Blind taste tests comparing high end grinders - Page 3

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

coffeeOnTheBrain wrote:... isn't cupping basically the most forgiving preparation method? So why would someone use cupping as a basis to compare grind quality? ...
Cupping is probably the easiest to do consistently, which makes it easier for the differences that you want to look at to outshine the noise of the experiment.

For example, I bought a used grinder a while ago and compared the old burrs to new burrs that I had bought (and seasoned). I ended up having to pull 16 shots of one coffee - eight per burrset - to get reliable results (that were only applicable to myself). That's just for one coffee. OTOH, I just compared two grinders earlier this week, and was able to get similar levels of reliability using two bowls per grinder. On top of that, I also used four different coffees in cupping. The same overall sample size of 16, but I have much more confidence in generalizing the results (again, to only me) as I used four different coffees - or, to put it another way, I would have to pull 4 coffees x 16 shots = 64 shots to have the same confidence with me pulling espresso shots.

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luca
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#22: Post by luca »

Cupping probably isn't a great way to compare grinders, unless you want to compare them specifically for immersion brewing. It's a gentle enough extraction method, that takes place over a long enough period of time, that it's very forgiving of grind differences. Which is good news for what it's supposed to be for; evaluating coffees consistently over a wide variety of different equipment.

I have done a few blind tests, and they take forever. On the niche review on this site, a bunch of us ran the niche vs the EK43 on a bunch of things. I picked the EK out on all of the blind triangle tests, I think, and preferred it, but the others couldn't pick it. From memory, we dialled in shots off both grinders and then used them to make americanos, stirred them and split them into two cups each, removed one cup so we had a set of three and then did a blind triangle test to see who could pick the odd one out. Of course, this was in the pre-covid world, when dipping your cupping spoons into a shared cup wasn't terrifying. I also did monolith max and ultra, both with SSP LU burrs, against each other at 400 and 1500 RPM. To do any of these things well, you need at least two people, at least 250gm of coffee and you need to set aside at least three or four hours. Then you need to consider the coffee you are using and what you aim to get out of it, so you need to be clear about what characteristics you are testing for. For example, you might have a grinder that produces a particularly bitter and earthy cup that you find utterly revolting. Well, that might be because it is doing an exceptional job of delivering great clarity of flavour with a really crappy coffee. You might actually find that a grinder that delivers less flavour clarity leads to more pleasing (or, perhaps, less disappointing) results with that particular coffee, for example.
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Eiern

#23: Post by Eiern »

I understand it's one way to do a solid test, but I think it's weird (as a better word than flawed) just deciding a TDS goal and get brews from two very different grinders extract to that same % and compare them.

In my experience some grinders I've used (handgrinders, lesser quality electric ones) don't taste good at all over say 20-21% (and corresponding TDS) and some, say new EK stock burrs, most SSP 98mm or 64mm like Brew/Unimodal in Ode or Lagom etc. might taste weak and under extracted at 20-21%. One could adjust the TDS by diluting the stronger brew but you're then comparing different extraction levels from the bean, not like for like.

Comparing two 1,4 TDS brews where one taste bitter and blended muddy flavor «overextracted» and one taste acidic weirdly clean and «underextracted».

Same with espresso. With SSP 98mm High Uniformity I can get a great 23-24% extraction at say 1:2 ratio. Longer espresso would be dry and bitter. With SSP 98mm Ultra Low Fines I gan get an equally great cup at 23-24% extraction but at a 1:3 ratio, going lower taste acidic even if it's a 22% extraction. Compared side by side the two different ratio SSP espressos taste a bit similar actually, but there is a difference in perceived strength. I also like the stock new EK burrs best at 1:3, the 64mm HU closer to 1:2 and the 64mm Brew/Unimodal at 1:3. I haven't had any conical espresso grinders yet only handgrinders.

I also agree you'd need to test beans of different quality, taste profile and roast profile to properly compare. Some beans like mentioned can't handle a high extraction and will fall short when clearly presented. This also for espresso, different roast style and bean profile will taste different, like an classic Italian blend vs. the filter roast nordic single origins I'm pulling as espresso.

Eiern

#24: Post by Eiern »

I do applaud all efforts to scientifically compare coffee.

With my P100 with Ultra Low Fines I pull 1:3 nordic filter roast at 6 bar max pressure 86 degrees C 20-30 seconds.

That's a different style of espresso than the high pressure higher temp higher grouphead flowrate 1:2 with dark roast. And to be honest I'm not sure that would work with some (not all) of the more unimodal burrs but would work well with other grinders/burrs.

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BaristaBoy E61

#25: Post by BaristaBoy E61 »

espressotime wrote:I think many a dream would be shattered if real blindtests would be conducted.
+1

That's a noteworthy quotable quote!
baldheadracing wrote:I think that this is the talk that you are referring to:
NBC/SCAE Gold Cup Grinding Research: Randy Pope, Bunn; Francisca Listor-Saabye, NBC Research
Start at about 34 minutes in for the flat vs. conicals - although Randy Pope is well worth a listen to.
video

I believe that's it - Thanks!

There's one more I've been looking for where a Dutch PhD in milk talked at length about the fats in milk. Might you have a link to that as well?

TNX
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

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SteveRhinehart

#26: Post by SteveRhinehart »

BaristaBoy E61 wrote:+1

That's a noteworthy quotable quote!




I believe that's it - Thanks!

There's one more I've been looking for where a Dutch PhD in milk talked at length about the fats in milk. Might you have a link to that as well?

TNX
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cafeIKE
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#27: Post by cafeIKE »

a fly in the ointment everyone seems to ignore is How many kilos on these burrs?

IMO, it takes about 6 months of home, ≈50-60g/day, use for a brand spanking new burr set to shine... and develop the knowledge base to maximize it's strengths.

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baldheadracing
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#28: Post by baldheadracing »

I thought that one of the advantages of those super-hard burr coatings like Titanium Nitride, Silver Knight, Red speed, Titanium Carbonitride, etc., was that they - and the prep needed on the base steel burr before their application - made break-in unnecessary/not possible?

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cafeIKE
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#29: Post by cafeIKE »

I thought the coatings were life lengtheners?

Could be coatings help out of the gate, but I've never tried them. [I confess to being a luddite]

baldheadracing
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#30: Post by baldheadracing »

cafeIKE wrote:I thought the coatings were life lengtheners? ...
True, but lengthening burr life is not really something most home barista's have to worry about :).

However, as you stated, the amount of material needed to break-in large burrs is daunting at home. If I remember correctly, I went through two kilos of parboiled rice on the last set of "normal" 64mm flat burrs I had to break-in/deburr.