Niche Zero vs ECM Titan V64 vs ?

Recommendations for espresso equipment buyers and upgraders.
NervousEnergy

Postby NervousEnergy » Jan 08, 2019, 12:28 pm

I hate posting another 'which grinder' thread but several days worth of reading post after post going back a couple of years has left me with more questions than answers, and seeing nothing but trees instead of a forest.

I finally have a decent budget for a grinder - up to around $1500, though less is always nice. It will feed an ECM Synchronika. Currently using a nearly 10 year old KitchenAid Proline with both the Mazzer burr upgrade and the stepless mod. It actually produces the occasional great shot of espresso (Nkanda SO and Mogwai blends from Avoca roaster - they're just a few miles from me and I get beans that have been roasted within 3-4 days every time), but it's inconsistent. Always good enough for milk drinks. Of course, it was also $250 plus another $100 in burr mods and it's over a decade old. We do 2-3 doubles a day, and 6-7 a day on weekends. Just under 4lbs a month of coffee.

The ECM V Titan 64 is high on the list due to aesthetics and build quality, but it doesn't seem very friendly toward single dosing. I wouldn't mind keeping a couple of days worth of beans in the hopper if it's well sealed. Retention seems low (.6 g from WholeLatteLove testing).

The new Niche Zero looks like it creates great grounds at a considerably lower price and is more single-dose friendly, but the aesthetics are a bit... offputting. I could live with that, but it wouldn't have as much WAF value.

Any others in that price range I should be looking at? I might be tempted by a MonCon even though it would go well past the budget if I could actually buy one, but the next round likely isn't till mid-year.

I'm finding I really like the shot taste (variability and all) of the SO beans more than the blends, but I also don't mind adding some milk for a cappuccino if the taste wasn't there for that particular shot. Spending up into 4 figures for a grinder, though, and I'm going to expect much more consistency of grind.

Bill33525

Postby Bill33525 » Jan 08, 2019, 1:59 pm


baristainzmking

Postby baristainzmking » Jan 08, 2019, 2:10 pm

Another grinder to consider is Ceado E37S. It's a little more than your budget, but WLL and Chris Coffee had 10% off and they may be able to still honor it.
Julia

greggers89

Postby greggers89 » Jan 08, 2019, 2:44 pm

I've seen many people have strong preferences between conical and flat burrs, since the ECM has flat and the Niche has conical, if you could find your preference the decision may be quite easy.

I just received the Niche Zero a couple weeks ago, but so far I love it. Looking at it online it seems like much more of a "toy" than the ECM, and there's no denying that the ECM grinder would match the aesthetics of your machine. But having the Niche in person, it feels quite stout (the body is all aluminum I believe), and actually has a higher acceptance in my house where it needs to go under cabinets and space is at a premium. I like the single dosing workflow, but I know it's not for everyone :)

HH

Postby HH » Jan 09, 2019, 5:55 am

Hi Michael,
I was really excited when looking into all the options when considering my grinder. I think part of the fun in the period of 'window shopping' at the beginning, and working out what is important for you and your set up.
Personally, I decided on the Niche and absolutely love it. In terms of aesthetics it is a very personal choice. I was dubious of how it looked in the pictures I had seen online, thinking it looked fragile and insubstantial. In person however it was nothing of the sort, and exceeded all my expectations, and I think it looks far nicer now than more traditionally-styled grinders. The build quality is fantastic. Heavy, solid metal construction means it won't be rattling around your work surface, and little touches like the choice of LED, which is unlike any other I've come across (it's like a small illuminated sign as opposed to just a bulb) really show care and attention to detail.
I think the grind quality is brilliant. Far better than anything I have used before, and for the money I can't think of a more proficient grinder out there - unless you want to go for something like a Pharos, but the workflow compromise for me would be too great.

TL;DR - I think the niche is brilliant and so far, although it's early days, it has exceeded my expectations in every category.

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ash4889

Postby ash4889 » Jan 09, 2019, 9:27 am

HH wrote:Hi Michael,
little touches like the choice of LED, which is unlike any other I've come across (it's like a small illuminated sign as opposed to just a bulb) really show care and attention to detail.
I think the grind quality is brilliant. Far better than anything I have used before, and for the money I can't think of a more proficient grinder out there - TL;DR - I think the niche is brilliant and so far, although it's early days, it has exceeded my expectations in every category.


Hi
What LED?

NervousEnergy

Postby NervousEnergy » Jan 09, 2019, 1:32 pm

Thanks for the feedback. My biggest concern now for the Niche is the March (or later) delivery time for the black model. The Wife is not a fan of white appliances.

The E37S is another good alternative, and the refurb cost is exactly the same as the ECM Titan. It's ugly, though. Not quite as ugly as the Niche (IMHO, of course :P ), but it's not pretty. The E37S won the low-retention award in the October WLL grinder review, with the ECM being one of the runners-up. The technical specs being so close I'd likely give the nod to the ECM model on aesthetics alone.

I have a feeling it's going to be the ECM. I truly don't think I'll get any better a grinding experience or taste out of it compared to the cheaper Niche, but a rounded, curvy, asymmetric white or black appliance sitting next to the gleaming, angular Synchronika will not have a high WAF number compared to the identically styled ECM.

I think part of the fun in the period of 'window shopping' at the beginning, and working out what is important for you and your set up.


Agreed completely. :D I had a lot of fun considering machines last year when I bought the Synchronika, and I've been very, very happy with that machine even though it's overkill for our usage pattern. It confirms for me that buying something you love to live with, work with and look at is just as important at this level as something that will simply get the job done. Coffee is an important part of my morning and a very important part of my weekend... if it was just about the caffiene I'd slam a no-doze and call it good.

guydebord

Postby guydebord » Jan 09, 2019, 1:37 pm

I would also check the Eureka Atom Specialty 75 with red speed burrs and blow-out hopper. Almost zero retention, no static, amazing consistency, proven track record company and IMO looks amazing.
In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni

HH

Postby HH » Jan 09, 2019, 4:45 pm

ash4889 wrote:Hi
What LED?


Hey Ash - it's the little one on the side next to the toggle switch. I think it looks really good. I'll try and remember to take a picture when I'm next home and will post an image.
Henry

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ash4889

Postby ash4889 » Jan 09, 2019, 4:56 pm

OK perfect I know that about that one, For a second I thought you meant the label had an LED.....lol