Better electric single dose grinding!

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

#1: Post by Blue Bean »

I am a new member on the forum, so hello all from sunny Finland! I have been reading this forum a lot during recent years, and would like to thank all the contributors for creating such a fantastic fountain of information!

As a typical Finn, I enjoy my coffee often and in abundance. However, particularly during recent years I have become more interested in the type and quality of the coffee I drink. One might say that there has happened an evolution from mere consumer towards an aficionado.

I have been brewing espresso with a Ponte Vecchi Lusso and a Macap M4 grinder with quite some time now. Already when I started using my equipment, I was frustrated with the tediousness of the workflow of making a shot (oversize bean storage, you have to use a stick to get all the beans to the burrs, you have to use a stick to clean the grinds from the chute, and you're left with a mess, etc..). With passing time and increasing skill my anxiety has only worsened. My biggest gripe is with the grinder. I'm not talking about the M4 particularly, but the grinder design that seems to be quite the standard from beginner models all the way to the premium super-expensive models. It is painfully obvious that they are not designed with a home user in mind. Having looked around, I haven't seen many models around that would be really tick all the boxes for me. Those who really are, are mainly manual grinders.

What I would like to see in an electric grinder:
  • Specially designed for easy single dosing (No huge bowl for beans, nobody keeps them there anyway. No shelves for beans to rest on).
  • Attaching portafilter right under the burrs and grinding straight into it (No grind retention, no holding the portafilter, no grinds all over the table, no chute to scrape clean).
  • Easy, fast and repeatable switching between grind settings while being capable of precise fine tuning (aeropress/drip/espresso etc). No one grinder can probably be perfect for every type of coffee, but I'd like to get away with one.
  • Design that looks good enough to make it a non-issue whether the grinder should sit on the counter all the time or not.
  • And, of course, the capability to make exceptional espresso. This will be a result of the overall design, but no corners will be cut with the choice of burrs either.
With two of my friends we have taken upon the task to create this coffee grinder. With three MSc's from varying fields and a background as coffee enthusiasts we have the expertise to make it happen, design-wise. By partnering with a local workshop with 40 year experience in precision machining we are able to produce things as well. Our grinder wouldn't be the cheapest one around, but not the most expensive one either. As far as we know now, we could be right up there with the Titan grinders when it comes to quality, but with a smaller price tag.

We are actually quite close to moving into prototype phase with our product. However, before we make the actual investment of producing the prototype we want to make sure that all necessary features are included. More importantly, we want to know if there really is people out there who would want this grinder. Apart from ourselves, that is... That is why I am asking for your opinion about our ideas. At this point I wouldn't like to show drawings or such detailed material, because the visual design will still change quite a lot. The functionality and features that were stated before are on the main stage at this point.

So guys, tell us what you think!

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bostonbuzz

#2: Post by bostonbuzz »

1. What burrs are you using?
2. What is the total indicated runout?
3. How does the adjustment mechanism work especially considering #2?
4. How are the grinds funneled into the PF?
5. How do the bottomless shots look without any additional distribution?
6. How is the transmission - belt or direct?

If you have satisfactorily solved these problems, and your grinder is under the price of a K10 PB, you are golden. I seriously doubt it, however.

FYI, this thread will be locked/deleted probably by the mods for being commercial in nature.
LMWDP #353

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another_jim
Team HB

#3: Post by another_jim »

Your functionality list is complete (John's points are more about the execution) except for one thing ... Robustness.

For instance, lightly roasted beans are much harder than darker roasted ones. Design a grinder using medium-drak roast coffee, like the Versalab folks did, and it will get into trouble when grinding lighter roasts. Burr wear is not so much of an issue with home grinders, since we only grind a few times a day; but fit and finish, and the robustness of the power transmitting components, have to be almost the same as commercial standard gear, since even small defects in these show up with very little use.

Good luck
Jim Schulman

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canuckcoffeeguy

#4: Post by canuckcoffeeguy »

Successfully pack all of that into a motorized, single dosing friendly grinder, and people will be sailing over to Finland on makeshift rafts to get one -- including me. I'm on a quest for such a grinder right now. HG ONE(not even motorized) and K10PB are currently the top contenders.

I have to believe Baratza is doing R&D on a Titan quality grinder -- but in a Forte/Vario-like body, with all of their best features: virtually no retention, small footprint/short height, ease of use, and superb value. Bring this to market for $1,200 and they'll undercut everyone, and take over kitchens faster than the Daleks in a Doctor Who episode. If Baratza isn't working on this (and come to think of it, I bet Breville is doing something similar) I'll eat my Moka pot.

Lastly, back in 2009, former WBC champ James Hoffmann lamented the lack of innovation in grinders. Saying the basic design hadn't changed much in half a century. Here's his blog post from that year:
http://www.jimseven.com/2009/12/30/the- ... -grinders/

Good luck with the project. People want what you're proposing.

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hankua
Supporter ♡

#5: Post by hankua »

Tek's monolith looks to have checked most of the boxes
Monolith

Nik

#6: Post by Nik replying to hankua »

Hank....I have been using the Monolith for over a year now and it certainly ticks all my boxes. Seldom is there a pull from the start with more than a single tail. If is starts it will quickly change to one stream. The burr shaft is still so stable that you cannot see it turn. A real joy to use....quiet, quick with as close to zero retention as I have ever owned. I cannot remember the last time that my Compak K10 Fresh was used.

Bob



jonr

#7: Post by jonr »

Consider a variable speed motor. I say consider because I don't know how it effects the results.

Blue Bean (original poster)

#8: Post by Blue Bean (original poster) »

Thanks to all for the insightful comments!

To answer bostonbuzz's questions:

1. We haven't decided yet, but most likely either 38mm or 71mm conicals. We might have to try both first. We might venture into burr design if all goes well and there is is something to gain, but at this point we will trust the commonly accepted designs.

2. I'm not sure if I understand completely what you mean by indicated runout (I'm not a native English speaker). But if you mean burr wear then the precise adjustment mechanism and calibratable dial will account for that. If you mean the amount of movement of the burrs relative to each other, I have no numerical data about that. But, having worked with the design of similar equipment in a different area I understand the importance of precision in this regard. Proper design and placement of axle and bearings should eliminate problems in this area.

3. Our solution is similar to the quite popular "threaded burr holders"-approach, but is after all slightly different. By placing the adjustment mechanism rather to the motor end as opposed to the burr end we could end up with a solution that is easier to manufacture, but still precise, fast, and easy to operate.

4. If we choose the smaller burrs, no funneling is needed. This is one of the reasons why I would like to use the smaller burrs. They have a nice track record especially in hand grinders, and I believe that we could get good results if the build is otherwise precise and robust. We'll see.

5. If you mean a shot using a bottomless portafilter, we will have to see. We don't have the prototype on the table and running yet. Minimal to no additional grounds distribution is of course the goal, since we want to eliminate the seemingly "extra" steps in the workflow. Again, we will see if we can actually accomplish all of our goals. If we decide to move into prototype testing, we'll surely post videos of our progress!

6. Direct, but I'm holding the right to switch if necessary! =)

Blue Bean (original poster)

#9: Post by Blue Bean (original poster) »

another_jim wrote:Your functionality list is complete (John's points are more about the execution) except for one thing ... Robustness.

For instance, lightly roasted beans are much harder than darker roasted ones. Design a grinder using medium-drak roast coffee, like the Versalab folks did, and it will get into trouble when grinding lighter roasts. Burr wear is not so much of an issue with home grinders, since we only grind a few times a day; but fit and finish, and the robustness of the power transmitting components, have to be almost the same as commercial standard gear, since even small defects in these show up with very little use.

Good luck
Very good point. The reference point needs to be the worst case, and if I would be purchasing a grinder in this category, I would expect it to handle the worst case on a regular basis. This has been taken into account, but of course only a rigorous test period with the actual product will show whether we are where we want to be or not.

Blue Bean (original poster)

#10: Post by Blue Bean (original poster) »

hankua wrote:Tek's monolith looks to have checked most of the boxes
Monolith
So it does! If this would be commercially available this thread would probably not have been started.