Flat vs conical for milk based coffee drinks

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

#1: Post by tacrita0 »


Does the burr type (conical or flat) have an impact on milk-based coffee drinks?
I kept reading about the differences between the two types, but I couldn't discover any taste comparisons for milk-based coffee drinks.

User avatar
Team HB

#2: Post by another_jim »

The conventional distinction between flat and conical burrs is that flat burrs are better in rendering acidity and origin flavors, while conicals are better at body and roast flavors. In my experience, most flat burrs designed for espresso do not fit this sterotype; however, SSP and other modern designs seem to be optimized to fit this stereotype.

In any case, I would not use these modern, acid and origin forward designs for milk drinks, which IMO prefer middle (apricot, dried fruit, etc) and roasty flavors. If you like low fat or non dairy milk drinks, the extra body helps as well.
Jim Schulman


#3: Post by Cuprajake »



#4: Post by malling »

You cannot take the coffee out of the equation, no matter how much we might like to do so. If you use an light roasted coffee no matter what burr you toss it through it's not going to alter what that coffee is, it just change what comes forward. A burr needs to be chosen out from what coffee you want and expect to use it with. Purchasing grinder after milk ability isn't really the right approach, it's no good choosing a burr type if it's ill suited for the coffee that you drink in its pure form, a milk based drink is after all no better then the coffee base it's build on.

With modern burrs or rather burrs who are building their design on old bulk burrs, those are mainly used for these very light roast for espresso. It's the combination of those two things coming together that some see as have a less potential to break through or compliment milk, especially low fat milks. Yes it has its characteristics in bring natural flavours forward, separate and clarity but it's because of those characteristics that make it the most suitable for that particular roast.

It's really the same with conical these are mainly used with coffee roasted darker, it's that combination that has the combined ability to punch through and compliment. But I would never use conical for modern style roast simply because of its characteristics that poorly supplement the coffee making the base product worse. Conical rounding off, muffling, blending, body and handling darker roasty flavours tend to compliment darker roast well much the same is true with bigger traditional espresso flat burr that share much of the same characteristics but with some trade offs of being flat.

My point is mainly really choose the coffee that you think actually compliments milk. If you then choose a burr that get the best out of that coffee your a long way.


#5: Post by superworrier »

FWIW I like the taste of DF83 stock burrs over Niche Zero for milk drinks. That being said, the Italmill burrs are supposed to lean classic and not modern

tacrita0 (original poster)

#6: Post by tacrita0 (original poster) »

Thank you for all those answers. I suppose that I will start searching for a flat burr grinder to replace my Sette 270. Maybe in future I will start drinking more espresso. I like light roast, especially Ethiopian coffee.