ECM grinder - any point in thinking about sub $500 upgrade?

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

#1: Post by Cuppajoy »

Hi,

newly registered here, but have lurked a bit before. I have a Sage Dual Boiler and an ECM *something* grinder that I'm considering upgrading if worthwhile. As I'm writing this I'm not home to check the exact model of my grinder, but it looks very similar to the Anfim K2:


I bought the grinder used in desparation a few years ago as I was setting up the Dual Boiler and realised my normal household grinder wouldn't cut it (first time moving to espresso). Was hoping someone could weigh in on whether there are some good upgrades under $500, or if I should just give it some tender loving and keep using it. I'm still quite an espresso newbie, and feel that the grinder easily gives me too fine or too coarse coffee with minor adjustments - that might be on accord of myself though. Anyway, input would be appreciated! :)

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Jeff
Team HB

#2: Post by Jeff »

Welcome!

One of the better grinders for espresso under US$500 is the Baratza Sette 270. I don't know pricing or availability where you are.

If it is only a cup or two at a time, there are now some excellent hand grinders available that work well for espresso. One of the least expensive is the 1ZPresso JX-Pro. They've got a bunch of models, as does Kingrinder, and then several makes that are a bit more expensive (but still typically under US$400)

There are some options that would probably be a bit above US$500, but I don't know pricing and taxes where you are. Two that I might look into would be the Niche Zero and the DF64 (starting with the stock burrs). If those are within your budget, talking about their benefits and the challenges with the DF64 would be in order.

Cuppajoy (original poster)

#3: Post by Cuppajoy (original poster) »

Thanks for your reply! Unfortunately I don't see anyone selling the Niche or DF64 where I live. The Baratza Sette 270 looks interesting, and I can get it for the equivalent of approx. $450. I see there's a weight controlled version selling for about $100 more the 270WI, which also looks interesting. One absolute beauty I stumbled across is the Eureka Mignon Single Dose, but then we're talking around $640. I think I'm in love, but will need to read some reviews :lol:

baldheadracing
Team HB

#4: Post by baldheadracing »

I'm guessing that your existing grinder is the C-Manuale 54. https://www.ecm.de/en/products/details/ ... le-54.html It could also be the S-Automatik 64 https://www.ecm.de/en/products/details/ ... ik-64.html

Either way, I wouldn't bother changing given a $500 budget for an electric grinder.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

SutterMill

#5: Post by SutterMill »

Cuppajoy wrote:Thanks for your reply! Unfortunately I don't see anyone selling the Niche or DF64 where I live. The Baratza Sette 270 looks interesting, and I can get it for the equivalent of approx. $450. I see there's a weight controlled version selling for about $100 more the 270WI, which also looks interesting. One absolute beauty I stumbled across is the Eureka Mignon Single Dose, but then we're talking around $640. I think I'm in love, but will need to read some reviews :lol:
The Niche will only be found at their website. Currently they appear to only have black for £500 https://www.nichecoffee.co.uk/

The DF-64 may be under a different name near your location.

The Sette is a solid solution. I own one and have compared it next to the Niche. Taste wise they are very close to my untrained palette. The difference is the experience. The tone and volume of the Niche are much more pleasant. That said I still own the Sette after a few years and enjoy daily.

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Jeff
Team HB

#6: Post by Jeff »

@baldheadracing suggests that the grinder has some reasonable burrs in it. It sounds like the steps are your greatest frustration. If so, you might look to see if someone has modified it to remove the stepped adjustment. If so, that might get you going without buying another grinder.

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iploya
Supporter ♡

#7: Post by iploya »

Cuppajoy wrote:whether there are some good upgrades under $500
If BHR is correct and these are 64mm burrs (a popular size), then SSP burrs could be a big upgrade for under $200 IF they fit:
https://www.wholelattelove.com/products ... ding-burrs

Rich2v

#8: Post by Rich2v »

I have owned a Sette for about 3 years. Great grinder BUT it has now broken. The internal gears are plastic and have now broken. My local coffee machine dealers won't sell the Sette because of damage to their brand. I have seen communication that the parts are cheap and easy to repair, not from what I have seen! I really want a zero retention grinder so I'm replacing with the Niche Zero.

Good luck

erik82

#9: Post by erik82 »

Think good about your budget and which grinder to buy. A plastic Sette is nice for under 500 with will last a short time and will be much and I mean much more expensive in the end. A decent bomber grinder costing 800 that will last 3 times as long as a Sette will be much cheaper in the end. With grinders it's really you get what you pay for and good grinders are expensive.

It's better to just save some more money and buy a decent grinder that will last you a long time. And ask yourself if you want a singledose grinder or a GOD (grind on demand) grinder like you have now. Or if you don't mind some work you can buy a used Mazzer Super Jolly doser model for around 250 and put new burrs in it for 35, or try and find a Mazzer Major doser model with 80mm burrs. It'll last for over 20 years but you do need a brush a plastic spoon to get the grounds out to make it zero retention but it works really good. Once you're used to it it works like a charm and can't be beaten in terms of lifespan and quality for money.

Cuppajoy (original poster)

#10: Post by Cuppajoy (original poster) »

Really appreciate all the good replies in the thread, thanks everyone! Taking the feedback into consideration, I'm willing to go up to $1000, but that would be a hard stop at this point. Remember that I'm pairing this with a Sage Dual Boiler, not the most expensive machine around :)

So I did a cleaning of my ECM (which I think is the C-Manuale 54 as baldheadracing linked to). 54 mm burrs, doesn't look like SSP has any solution for that. I did a thorough cleaning of the grinder yesterday, and my biggest gripe is the time it takes to grind, probably a good 25 seconds for 14 grams of coffee. A single step feels like the difference between a too slow and too fast espresso brew, so maybe going stepless is the solution. This grinder steps just by means of a spring loaded spike that holds it in place. Will look into if that can just be removed.

I've realised now that this grinder is already in the $500 range, at least according to a quick Google Shopping search. I'm mainly looking for faster grind times (serving up multiple guests has become a chore) and ideally lower noise. Doesn't hurt if it looks good either to appease the missus :)