Upgrading to ECM Synchronika and need grinder/accessories advice - Page 3

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

#21: Post by Cedo »

That doesn't answer my question. I know the two are different, so what if they are close in a "well designed" single does grinder? The fact that they are significantly different in a non single dose grinder is precisely my point. The exchange is much smaller in a non single dose grinder so why would you go vacuuming out the total exchange?

And the op drink milk based drinks so you think in the ECM grinder the op talks about you can taste the retention in a milk based drink?

User avatar
Jeff
Team HB

#22: Post by Jeff »

The exchange in a classic design is often in the 5-10 g range, an order of magnitude greater than that in grinders designed or suitable for single dose use. Exchange in better single-dosers is under 0.3 g.

While milk and/or sweetener can make bitter-balanced espresso more enjoyable, defects are defects. My wife drinks espresso from 7-17 g of grinds under about 250 g of milk and a spoon of sugar. It fills a "pint glass". She has repeatedly noticed if I gave her a shot that wasn't completely fresh. She can also pick out roast defects, such as baked. Both of these are without prompting.

If you're chasing 5# for $50 or even $60, using something that stales quickly, or has significant green/blend/roast defects, fix your coffee first. You get more for dollar invested there. Once you've got moderate-quality coffee, the differences in grinders rise above the limitations of the coffee.

Cedo

#23: Post by Cedo »

I highly doubt most prosumer grinders have over 5g of exchange (not talking about commercial grinders), and certainly hasn't been my experience. Heck, i don't think you can even vacuum out 5g total retained from a mignon let alone 5g of exchange unless the grinder is clogged. But this is besides the point

Still doesn't answer why would you vacuum out everything in the grind chamber when you said yourself total retention is much higher than exchange in a classic grinder, which means the next dose you have to fill out the empty spaces again with fresh beans which wastes more beans.

DustinT (original poster)

#24: Post by DustinT (original poster) »

I love the lively discussion. It's always fun to watch two passionate people argue about something.

The ECM Titan is showing .5 gram retention per WLL's recent testing. I've learned from this, I need make sure any stale beans are expelled in the morning so I'll program a button for a half a second of grinding (Or thereabouts) to do the job. I think I can afford that much waste.

Otherwise, good stuff. The more I read here the less I want a single dose grinder. I just don't care about it right now.

luckydragon

#25: Post by luckydragon »

Hey OP,

On grinders & retention
Clive Coffee also did a retention test, but they swept the burrs, grind chamber, and chute, and weight the amount that was left in the grinder, and found the Titan retained ~4.5g of coffee.

WLL's number would be the amount of coffee exchanged between doses, i.e., every time you dosed an 18g shot, approximately 0.5g would be from the previous dose. However, there might still be ~4g left in the grinder that doesn't all get exchanged because they're stuck in nooks and crannies or held on by static.

Another popular grinder in that size category is the Eureka Atom 75, but the total retention according to this post and the HB 75 review seem similar to that of the ECM's.

Whether or not this is significant for you (i.e., can you taste the difference?) is only something you can decide and not compare your tastebuds to other people's.


On plumbing
I also have a plumbed-in Synchronika with a BWT system (I use the BestTaste X filter because my city's water is already super soft, so I just wanted particle filtration). Have had zero issues with it and it's been such a game-changer from having to fill up (and clean) my water tank weekly.


On accessories
Bottomless portafilter, scale, and WDT tool have already been recommended, and I assume you already have some basics like a tamping mat, knock box, and steaming pitcher(s), so here is my supplemental:

Highly recommended
  • Precision basket for better extraction (e.g., VST, IMS, Barista Pro, Pullman, etc)
  • Upgraded shower screen for more even water distribution & easier cleaning (e.g., IMS, BP)
  • 8.5mm silicone group gasket (more durable, longer-lasting)
  • Food-grade silicone lubricant for the gasket and grouphead parts*
  • 1/4" stainless steel barbed tee fitting to replace the plastic one inside (I wrote a comment in the Synchronika owners thread that explains why)
* Lubricating your E61 grouphead parts is something you'll need to do every so often after backflushing with cleaning detergent because it strips oils away from the mechanical parts that rub against each other. If you don't lubricate after a detergent backflush, your brew lever may start squeaking when you pull a shot. Lots of instructional videos online (make sure you have one or two adjustable crescent wrenches).

Nice-to-haves
  • Precision or self-leveling tamper, especially if you get a precision basket, because the included ECM tamper has a 58mm diameter and precision baskets like VST have a slightly wider inner diameter (e.g., 58.4mm) so having a tamper with a slightly wider base (e.g., 58.35mm) is important for getting more consistent extractions
  • 58mm portafilter funnel to reduce the mess coming out of your grinder (this becomes highly recommended if you plan to WDT). I like ones that sit outside the basket (e.g., Decent's) rather than having an inner lip
  • Shot mirror to observe those beautiful extractions without having to bend over
  • Puck screen improves water distribution further (and keeps the shower screen cleaner). However, they can be a bit fiddly and slow down your workflow; if you're making multiple drinks back-to-back, then having just one may be more hassle than it's worth
Fluff
  • If you can find it, I love this leather cup tray cover especially because I have the anthracite Synchronika. Does the job to protect the cup tray from scratches (and provides some friction to keep the cups on if I have to lift up the tray to access panel screws for servicing). Of course, PVC shelf/drawer liner also works just as well.

DustinT (original poster)

#26: Post by DustinT (original poster) »

Love your post, I'm going to comeback when I'm home and make a list from your suggestions. The leather is particularly appreciated since it was unexpected.

So, what grinder do you recommend with a reasonable hopper in that price range that is zero retention?

luckydragon

#27: Post by luckydragon »

DustinT wrote: So, what grinder do you recommend with a reasonable hopper in that price range that is zero retention?
I don't think there is such a thing as a zero-retention hopper grinder; it's kind of one or the other. There will probably be at least 1-2 grams of exchange between shots for any hopper grinder as a nature of its design. A bellows is the most efficient way of blowing out the remaining grounds, but you can't really do that with a hopper still filled with beans.

Eureka tried to find a compromise with their "blow-up" hopper system (bellows attached to the hopper lid), but from reviews I've read it doesn't really work very well.

The Baratza Sette 270 is probably the lowest retention grinder with a hopper due to its direct-path design. However, it's a mostly plastic-y build and is quite loud (like, drowning out conversation loud), but wicked fast.

When I was in the market to upgrade from my Sette, I was considering the Eureka Atom 75 because it was fast and quiet and I liked its design more than the Ceado E37. However, I fully committed to the single-dosing workflow so I went with a Monolith instead :lol:

DustinT (original poster)

#28: Post by DustinT (original poster) »

On Wednesday the machine will be delivered. I've already received a tamping mat, ECM Pressure Regulating Tamper, Acaia Lunar 2021, and BWT BestMaX Filter to go with existing tools I have like steaming pitchers and knock boxes.

Also, I've got to work on the plumbing and build a coffee bar which will take a few weeks. In the meantime the Sync will be a counter queen and I'll just refill the tank. I'll build in the plumbing, filter, drains, as a well as a flush mount tamp box and trash bin. I'm looking forward to the 6"x6" built in rinser. (Link: https://www.wholelattelove.com/products ... 2-pan-size)

I think in about a month I'll come back to this and look into a few other options mentioned in this thread like the precision basket and the mods and enhancements you and others in this thread mentioned. The silicone gasket, moly lube, and others are almost certainly going to happen but I've got my hands full right now.
luckydragon wrote:Hey OP,

On grinders & retention
Clive Coffee also did a retention test, but they swept the burrs, grind chamber, and chute, and weight the amount that was left in the grinder, and found the Titan retained ~4.5g of coffee.

WLL's number would be the amount of coffee exchanged between doses, i.e., every time you dosed an 18g shot, approximately 0.5g would be from the previous dose. However, there might still be ~4g left in the grinder that doesn't all get exchanged because they're stuck in nooks and crannies or held on by static.

Another popular grinder in that size category is the Eureka Atom 75, but the total retention according to this post and the HB 75 review seem similar to that of the ECM's.

Whether or not this is significant for you (i.e., can you taste the difference?) is only something you can decide and not compare your tastebuds to other people's.


On plumbing
I also have a plumbed-in Synchronika with a BWT system (I use the BestTaste X filter because my city's water is already super soft, so I just wanted particle filtration). Have had zero issues with it and it's been such a game-changer from having to fill up (and clean) my water tank weekly.


On accessories
Bottomless portafilter, scale, and WDT tool have already been recommended, and I assume you already have some basics like a tamping mat, knock box, and steaming pitcher(s), so here is my supplemental:

Highly recommended
  • Precision basket for better extraction (e.g., VST, IMS, Barista Pro, Pullman, etc)
  • Upgraded shower screen for more even water distribution & easier cleaning (e.g., IMS, BP)
  • 8.5mm silicone group gasket (more durable, longer-lasting)
  • Food-grade silicone lubricant for the gasket and grouphead parts*
  • 1/4" stainless steel barbed tee fitting to replace the plastic one inside (I wrote a comment in the Synchronika owners thread that explains why)
* Lubricating your E61 grouphead parts is something you'll need to do every so often after backflushing with cleaning detergent because it strips oils away from the mechanical parts that rub against each other. If you don't lubricate after a detergent backflush, your brew lever may start squeaking when you pull a shot. Lots of instructional videos online (make sure you have one or two adjustable crescent wrenches).

Nice-to-haves
  • Precision or self-leveling tamper, especially if you get a precision basket, because the included ECM tamper has a 58mm diameter and precision baskets like VST have a slightly wider inner diameter (e.g., 58.4mm) so having a tamper with a slightly wider base (e.g., 58.35mm) is important for getting more consistent extractions
  • 58mm portafilter funnel to reduce the mess coming out of your grinder (this becomes highly recommended if you plan to WDT). I like ones that sit outside the basket (e.g., Decent's) rather than having an inner lip
  • Shot mirror to observe those beautiful extractions without having to bend over
  • Puck screen improves water distribution further (and keeps the shower screen cleaner). However, they can be a bit fiddly and slow down your workflow; if you're making multiple drinks back-to-back, then having just one may be more hassle than it's worth
Fluff
  • If you can find it, I love this leather cup tray cover especially because I have the anthracite Synchronika. Does the job to protect the cup tray from scratches (and provides some friction to keep the cups on if I have to lift up the tray to access panel screws for servicing). Of course, PVC shelf/drawer liner also works just as well.

DustinT (original poster)

#29: Post by DustinT (original poster) »

Machine's in, and so far working great. The basic dial in of the espresso shot wasn't too hard but I suspect I'll be chasing perfection for a while. That hasn't stopped me from enjoying a series of great lattes.

One question, though. Right now, the machine is on my counter using the internal tank and when I use the hot water dispenser I got a lot of steam along with the water. It works, but it makes quite a mess and quite a noise. What's the deal?

poison

#30: Post by poison »

Hot water comes from the steam boiler, so....you get steam and hot water. :D