Burr set comparison Mazzer vs. Italmill - Page 2

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

erics wrote:Italmill has supplied burr sets to Mazzer in the past - at least Roeland has said or implied that in posts to James Hoffman's blog several years ago and I obviously defer to Roeland on that one.
For completeness, I gathered that tidbit from the huge thread about the Robur-E with burrs that looked okay, but performed dismally.
Mazzer Robur with new burrs
I can't remember where I got Italmill from, but from my understanding, there are very few grinder burr mfg's around.
erics wrote: I would say that any one of these three knows stuff about burrs that the other two would pay dearly for and we, the end users, are reaping the benefits of these inquisitive minds.
One would say that yes, but from my understanding, there has been very little advancements made over the years in grinder burr technology. 50 years ago, big conical grinders were the best. And that is still true now. I, as an end user see very little of all the supposed engineering efforts. Also, despite the apparently dodgy QC, there was a neglegible difference between the various 68mm grinders in the TGP. There is also very little talk here (save for the 'grinder burr seasoning thread') about burrs not performing as expected. Everybody seems to be happy as a clam with K10's and Nino's, while those burrs look as good as the Italmill burrs.
Poor Grinder Burr Manufacturer QC
Comparisons between Compak K10 68mm & Mazzer Robur 71mm burrs [photos]

What's more, most flat burrs have holes drilled in them to mount them to the burr carriers. At first glance, you'd guess that that ruins a burr, but somehow it is possible to make a passable espresso with them.

I still think burrs are shrouded in more mystery than strictly necessary.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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dsc

#12: Post by dsc »

erics wrote:From an appearance standpoint, you're right, Tom.

But, unless one holds the actual manufacturing drawings in one hand and the specimen burr sets in the other, it (that conclusion) would not pass muster. [cut]
Indeed Eric, although I'd like to buy a Mazzer set to test both side by side and/or check how precisely they are machined. A blind test would be beneficial here, although due to the slow progress on my grinder and a rather mediocre palate I cannot see this being possible any time soon.
Bluecold wrote:[cut]What's more, most flat burrs have holes drilled in them to mount them to the burr carriers. At first glance, you'd guess that that ruins a burr, but somehow it is possible to make a passable espresso with them.[cut]
Why would anyone think that drilling mounting holes in a burr ruins it?

Regards,
dsc.

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Bluecold
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#13: Post by Bluecold »

When compared to the tiny dings and scratches in the shown Italmill conical burrs, a mounting hole is a much more severe 'defect'. If someone were to drill a 10mm hole in the side of my inner and outer burr and tell me "no you won't notice this at all" I'd say he was mad.
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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dsc

#14: Post by dsc »

What 10mm side holes are we talking about here? the only mounting holes the conicals have are on the bottom of the bottom burr.

Regards,
dsc.

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Terranova

#15: Post by Terranova »

dsc wrote:What 10mm side holes are we talking about here?
I think he wanted to mention, if conical burrs would have holes in the grinding surface he wouldn't be very happy.
But the grinding surface of flat burrs is bigger than conicals.
So flat burrs can live with 3 holes fitted for the mounting. 8)

I am having a chemical analysis of both Robur burr sets, I am curious if there is also a difference in chemical composition. It will be available in about a week from now.

Cheers

Frank

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Randy G.

#16: Post by Randy G. »

I was shown a set of burrs from Mazzer by another forum member who wished to remain anon, and although new, they looked awful. The cutting edges were terribly chipped as if over-hardened during heat treating and then machined (just a descriptive effort as I have no idea as to how they got that way). While Mazzer reportedly agreed to replace them, how such a set of burrs ever got through quality control is beyond me. I used my Victorinox Swiss Army Knife's magnifying lens to examine them (as I am far-sighted) and the damage was astounding.

So, as the saying goes, "Any given set of burrs on any given day..."
Espresso! My Espresso! - http://www.EspressoMyEspresso.com
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Bluecold
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#17: Post by Bluecold »

Terranova wrote:I think he wanted to mention, if conical burrs would have holes in the grinding surface he wouldn't be very happy.
But the grinding surface of flat burrs is bigger than conicals.
So flat burrs can live with 3 holes fitted for the mounting. 8)
Not quite. What I wanted to say was that apparently flat burrs can cope just fine with seemingly huge defects in the grinding surface, whereas this topic deals with comparatively minute defects in the grinding surface. This to furthermore illustrate that in the public domain, there is very little understanding of burr technology and behaviour.
Also, the statement "flat burrs can live with 3 holes because flat burrs are bigger" is insufficient. If you doubling the grind surface, you just halve the problem. Half the problem is still a comparatively huge defect in your grinding surface. Why don't Mazzer and Mahlkonig think this is important for espresso grinders? If they would think it's important, they'd come up with a better mounting mechanism such as the magnetic burr carrier of the Mahlkonig Tanzania/Ditting K805/Marco Ubergrinder?
LMWDP #232
"Though I Fly Through the Valley of Death I Shall Fear No Evil For I am at 80,000 Feet and Climbing."

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peacecup

#18: Post by peacecup »

JimS always gets angry when I say this, but for all the fanfare for taste differences among grinders, there are very few objective tests that I've seen. In fact Jim's blind test results are the only ones I've seen.

Roeland, since you seem to know a lot about burrs, and have lots of experience with old hand grinders and Titan class conicals - are there easily observable differences in the grind quality between these two extremes? I.e., can you easily see that the small burrs produce more (or less) fines or uneven grinds? Maybe a comparison between these extremes would shed some light on the more subtle differences between two Titan class grinders.
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Terranova

#19: Post by Terranova »

Bluecold wrote: What I wanted to say was that apparently flat burrs can cope just fine with seemingly huge defects in the grinding surface, whereas this topic deals with comparatively minute defects in the grinding surface.
Also, the statement "flat burrs can live with 3 holes because flat burrs are bigger" is insufficient. If you doubling the grind surface, you just halve the problem. Half the problem is still a comparatively huge defect in your grinding surface.
Absolutly, I should have said that 3 screws in the flat burrs are "the lesser evil", because of the remaining "untouched" surface.
Bluecold wrote: Why don't Mazzer and Mahlkonig think this is important for espresso grinders? If they would think it's important, they'd come up with a better mounting mechanism such as the magnetic burr carrier of the Mahlkonig Tanzania/Ditting K805/Marco Ubergrinder?
The technical implementation might add some extra costs into the work + the grinders you have mentioned are primarily made for other brewing methods than espresso and in favor of homogeneous ground stock in contrast to espresso which needs a heterogeneous ground stock.
No doubt, it would be great to achieve better fittings / mountings on burrs than screws.

samuellaw178
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#20: Post by samuellaw178 »

peacecup wrote:JimS always gets angry when I say this, but for all the fanfare for taste differences among grinders, there are very few objective tests that I've seen. In fact Jim's blind test results are the only ones I've seen.

Roeland, since you seem to know a lot about burrs, and have lots of experience with old hand grinders and Titan class conicals - are there easily observable differences in the grind quality between these two extremes? I.e., can you easily see that the small burrs produce more (or less) fines or uneven grinds? Maybe a comparison between these extremes would shed some light on the more subtle differences between two Titan class grinders.
Jack,

No offense meant but you can always test it for yourself and post back with your findings. It will be more contributive to the community too. I can understand Jim's frustration also if I were him. It will be a different story if you do a blind test and found no difference - and then you challenged/doubt the findings. The blind testing is no easy feat and it is very cumbersome to achieve it with meaningful and respectful result. It's not simply tasting two unknown cups ground with two different grinders. You will need to have and make sure a certain degree of consistency in preparation in order for the result to be meaningful. I believe JimS wouldn't have published/shared those results that he thinks is half-@ssed.

There must be some titan conical grinders around you if you try hard enough to find it. Otherwise, a Pharos grinder is only about US$300 (2000 krona) including shipping; with the average income of swedish of >20k Krona(on the low end), that seems relatively affordable if you compare to my country (I may be wrong).

I know my opinion is probably worthless but I do note a difference in Preciso burrs and Pharos burrs. I don't doubt that titan conical burrs are way superior to small ones in term of convenience(easier to dial in), grind quality(more fluffy) and taste quality. The taste improvement probably won't be significant to untrained palate(like mine), but it's definitely there. You probably have to develop and taste enough espresso to appreciate the difference.

And on the topic, I think a good looking burrs don't necessarily equates to better grind quality. In that case, the burrs design should have a bigger impact, unless the burr edges themselves are blunt.