Titan Grinder Project - Page 21

Behind the scenes of the site's projects and equipment reviews.
Ken Fox

#201: Post by Ken Fox »

cedar wrote:I recently saw the Anfim Super Caimano, and it is getting some pretty good (but limited press) press.

For instance here:


The Caimano models are available with titanium burrs (see: http://anfim.net/en/prodotti.html); 49th Parallel is bringing them into Canada: http://www.49thparallelroasters.com/storeGrinders.html

Any thoughts about including a Super Caimano in some of this TGP analysis? (apologies if the SC has been discussed earlier in this long thread.)


Stephen Duff
I spent a week in Vancouver in early June, and as is my normal practice while there, I hung out at Alistair's Elysian Room cafe. I had a number of discussions about this this grinder with the staff, including a couple with Alistair, who is selling them.

At the time, Alistair seemed to be interested in having the Anfim grinder evaluated in the Titan Grinder Project, and he asked me about whom he should contact. He also expressed interest in demonstrating it to me, to show me its fine points.

I sent an email to Dan Kehn, who expressed interest, then an email to both Dan and Alistair; later, I followed up on it by asking Dan if he had heard anything from Alistair, and he had not. Although I visited the Elysian Room daily the last few days of my trip, Alistair wasn't there any of the times I went in, and I had to get one of the Baristas to demonstrate the grinder for me.

Certainly, my email to Alistair could have inadvertently ended up in his spam folder, but he does know Dan and I'm sure he knows how to contact him, and had it been of interest to him to send Dan a grinder for evaluation, he would have done so.

I think the Anfim is a nice grinder, but what it offers is probably of most interest to high volume cafes. The advantages are largely the accuracy of its dosing, which apparently cuts down on staff training time. I don't know how this would work in a home setting but my guess is, not too well, since presumably the doser is still going to need to be largely filled up in order to have accurate dosing. At the usual home user's pace, this would result in stale coffee hanging around in the doser for too long.

I think home users would be better served by experimenting with down dosing and weighing of the coffee they are using, in any event.

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955


#202: Post by cedar »

ok, thanks


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Team HB

#203: Post by luca »

Hi Ken,

From what I understand, the "extremely accurate dosing" thing means: (a) the coffee drops straight down - ie, limited left-throw and (b) the timer can get a repeatable dose. Probably good things for home use.

Frankly, I find it difficult to believe that this grinder is the godsend that everyone claims it is. On the advice of a few barista competitors, my co-worker, David Makin, dropped two and a half gorillas on a BNZ conical grinder because it has a very straight drop and the steps are supposedly fine enough increments that they aren't an issue. After a few weeks, it irritated everyone in the roastery. I think that the feeling that I got when watching David taking some power tools to the BNZ to retrofit his own stepless adjustment mechanism might be what the Germans call "schadenfreude" ;P Putting a metal bracket on the exit chute of a Robur and doing the tape mod on the sweepers is possibly an easier way to get the same result.


LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

Ken Fox

#204: Post by Ken Fox replying to luca »

Hi Luca,

At least as regards the model they are importing into Canada (via 49th Parallel) the timer is a modification that is done at additional charge by the dealer who is selling the grinder. I forget how much it cost, but I think it was between $150 and $200 Canadian Dollars (which recently has been at near parity with the US$).

Since this was not the stock configuration, I didn't mention it. I think you could accomplish exactly the same thing with an external timer with any grinder.


What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955

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#205: Post by jesawdy »

Now, these are some TITAN conical grinders...

Pompeii, Italy - conical grain mills
Jeff Sawdy

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Team HB

#206: Post by another_jim »

Ok, the fun and games are over, and it's time to put the actual review grinders through the wringer. So today and tomorrow, it's:

Grinder League

The league is made up of the four review grinders, in the order pictured below: Mazzer Super Jolly, Mazzer Kony, Cimbali Max, and Macap MXK.

And for this test, it's not some balanced blend on some softly lit tasting Silvia, but a very light roasted Kenya plus Yrgacheffe mix on the full sunlight Elektra.

Finally, there's no single shot, primping and fluffing, instead, it's grinding into the basket from filled micro-hoppers, adjusting the dose to 14 grams and pulling the shots.

The whole point is this: if there's even the slightest flaw to the shot in this test, the taste will melt down and be horrible.

The league format is this. Every grinder gets paired with every other one for a total of six pairs of shots, the baskets are juggled, the two shots are pulled in swift succession, and then compared. I completed one round today (with the aid of lots of salteens, milk and cream cheese), and will do another tomorrow.

Here's today's blow by blow:
  • MXK versus Jolly: the MXK was sour, the Jolly tasty, 1.5 to 3.5
  • Kony versus Max: both shots equally tasty, the Kony's a tad brighter & sweeter, 3 to 3
  • Jolly versus Max: Max is tasty, Jolly is harsh, 1.5 to 3.5
  • MXK versus Kony: Both shots very tasty, Kony gets the creamy & lush edge 4 to 4.5
  • MXK versus Max: Both shots very tasty and smooth. 4 to 4
  • Kony versus Jolly: Both very good, Jolly gets lush edge, 4 to 4.5
And here are the point totals:
Grinder W-T-L  Meltdowns Total
Kony:   1-1-1     0      11.5
MXK:    0-1-2     1       9.5
Max:    1-2-0     0      10.5
Jolly:  2-0-1     1       9.5
The MXK is the clear loser today. Depending on which of the columns you pick, you can make the case for any of the other grinders being the winner.
Jim Schulman

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HB (original poster)

#207: Post by HB (original poster) »

another_jim wrote:The whole point is this: if there's even the slightest flaw to the shot in this test, the taste will melt down and be horrible... The MXK is the clear loser today. Depending on which of the columns you pick, you can make the case for any of the other grinders being the winner.
Here's the same data presented unpaired followed by the score once the lowest/highest scores are eliminated:
  • MXK: 1.5, 4.0, 4.0 -> 4.0
    Jolly: 3.5, 1.5, 4.5 -> 3.5
    Kony: 3.0, 4.5, 4.0 -> 4.0
    Max: 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 - > 3.5
I don't see how it follows that the MXK is the clear loser. My freshman level statistics would have the Kony/Max the winners and the MXK/Jolly the losers. Perhaps your finicky blend is telling us as much about the barista's consistency as the equipment?
Dan Kehn

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Team HB

#208: Post by another_jim »

HB wrote:I don't see how it follows that the MXK is the clear loser.
These grinders are too close and too good for statistics, freshman or otherwise. The only thing statistics will telll you is that they all are good, and that is not news. So what to do?

The two easiest and most reliable judgments is tasting two shots and saying which is better, and tasting a shot and saying it flat out sucks. So I'm doing head to head comparisons with a blend that will produce a high frequency of suck-shots. It may not be very statistically valid, but it does force a decision. Based on this logic, the Jolly won the most head to heads, but also had a meltdown. The Kony and Max were the steadiest, no meltdowns. The MXK didn't win any encounter and had a meltdown, so by these criteria, it fared worst today.
Jim Schulman

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Team HB

#209: Post by another_jim »

Hallelujah! I'm done with the taste testing. There's been a news item of a girl ODing on seven doubles; I've been doing eight a day for all the Robur stuff, and twelve the last two days for the league tests. So I guess there's some benefit growing up in the 60s :wink:

First off, some pie in my face. The Semi also suffers from the first shot blues. I did some taste tests of the same grinder, and the difference is around a half point. So here are the corrected scores from yesterday:
Grinder W-T-L  Meltdowns Total
Kony:   1-2-0     0      12.5
MXK:    1-1-1     1      10.5
Max:    1-0-2     0      10.5
Jolly:  1-1-1     1      10.5
The change mostly benefits the MXK, and somewhat the Jolly, since they were up first the most.

Today, the head to heads went like this:
  • Kony vs Jolly: Kony balances bitterish, Jolly perfect: 4 to 4.5
  • Macap vs Max: Macap slightly dry, Max perfect: 4.5 to 4.5
  • Macap vs Jolly: Both shots decent but sourish, 3.5 to 3
  • Kony vs Max: Both shots very good, Max lusher, 4.5 to 4.5
  • Macap vs Kony: Both very good, Macap slightly bright, 4.5 to 4.5
  • Max vs Jolly: Both shots nigh excellent, Jolly brighter, 5 to 4.5
Producing the following tabulation:
Grinder W-T-L  Meltdowns Total
Kony:   0-2-1      0      13
MXK:    1-2-0      0      12.5
Max:    1-2-0      0      14
Jolly:  1-0-2      0      12
Overall, the scores are as follows. In recognition of Dan's thoughts, I've included the median and the interquartile range (a robust measure of spread, multiply by 3/4 to get the robust estimate of standard deviation)
KONY      1-4-1   0       25.5    4.5    0.75
MXK       2-3-1   1       23.0    4.5    1.75
MAX       2-2-2   0       24.5    4.25   1.50
JOLLY     2-1-3   1       22.5    4.0    2.00
Unlike the other testers, I found no evidence that the Kony is brighter than the other grinders. In the Robur test, the Kony was actually one of the dullest grinders at low doses. Here it was about average. In these tests, it was the most consistent grinder, and the highest scoring. The least consistent grinder and lowest scoring was the Jolly. The Max and MXK were in the middle; the Max does strike me as a slightly more consistent grinder than the MXK.

It should be noted that this test is on a light roasted blend at regular (or lower, or whatever) doses, i.e. 14 grams. If the Kony were fatally too bright, this light roasted Yrg-Kenya blend should have been undrinkable with it. Instead looks like it won the taste test. The mellow Jolly, which should have won based on that reputation, lost instead. This simply means that these grinders will order differently at different roast levels and doses. It also means that people who got rid of the Kony because it was too bright made a mistake; they should have improved their skills or flexibility instead.

IMO, the Kony is the best grinder in this field. However, despite its win, I have to say that it strikes me as a tad overbuilt and expensive. It is a relatively slow grinder (although not as slow as the Macap) in a very large case. For the same size, weight and price, you can get one of the 68mm conicals, which may represent a better value.

The Max, MXK, and Jolly all strike me as good values, each in their own way. Any one of them is a substantial improvement on the Mini or grinders in that range.

My conclusion, after all this tasting, is that there is room for improvement above the Minis, M4s and and Juniors of this world. The budget conscious would do well to consider a Jolly, which is faster, more consistent and better tasting than the Mini. A smaller step above the Jolly are the Max and MXK. The Kony and the 68mm conicals are more costly yet, but I think are also a hair better than those two. Finally, the Robur still rules the roost, although it is really over the top big, heavy and pricey. The Versalab M4 has apparently been beefed up, with better bearings and belts, so that what happened to mine is unlikely to happen to the newer ones. The price is as high as the Kony or 68mm conicals. It has lots of advantages for single dosers and cuppers; but the shot quality is about the same as the Max, with which it shares a burr-set. So, unless the form factor is vital, it does not strike me as a good value.

And with that, it's goodnight Irene from the top tier of espresso grinders.
Jim Schulman

Ken Fox

#210: Post by Ken Fox »

another_jim wrote:Hallelujah! I'm done with the taste testing. .
Nice work, Jim; thanks for your efforts!

I'm going to add a couple of my own comments on the two of these grinders that I have become familiar with, the Max and the Compak.

I've now had at least several weeks with all of these, for day in day out espresso making. There is no question in my mind that the Compak K10 WBC, a full-on conical, is a more consistent grinder than the Max, which itself is considerably more consistent than the grinders I used before it, a 64mm Cimbali Junior and Cadet.

I have generally not had the exact same coffee in the Maxs as in the Compak at the same time, and have not done any head to head comparisons. It is however my impression that there is not a remarkable difference in shot quality between these grinders, rather there IS a consistency difference in favor of the Compak, which results in needing to adjust the Compak less often due to environmental and coffee aging factors.

The Compak, rigged with my custom made mini-hopper, is easier to use with less coffee in the grinder, and hence better as a "cupping" sort of grinder. I have modified the Max's by removing the trap door that has the switch for the autogrind function, and the result is a grinder that I can easily salvage the chute grinds from in order to use them with the current shot. I can also easily clear out and salvage the Compak's chute grinds, so the two grinders are equivalent in that regard.

Surprisingly, I prefer the Compak's doser to the doser in the Cimbali, as the Compak doser seems to remove virtually all of the grinds with repeated pulls whereas some grinds escape the sweeping mechanism of the Cimbali.

Adjustments are much easier and more satisfying to make on the Cimbali Max grinders; the markings on the Compak are very non-intuitive, and it is almost impossible to be precise with grind adjustments. This is not true of the Max, which has a precisely adjustable worm gear, not unlike the one on the Juniors, with an easily readable front scale. In addition, the form factor of the Max fits in much better with home kitchen decor, whereas the Compak shares the disadvantages in appearance with all the other large commercial conical grinders.

In summary, assuming that one cares about looks, and presuming that the new modified Cimbali Max will be considerably cheaper than the Compak, one can make a very reasonable argument about the Max being a better fit in a nice domestic kitchen, sharing space with other high end coffee equipment. The Compak offers good value for money and has certain usability features (mostly consistency) that put it above the Max. I am glad to own both of them and for not being placed in the position where I would be forced to decide between them.

What, me worry?

Alfred E. Neuman, 1955