso use only. If you plan to double this grinder for pour over use as well, the EK has that versatility. I have both an EK43 and EK43S and I personally don't have any issues and didn't NEED to align the burrs. I considered SSP burrs for my EK's but I heard from numerous people that they it doesn't necessarily make their coffee taste better or worse, it's just different. Some of these people even went back to the older stock Mahlkonig burrs (pre-2014). $550+ for SSP burrs is hard to justify. I'm not THAT obsessive about getting perfectly aligned burrs, it's not worth the hassle unless I can clearly tell that my burrs are out of alignment. In that case, I'll pick up the Titus Alignment Tool. I've analyzed the particle distribution as closely as I humanly can, and it's perfectly fine. My coffee is tasting great and at the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Is the EK43S worth it? Well, that's entirely up to you and how deep your pockets are. The EK works very well with SO's and you'll notice higher EY over what you're currently using. Again, I personally love my EK's and have since stopped using my Mythos One Clima Pro for espresso. I'm no expert in this particular field, but I'm giving you my first hand (real world) experience. I leave the highly obsessive testing to Matt Perger and his team at Barista Hustle and the guys at Socratic Coffee.

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Postby aecletec » Nov 08, 2018, 9:14 pm

DaveB wrote:Wow, people drop $2700 on a grinder and then have to fuss with aligning the burrs?!?

You gotta be kidding!

The newer Eks are apparently better, but this is a grinder intended for bulk grinding and people have repurposed it to single shot use...

Prescott CR

Postby Prescott CR » Nov 08, 2018, 10:19 pm

Even the little EK takes up a lot of room and will SCREAM when you drop beans in it.

If you can swing the Monolith that's probably the best route for home users.

However, if you want to buy an EK- I sell them :) $2700 is the minimum advertised price. MAP is the new Retail Price, no one should pay that.


Postby gocanes » Nov 08, 2018, 11:04 pm

No doubt that some of the older units needed aligning - that's well documented. Maybe the newer ones do also, I don't know. Mine was well aligned from the factory based on the dry erase test. Not a big deal to me either way. Open it up, get to know the internals. Learn how to adjust and maintain it.

I understand that Kafatec has fantastic QC where the owner, literally builds every unit in his garage when he gets home from his day job, aligns and taste tests every unit before shipping. Very cool. I would buy one, just out of respect for his passion, if the stars aligned and the website cooperates. THe exclusivity of the buying process is brilliant also. I'm a sheep.

In the meantime, I'm good with my ek, even if I would have needed to shim the burrs. That's just me. In return, I get a big burr grinder with a legendary reputation, and a warranty from a company that isn't going anywhere. Fits under standard American cabinets as well @ 15.5", see pic for clearance. I'm guessing the Max will be good also but I'm weary of so many recommendations since production variants are not in production yet. Beta testing looks promising.



Postby CwD » Nov 09, 2018, 2:11 am

The Flat Max is perfectly fine for brewed coffee. I'm not sure where anyone got the idea that it's only for espresso use.

As for EK alignment, Mahlkonig is absolutely not shipping out any properly aligned units, and has never shipped even one properly aligned unit. They may ship some "close enough" units for people not concerned with perfection, I don't doubt that, but the company is not concerned with doing it right the same way Kafatek is.

The "dry erase test" is extremely inadequate, it only even checks 1 axis out of the 4 relevant ones. And shims can never achieve proper alignment the same way altering the chamber and carrier can. Not to mention that it's a far more temporary alignment.

While some time on a lathe is best, it's a fairly trivial process to get close with sandpaper attached to the back of burrs. Need three runs (with maybe ~8 wheels of sandpaper each), burrs mounted on carrier sanding the chamber, burrs mounted in chamber (extremely carefully with a torque screwdriver) sanding carrier, and burrs on carrier sanding chamber again. Three passes since you could end up with a bit of a cone effect with only one pass on the chamber if the carrier isn't perfect.

It's absurd to me that somebody could have a very substantially better grinder than what they're using sitting an afternoon of work away and not even bother to unlock it.


Postby HRC-E.B. » Nov 09, 2018, 6:41 pm

What seems more curious to me is that people would go through the trouble of buying something this cumbersome and this expensive if they are not concerned with ultimate quality.


Postby CwD » replying to HRC-E.B. » Nov 09, 2018, 10:01 pm

A good factory "aligned" unit, while a pale shadow (I'd say 70% quality at absolute most, being overly generous) of a properly aligned unit, is still better than almost everything else. Remember no major manufacturers bother to align their grinders, only the boutique people like Kafatek, Lyn Weber, Titus, etc.

I'd also say the EK is easily in the top 1% of least cumbersome grinders, beaten only by the same small boutique ones. I mean, it's big, but outside that it's hard to beat for single dosing. Next to no retention, easy to get apart for cleaning, one of the easiest designs to align yourself, etc.