Conical & Slow / Flat & Fast

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

#1: Post by lukas_peters »

I discovered the wonders of specialty coffee and the necessity of single dosing about a 1.5 years ago - Specifically the Kinu M47 was my daily driver for almost the first year. I slogged through the lighter roasts always keeping a close watch on single dose electrics and about 8 months ago grabbed a Ceado E5SD for a great price. I switched over and while my morning was defiantly easier I cant say the coffee got any better - if anything the shots got a lot harder to dial in, this grinder has a huge adjustmet wheel and even a very very small move (less then a millimetre) would result in a huge change.

Speciality coffee comes in small expensive amounts and I really begrudged these so so shots that took up most of the bag. One or two shots per bag would be amazing but the next day it was back to so so again.

Last week I had an amazing shot from a cafe and bought a bag - 5 shots later I had not gotten close to what I had tasted and I tried a shot from the Kinu just to see the difference. I guessed the grind, it ended up being visibly to fine so I under dosed to 15g and pulled it anyway.

It was damn near perfect. Not only taste but the flow, and how it evenly filled the basket - I always blamed uneven looking extractions on my puck prep but I did everything the same and this looked perfect. The only change in work flow was what grinder I was using.

I have always read that flat burrs are best for the lighter roasts which is the main reason I bought the Ceado but its been a week now of hand grinding and I don't think I'm going back to the Ceado. The Kinu and the Robot seem to be a much better match.

Does anyone here have in-depth comparative experience with a conical and a flat burr grinder and how important is a lower RPM really?
The Lagom P100 sure looks good....

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another_jim
Team HB

#2: Post by another_jim »

The flat burrs that can go head to head and may outperform good conical burrs start at 80mm and are specially coated and configured. A plain vanilla 64mm burr grinder, whether it single doses or not, is not even close (with the exception of the DRM double burr set). I don't have experience with SSP 64s to judge how they rank for espresso, although the difference when using them for brewing, versus a standard 64, was very striking. If you do order one of the new 64mm single dosers, get it with SSP burrs -- at least you'll have a fairly good brew grinder.
Jim Schulman
★ Helpful

drH
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by drH »

I'm planning to do some flat/conical comparisons next month. I have a Helor 106 on order for big conical burrs and I'm curious how it stacks up against my Olympia Moca (standard 64mm flat). When I compared the Niche to the flat it was hard for me to tell the difference. I convinced myself that I preferred the flat but I doubt I could tell them apart if it were a blind comparison.

But there's no question that the conical was easier to dial in and had a much wider range of "good" on the settings. At the end of the day I sold the Niche to make room for a few different manual grinders....mostly to experiment with new burrs.

jrham12

#4: Post by jrham12 »

Lukas,

Just out of curiosity, have you checked the alignment on the burrs in your E5SD by doing the marker test? If not well-aligned, maybe that is what is keeping you from achieving the same uniformity you're getting from your Kinu...

Josh

cskorton

#5: Post by cskorton »

I've always had a Kinu m68. I was bitten by the curiosity bug, and decided to test a flat and bought a G Iota with 64mm SSP burrs. I sold it and kept the Kinu.

Both were good, but the Kinu is way easier to use and pull shots with because of the increase in fines. In blind tests I couldn't pick them apart. Shot to shot variation on grind distribution play a huge role here.

Don't buy into the flat is better hype. I'm convinced that you'll need 75 to 80mm to taste a difference, even then, it's just different, not necessarily better.

The only time it may make a difference i think is if you're pulling shots using super light roasts very long and pushing the boundaries of what espresso can be. If you just like traditional espresso, light medium to dark, I think conical like the Niche is the way to go.

Don't go nuts on equipment, your skill and the beans matter way more imho. Enjoy yourKinu and try to appreciate what you have.

pizzaman383
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by pizzaman383 »

I have 83mm flat SSP burrs in my Doge and my son has a Niche. Same light roast coffee, same basket, same dose, and same shot time/weight found the taste separation to be much clearer for the Doge. Same test with darker roast coffee had very similar taste.
Curtis
LMWDP #551
“Taste every shot before adding milk!”

drH
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by drH »

It's a bit off topic but I feel like the best espresso setup would include a conical and flat burr, a lever and standard 9 bar machine. An espresso lab. A guy can dream.
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lukas_peters (original poster)

#8: Post by lukas_peters (original poster) »

jrham12 wrote:Lukas,

Just out of curiosity, have you checked the alignment on the burrs in your E5SD by doing the marker test? If not well-aligned, maybe that is what is keeping you from achieving the same uniformity you're getting from your Kinu...

Josh

Thanks Josh, actually no the thought had never occurred seeing how it was a new machine - I did get a lot of great shots with it - just never consistently, day to day.

mmntip

#9: Post by mmntip »

another_jim wrote:The flat burrs that can go head to head and may outperform good conical burrs start at 80mm and are specially coated and configured. A plain vanilla 64mm burr grinder, whether it single doses or not, is not even close (with the exception of the DRM double burr set). I don't have experience with SSP 64s to judge how they rank for espresso, although the difference when using them for brewing, versus a standard 64, was very striking. If you do order one of the new 64mm single dosers, get it with SSP burrs -- at least you'll have a fairly good brew grinder.
The Bentwood and Lagom P64 prove this statement to be wrong. Of course, going head to head with conicals assumes a lot about you preferences, which I presume to be medium to darker roasts and thick gooey espresso? Either way, it's definitely not as clear cut as this.

BodieZoffa

#10: Post by BodieZoffa »

lukas_peters wrote:I discovered the wonders of specialty coffee and the necessity of single dosing about a 1.5 years ago - Specifically the Kinu M47 was my daily driver for almost the first year. I slogged through the lighter roasts always keeping a close watch on single dose electrics and about 8 months ago grabbed a Ceado E5SD for a great price. I switched over and while my morning was defiantly easier I cant say the coffee got any better - if anything the shots got a lot harder to dial in, this grinder has a huge adjustmet wheel and even a very very small move (less then a millimetre) would result in a huge change.

Speciality coffee comes in small expensive amounts and I really begrudged these so so shots that took up most of the bag. One or two shots per bag would be amazing but the next day it was back to so so again.

Last week I had an amazing shot from a cafe and bought a bag - 5 shots later I had not gotten close to what I had tasted and I tried a shot from the Kinu just to see the difference. I guessed the grind, it ended up being visibly to fine so I under dosed to 15g and pulled it anyway.

It was damn near perfect. Not only taste but the flow, and how it evenly filled the basket - I always blamed uneven looking extractions on my puck prep but I did everything the same and this looked perfect. The only change in work flow was what grinder I was using.

I have always read that flat burrs are best for the lighter roasts which is the main reason I bought the Ceado but its been a week now of hand grinding and I don't think I'm going back to the Ceado. The Kinu and the Robot seem to be a much better match.

Does anyone here have in-depth comparative experience with a conical and a flat burr grinder and how important is a lower RPM really?
The Lagom P100 sure looks good....
I'd never consider single dosing to be a 'necessity' for great consistent espresso. Yes it's beneficial to those that use different coffees on a very regular basis and like to tweak adjustments shot to shot, but definitely no more beneficial than dialing in a hopper fed beast with a larger volume. Just depends on your intended use more than any single factor. I do single dose daily only because I strongly prefer hand grinding over any electric I've ever had, but never had any issue cranking out great results from any electric, just a slightly different routine to reach the same end goal.