Malwani Livi - Page 2

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
y33brzk

#11: Post by y33brzk »

How was your experience with the Livi @drH?

drH (original poster)
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#12: Post by drH (original poster) » replying to y33brzk »


I'll be sure to let you know. Because of Covid there were some parts delays and I haven't received it yet. I'm expecting it within the next 4-5 weeks.

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drH (original poster)
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#13: Post by drH (original poster) »

Hello everyone!

I'm happy to report that after 9 months of waiting (delays due to Covid) I finally received my Malwani Livi grinder with Zebrano wood.
In the coming weeks I'll report a bit more, write a short review, and post some pictures.

The grinder shipped in early May and took 6 weeks in transit. The box took a cruel beating during its travel and was open and split at the seams. At first glance I was sure the grinder would be damaged.

When I removed it from the packaging (only cushioned by paper wrap and shredded paper) it was mostly in pristine condition. There were a few scuffs on the metal casing and a nearly imperceptible crack in the wood top. I don't feel bad about this because it's not Malwani's fault and frankly it's not noticeable unless you very closely examine it. The top of the grinder is also slightly loose from the base which should be easily correctable as soon as I get my tools out. In short, I feel incredibly lucky that it's in good condition after the beating that box took.

I can't give you an unbiased review right now because I'm currently blinded by it's beauty and construction quality. It's larger and heavier than I expected. The steel and brass grind adjustment feels so solid in the hand it conjures my imagination of what it must be like to turn gears on a Victorian steam engine. The planetary gearbox feels very smooth and makes a satisfying churling sound when it turns.

I pulled a couple of shots just to make sure the alignment was still good after the rough journey. Yes, I'm currently seeing it with rose colored glasses, but the first few dialed shots were excellent. I compared side-by-side with my Commandante and the shots from the Malwani poured very smooth and evenly and (at least to my first impression) were creamier and better balanced. Now, this is not yet a fair comparison, because the Commandante has a stepped adjustment and the shot times were not exactly equal. I have a RedClix add-on and when I install that on the Commandante I'll run a proper test. As of now I feel like the Commandante emphasized acidity and body a bit more whereas the Malwani had more balance, creaminess and cocoa flavor (using Red Barn American Espresso blend). The upshot so far is that the Livi make delicious shots. I suppose this shouldn't be surprising because it does have 83mm burrs that are mounted in such a way that the alignment will be easy to maintain.
And, the planetary gears on the grinding mechanism make turning the handle easy.

More to come soon, but I'd love someone to compare this directly to an HG2. I imagine the Malwani would be a worthy competitor. It's also a very different, almost rustic aesthetic, which appeals to me and offers a good contrast to the Tesla-esque design style at Weber Workshops (also beautiful).

Espressoman007

#14: Post by Espressoman007 »

I am counting a few years with my Malwani Livi. It's good to read comments from new owners, because there is so little to read about it. Even if you go to the German forum, there are no new posts for a year now. Nine months of waiting, that is quite a long time, but I waited a while for mine to arrive too, a few years ago. A couple of months ago, I swapped originally installed Italmill burrs with Hansung's red speed SSP (Mazzer). I actually thought that aligning would be easy, but it wasn't, without tools. I thought, because of the way it's designed, that I will just have to take the burrs out and replace them with the new ones, screw bolts and voila. But it's not like that. I am just curious to know what was your system, you said it's easy.
One thing that bothered me from the beginning was communication with the manufacturer. They just don't reply to my e-mails. Past month I sent two or three questions again and I hit the wall...again, silence?
When I bought the grinder there wasn't any kind of manual, is there now? If I want to do a maintenance of the grinder, oil or anything, I would love to have some instructions on that, but there isn't any. I even asked them about their precision tampers, that I might be interested in buying, but all in vain.
I am glad you like the grinder, I like it a lot, but all these other things are just insanely crazy, with communication and lack of information.
I am looking forward to hearing more. I have Lagom P64 and it's not quite comparable because of completely different kind of burrs, but quality wise Malwani is completely on par with it. For different tastes even better.
There is one thing, however, it is not for lighter coffees. You better stick to medium to dark and you will have a great experience. And also if you try to grind light roasted coffee it's going to be too much force for gears inside (you will have to hold the grinder quite strong), which I think is better to avoid if you want to keep it in great condition.

Enjoy Malwani!
Cheers!

drH (original poster)
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#15: Post by drH (original poster) »

It's good to hear another point of view.
I take your word for it that conducting an alignment is complicated. I only meant that, given the way the burrs are mounted, it seems like it won't slip out of alignment on its own.

Earlier this year it did take a few emails to get a response from Malwani, but since then they have gotten back to me within a day or two. I recently reported to the issues with shipping and got a nice response right away..I'll see if they provide any further help or information on burr changes. No manual.

I completely understand your frustration. On the other hand, when dealing with an boutique producer I had set my expectations for minimal support. I admit to being more patient than most people, but I'll certainly report back if I learn anything more.

Espressoman007

#16: Post by Espressoman007 »

Well, it's not that I am frustrated at all. I got used to all kind of people in my life. But it is fair to say, good things and bad. Given all, my rating for grinder is the highest but for service is the lowest (and that is compered to others I have dealt with). Before I got the grinder, communication was decent, but after... they did reply (answered partially) to my first e-mail, that was just after receiving the grinder, but after that, nothing. Also it's so unprofessional to not have, at least a basic manual (isn't it required by law if you are selling that kind of machines?).
They also don't provide any parts if you would need one.

Regarding grinding, one thing that worked better for me for repeatable results when changing grind size (numbers), it is better to close burrs every time and then turn to desired number. Btw, what is the number for espresso for you?
And, it's fresh for you, how do you remove the handle? It's been a while since I've placed mine on the grinder.
I wish you happy grinding, it's a great grinder, I think it was a smart choice buying one.

Cheers!

drH (original poster)
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#17: Post by drH (original poster) »

I have a bit more information now.

My experience corresponding with Malwani has been pretty good. It does take them some time to respond and occasionally it has been after my second email, but I remind myself that they are a very small shop making everything by hand.
Overall Valentin (who wrote back to me) has been very helpful in solving issues with my shipping.

To remove the handle, he instructed me to hold the grinding shaft steady (for this I can use a soft tool like a rubberized wrench or plier so as not to cause damage). This stability will allow you to screw off the arm. Then you can undo the small star screws in the back to release the metal cover.
Following that I was able to tighten the loose bolts and everything is now firm and solid.

I've had a few days to experiment and compare the grinder to my Commandante and to use coffees that I know very well from my days with the Niche (now sold). So far I've tried three coffees: Red Barn American Espresso, Temple Dharma, and WholeLatteLove CremaWave. I have a few blends from Onyx on the way.

So far I can get results on the Livi that are at least equivalent to the Commandante and what I recall from the Niche. To may unrefined palate, the Livi shots seem a bit creamier, with a softer and rounder texture. Is it better than the Niche or Commandante? I can't make a strong conclusion yet. I doubt I'd be able to pick it out in a blind test, but I'm eager to try it with the Onyx Eclipse, which is one of my favorite blends.

As of now, I'm really happy with the grinder. The taste and texture are great. It's beautiful and solidly built. It's delightful to use. I do have a few nit-picks, like why go to the trouble to make such a beautiful, numbered grind adjustment dial but not include an arrow or marking to function as a reference on the knob? While some small details like that confuse me but I think the grinder gets the important things right. If you want to experience Robur-size burrs, this might be the most affordable machine to accomplish that for the home. If I had an extra $2000 I'd put down for a Monolith conical, but absent that I think the Livi is excellent.

I'll continue sharing thoughts as they come.

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drH (original poster)
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#18: Post by drH (original poster) »

Help!!

I want to love this grinder. It's beautiful and the tactile experience of using it is very satisfying.
But.
I can only make good espresso with dark roasted beans. Everything else is a bit sour or bitter or both. Maybe the alignment is off because of the rough journey it took. Maybe I should swap in real Mazzer burrs.

I ordered the Weber Key so, in fact, I no longer need this grinder, but it's hard to sell because 1) it's quite pretty and 2) if I don't like it how do I sell it with a good conscience?

What's next?

Espressoman007

#19: Post by Espressoman007 »

Love didn't last long :)))

I think I already wrote it, forget about it with lighter roasted coffee. Medium to dark is excellent, it's not the alignment, it's the burrs (conical). You won't get anything substantially different if you change those burrs with Mazzer ones. ( I already wrote that too, I've changed Italmill with SSP Mazzer red speed, but not because I expected better results taste wise)
I hardly use my Malwani Livi lately, but I would never sell it. I have other grinders and waiting for a new one (both flat). But I wouldn't sell Livi. I don't know why you don't have excellent results with medium roasted coffee, but it's not the grinder, definitely.
Just don't use light roast.

Cheers!

P.S. Be patient ;)

LObin

#20: Post by LObin »

Congrats on your new acquisition btw. The Malwani Livi is the most gorgeous hand grinder ever imo.

I don't buy the "it's the conical burrs" excuse though. I'm assuming drH knows what to expect from light and medium roasts with conical burrs.
Taste profile is quite different VS similar size flats or even more so, compared to unimodals. But... not good for medium and light roasts? Although taste is subjective and what's not good for one can be great for others, the fact that Tim Wendelboe uses Mazzer 83mm in his coffee shop is quite a strong endorsement. Let's not forget John Buckman from Decent and his Niche Zero.

I'm not by any mean trying to contradict Espressoman007 here. He wouldn't be the first one to prefer the taste profiles of flats over conicals.

I'd recommend playing with alignement before giving up. Many have had better results after doing so with their HG1s.
I also remember one of the 1st Livi owner on here that had swapped the Italmill for Mazzer burrs and did prefer the latter.

Espressoman007, you didn't notice any difference at all between the Italmill and the SSP red speeds?

One thing that I hope to see in a near futur is different conical burr set geometry available in larger commercial sizes. I'm thinking Commandante or Chestnut X geometry in 63mm, 68mm, 71mm and 83mm. Maybe SSP will eventually design something like the Monolith MC4 burr set... who knows.

Cheers!

Btw... this topic is seriously lacking of Malwani Livi explicit pictures! :lol:
LMWDP #592