SSP 64mm Burrs Review

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#1: Post by another_jim »

Review of SSP 64mm Burrs

Several of the HB moderators have used or tested these burrs, and in this review, they will give their views. There are some disagreements. I (Jim Schulman, aka another_jim) tested the HU, MP and the version 2 cast steel burr (sometimes called the 64mm Lab Sweet burr, and which I label CSv2.) The disagreements arise because we use the burrs for different coffees, different drink styles, and comparing them to different grinders. Readers may want to pick reviewers with similar gear and tastes.

As is usual for this section, the blog is locked except for reviewers, and there is a comment thread where you can post your reactions Anyone who wants to post a formal review in this thread, PM me.

I initially tried the burrs in a DF64 grinder, but could not get consistent results; so switched to a old style Mazzer Super Jolly with doser, which did deliver very consistently, albeit with a far longer workflow for single dosing. I compared the grinder to the Niche Zero for espresso, and to the ghost burr Fuji 220 for brewing. I used the Lelit Bianca, making lever profile single shots, except when making fast lungos with very light roasts. I used coffees going from very light to medium dark. The brewing tests were done via cupping, that is, immersion style brewing.

HU Burr
I only tested this for espresso, since it is not designed for brewing. It performs very much like the standard Mazzer or Italmill burr, delivering an edgier shot when compared to the Niche or to 68mm conicals. In blind comparisons, they were easy to tell apart. However, compared to the standard burr, the HU burr simply tastes better. It has the sharper edged tastes of a typical 64mm flat burr, but no harshness. This is especially apparent on lighter roasts, when the acidity and light bitters can get nasty on the standard 64s, and where finding the sweet spot on the HUs is a lot easier. I wholeheartedly recommend this burr to anyone who prefers the taste of 64mm flats over 68mm conicals, since it has a better taste than most of the 64s I've ever tried.

CSv2 Burr
If you want one grinder that can do cupping and immersion brews as well as any brew burr, and do espresso very similar to a commercial conical or 75mm Mythos style flat, this is your burr.

On my side by side blind brewing tests (cupping protocol and triangle tests), I never could learn how to tell the CSv2 burr apart from the Fuji. It works just as well as a cupping grinder.

On side by side blind shots, I did eventually learn to tell apart the Niche Zero from the CSv2; surprisingly, it was the CSv2 which was consistently just a tad softer, sweeter, and roastier than the Niche. It was very much like the Eureka 75mm in this regard -- more conical tasting than any conical.

I like this burr, and would use it myself (in a high quality single dosing grinder) for both espresso and brewed coffee.

MP Burr
This burr was easy to distinguish from both the Fuji and the Niche; but for me not in a good way. In graphic equalizer terms, this is the bass cut burr. It leaves acidic and the acid based origin flavors in place, but suppresses the deeper flavors. This muffling is somewhat apparent in cupping, and very apparent in espresso.

Since this burr does is not neutral; it should not be used for cupping. It will systematically muffle defects like bagginess or ferment, and also the terroir specific origin flavors that are not acid based, like the clove flavors in SL28 cultivars or the smokiness of Bourbon Antiguas. Note that these are not dark roasts tastes, but part of the terroir, and quite present at light roasts (unless you are using the MP burr)

This burr is for those who specialize in high toned coffees with minimal roast flavors. It is especially good for putting a rose colored tint on 3rd wave roasters who push the envelope so hard that many of their roasts come out under-developed. These burrs will filter out the grassy astringency; and let underdone roasts taste good. Since the roast flavors in Caturas, Catuais, and washed southern Ethiopian heirloom varietals are rarely very good, this burr may well produce better tasting cups for these coffees as well.

Postscript: in search of the god burr (the analogy is to "godshots" and "titan burrs")
Is there a step up from big conical burrs; is there a a god burr that defeats the titans? These would be burrs that will deliver brewed coffees at least equal MK Kenyas, Guatemalas, and other lab grinders, as well as pull shots that are clearer than Roburs, other 68mm conicals, or 75 mm flats. I've had side-by-side espressos from well aligned 98mm grinders that fit this bill, although it was not an extended blind test. But I can say for sure that there are no 64mm or 75mm flat burrs I've tried that fit this bill. The CSv2 is a remarkable burr, making both fine shots and brews; in a well aligned grinder, it will deliver all round high end performance at a budget price. But it is not a god burr.


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Jim Schulman