Fuji Royal 220: a note on single dosing and cupping

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another_jim
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#1: Post by another_jim »

I use this as my cupping grinder, where it does a great job. I also use for brewing, where it has been wildly inconsistent. After some experimenting and comparative cupping, I think I've found the reason.

The grinder has a shutter that seals off the burrs (it is part of the grinder, not the hopper) When I cup, I use 8 gram doses. These feed entirely into the burrs and allows the shutter to be closed. When I brew, I often use doses larger than 10 grams, and this is too large to close the shutter. Turns out, that popcorning on the Fuji ghost burr grinder sharply reduces extraction efficiency.

So either feed in the doses in 10 grams lots and grind with the shutter sealed, or fill the hopper enough to prevent popcorning. Doing this gets stellar cup quality, otherwise not so much.
Jim Schulman

jbviau
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#2: Post by jbviau »

Very interesting. Why though?

The usual take on how popcorning can affect grind quality is that it leaves you with "boulders" toward the end, no? If so, sieving out just the boulders post-grind should improve cup quality when you're single-dosing with the shutter open. Does it?

Another thing I don't fully understand is that you probably have some clearance between the shutter and the burrs even with your cupping dose, so popcorning could still be happening--albeit on a smaller scale--with the shutter closed. How much vertical distance does one need for popcorning to turn bad with this grinder?

I have a newer R-220 and dislike the large stock hopper. I've been using either the Xeoleo mini-hopper, which holds ~40 g. and has a lid, or two stacked metal collars, which together hold about 20 g. (and I'll cover with a coaster or whatever is handy). Haven't noticed a drop-off in cup quality with either. I'll attempt to replicate your findings.

Last question: are you using a transformer? I'm not since I bought my Fuji from a Taiwanese vendor, and it runs at 110V/60Hz. I would assume faster spinning = increased likelihood of popcorning...

p.s. For the Fuji-less, the shutter we're talking about is the metal thing you see blocking access to the burrs in the third pic below. You swing this shutter out of the way to begin grinding by using the little lever with the black handle that's right below the hopper.







"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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

Any grinder I have to sift afterwards is going into the trash. I like tasting coffees, not massaging coffee gear.

I use a transformer with the stock grinder. I cupped 8 grams doses versus 8 gram samples from 15 gram doses (my usual brewing dose). The 8 gram cups were consistently good, as were a few of the 15 gram lots. But other 1t gram lots were severely under extracted (tea-like in fact). The difference is using the shutter.

My results and advice don't apply to heavily customized units and SOPs
Jim Schulman

Jonk

#4: Post by Jonk »

It's so fast that the shutter can easily be closed after grinding for a short while with larger doses. I removed the stopper from mine so the shutter can be swung freely back and forth to get every bean inside even with RDT - very smooth.

I thought popcorning was not a big issue with the auger. But I do get very mixed results with my R220 - for some beans it's my best grinder, for other beans perhaps the worst. Very old burrs with little machining can be the cause in my case.

baldheadracing
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#5: Post by baldheadracing »

On Japanese YouTube, I've seen tube/cylindrical hoppers with plastic pistons that go all the way down to the burr auger (so below the level of the gate/shutter, which is removed).

My Japanese comprehension is really poor, but I think that they just want to prevent popcorning as much as possible - as opposed to putting a weight on the beans.

I've also seen running the grinder tilted (back end up).

FWIW, I run my R-440 tilted, and that's enough to contain popcorning for the quantities that I grind. (The R-440 has a much larger auger chamber compared to the R-220.) On my Vario, I do use a plastic piston (old aspirin bottle) running inside an Aeropress funnel. (The inside diameter of the Aeropress funnel matches the inside diameter of the upper burr carrier.)

However, I haven't tested either of these mods properly.

jbviau
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#6: Post by jbviau »

another_jim wrote:Any grinder I have to sift afterwards is going into the trash. I like tasting coffees, not massaging coffee gear.
Right, Jim, I wasn't suggesting you should start sieving regularly. I was just trying to get at why your bad cups were bad. Under-extracted/tea-like--got it.

For your 8-g.samples from 15-g. doses that were uneven in terms of taste, is the idea that the bad samples happened to have more boulders from toward the end of the grind?
"It's not anecdotal evidence, it's artisanal data." -Matt Yglesias

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Almico

#7: Post by Almico »

I used my FR R220 for a few years for pour overs at farmers markets. The SOP that developed organically over a few thousand pour overs is to dump 21 to 25g of coffee into the stock plastic hopper with the shutter closed. Then I turn the grinder on to get the burrs spinning before I open the shutter and quickly close it when all the beans have passed through to prevent popcorning.

I use my EK43 the same way. I find it makes better coffee if the burrs are up to speed before the first bean touches the auger or burrs.

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another_jim (original poster)
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#8: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

jbviau wrote:Right, Jim, I wasn't suggesting you should start sieving regularly. I was just trying to get at why your bad cups were bad. Under-extracted/tea-like--got it.

For your 8-g.samples from 15-g. doses that were uneven in terms of taste, is the idea that the bad samples happened to have more boulders from toward the end of the grind?
I didn't closely examine the grind; but to a casual pinch, they were the same.

I'm slightly pissed at the whole thing, since one of the victims was the George Howell Yemen. It is a superb and crystal clean Yemen properly extracted, and weak tea when not (IMO, not worth the price at any extraction, unless you are so moved by leather, cardamom, and incense flavors that adding these to an Ethiopian cup profile increases the value by a factor of ten).

Maybe the tubular hopper, especially with a press down weight, will allow proper single dosing. On the whole, I think single dosing with flat burrs, where the bean suction is less than on conicals, is still a work in progress. I was hoping the ghost burrs would be more tractable.

How's OE's "manual Fuji?" The user thread has some very mixed opinions
Jim Schulman

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another_jim (original poster)
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#9: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

Almico wrote:I used my FR R220 for a few years for pour overs at farmers markets. The SOP that developed organically over a few thousand pour overs is to dump 21 to 25g of coffee into the stock plastic hopper with the shutter closed. Then I turn the grinder on to get the burrs spinning before I open the shutter and quickly close it when all the beans have passed through to prevent popcorning.

I use my EK43 the same way. I find it makes better coffee if the burrs are up to speed before the first bean touches the auger or a burr.
Thanks for that. I'm slapping my head, since sometimes do this too. Maybe that's what makes the larger doses consistent.
Jim Schulman

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another_jim (original poster)
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#10: Post by another_jim (original poster) »

Yep, that's it. Thanks Alan.

Once the grinder is spinning, for 15 grams, the shutter needs to be opened, then shut instantly (more camera than grinder). The taste is even more vivid than preloading, and then spinning up the burrs. What's left of the Yemen is tasting like an escaped spice market.
Jim Schulman