Is the Ultra Grinder a Monolith copy? - Page 8

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

#71: Post by Porcupine »

I would consider it in the same "family" of grinders but far from being a copy.
It seems obvious to me that the creators went their own way in innovating on many aspects of the design.
Full disclaimer, I pre-ordered the Ultra. The monolith was in the short list, along with the Ceado Z Hero, and the EG1...

I found a tremendous amount of value in the Ultra over the others... The servo motor provides, imho, a very unique and highly scalable platform, which combined with the creation of a private community around the product opens the door to a lot of innovation... Very similar to the Decent approach... Down the road this platform can lead to the creators and/or community to create addons, apps to manage the grinding speed at different steps and opens the door to a new realm of variables to play with (control from an app, programming variable speed during the grinding)... While any of those possibilities remain theoretical at this time, the possibilities are there and that's a value in my opinion.

Other things I found interesting are the dosing cup playing a dual function in being a puffer as well, the chute design is clever, the alignment philosophy is quite interesting, and something that I find unique and was important to me is the screwless burrs... Those are all differentiating factors that lead me to say this is a very unique product where a serious design thinking exercise has been done.

Another reason why I chose the Ultra is that it's available for purchase, where the high demand for the Monolith makes it hard to get. I see this as a high risk high reward move. There is a chance that the product is not up to par, especially as an early adopter, or that more innovation will come rapidly reducing the value of the grinder. But there is also a chance, and this is the one i'm betting on, that this product will turn out to be a great success, that demand will increase, making it harder to obtain in the future batches and possibly more expensive... I found that Eric adds a great element of trust and accountability to the project which made me accept this risk and dive in to pre-order...

To me that's the essence of innovation and competition in our economic model, everyone contribute to inspire each other with novel concepts that are added to proven ones... Competition is the key of evolution and the client is ultimately the winner.
Link to my coffee blog: www.thewearycup.com (no ads, no bs)

viveur

#72: Post by viveur »

mcnallyf wrote:This is not a copy of the Monolith!! This grinder actually looks to be better built than the monolith, at least to me it does from the pictures I have seen. The Monolith relies on the adjustment thread of the upper burr mount to keep the burrs parallel, where the ultra uses 4 posts with bushings like a die set. I could care less about the color, the way it is built mechanically, is quite a bit different. I am glad to see another fine grinder arise. Maybe I can actually purchase one of these instead of being on a waiting list and not quite making the lottery for one.
My Max also has... 3 posts keeping burrs aligned - the funnel isn't the burrs carrier (at least on the Max, and all Flat's since the Max was introduced). See photos someone else posted in:
User Experience: Kafatek Monolith Flat MAX

As for this being a copy? Come on, just because it's a lot of metal and burrs doesn't make it a copy. Coffee grinders are simple devices (well, except for the getting burrs aligned part - and perhaps those special ones like the Versalab), there's not that far that you can go with designs. They're both chunky industrial designs, but it's quite clear they're independently developed.

chapelizod

#73: Post by chapelizod »

mcnallyf wrote:This is not a copy of the Monolith!! This grinder actually looks to be better built than the monolith, at least to me it does from the pictures I have seen. The Monolith relies on the adjustment thread of the upper burr mount to keep the burrs parallel, where the ultra uses 4 posts with bushings like a die set. I could care less about the color, the way it is built mechanically, is quite a bit different. I am glad to see another fine grinder arise. Maybe I can actually purchase one of these instead of being on a waiting list and not quite making the lottery for one.
IMO, discussion of what was copied or influenced between one or the other is a moot point. Even if they were identical in every way, the fact you can actually BUY an Ultra grinder would be the key difference, even key innovation if you prefer. If a business owner insists on doing things in a way that continually underserves demand, then you can't complain if someone else comes along and finds a more efficient way to give people what they want. Producing a similar grinder, but figuring out a way to do it more efficiently and at much larger scale, is innovation and is a totally valid way of competing in a marketplace.

viveur

#74: Post by viveur » replying to chapelizod »

Citation needed? I had to wait a few months for my Monolith, but I had absolutely no trouble getting one.

But that's probably a good point: I doubt Denis cares - he is fully booked with grinder production already, and doesn't want to compromise on quality hence no increased production. He wants people to be able to get good coffee, which is why he sells these grinders in the first place - this could have easily remained a private hobby for him. The more good grinders in the world, the better?

chapelizod

#75: Post by chapelizod »

Kafatek Pre-Orders for July 11

Many people reported the remaining production for all of 2020 sold out in a couple of minutes. So anyone who missed out, or didn't complete their purchase in time has a six month wait or longer.

viveur

#76: Post by viveur » replying to chapelizod »

But for the purposes of this thread, that's proof that a bunch of people did indeed manage to buy one :D .

Now I'm yet to see anyone receive an Ultra from Levercraft (and the ordering process direct from source seems a lot trickier, hence isn't that viable for most people), and the EG1 is also apparently out of stock - so it's a bit dubious to claim that the Monolith is any worse. That situation might change once the Levercraft ones are shipped, but for now you can make similar claims about all of them.

cafe102

#77: Post by cafe102 »

EG-1 standard silver color is in stock ready to ship. The Onyx color is out of stock.

chapelizod

#78: Post by chapelizod »

viveur wrote:But for the purposes of this thread, that's proof that a bunch of people did indeed manage to buy one :D .

Now I'm yet to see anyone receive an Ultra from Levercraft (and the ordering process direct from source seems a lot trickier, hence isn't that viable for most people), and the EG1 is also apparently out of stock - so it's a bit dubious to claim that the Monolith is any worse. That situation might change once the Levercraft ones are shipped, but for now you can make similar claims about all of them.
I've seen some people online with them, had assumed that they were already shipping, so point taken. But I disagree with the monolith thread as proof a bunch of people already got them. If something sells out in 30 seconds, a lot of people miss out and then have to wait 6 months for the next opportunity, that view is way beyond just looking at the glass half full. ;) If levercraft can produce a better supply, I still say that renders any design similarity comparisons moot. Time will tell.