Grinder burr seasoning?

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

#1: Post by gyro »

Hi all,

So the ROBUR E finally made its arrival. Reading back through many threads, I can see some people have reported troubles dialing in their new conicals. I had a lot of trouble and its all been behaving in a manner that hasn't made a lot of sense to me... Its been fairly inconsistent in timing, visually the grind has looked far too coarse yet has resulted in appropriate pour times. Coffee 'cubes' have been coming out the chute and grind times have been much longer than what i expected, even for 50Hz.

So I did some more digging and came up with this recent post which I found very interesting and details by and large the same as what I am seeing, and its posted by people who should know what they are talking about.

http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&p=27635

Guess I just need another couple of hundred bags of coffee for seasoning! If those figures are anywhere near accurate, then thats an important consideration before buying one.

On the positive side, I immediately noticed quite a dramatic reduction in bitterness vs my Mini-E. However, out of the first 6 bags of coffee, I only drank three shots so it will take a while to pull my average up.

Anyone else had similar issues with new conicals? and how long did it take to settle down?

Cheers, Chris

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HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

gyro wrote:Anyone else had similar issues with new conicals? and how long did it take to settle down?
The Robur wasn't the first candidate to arrive at my house on the TGP Tour so I cannot confirm. But the Compak K10 WBC did arrive fresh from the factory and I noticed its grind setting drifted initially. Counter Culture generously donated 5 pounds of stale coffee to help break it in and there's been no drift problems since.
Dan Kehn

Theodore

#3: Post by Theodore »

Oh!And I thought,that it was mine only.
Yes I have the same problem,and it is for this,why I have not written yet,about my Nino.
I confirm, the lack of bitterness,vs my Mini.
I try to drink more coffee, so as to break it in.
Espresso uber alles.

mivanitsky
Supporter ◈

#4: Post by mivanitsky »

I have the Kony E. It has the impeller augur like the Robur E.

It improved greatly, in terms of ease of dialing-in and flavor, over its very real break-in period. This was mostly over by 8lbs through the grinder, but I noticed some change up to 12lbs.

Incidentally, I did not clean the grinder until 15 lbs went through. It looked almost new, even then, with almost no retention of grounds, and all came out with just a light brushing. I never, ever use oily beans, which may help.

-Mike

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#5: Post by RapidCoffee »

gyro wrote:So I did some more digging and came up with this recent post which I found very interesting and details by and large the same as what I am seeing, and its posted by people who should know what they are talking about.

http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=20&p=27635

Guess I just need another couple of hundred bags of coffee for seasoning! If those figures are anywhere near accurate, then thats an important consideration before buying one.
Hi Chris. I read that post with some amusement and a great deal of skepticism. A few pounds to "season" the burrs, sure. But 150-200 pounds? :shock:

Just one person's counterpoint: I received the TGP Robur brand new, and loved it right out of the box. The Macap MXKR, a 63mm conical, may have been a different story. I liked it less than the other TGP participants, and it's possible this may have been a burr seasoning issue. But I have replaced burrs on several commercial flat burr grinders, and never noticed any need to run vast quantities of beans through the burrs prior to use.
John

portamento

#6: Post by portamento »

gyro wrote:Its been fairly inconsistent in timing, visually the grind has looked far too coarse yet has resulted in appropriate pour times. Coffee 'cubes' have been coming out the chute and grind times have been much longer than what i expected, even for 50Hz.
Chris,

Can you describe the coffee 'cubes,' and maybe even post a picture? Are they clumps?

It makes sense that the E-series Mazzers might extrude squarish clumps as the grinds get pushed through the anti-static grid that covers the chute.

Ryan
Ryan

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#7: Post by cannonfodder »

The Kony was out of box new for my titan grinder round. I noticed a harsher brighter cup that others did not have, or it was not as pronounced which could be attributed to break in. I put a good 5 pounds through it and did not notice much change. You could try getting 5 or 10 pounds of the cheapest coffee you can find at the supermarket and just grind away to season it.
Dave Stephens

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another_jim
Team HB

#8: Post by another_jim »

I did an initial test on the Compak, which arrived new, and was disappointed since it tasted slightly dull and burnt compared to the other Titans (which I got broken in). After about 5 pounds, it pulled even. The same happened on the super Jolly's duranium burrs, which I got after a short break in. I initially disliked it, and then got happier with it as time went by.

A grinder crushes the beans on the flat parts of the burr surface (the burrs push the beans through). So the microscopic texture of those surfaces is in play. The burrs are made of carbon steel, not stainless, and my guess is that these surfaces need to be polished and seasoned, much like those of a cast iron or carbon steel pans.
Jim Schulman

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shadowfax

#9: Post by shadowfax »

I wonder if what Mike P said in the coffeed thread Chris linked to is true--that it takes a few pounds to get them tasting right, but >100lbs to get them to stop clumping?

That would be interesting. My Robur is an impressively low-clumping beast, but now I am wondering if I put another 50 lbs of coffee through it if those will go away too.... :mrgreen: Time to call up my local shop and ask them if they'd consider donating or selling (for dirt prices) their stale coffee for such an experiment. I'd be interested to try shots that had even more edge taken off of them than my Robur already does.

It sounds fishy, but on the other hand--I am a big fan of cast iron cookware, and I know firsthand that it takes a very, very long time to fully season a cast iron skillet. Persuading my wife to bake cake and cornbread in it definitely seemed to speed up the process on my favorite skillet, but it certainly improves only slowly for me. I would imagine if someone at a restaurant took it under their wing, it would be fully seasoned in a matter of weeks.

Have burrs been microscopically examined? it would be interesting to compare seasoned and unseasoned burrs, as well as, perhaps, compare the grinds with SEM or something similar. Seems like a great epilogue for the TGP...
Nicholas Lundgaard

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RapidCoffee
Team HB

#10: Post by RapidCoffee »

shadowfax wrote:My Robur is an impressively low-clumping beast, but now I am wondering if I put another 50 lbs of coffee through it if those will go away too.... :mrgreen: Time to call up my local shop and ask them if they'd consider donating or selling (for dirt prices) their stale coffee for such an experiment. I'd be interested to try shots that had even more edge taken off of them than my Robur already does.
Nicholas, that's far too much trouble. Let's just swap burrs instead. You send me your new Robur burrs and I'll send you the old ones from my used Robur. They've had a couple of years in a commercial setting, and are fully seasoned by now.

No, don't thank me. Just being my usual helpful self. :twisted:
John