Clumpy Monolith Flat grind?

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

#1: Post by romaen »

Hey,
I just switched from a Niche Zero to a Monolith Flat (SSP) - even tho the burrs are already seasoned in - the coffee is much more clumpy and less fluffy.
Is that normal? (Doesn't feel like a real upgrade)

Thank you!

Janika79

#2: Post by Janika79 »

Yes that's normal if you do not use RDT. The grinds will have a good amount of static and clump.

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SCespresso

#3: Post by SCespresso »

The extra work involved with a monolith is well documented: Single dose, rdt, wdt, grinding time. Whether that is worth it to you and/or makes a difference in the cup, only you can decide.

Nate42

#4: Post by Nate42 »

I have a mono flat with original mythos oem burrs, not the ssp. I do get some clumping with some coffees, particularly with very fine grind, but it seems to be the kind of clumps that "don't matter". ie the break up with basically no effort. I can skip WDT and still get good results if I so choose, although WDT is probably better. As to RDT, that's essential to minimize retention but I hadn't noticed it making much difference in clumping. Maybe I'm wrong.

Remember, you are making espresso, not fluffy grinds. :D The benefit of a flat vs conical is that flat should be more versatile and capable of more clarity especially with lighter roasts. Conical will be more forgiving and maybe even taste better (personal preference) for medium to dark roasts. It may be that for you its not an upgrade, and if so I'm sure you'll have no problem finding someone to take it off your hands. Give it a chance first though, it takes time to learn the quirks of any new tool.

romaen (original poster)

#5: Post by romaen (original poster) »

Thank you guys very much for your replies!

I did some more testing and I am still very confused:

My usual routine with the Niche Zero looked like this: Grind in the Portafilter(bottomless) - WDT with a DUOMO WDT Tool (very comfortable) - use a leveling tool - tamp - extract really consistent nice shot (19 out of 20 would be awesome)

Doing the same routing with the Monolith Flat had high static and channeling. OK, so i added RTD to the routine. The result was less channeling and a bit better (but not as good as with the Niche Zero).

So - the next step was using a "normal" WDT Tool and not the DUOMO. Again, the result was better than before and almost as good as with the Niche Zero... but still not as consistent as before.

Does someone can tell me the reason why the DUOMO might not work well with the grind of a Monolith flat? I don't get it.

I have to admit, that I am using middle to middle - dark roasted beans right now (around 1 - 2 week(s) old). Is the grind from a Monolith Flat only better in comparison to a Niche Zero if I am using light roasted beans?

Thanks for taking your time!

LindoPhotography

#6: Post by LindoPhotography »

I found using a needle distribution tool is superior to tools like Duomo where there's a fixed needle path.

eltakeiteasy

#7: Post by eltakeiteasy »

romaen wrote:Thank you guys very much for your replies!

I did some more testing and I am still very confused:

My usual routine with the Niche Zero looked like this: Grind in the Portafilter(bottomless) - WDT with a DUOMO WDT Tool (very comfortable) - use a leveling tool - tamp - extract really consistent nice shot (19 out of 20 would be awesome)

Doing the same routing with the Monolith Flat had high static and channeling. OK, so i added RTD to the routine. The result was less channeling and a bit better (but not as good as with the Niche Zero).

So - the next step was using a "normal" WDT Tool and not the DUOMO. Again, the result was better than before and almost as good as with the Niche Zero... but still not as consistent as before.

Does someone can tell me the reason why the DUOMO might not work well with the grind of a Monolith flat? I don't get it.

I have to admit, that I am using middle to middle - dark roasted beans right now (around 1 - 2 week(s) old). Is the grind from a Monolith Flat only better in comparison to a Niche Zero if I am using light roasted beans?

Thanks for taking your time!
Part of this is just a conical vs a flat burr grinder... for a darker roast you might be better off with a conical. What made you choose the flat over the conical Monolith?
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JettLag
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#8: Post by JettLag »

I have a flat max, but experienced a lot of the same things as you when I moved from a conical. I was having serious buyers remorse and questioning the flat burr decision. After speaking to several people, including Denis, I settled into the following, which worked for me...

Use a superfine basket. I use E&B's superfines and they are fantastic. Is it masking other things? Maybe a bit, but I will still get channeling and sprayers if the rest of my shot prep is poor, so the superfines are not masking everything.

Two spritzes of water and a good shake. I tried one spritz, but I still got static... so two seems to be the sweet spot for me.

Grind into the portafilter and use the doumo. I've had no issues with the doumo and couldn't tell the difference between using a needle tool and the doumo.

Skip the leveler and go straight to tamp. Every time I used the leveler I'd get channeling.

With the above, I very rarely have a bad shot after dialing in... and none that are undrinkable.

Quester

#9: Post by Quester »

How many pounds have been through the grinder? At least 20?

I found the 98mm SSP HU (on a MAX) a bit challenging at first. Mine was a whole different world than a Niche that produces more fines. I use both a LeverCraft Ultra WDT tool and a tool I made on my own with 0.4mm needles. For me, I don't think using something with larger needles would work well. Even the Londinium WDT tool doesn't isn't ideal because of the large needles. I also ditched all leveling tools and only used the WDT tool and a tap or two.

The more important question is whether a flat burr grinder like the KafaTek is the right one with darker beans.
★ Helpful

MNate

#10: Post by MNate »

Quester wrote:
The more important question is whether a flat burr grinder like the KafaTek is the right one with darker beans.
Definitely don't give up on the Flat until you've expanded your coffee selection. Try some lighter-than-your-usual roasts that you didn't really like before. You may find them very appealing on the Flat where they didn't taste very good with the Niche. I think most of us gravitate towards beans that work well on what equipment we have. So it makes sense that when we change equipment our best beans shift as well.