Conical or Flat for Med/Light Roast?

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
LM21_2_Coffee
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#1: Post by LM21_2_Coffee »

I need to choose a grinder type to make the kinds of coffee described below. I first need to choose conical vs flat. Then choose a model of grinder. I'm considering Varia VS3 Gen 2 and Turin GF64 Gen 2. I like Eureka Single Dose, but don't want to spend that much. I'd like to keep cost under $525.

Probably my first question should be conical or flat? Does it even matter for my types of coffee?

I like to coffee beans roasted borderline between light & medium. We will never use dark roast beans.

Sometimes I drink Americano (1/3 espresso, 2/3 water). Often I drink cappuchino or lattee made with nonfat milk. I never add sugar.

I also want to grind medium roast coffee for my neighbor's drip machine. She adds a lot of 1% milk. She never adds sugar.

I want to grind a total of 3 to 6 good cups daily. I have a good espresso machine and my neighbor has a good drip machine. We need a grinder, but first we need advice please.

Thank you for sharing your time and expertise.

Edited in Later: My neighbor and I never add sugar. So the coffee itself needs to be as sweet and mild as possible. We don't want to pucker and shake when we drink black coffee.

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Jeff
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#2: Post by Jeff »

"I need to choose a grinder type to make the kinds of coffee described below. [...] I'd like to keep cost under $500." is a great question to ask.

"Conical vs. flat" is a distraction (at any price point)

If you're looking for a grinder under $500 that can do a good job with both espresso and filter, three that I would consider include:

* Various Urbanic grinders with "Gevi burrs" off of Alibaba (see, for example, Lance Hedrick's video, which provided the link to the burrs).

* Option-O Lagom Mini

* Used Baratza Vario with steel burrs, "Fort-ified", and properly aligned

LM21_2_Coffee (original poster)
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#3: Post by LM21_2_Coffee (original poster) »

What does fortified mean?

Acorazza
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#4: Post by Acorazza »

I think he means a modified Baratza Vario using Baratza Forte parts. Alternatively you can also get a Baratza Forte but it would be more expensive. I can absolutely recommend one though as well. I had one for years (mainly for drip coffee) and it was excellent

LObin
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#5: Post by LObin »

This is a first but I'm going to have to disagree with Jeff on this one :lol:

Lagom mini is just not built to be a primary espresso grinder.

Mahlkonig Vario can be hyper aligned but it has many small flaws like the grind setting arms drifting and gear/motor issues. Replacement parts are cheap and easy to obtain though.

We all have our personal experience with different grinders so you will obviously get conflicting opinions on such and such model.

I personally believe the DF64GEN2 will give you what you're looking for. Stock burrs are somewhere in-between a classic and a modern style flat burr. I find the DLC version does a better job than the SSP HU, similar to the Gorilla Gear burrs.
The motor will be strong enough to grind by batch for your neighbor.

That being said, I have had the chance to try the Varia VS3 with Hypernova burrs and it was really good. Maybe better than the DF64gen2 burrs for light and medium roast espresso. Definitely better for filter. Also much easier to dial-in and it has super small increments for espresso which is great.
But... Grinding larger doses for your neighbor would tale much longer and put more stress on the smaller motor.

If you were going to go for the stock Varia burrs then I'd suggest the DF64GEN2. If you can get the VS3/Hypernova then... Well... iissshh... That's much harder to answer.
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ei8htohms
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#6: Post by ei8htohms »

LObin wrote: Lagom mini is just not built to be a primary espresso grinder.
I find the Lagom Mini perfectly sufficient as a "primary" espresso grinder. I wouldn't put it in a coffee shop or even a large-family kitchen where a bunch of folks are making espresso with it every day, but for "regular" use (up to 5 or 6 doses per day?) it seems fine.

Where do you believe it to fall short?
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randytsuch
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#7: Post by randytsuch »

The Vario+ is the same as a fortified Vario, it has the metal grind chamber and metal upper burr carrier.

You'd still need to align the Vario for the best results.

I have a vario, planning to get the metal parts and align it. I use it only for drip right now, but plan to convert to only for espresso and get a separate grinder for drip. When I tried to use it for both espresso and drip at the same time, I didn't like the results. Some of my espresso shots were not good.

Not sure how these other grinders do going back and forth all the time.

What about 2 grinders? You can get a hand espresso grinder, and use the rest of the budget to get a drip grinder.

If you go one grinder, it may take some tweaking to get good results.

LObin
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#8: Post by LObin replying to randytsuch »

Often people will get an electric espresso grinder and a filter hand grinder. It's much easier to hand grind for filter than it is for espresso.

The two grinders the OP is considering can easily go from espresso to brew and vice versa.
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LObin
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#9: Post by LObin »

ei8htohms wrote:I find the Lagom Mini perfectly sufficient as a "primary" espresso grinder. I wouldn't put it in a coffee shop or even a large-family kitchen where a bunch of folks are making espresso with it every day, but for "regular" use (up to 5 or 6 doses per day?) it seems fine.

Where do you believe it to fall short?

It's a great little grinder actually. It can brew quite tasty espresso. But it was always meant to be a filter grinder that can do espresso, not the opposite. I clearly remember Lagom announcing the launch of a new revolutionary compact filter grinder. Not a dual purpose like the other grinders in their lineup.

Even JH mentions this in his 500£ grinder video: (36:57 mark) BTW, he did not only tested it but owns one.
While it does grind for espresso, it's very slow at espresso range. There is a recommended duty cycle that is ok for your daily shot but not meant to grind for batch brewing or can be problematic when hosting.
There have been a certain number of reported mechanical failures which led to a motor and gear component upgrade in 2022. Even then, there are still reports of early motor failures. Lagom states that using it for espresso won't void the warranty.



To be fair, the Varia VS3 also had it's fair share of failures although they have (also) made major changes and mechanical upgrades.

If we consider mechanical components, motor and build,
the DF64gen2 is undoubtedly a more robust grinder.
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ei8htohms
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#10: Post by ei8htohms »

Thanks for expounding on your comment.

I've seen that Hoffman vid a few times and I'm not sure I fully understand that particular comment. It's not a dedicated espresso grinder, and that's disqualifying how exactly?

I don't find the grind speed annoying, but I can see how that would maybe be very evident when doing a comparison video. I don't drink filter coffee at all, so I can't comment on his perception that it's stronger in that regard flavor-wise, but I think for folks that enjoy conicals for espresso that it is absolutely competent.

I totally agree with him about the absence of numbers, so I printed a scale for mine, and I also agree that it needs a bellows (which I also don't like) so I added one of those as well.




It sounds like your primary concern is one of robustness / longevity, with the idea being that filter grinding is less stressful than espresso for the motor and general mechanism. And this also maybe explains Hoffman's remarks about it being "filter first," yes? I can't speak to that from personal experience but I can certainly understand how the small package would give one that impression, and if you've heard tell of premature failures, that seems like a fair enough deduction to make.

I've only owned one for less than a year and don't even use it as my primary grinder since getting a Sculptor 64s (although I did use it exclusively for several months), but I've had great luck with it, never had it stall or otherwise give cause for concern, and I enjoy using it. And I only brew espresso. I'd strongly recommend it in fact.
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