Next best grinder upgrade with budget around $600?

Recommendations for buyers and upgraders from the site's members.
tennisman03110

#1: Post by tennisman03110 »

Hello,

I'm starting to consider my next upgrade, and what's the best use of my money. I've got a Sette 270 and Breville Dual Boiler for espresso, and a Baratza Encore with M2 burr upgrade that I use for V60 (me) and Aeropress (my girlfriend).

We use the Encore M-F, 10 total cups (22 gram doses). Espresso on weekends, 4-5 shots a day, half lattes. I enjoy each preparation method equally.

All my equipment is very satisfactory. However, I'm slowly saving up ($240 right now in my piggy-bank). But should I be saving for an espresso grinder, or brew grinder? What grinder is most lacking?

I'm not opposed to hand grinding for V60 (I am for espresso), and can keep the Encore for Aeropress. I've been looking at some hand grinders for an immediate purchase, and while affordable, not sure any result in an appreciable difference compared to my upgraded Baratza. I drink light roasts quite often for V60, light-medium to medium-dark for espresso.

Realistically, my budget is about $600, but somewhat flexible. Maybe it's a hand grinder sooner, and an espresso focused electric in 2022-2023 with a higher budget. I've got little to compare to, so I don't know what I'm missing, maybe not much. Thoughts? And yes, I realize there's no real answer :D

TL;DR: What should I upgrade next, my Sette 270 (espresso) or Baratza Encore M2 burrs (pour over)?

Weber Workshops: tools for building better coffee
Sponsored by Weber Workshops
User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

My impression of the better Baratza burrs are that they are adequate for brew at a reasonable price.

I've read comments from some people whose taste I respect and they've found the 64 mm SSP MP burrs very good for espresso. The potential drawbacks of burrs like these seems to be that they're more sensitive to prep and grind than conicals or classic flats and that they tend to accent brightness compared to those others. A platform like the DF64 or a used Super Jolly seems a good choice without getting well into expensive grinders.

While I enjoy the Niche Zero for espresso, it isn't a great brew grinder. Adequate, yes, but hard for me to recommend for half and half use.

With $600 in hand, maybe try a DF64 with some of the simple mods with the stock burrs ($470). The SSP burrs ($185-ish) could be installed later. I've considered a DF64 with the SSP burrs ($660) a few times as delivery of my big flat is still sometime in the future.

The Xeoleo seems to have fans for brew. I think there's a used one on EAF for $130. There are several models and I haven't gotten into which the "right" one is or pricing. I have no experience with that grinder.

SSP 64mm burrs user experience

Inexpensive Chinese Ghost Burr Grinder

tennisman03110 (original poster)

#3: Post by tennisman03110 (original poster) »

Jeff, thanks for the thoughts.

Maybe my question wasn't stated perfectly, as I don't yet have a defined budget (my post name was changed slightly). I'm more wondering what grinder to replace first, the Encore with M2 or the Sette 270. The question could belong in the grinder forum.

The ~$600 is what I can spend now, if a wise move. Would you be recommending the DF64 to replace the Sette 270 for espresso? From what I read previously, that's not considered a major step up. It may be better to wait and increase my budget?

What I don't want to do is upgrade one of my grinders and get little in terms of grind quality upgrade. But before I get into specifics, picking to focus on brew or espresso is necessary.

maxbmello

#4: Post by maxbmello »

What are you hoping to improve with your upgrade? In cup quality? Grinder build quality/features?

What types of coffees do you like for brew and espresso?

How do you utilize your grinders (single dosing, using the hopper and time settings)?

There are a couple different options and pathways you could go down depending on your preferences, and knowing what you value most in an upgrade will likely get better advice.

tennisman03110 (original poster)

#5: Post by tennisman03110 (original poster) »

The only thing I care about is in the cup quality.

I single dose, espresso and pour over. Just use the standard hoppers, plus RDT.

Mostly drink light or medium-light single origin for pour over. Medium or medium-light on espresso, mix of single origin and blends.

Pressino

#6: Post by Pressino »

I agree with Jeff about the DF64 or any other 64mm flat burr grinder. Nothing wrong with the Sette 270 IMHO except it's noisy...I'm a big fan of Mazzer flat burr grinders like the Super Jolly and Mini. There are plenty available used for your price range. :)

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#7: Post by Jeff »

One of the challenges is that you've got grinders that are already better than much of the home coffee makers use. You're past the "oh, that's so obviously better" point. The changes will be incremental for any reasonable budget. I'm not even sure that if you served "Joe Average" with what you've got now and some multi-thousand grinder that they would call one obviously better than the other.

You're solidly in the hobbyist realm now. If it were cameras, you're past the fixed-focus and basic point-and-shoot level and into enthusiast digitals. Would you notice moving to a high-end, interchangeable-lens series? I think it mainly depends on how much control you need for what you want to accomplish and how picky you are about the results.

I use an "ancient" Baratza Virtuoso or something like that with the better burrs for drip. I don't do drip often. I think I can taste that it is more defined in the cup than the Niche Zero. Thinking "there's more there that I'm not tasting", I've toyed with thoughts of buying a C40, Xeoleo, Fuji, and even a Lab Sweet. For me, an occasional drip user, with my discretionary budget, my balance has been to espresso.

The intangibles do make a difference. My Niche Zero is, I believe, not as good in the cup as my Compak K10, by a little bit. However, the greater ease of making tiny adjustments in grind and return when I make an adjustment in a less-good way have it being my primary for espresso. If there's something that annoys you about one or the other of your grinders, that may be worth considering on "what first".

There's a seemingly good possibility that a well-aligned, 64 mm grinder with the right burrs may be suitable for both. I was following the P64 and DF64 threads (and others elsewhere) mainly for espresso. There may be some good opinions in the suitability of the SSP MP burrs for drip in there.

BPlus: turning your coffee spirit
Sponsored by BPlus
tennisman03110 (original poster)

#8: Post by tennisman03110 (original poster) »

I'm getting the feeling it might be best to wait another year or two, spend more ($1,000+) on a next upgrade.

Correct, I see nothing wrong with my current set-up.

From reading the below thread, I might bite on a 1zpresso. At least it's budget friendly, maybe it helps with some clarity of V60. Doesn't hurt to have either way.

Baratza Encore wearing out, needing a new grinder

Thanks for the input so far.