1Zpresso ZP6 Special: The ZP6 is back - Page 17

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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#161: Post by Shenrei »

The Kinu at 0 is not actually true zero. It's offset such that the burrs never touch, but are extremely close together. It is very well aligned though, and probably best in class with regards to hand grinders.

Better alignment is indicated usually by how close the rubbing is to the actual lock of the burr (handle does not spin). If you have burr rub pretty far out into what is considered a usable range, then there is some alignment issues going on.
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#162: Post by Edal »

TL;DR: ZP6 demonstrates marginally better clarity/flavour separation, with a narrower zone of sweetness before hitting astringency compared to the Comandante MK3. No, the ZP6 comes nowhere near the unimodal profile flats that I've tasted. My slow-fed 64mm flat stock burr Super Jolly is noticeably better than both. Both hand grinders benefited massively from using pre-broken beans. If you're looking to spend money and aren't set on a hand grinder, I'd gun for something with flats. Visually, before using a uniformity measurement tool, the slow-fed Super Jolly has by far the best uniformity, with the ZP6 and the Comandante being borderline indistinguishable visually. The faster drawdown of the ZP6 compared to the Comandante tells me it is slightly more uniform, though. Both of the compared premium conical hand grinders still taste like premium conical hand grinders and neither hold a candle to nice flats without putting in some serious extra steps/time.

Okay, I've now spent a fair amount of time brewing with the ZP6 and "breaking it in/seasoning." I used the same bourbon beans from Burundi across brews from the ZP6, the Comandante MK3, and a zero-retention modded Super Jolly with the original Mazzer burrs just for fun. To be clear, since these are all filter brews, I did slow-feed pre-broken beans into the Super Jolly for a unimodal filter grind profile. Without using something like cast burrs the factory Super Jolly workflow has an extremely bimodal grind targeted to traditional espresso.

These beans taste extremely boozy with some pleasant green apple tartness and lollies to finish. They have a very long, sweet finish when brewed right. My recipe is 18g:313g with an agitated blooming pour followed by a single pour at 99°C.

1Zpresso's grind settings chart indicates that the ZP6 grinds for V60 at 40-50 clicks. Using Abaca papers, I ended up on a finer setting of 30-40 clicks giving me the sweetest finish on average. I seasoned the burrs over a few days with about a kilo of home-roasted dark roast that frankly tastes terrible and is only good for seasoning IMO :lol: The ZP6 was brushed and flushed after seasoning with the light roast Burundi mentioned above.

Straight off the bat, the ZP6 by no means escapes those typical conical burr characteristics. It's clearer than the Comandante with a narrower "sweet" zone where if you go too fine you'll rapidly hit a fair bit of dryness or astringency, and the slow-fed Super Jolly brews kept winning by a country mile in terms of juicy sweetness and non-astringent finish. And that's with (aligned) stock Mazzer burrs from 2011, nothing special like SSP sweet labs.

The best brew I made with the ZP6 was at 36 clicks using pre-broken beans. At this point, the brew started to approach some impressive sweetness as well as clarity but still ran into some issues with a slightly astringent finish that I just was not getting on the slow-fed 64mm flats. This morning I tried some Yirgacheffe across all three grinders. Between the Comandante and the ZP6, the latter was the clearest with slightly more black tea notes towards the end, while the Comandante grind had slightly more blueberry towards the end. The slow-fed Super Jolly again flogged both hand grinders with this really lovely juiciness all the way through. If you can't tell, I feel I've been spoiled by using relatively large flats in some form for some time now.

Turbo shots with the Burundi and the Yirg from the ZP6 (IMS 22g basket) at 18g:54g/17s were absolutely great but I'm a sucker for these super forgiving, bright and fruity light roast espressos so it's hard for me to be "objective" here. More astringency from the Comandante with these shots and a better, sweeter finish from the Super Jolly with a thinner mouthfeel compared to the ZP6.

I think it's important to remember that at this point, between these two premium hand grinders in particular, adding steps like pre-breaking gets you the best cup (notably better than whole bean grinding), and I truly feel like I'm splitting hairs during tasting when I use that technique on both the Comandante and ZP6.

I'm using Jonathan Gagne's grind size/uniformity tool to test the ZP6 grinds at the moment and will update this eventually. At the moment, I would tell someone who already has a premium hand grinder like the Comandante or Lido to pre-break their beans and grind twice because that technique is honestly getting me the best results on the ZP6 anyway. To my mouth, there just isn't enough of a notable difference to justify getting an additional hand grinder for more clarity. If someone had nothing, and was only interested in clear filter brews that sit somewhere between the quality of flats and your typical conical profile, and was set on a hand grinder, then I'd say go for the ZP6.

There isn't a mind-blowing difference between the two conical hand grinders in the cup (I obviously haven't gotten into the build quality or user experience side of things here because ultimately it's about the cup) and I would say if someone's really itching to burn some cash and isn't fixated on any burr or grinder type in particular, get into some flats in the cheapest way possible.
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#163: Post by Yan »

Thanks for the comparison Bro, this kind of comparison I am waiting for...

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#164: Post by bringyoutomyhell »

How big do you pre break the beans? (In Comandante clicks also, just to have an idea). I slow fed my 64mm stock flat (like 1 bean at a time) and that way obtain comparable brews to a C40 mk3. Wondering how much better I can get with pre breaking in both. Thanks


#165: Post by malling »

Good review and falls well within what I seen before, I do think the dual burrs we are beginning to see dos seem like something we are going to see more, but it dos requires a true prebreaker burr and then newly designed finishing burrs before we see a true and larger improvement.


#166: Post by Jonk »

Edal wrote:My slow-fed 64mm flat stock burr Super Jolly is noticeably better than both.
Even though I noticed significant improvement from slow-feeding a Niche Zero, I find this a little difficult to believe. I guess I should try it, but it's a hassle to change burrs.. :? to be clear, did you slow feed for espresso as well?

I did try pre-breaking beans though, on the coarsest setting my K-Max will go (140*) and then regrinding at 55** for a light roast and 65** for a medium roast. For cupping, there was more bitterness in the regular cup but also more overall punch and flavor. A third cup had the chaff removed and that had quite a positive impact, so that's a plus for double grinding, but personally I still preferred the regular grind.

Brewing Kalita 185 side by side, drawdown was only a few seconds faster with the double grind - but if anything double grind resulted in more bitter brews (as well as hollow). Only a few trials, but both for flavor and obviously workflow I preferred regular grinds. YMMV.

*if it was possible I'd have wanted to set it even coarser.
**perhaps the setting should be adjusted for regrinding vs. regular..


#167: Post by Acavia »

Shenrei wrote:The Kinu at 0 is not actually true zero. It's offset such that the burrs never touch, but are extremely close together. It is very well aligned though, and probably best in class with regards to hand grinders.

Better alignment is indicated usually by how close the rubbing is to the actual lock of the burr (handle does not spin). If you have burr rub pretty far out into what is considered a usable range, then there is some alignment issues going on.
Since hand grinders have the inner burr at the end of an axle, doesn't it oscillate to some degree as it grinds, basically adjusting to the pull and pushing of differing load of beans (more on a side or harder/bigger beans etc.) and therefore a slight miss-alignment *rub people experience with no load and almost closed) would not matter as that oscillating would be wider.


#168: Post by edwardsh »

I would think double grinding or "pre breaking" if that's what that means would create more fines.I have started storing roasted beans in the frezzer ( well sealed) and as I understand research has found this creates far less fines as well as keeping them fresh for months longer. I would say the ZP6 is not a huge difference over my JX , Its cleaner notes are more distinct and the grinding experience is better the external settings and screw catch cup( I prefer it ) ( are 50 percent of why I bought it. I am super happy with both. I do use great roasters and coffee and only do pour over filter Kalita 155 ceramic. I think resting coffee and using good coffee and good water is 90 percent for me at least. I think the place to put ones cash is into great coffee and store it well. Premium hand grinders like Z1 and C40 are both great I just purchased the JX based on cost The ZP6 based on wanting an external dial. Its a big plus I can extract more and grind finer, as the beans I buy are mostly premium high quality . Great posts here learning from them.

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#169: Post by travis_rh »

So, my tl;dr take-away is that if I already have a K-Max, it's probably not worth picking up this new ZP6, even if I am only ever using it for filter coffee. Is that about right?


#170: Post by OldmatefromOZ replying to travis_rh »

For well executed very light roasts of good quality green there is a discernible difference in a blind cupping and side by side brews. Just a little more sparkle and clarity with Zp6 vs a heavier juicier rounded profile with Kmax.

I actually prefer Kmax with slightly more developed roasts that are further along in first crack or just finished first crack what I would call medium.

Additionally, have realised I much prefer the magnetic catch cup on Kmax.

So for the average punter not involved in any critical analysis I see no reason to buy Zp6 if you already have one of the recent K series. If you want a big change Ode with SSP MP is next step.
My comparisons with Vario steel brew burrs suggest not a great leap over zp6