Mazzer Mini Old and New Burrs -- A Macro Look

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varuscelli_II

#1: Post by varuscelli_II »

As posted over on CoffeeGeek, I'm soliciting a bit of feedback on my efforts to clean up and fine tune a recently acquired Mazzer Mini. Thinking I might need new burrs for it (it came from a small coffee shop environment, so had a couple of years of use there before I got it), I got a set of burrs and have been simultaneously cleaning up the old and new. At this point, I'm not sure if I even needed the new burr set, but I had no real personal frame of reference to tell if the old ones needed replacing. But the new ones, ugh. I'm kind of disappointed in them, just from an "appearances" standpoint. They seem to be very roughly machined and although probably much sharper don't look as nice as the old ones. But maybe the old ones look nice by virtue of having ground coffee for so long and are..."polished" by virtue of all their previous hard work.

In any case, I'd be happy to receive feedback on my little macro photo project.

Here's the link to my "burrs" photo essay (OK, I use the word "essay" loosely):

http://www.ruscelli.com/mazzer_mini_burrs.htm

And here's a link to my general photos of the Mazzer Mini itself:

http://www.ruscelli.com/mazzer_mini.htm

But my little "burr" project (the first link, above) is the one I'm really focusing on. If you've never seen burrs up this close, it's a pretty interesting look compared to the naked eye.

With the macro lens, you can take this:

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And see this:

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But sometimes you have to look at this:

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:shock:

Al

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HB
Admin

#2: Post by HB »

I saw your nice photos and noted them in Grinder burr types explained. My guess is that the significance of the "micro roughness" is limited to the cutting edges on the outer perimeter. Specifically (3) and (4) in Jim's diagram:

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and again in your photo, highlighted in red:

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That said, even though the roughness in your second set may "come out in the wash" over time, I say shame on Mazzer, we expect better.
Dan Kehn

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varuscelli_II

#3: Post by varuscelli_II »

Thanks for the feedback, Dan, I appreciate it.

You know, in playing around with cleaning up the burr set, they're actually coming pretty clean (at least, way, way cleaner than the shape in which they arrived). I attached the new ones and used some Grindz with them and they look MUCH better. Most of the little gritty stuff is gone, but there are still quite a few ragged spurs and such hanging off some of the blades (and in part, I think you have to expect at least some degree of ragged metal with machined parts like this, but it sure seems like in this case it might be a bit to the excessive side...I dunno, for lack of experience in these things). Some of those bigger, harder spurs will probably be there for good, but there are so many different shapes and sizes of metal shards that I'm guessing some of them will just wear off or break off with time, as you say. I really did expect to see something much nicer than what I received, though, but it may be that my expectations exceeded the reality of what you get with things like this. But in the long run, this is probably just a triviality. :wink:

As a side note, if you can make use of any of those grinder burr photos I have posted on my site, please feel free. I'm picking up so much valuable info for myself here that a few photo contributions is the least I could do. I'll leave that to your discretion if you feel any of them might help you to illustrate a helpful point (like in the Grinder Burr Types Explained thread).

Al

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HB
Admin

#4: Post by HB »

varuscell_II wrote:I really did expect to see something much nicer than what I received, though, but it may be that my expectations exceeded the reality of what you get with things like this.
You're not alone in your expectations. Thanks for the offer to share photos, my photography skills and equipment are laughably bad.
Dan Kehn

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varuscelli_II

#5: Post by varuscelli_II »

Side Note on My Post: I do like to caution that even though I'm presenting the photos I shot as perhaps evidence questionable product delivery quality...well, anything you see magnified to a great enough extent will start to show flaws (or what are seemingly flaws). Too much magnification can be unfair to just about anything.

But on the flip side of that, all I'm showing is "macro" and not "micro." With micro, we might start seeing things we wish we had never seen. But with macro, it's not much different that looking at something through a good magnifying glass. It's not that I'm purposefully trying to make a product look bad, but just showing what I saw when I took a closer look (that is, via a macro lens).

When it comes down to it, long-term, everyday performance is the key issue. I'm sure I'm going to be a very happy Mazzer Mini owner over the long haul. But there is still a level of disappointment in the seeming surface quality of a rather key replacement part, if you understand where I'm coming from. But if those initial impressions of surface-level quality don't really affect long-term performance...then maybe it's not such a big deal. Transitory disappointment on the road to long-term happiness... :roll: . . . :P

But, too, the things revealed with even moderate magnification are not things we'd notice with the naked eye. One might be tempted to attach the new burrs and start grinding away. Even though I got no caution or warning from the vendor or manufacturer to "clean before using," I'd sure recommend that anyone who obtains new burrs for a machine run them through some kind of cleaning process before use. Sacrifice some rice or beans or run some Grindz through the new burrs (or use something like I did: air compressor blower, toothbrush, and Grindz).

Just some further thoughts. :wink:

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varuscelli_II

#6: Post by varuscelli_II »

HB wrote:You're not alone in your expectations. Thanks for the offer to share photos, my photography skills and equipment are laughably bad.
My profession gives me unfair access to tools many people don't have readily available for everyday use. In short: I'm a cheater. :P

Of course, all you folks who have real espresso machines give me extreme equipment envy, too. All I have to cling to is my camera (OK, OK -- and my Mazzer Mini). :?

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varuscelli_II

#7: Post by varuscelli_II »

A couple of post-cleaning images of those new burrs (see bottom-most image in my first post):

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Huge difference! (Air compressor blower followed by brushing followed by Grindz followed by air compressor again.) Both images are after cleaning, but because of different lighting I was playing with (after dark, indoors) the color balance looks different. It's the absence of grit that I'm liking (although there is still machining roughness).

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varuscelli_II

#8: Post by varuscelli_II »

To be even slightly more accurate for the comparison, these two are almost the same spot and angle, before and after shots of the same burrs (before cleaning, after cleaning). Different lighting conditions, though, and poor depth of field in the "after" shot because of shooting that one indoors, after dark, hand-held camera, relying on flash -- and all of that resulting in my losing my depth of field).

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Al Ruscelli

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varuscelli_II

#9: Post by varuscelli_II »

OK...it looks like I've finally "finalized" my page for the Mazzer Mini burrs. Can't think of any more photos that need to be posted, although I'll be revising some of the text to reflect some of what I've learned over the past few days.

But I posted the final images of the new burrs, cleaned as thoroughly as I know how, at the bottom of the following page to show my progression from old burrs > old burrs cleaned > new burrs > new burrs cleaned. '

And on the "new burrs cleaned" there are some of the most extreme closeups I can do with my current macro lenses (for those interested in the macro photography aspect).

So, for the sake of future generations ( :roll: ) here's the final page:

http://www.ruscelli.com/mazzer_mini_burrs.htm

Here's one teaser, though (a nice, clean, and clear shot, but viewable much larger via the link above).

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#10: Post by cannonfodder »

I was always under the impression that new burrs took a pound or two of coffee to settle in. Any cutting edge needs de-burred after sharpening, that is why you strap a knife or straight razor after sharpening. That removes the little rooster tail from the edge and leaves you with a nice sharp cutting edge.

Ken also made an interesting observation in his Coffee: Freeze or not to Freeze? paper in the Conclusions not related to freezing process section.
Ken wrote: Old versus new grinder burrs:There is no obvious, tastable benefit from changing grinder burrs after moderate wear as was done on one of the two grinders used in this experiment. Some have speculated that changing planar grinder burrs much more frequently than is the stated life of those burrs would produce a benefit in espresso. We did not detect any such difference and therefore believe that very frequent burr changes, much earlier than the stated lifespan of the burrs, has no detectable benefit if taste is what is being measured.
Dave Stephens