Lagom P64 vs Zerno Z1

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
OttoMatic
Posts: 64
Joined: 11 years ago

#1: Post by OttoMatic »

Hey everyone --

I'm looking at a new grinder, and the P64 and Z1 are at the top of my list. For reference, I'm currently using a Mahlkönig K30 Vario and a Niche Zero with an ECM Synchronika. I also had a DF83 for a while. I'll be using the new grinder for espresso only. I haven't decided on burrs yet, but I know there are many viable options.

I really like the Z1's ability to use blind burrs. That said, I'm a bit concerned about them being attached from the side via set screws. I don't think the blind burr option is out yet, so no one probably has first hand experience with long-term reliability on this detail. I also like the look of the Z1, and I think its build quality is very good. I like the pre-breaker feature, but it's not gonna make it or break it for me (I mean, it'll break the beans, but not seal the deal, right?).

I like the P64's build quality and reliability, which I think is probably a notch above the Z1. I like the fact that it's quiet (annoying screeching noise in the DF83 is why I divested myself of that machine). I like the look of it, but I do think the Z1 looks are a notch better.

I like all types of medium and light roast espressos, but I'll initially be shooting for grinding medium roasts for good viscosity, mouthfeel, and big flavors. Clarity on these is a bit less important. I also hit light roasts occasionally, and will want to hit the light notes with good clarity as well. I realize that this may be a different burr set, or a compromise on a single burr set. That's fine, I'll deal with burr choice later. I'm also considering buying both of these grinders each with distinctly different burrs. Not sure I really want to spend that much, but I prefer to have things set up and working for what they are intended. I don't want to dial in between beans if I want a medium in the morning and a light in the afternoon.

So... I guess I'm looking for thoughts and comparisons on the two machines from the points of view of noise, build quality, and reliability. Also, the importance of pre-breaker, blind burrs, and work flow. And of course, anything else I've missed.

I'll sell the Niche and retire the K30 for now. If I find that I really miss a hopper, I'll bring it back into service.

Cheers!

ibsprocket
Posts: 28
Joined: 13 years ago

#2: Post by ibsprocket »

They're pretty even overall. I think since you're US based, the Zerno would be the way to go. That's assuming you're willing to wait the many months to receive it. I imagine you could get a p64 more quickly.

The Zerno has been selling with blind burrs for some time and there are many in the wild at this point. If you were worried about the radial screws you could Loctite them, or just buy non blind burrs. I don't think that should be a deciding factor.

The p64 sounds subjectively better with its brushless motor. The Zerno has a harsher sounding gearbox sound. I don't thinks it's that bad but something to consider.

There's a channel on espresso aficionados discord for the Zerno. Some users have both grinders. You could ask some specific questions.

Ultimately I don't think you can go wrong

erik82
Posts: 2192
Joined: 12 years ago

#3: Post by erik82 »

If you're buying both than just buy one better grinder. I own a EG-1 and a P64 but for espresso medium and light the EG-1 is a huge step up. Both 80mm and 98mm will give more layers where for espresso 98mm will excel in very light roasts and 80mm more for medium and light.

I added the P64 to be able to do both superb pourover and espresso but in the end I'm just not quite happy with the results 64mm is giving. Don't get me wrong 64mm is already really good but there is a lot to be gained. Just something to think about and what you want to achieve at this point.

gomdolyi
Posts: 24
Joined: 9 years ago

#4: Post by gomdolyi »

I'm also on a fence to whether to go with zerno z1 or lagom p64. But I'm leaning toward Z1 slightly more. Brushless motor in P64 definitely has advantage in longevity but I don't really care for various grind speed that much. However, since Z1 has auger/pre-breaker, which can control the rate of bean being fed into burr, is a huge plus for me. One thing I'm curious is the replacement part for both product. Are both product have the replacement part readily available?

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Jeff
Team HB
Posts: 6881
Joined: 19 years ago

#5: Post by Jeff »

Option-O's customer support has been excellent, from what I've been following. I don't have as much second-hand information about Zerno's, probably because their number of delivered units is relatively small. The Zerno team and the Option-O team both seem highly engaged with users.

limonengelb
Posts: 42
Joined: 4 years ago

#6: Post by limonengelb »

Was in the same boat. I was leaning Zerno but don't have a desire to pay $10 and hope I make the august roll out. Not willing to wait 6 months or longer and there was talk on the discord of beans occasionally getting stuck in the auger. And the motor screams. My wife hated the mazzer mini I used to have for that reason. I am looking for no fuss, quiet operation, reliability with good workflow so I plunked down on the P64 with ES burrs. Wait times have been averaging a month from what I gather on other forums so I guess we will see.

Once zerno irons out details on the upcoming auger designs, and hopefully goes to a quiter motor, I would certainly reconsider it. I think it may deliver better results in the cup than a standard 64mm grinder and size/footprint fit my constraints, which not all grinders do.

OttoMatic (original poster)
Posts: 64
Joined: 11 years ago

#7: Post by OttoMatic (original poster) »

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I'm on the pre-order list for both machines, so we'll see how it goes. I'm currently leaning toward the P64 due to the quieter motor.

buckersss
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#8: Post by buckersss »

If you aren't in a rush I would think the philos has the potential to be the best value, perhaps even the best of the three.

LindoPhotography
Posts: 132
Joined: 3 years ago

#9: Post by LindoPhotography »

I had a similar set up as you! DF83, p64, Zerno Z1, Synchronika :D (Also had a Niche Zero, and many other grinders previously).

The blind burrs are available, they're custom made by SSP for Zerno though, you can get them through the Zerno site.

I don't think the blind burrs make much of a difference though. For me removing them was a pain in the butt fighting against the magnets, but there wasn't clear instruction and then I realized I was poking the wrong hole to pop it out from the back :D So 2nd time around would be much easier I think. I think the mounting solution seemed good. You got notches / pegs, magnets and the side screw things which are tiny...
I recorded a lot of testing videos but editing it into a coherent video would be a pain in the butt lol Also a lot of it is invalid now, initially doing retention tests I found a lot of retention in the chute which killed the workflow and neatness for me, since I had to knock the chute and it would often make a mess. Now they have an insert for the chute, I tried the 3d printed version which may still be their current solution not sure... That greatly reduced the retention in the chute and now had as good workflow as on the P64, just a light tap on top would knock out the last 0.2g of retention or whatever tiny amount it was. I don't think the ionizer was working on mine, or it got blocked with coffee. The chute insert is supposed to fix that, but still noticed chaff sticking to things. My friends Gevi Grindmaster with an ionizer I was impressed how the ionizer killed static, even when tamping I noticed less coffee stuck to the tamper!


I had really high expectations because a few people hyped up the Zerno Z1 and made it sound like it's so much better than a Lagom P64, but in my experience it wasn't much different tasting. For cupping and pour overs / Aeropress I couldn't tell the difference. For Espresso I think sometimes P64 would be better sometimes Z1 would be better. I had Blind SSP MP burrs in the Zerno and regular SSP MP burrs in the P64 and I tried to match the RPM for testing.

I think doing a slow feed makes more of a difference than an auger / prebreaker. You can slow feed into either. I noticed a huge difference in flavour clarity, body, and shot timing dumping coffee into the Zerno Z1 and starting it vs slow feeding the beans despite the auger / prebreaker. More acidity, clarity, and faster shot with the slow feed (the acidity is probably related to the shot running a bit fast).

Both are built very well. No issues with either. I've had two P64s, only one Zerno Z1, but haven't heard of any major issues with either (I have heard of some people with the newer P64s have an issue with the declumper breaking off).

P64 definitely has a quieter motor and sound which is nice without coffee in it, in my testing the Zerno was actually a little more quiet when actually grinding. But you can also do lower RPM on the P64 and grind a bit quieter that way. Also having a lid on the P64, or Zerno will make it a little quieter (both sold separately).

Burrs will make a difference with the sound level too, I really enjoy the SSP MP burrs for high quality light roast coffees for maximum flavour clarity (minimum body though). But they sound pretty bad, high pitch and shrieky. The Option-O MIzen Omni burrs have a nicer lower pitch tone to them, I think the SSP HU were nicer sounding too, those two would be my choices for either of the grinders if you want a balanced burr set. The Mizen might be better if your planning on doing pour overs / brew coffee too though!
Oh yeah there's also the Mizen espresso burrs now, which look a lot like the SSP HU I haven't tried those ones though.

I Re-Sold the Zerno Z1 and kept my original baby, the Lagom P64 because it offered more versatility and I didn't notice any benefit from the pre-breaker / auger or blind burrs on the Zerno. Shipped to Canada the price difference wasn't great enough to be a factor for me, the Zerno was a bit cheaper. If it's substantially cheaper within the US, then it's more tempting for sure.

P64 has variable RPM, better brushless DC motor, and the option for direct to portafilter grinding (has portafilter forks).
My initial experience with the high retention and messy knocking of the chute with the Zerno also turned me off from that grinder. I actually also bought an old beat up ODE (gen1) with SSP MP burrs around the same time and maybe due to having very low expectations from it, I was maybe even more impressed with that grinder, how good it was for the price (for pour overs) :D I Don't think the build quality on Fellows products is very good though, it sounds like it's rattling lol... and it turned out (maybe related?) one of the burr screws was stripped...

Anyway workflow wise, I think Lagom P64 is the king, it's just a good no nonsense grinder. It's the only grinder in that same nice workflow league as the Niche Zero I'd say (except P64 has more versatility and burr options, and of course better grind quality).

Here's the few Zerno Z1 videos I (poorly) put together so far lol
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL ... ure=shared

LindoPhotography
Posts: 132
Joined: 3 years ago

#10: Post by LindoPhotography »

Oh and I just realized the part you mentioned about not wanting to dial in (for espresso!?) switching between light and medium roasts!

Well, that's going to be an issue with most grinders I'd think. You could go around changing the grind size by playing around with the dose. Usually lighter roasts require finer grind size, so you could instead keep grinder at the same setting and add more coffee, or less for the darker roast.

But if you're just switching up between two different coffees, it's not that hard to dial them both in, I keep a notepad with a settings and shot timing log (you can also get apps for that, but I find this more troublesome).

If you really want a grinder that works for every coffee which isn't so picky to dial in, something with a lot of fines like the Niche Zero might be best! Still likely would need to make adjustments if your 2 coffees are very different.