KafaTek Monolith Concial: Production Run #10 User Experience - Page 8

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

Postby BaristaBob » Nov 14, 2018, 11:09 am

So after two weeks using the new MonoCon (production run #10)...with the "lock-less grind fineness adjustment", I have not experienced one millimeter of movement from the fineness adjuster. I'm wondering what others have experienced so far, considering there is some banter about the "dreaded creep" with the new Niche grinder with its stepless/lockless grind adjuster? :shock:
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

sluflyer06

Postby sluflyer06 » Nov 14, 2018, 11:29 am

I never had a concern of creep, but anyways, I've pulled about 40+ shots so far and no movement....

in fact once I dialed it in, I haven't had to move it in a week to maintain my extraction time... exactly what I was hoping for moving to a big Conical! My k30 needed frequent adjustment.

BaristaBob

Postby BaristaBob » Jan 11, 2019, 1:29 pm

Well it's time for an update...

After two full months with this grinder I must simply say...it just works as advertised. Single doser, near-zero retention, step-less, and now lockless adjustment in a rather small package, put together like a Sherman tank...what's not to like. Sure it's way better than my three year old Rancilio Rocky in all categories except it's built like a Sherman tank too. It is worth north of two grand (I did upgrade to the TiN coated burrs on the basis of what's 10% more when you are already spending large sums of money)...the current market still says YES! Is the market still demanding Titan grinders...oh heck YES! And, just for good measure Ceado, that Venice Italy based Company known for manufacturing high quality grinders, they want a piece of this market segment too with the ostentatious Hero 37z and another single doser to hit the market shortly.

In my two months of daily use (minimum 3 double shots/day) the KafaTek Monolith Conical grinder (production run #10) has performed with true consistency. I did not "season" the burrs, just let daily use have its polishing affect. It's winter here in Pennsylvania, humidity is low, RDT is a must. One spray of water mist (about 0.2g) is all it takes. I also WDT (this is nothing new for me, its benefits are discussed in other topic areas on H-B), to mitigate channeling, but with the MonoCon there has never been even one misadventure. My technique is as follows: weigh beans, RDT, grind directly into pf, reweigh, WDT, use Pullman Chisel to compress/distribute grinds, use Decent Espresso tamper v1 with 25lb force spring, lock and load, weigh pour volume...drink or steam milk for flatwhite. So as for the burrs wearing in, the first month saw the most change, dropping 2 whole number units rapidly (in my case from 9 to 7) for my "go to" morning coffee (Kaldi's Espresso 700). The month of December has yielded more stability in grinder setting with no significant change...maybe I have reached the point of being "seasoned." Single dosing has always appealed to me since I love to explore the world of coffee and the many flavor profiles available to us coffee lovers. I can move this grinder in the course of one day from 5 to 4 to 7 and then start over the very next day with all parameters remaining the same...time, pour volume, etc. over a reasonable two week period with the same beans. I log every shot I pull, call me OCD, but if I buy that coffee again six months down the road, I have my starting parameters already lined out. Retention...none to speak of right out of the box and it's still that way....at the most 0.1g retention, if that. I continue to weigh my pf after grinding even with near zero-retention...maybe it's my OCD kicking in, or maybe I'm waiting for the first time this grind decides to hold back on me. Hasn't happened yet...that's all I can say.

Disappointments...nothing major....my biggest complaint is wanting to use my Decent Espresso funnel instead of the KafaTek funnel since the ridge sits on the outside of the pf and not in the bed of grinds. The pf holding arms won't allow this extra width, at least for my Breville pf and basket. I've solved this problem by just riding the pf wings on top for the arms and resting the top edge of the DE funnel under the ridge of the grinder...it works, I just can't walk away. Also, maybe a variable speed adjustment like on the Monolith Flat, though I'm not sure that would yield much of a flavor improvement with conical burrs.

Next topic to discuss, once I pull the data together, will be with respect to particle size distribution coming from the KafaTek Monolith Conical grinder (production run #10). Yes...I was crazy enough to purchase one of those Kruve sifters and we are going to discuss the particle size distribution (PSD) coming from those 68mm TiN conical burrs and comparing my results to those of the Socratic people, who have done some excellent work in the area of PSD on several grinders including the MonoCon.

As usual, all comments welcome.
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

eltakeiteasy

Postby eltakeiteasy » replying to BaristaBob » Jan 11, 2019, 6:00 pm

Very nice summary, Bob. After 4 months of use with my MonFlat w/SSP burrs, I can confirm that I have not experienced one millimeter of movement from the fineness adjuster either. It's a fantastic grinder than I enjoy using multiple times per day. Always brings a smle to my face :lol:

BaristaBob

Postby BaristaBob » replying to eltakeiteasy » Jan 11, 2019, 6:48 pm

Yep...the smiles do keep coming. :lol:
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

JayBeck

Postby JayBeck » Jan 11, 2019, 10:37 pm

BaristaBob wrote:Well it's time for an update...

After two full months with this grinder I must simply say...it just works as advertised. Single doser, near-zero retention, step-less, and now lockless adjustment in a rather small package, put together like a Sherman tank...what's not to like. Sure it's way better than my three year old Rancilio Rocky in all categories except it's built like a Sherman tank too. It is worth north of two grand (I did upgrade to the TiN coated burrs on the basis of what's 10% more when you are already spending large sums of money)...the current market still says YES! Is the market still demanding Titan grinders...oh heck YES! And, just for good measure Ceado, that Venice Italy based Company known for manufacturing high quality grinders, they want a piece of this market segment too with the ostentatious Hero 37z and another single doser to hit the market shortly.

In my two months of daily use (minimum 3 double shots/day) the KafaTek Monolith Conical grinder (production run #10) has performed with true consistency. I did not "season" the burrs, just let daily use have its polishing affect. It's winter here in Pennsylvania, humidity is low, RDT is a must. One spray of water mist (about 0.2g) is all it takes. I also WDT (this is nothing new for me, its benefits are discussed in other topic areas on H-B), to mitigate channeling, but with the MonoCon there has never been even one misadventure. My technique is as follows: weigh beans, RDT, grind directly into pf, reweigh, WDT, use Pullman Chisel to compress/distribute grinds, use Decent Espresso tamper v1 with 25lb force spring, lock and load, weigh pour volume...drink or steam milk for flatwhite. So as for the burrs wearing in, the first month saw the most change, dropping 2 whole number units rapidly (in my case from 9 to 7) for my "go to" morning coffee (Kaldi's Espresso 700). The month of December has yielded more stability in grinder setting with no significant change...maybe I have reached the point of being "seasoned." Single dosing has always appealed to me since I love to explore the world of coffee and the many flavor profiles available to us coffee lovers. I can move this grinder in the course of one day from 5 to 4 to 7 and then start over the very next day with all parameters remaining the same...time, pour volume, etc. over a reasonable two week period with the same beans. I log every shot I pull, call me OCD, but if I buy that coffee again six months down the road, I have my starting parameters already lined out. Retention...none to speak of right out of the box and it's still that way....at the most 0.1g retention, if that. I continue to weigh my pf after grinding even with near zero-retention...maybe it's my OCD kicking in, or maybe I'm waiting for the first time this grind decides to hold back on me. Hasn't happened yet...that's all I can say.

Disappointments...nothing major....my biggest complaint is wanting to use my Decent Espresso funnel instead of the KafaTek funnel since the ridge sits on the outside of the pf and not in the bed of grinds. The pf holding arms won't allow this extra width, at least for my Breville pf and basket. I've solved this problem by just riding the pf wings on top for the arms and resting the top edge of the DE funnel under the ridge of the grinder...it works, I just can't walk away. Also, maybe a variable speed adjustment like on the Monolith Flat, though I'm not sure that would yield much of a flavor improvement with conical burrs.

Next topic to discuss, once I pull the data together, will be with respect to particle size distribution coming from the KafaTek Monolith Conical grinder (production run #10). Yes...I was crazy enough to purchase one of those Kruve sifters and we are going to discuss the particle size distribution (PSD) coming from those 68mm TiN conical burrs and comparing my results to those of the Socratic people, who have done some excellent work in the area of PSD on several grinders including the MonoCon.

As usual, all comments welcome.


Great read! I'm loving the Flat as well!

BaristaBob

Postby BaristaBob » Jan 21, 2019, 10:45 pm

My plan in this post is to focus on what comes out of a KafaTek Monolith Conical grinder, in particular a Gen2 (production run #10) model.

So...I was crazy enough to purchase a Kriuve sifter with a six screen set to look at what's coming out of this grinder fitted with 68mm TiN coated burrs rotating at 120rpm, designed by KafaTek (Denis). I was hoping to compare the particle size distribution (PSD) of my coffee to the work done by the Socratic guys, who have done some excellent work in the area of PSD (using laser light scattering detection) on several grinders including the MonoCon. When I started playing with the Kruve, the wife said, "What's that thing?" I said, in mad scientist mode, "I'm going to classify the coffee grounds coming from my grinder." She said, looking at the mess... "In my kitchen!?" and "Didn't you retire from research?" "NEVER!" I said...well it only got worse from there. Sometimes in the name of science we just have to take our 39 lashes, and move on.

Did I mention...1) this thing makes a mess 2) that it does exactly what it was designed to do 3) that it makes a mess...I think I already mentioned this.

Back on topic, I found a PSD graph that the Socratic guys put together in 2017 using a Gen 1 MonoCon (see below). The most interesting reveal from this graph is that the grinder with its 68mm conical burr set produces little in the way of fines (let's call the fines fraction... particles less than 200 microns), a large amount of particles in the 250 to 350 microns range (let's call this espresso optimum), and a small but significant amount of greater than 350 microns particles (we will call this the coarse fraction). So using the Kruve, will I be able to validate the Socratic findings? The answer would be yes...well sort of.

Image

Since I only used two Kruve screens (200 and 600 microns) one can only measure three groups in this way...particles less than 200 microns (the fines fraction), particles between 200 and 600 microns (near optimum for espresso), and particles greater than 600 microns...( the coarse fraction). I decided for now not to run replicates on this experiment because of the messiness (and the wrath of wife), but to run the experiment at three grinding levels hoping for a logical trend...and of course drink the results. In the end this little experiment proved that; 1) the Kruve sifter can reveal differences in PSD upon grinding, and 2) the KafaTek Monolith Conical grinder produces coffee grinds that are very low in fines (<200 microns), high in optimum particles (200-600 microns), with a trailing coarse fraction (> 600 microns). The particle size fractions I captured matched up well with the curve from Socrates...so I'm happy about that (see results below). Taste wise, a grind setting of 5, even down to 4, has been great for this coffee (Kaldi's Espresso 700). It's well balanced with excellent sweetness with just the right amount of acidity. At a setting of 6, this coffee was a little on the "thin, transparent" side, and at a setting of 3 it was like drinking mud! I performed one test using a totally different coffee (Kenya AA) just to see if the PSD curve would be radically different...it wasn't.

Data Table for Kaldi's Espresso 700:
...<200microns / 200-600microns / >600 microns
Grind Setting
..... 6__2.0% 76.2% 21.8%
..... 5__1.0% 78.4% 20.6%
..... 3__2.0% 81.1% 16.9%
.....6(Kenya AA) 1.8% 76.1% 22.0%

Micrographs of fines, optimum, and coarse particles at 50X

Fines
Image

Optimum
Image

Coarse
Image


I hope you enjoyed the write-up, and as usual, all comments are welcome!
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

BaristaBob

Postby BaristaBob » Jan 23, 2019, 1:04 pm

Some people have been asking questions related to "seasoning" of the Monolith burrs. I can only speak from my experience, but my MC2 with TiN burrs, took about 3.5 Kgs (8 lbs.) to stabilize the setting. The change was like moving from a setting of 9 to a setting of 6 over approximately two months at three double shots a day, sometimes more when family or friends stopped by. 8)
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."

PandaSPUR

Postby PandaSPUR » replying to BaristaBob » Jan 27, 2019, 2:43 pm

I always thought seasoning referred to change in grind quality/taste. Is the only difference the stabilization of settings?

I tend to have to adjust grind settings on my Vario due to humidity, new beans, freshness of beans, etc anyway.

BaristaBob

Postby BaristaBob » replying to PandaSPUR » Jan 27, 2019, 3:50 pm

Hi Pan,

I think "seasoning" of burrs is sufficiently explained in this Quick Tip video from WLL. Here is the link. It's mostly about stabilization of the burrs.

https://www.wholelattelove.com/blog/sea ... der-burrs/
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..."