3 Burr Sets, 1 Grinder. Worth It?

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
dsc106

#1: Post by dsc106 »

I recently got the Ode, and I am wanting to learn to better taste coffees and understand the differences between burrs. One year ago I thought the difference between conical and flat may be over stated.

Now, I'm contemplating the differences between 3 different flat burr set geometries, all 64mm. Is it worth it? Would I be able to tell? I'm considering the following:

- 64mm SSP v2 multipurpose red speed burrs (high clarity)
- 64mm SSP ditting lab sweet cast burrs (excellent balance)
- 64mm Gorilla Gear black burrs (sweet & juicy)

Have I gone mad? Been taken by the internet? Or is it a worthy pursuit to acquire all 3 burrs, rotate them around, taste etc.? Do you suspect the differences will be noticeable, or just a waste of time faffing about with burr changes for very slight changes in brew taste?

Ypuh

#2: Post by Ypuh »

dsc106 wrote:Have I gone mad?
Yes
dsc106 wrote:Been taken by the internet?
Yes
dsc106 wrote:Or is it a worthy pursuit to acquire all 3 burrs, rotate them around, taste etc.?
No
dsc106 wrote:Do you suspect the differences will be noticeable, or just a waste of time faffing about with burr changes for very slight changes in brew taste?
Yes and yes
I don't want a Decent

malling

#3: Post by malling »

dsc106 wrote:I recently got the Ode, and I am wanting to learn to better taste coffees and understand the differences between burrs. One year ago I thought the difference between conical and flat may be over stated.

Now, I'm contemplating the differences between 3 different flat burr set geometries, all 64mm. Is it worth it? Would I be able to tell? I'm considering the following:

- 64mm SSP v2 multipurpose red speed burrs (high clarity)
- 64mm SSP ditting lab sweet cast burrs (excellent balance)
- 64mm Gorilla Gear black burrs (sweet & juicy)

Have I gone mad? Been taken by the internet? Or is it a worthy pursuit to acquire all 3 burrs, rotate them around, taste etc.? Do you suspect the differences will be noticeable, or just a waste of time faffing about with burr changes for very slight changes in brew taste?
Yes you've gone mad, you would probably also get quickly bored by all the switching...

Personally I would probably just get one or max two, I really don't think there is a good reason to get 3 as some of these will be closer to each other, there is also the chance that the Ode v2 will resemble one of those much more expensive burrs but for a fraction of the costs.

The sweet style isn't really the same as the original Ditting 804 burrs as this is actually machined not if cast and that is going to make a difference. I would probably hold out until first review arrive also Option-O posted some too a while ago and those looked actually to be cast.

Also with the price for 3 plus the ode your getting very close at the price point of a Lagom64 and more then the Kopi Deva, I'm not entirely sure that is money well spend.

User avatar
luca
Team HB

#4: Post by luca »

Priorities.

First, you want to make sure that you're brewing well. If you don't know if you're brewing well, it'd be worthwhile seeing if you can hire someone's refractometer or pay someone whose brews you like to check yours. If you are, for example, adjusting terribly and going from 14% extraction to 16% extraction, you might find that you get a noticeable improvement by going to 19% extraction. I spoke to a guy recently who was using an EK43 at his shop and wasn't very happy with his brews, until he coarsened up to increase the brew time from 4:30 to 2:30. If you're way out of the ballpark, you need to be in the ballpark of a good brew first.

Second, generally once you have OK equipment, you're probably going to see a bigger increase in quality for your dollar by finding roasted coffee that you like more. So you might find that making a shortlist of good roasters and coffees that you want to try and plowing through that helps you to improve your coffee.

Once you have done that, maybe the burr changes will be worth it. I don't know. It'd be best if you could find some people to swap burrs with so that you don't have to lock up a lot of money in burrs.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

_Ryan_

#5: Post by _Ryan_ »

I'm gambling on a set of unimodal v1 silver knight aka brew v1 to go in the mini (and high uniformity red speed to go in the SD converted SJ).

Will likely buy a refractometer before they arrive so I can collect data on a total of four burr sets, plus work out why I like my brews from my pouring jug more than pouring kettle more- suspect it's flow rate, agitation and the resulting impact on the brews.

Form hypothesis. Conduct one change at a time, per brewing method. Collect data. Validate hypothesis.

- If I don't get better EY for espresso (and taste) from the HU burrs than I get from my mini E, the burrs will be sold.
- If I don't get better brews from the unimodal/brew v1 than I get from the j-max (which is better than any mazzer espresso flat burr I've used for v60), the burrs will be sold.

I have no advice to offer, just thought that sharing the thought process of someone else walking the path might help.

_Ryan_

#6: Post by _Ryan_ »

luca wrote:Priorities.
If you don't know if you're brewing well, it'd be worthwhile seeing if you can hire someone's refractometer or pay someone whose brews you like to check yours.

Do you know if they're readily available to hire in Melbourne?

I'd been looking online this weekend at buying one and trying to make sense of buying a brix unit and doing conversions vs buying a "coffee calibrated" unit (which I presume is using some variation of the VST algorithm), for home use. Then there are the AliExpress units which some have compared to brand name and they're within tolerance. [i believe this is an aliexpress style unit, and most units <$300 visually appear the same as the units on aliexpress for $100 https://towardsdatascience.com/affordab ... 367efb5aa4 ]


(sorry OP, I was about to make a new thread on this topic then piggybacked when Luca mentioned it)

Jonk

#7: Post by Jonk »

For me it's definitely worth it to have access to more than one burrset. I wouldn't want to swap them around though, just invest in a second grinder instead of the third burrset (I'd skip the Gorilla Gear because I'm skeptical about their use for filter.. without having tried them though, but generally I'm not very fond of espresso burrs for filter).

I'd expect a noticeable difference, but that said there are other ways to change things up - for example trying different filter papers (Cafec has a nice selection for V60).. Or temperature, dripper, pouring technique, ratio and so on.

I'll say that in my experience a good quality grinder has sometimes been able to unlock nice flavor even from pretty average or lower quality beans while also heavily improving on expensive ones, so in my opinion it's the best place to start.

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Jeff
Team HB

#8: Post by Jeff »

_Ryan_ wrote:trying to make sense of buying a brix unit and doing conversions vs buying a "coffee calibrated" unit (which I presume is using some variation of the VST algorithm), for home use. Then there are the AliExpress units
Cheap ones are marginal for espresso and close to useless for brew where the brew ratio is nearly an order of magnitude greater. Even the Atago's specs are borderline for brew, where you're looking to measure TDS within 0.05% or better to estimate EY to better than 1%.

I'm familiar with that blog and find it flashy but unfulfilling on several fronts.

_Ryan_

#9: Post by _Ryan_ » replying to Jeff »

Those tolerances are very helpful, thank you Jeff. Reading Jonathan Gagne's blog, he's measuring to 0.01%!
Atago's run ~$AU600, VST close to double that - VST has the resolution I want.

I'll sniff around and see if I can rent a decent one somewhere for the burr comparison, longer term might invest in one to improve my brewing.

dsc106 (original poster)

#10: Post by dsc106 (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies so far everyone. As far as I know the owner at SSP stated their lab sweet burrs are in fact cast.

I didn't realize gorilla gears was for espresso? Lance said it was for filter as well, but more akin to a Kinu grinder profile.

The thought would not be to constantly swap, but to spend a couple months with one burr set from my favorite local micro roaster, then swap the set, spend a couple months, swap the set, etc.

I would presume in a couple years, the burrs would hold their resell value well - or even increase in value due to inflation trajectories, and as seasoned burrs?

Essentially I'm nervous the MP burrs will be too clear; enter the lab sweet burrs. And the gorilla gears would just be for fun. To see if I can taste a meaningful difference.

I do plan to get something like an Acaia Orbit / P64 in a 2-3 years, so perhaps I'd end up keeping 2 burr sets and selling the third in a couple years for similar value?