Starting an upgrade. From Mazzer Mini to what?

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

#1: Post by ChadTheNomad »

I've been served quite well by my Mazzer Mini (and an assortment of lesser burr grinders for other brewing methods) for years, and at the time I thought the Mazzer Mini would last me a lifetime. Surely it would, but the TGP and other comments about some of the latest grinders really has me thinking.

Recently, I had an opportunity to play with an LM FB80 along with a Robur. I have experience with a Super Jolly and of course a Mini, but really nothing beyond that. I know nothing about the Max Hybrid, but the Versalab M3 really excites me for some reason.

So, my question to you all is this: All other variables aside, will a jump to a Max be that noticeable? I truthfully felt my home setup matched the quality I've achieved through an LM + Robur combo, though admittedly not with the same consistency.

Right now, I'm leaning toward the Max Hybrid based on opinions here and the TGP. Any thoughts?

User avatar
HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

Not to break your budget, but another TGP-class contender is the Compak K10 WBC:

Image
From Compak K10 WBC vs. Mazzer Robur taste test

Weeks have gone by and we're still undecided whether its espressos are distinguishable from the Robur's. It's close, that's for certain. The optional hopper gives it a more kitchen-friendly look, but it's still taller than the Cimbali Max Hybrid.
Dan Kehn

zin1953

#3: Post by zin1953 »

I made the jump from a Mazzer Mini to a Cimbali Max Hybrid and have often said that was the single greatest improvement I have ever made to my espresso.

FWIW, I also have a Mahlkönig K30 Vario . . .
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

Endo

#4: Post by Endo »

The Mazzer Mini is a great grinder. I regret upgrading from my Mini. I read the TGP too and got sucked in, going from a Mini to a SJ. In my opinion the differences are exaggerated. When you go beyond the Mini, I feel the huge jump in money and inconvenience is not sufficiently offset by the very small improvement in taste.

A slightly better roast or good distribution and tamp will make a much bigger difference in the cup (and these are almost free).

That's just my opinion of course. Since this is a serious hobbyist website, you will hear people defending their $2000 grinder purchases as the "single greatest improvement I ever made". All I can say is, since there is so much hype around this subject these days, I think it would be prudent to "try before you buy".
"Disclaimer: All troll-like comments are my way of discussing"

zin1953

#5: Post by zin1953 »

Endo wrote:Since this is a serious hobbyist website, you will hear people defending their $2000 grinder purchases as the "single greatest improvement I ever made".
Since I am the only one in this thread who has said . . .
zin1953 wrote:I made the jump from a Mazzer Mini to a Cimbali Max Hybrid and have often said that was the single greatest improvement I have ever made to my espresso.
. . . I hope you will permit me to respond. Actually, my Cimbali MaxHybrid was $795, a far cry from "defending [their] $2000 grinder purchase." One thousand two hundred and five dollars far, to be exact.

If you look at Chris' Coffee Service website, you will see that the Cimbali MaxHybrid is presently $895 less a 15% discount. That means the price is $760.75 -- less than I paid for it. If you compare that price to a new Mazzer Mini ($659), I wouldn't hesitate recommending anyone spend the extra $100!

Yes, the Mazzer Mini was a significant step up the quality ladder from my Gaggia MDF. IMHO, the Cimbali MaxHybrid is an equally significant step up from the Mazzer Mini. As always, YMMV.

Cheers,
Jason
A morning without coffee is sleep. -- Anon.

User avatar
HB
Admin

#6: Post by HB »

Endo wrote:All I can say is, since there is so much hype around this subject these days, I think it would be prudent to "try before you buy".
If someone wants to go that route, they can find a used Super Jolly on eBay or Craiglist and install a new set of burrs. If after trying it themselves they decide all the talk is just talk, then flip it. Chances are they would recover all of their investment.
Dan Kehn

User avatar
ChadTheNomad

#7: Post by ChadTheNomad »

Jason, it was actually your post that made me seriously think about the upgrade.

Dan, the Robur is monstrous. I read all the threads here talking about how monstrous it was, but I really didn't get the scale until I saw it in person.

I'm leaning towards doing an upgrade, though I understand a qualitative difference depends on a lot of factors. Having spent the past several years really focusing on roasting, multiple brew methods, etc. I'm back to trying to get that extra 0.05% of excellent that makes everything worthwhile. My last SO shot of a fresh roasted Ethiopian Misto Valley that will keep me on an enthusiastic search for at least a few years.

I digress. Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

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another_jim
Team HB

#8: Post by another_jim »

Everyone agrees there is an improvement as you go up on grinders; but the extent of the improvement is contested.

My opinion, backed by some experience, is that the difference is very modest when using a forgiving, comfort food espresso blend. At the opposite extreme is pulling shots from a light roasted SO. Quite frankly, with a Mini, this is mostly going to be more of punishment than treat. With the Compak, I wouldn't hesitate pulling shots from any coffee at any roast. I might not like it; but I know for certain I'll taste the coffee as it is, and won't be running to the sink, ever.

I'm not alone in noticing this. The espresso blends of the high end stores have all taken a lot more risks in the past two or three years, as large conicals (mostly Roburs) have become the standard grinders.

The Max is a hair less consistent than the large conicals, but it can also take on any coffee.
Jim Schulman

User avatar
HB
Admin

#9: Post by HB »

another_jim wrote:Everyone agrees there is an improvement as you go up on grinders; but the extent of the improvement is contested.
One point that may be overlooked isn't the improvement in an absolute sense, but purely an improvement in consistency. For example, the grind setting for the Robur barely moves week-to-week. If I want to change the taste profile, I'll change the dose 1 gram up/down and 8 out of 10 times the pour will be just fine. With the Mini, I ceaseless fiddled with the grind setting and manipulating the dose demanded another grind adjustment.

Given time and a forgiving blend, I have no doubt that I could pull nearly identical espressos on the Robur and Mini. But on the Robur, I have a chance of getting it right on the first try, and not nailing it by the third try would indicate something's wrong and it's not the grinder. For the Mini, getting it on the first try would be a blessing from Heaven and the third would still be a pleasant, unexpected surprise.
Dan Kehn

Endo

#10: Post by Endo »

ChadTheNomad wrote: I'm leaning towards doing an upgrade, though I understand a qualitative difference depends on a lot of factors. Having spent the past several years really focusing on roasting, multiple brew methods, etc. I'm back to trying to get that extra 0.05% of excellent that makes everything worthwhile. My last SO shot of a fresh roasted Ethiopian Misto Valley that will keep me on an enthusiastic search for at least a few years.
Since you put it that way, you sound like the perfect candidate for an upgrade from the Mini.

I was just thinking of those who might not be quite as enthusiastic as yourself. I just have gotten the impression lately that the benefits of massive grinders have been "oversold" to the average espresso enthusiasts. I thought a different opinion might be good for those who are not necessarily looking for that "God shot" at whatever the cost.

The comments about buying a used SJ and reselling at a very small loss is a good one as well.
"Disclaimer: All troll-like comments are my way of discussing"