Monolith Conical not grinding fine enough

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
Beezer
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#1: Post by Beezer »

I've had my Monolith Conical since the summer of 2018. It's been a great, reliable grinder for the last 5+ years. Recently, I've have to set the grind finer and finer just to get shots in the normal range of 25-30 seconds on my Linea Mini. I've been mostly using single origin beans from Verve Coffee. My grind setting is now well past the "zero" mark on the grind dial, and I'm getting shots that are more like 15-20 seconds. I haven't heard the burrs touch yet, but it seems like I'm getting close to that point. Is it time to get new burrs, or is there something else I can do to get the grinder to go finer? Thanks.

Eli
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Pressino
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#2: Post by Pressino »

Unless you have been grinding for quantities of espresso approaching that of busy cafes, it's unlikely that your burrs have worn down to the point of requiring replacement after 5 or so years of home use.

I don't know how the MC burrs are held in place, but it's possible the burrs have shifted out of alignment or vertical position and need to be checked and adjusted. If the burr alignment and positioning are good, the other possibility is that your coffee the culprit...stale coffee is notorious for causing the symptom you describe.

cafespress
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#3: Post by cafespress »

I would suggest you continue to adjust finer as needed. The initial zero point certainly moves more initially, but I don't think unusual for it to continue at a slower pace. Of course, it also depends on the beans you are grinding. If your 2018 conical only has about a 180 degree arc printed on the top plate, you may have to add additional graduations to determine "where you are", so you can return to a favored setting.
You didn't mention disassembly, so I assume that is not what was done, since that would introduce other possible issues. GL

Beezer (original poster)
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#4: Post by Beezer (original poster) »

Thanks for the replies. I've been using fresh coffee (i.e. only a few days or at most a couple of weeks post roast) so I don't think stale coffee is the issue. I haven't taken the grinder apart either. I periodically run Grindz through it to clean it, but otherwise haven't messed with the innards at all.

I also didn't think that big commercial conical burrs would wear out in five years of home use. I generally make around six shots a day. So around 12,000 shots of coffee ground during five and a half years. I'm guessing that's not much for big commercial burrs.

I guess I'll keep adjusting finer and see how that goes.

Eli
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Quester
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#5: Post by Quester »

The "number" is just a sticker--it only has relative meaning. When I got my MC4, I had the opposite issue. My sticker was way past the coursest number when adjusted for a good shot. And I was doing blooming shots (with lighter roasts) on a DE1Pro. I moved my sticker.

It's also possible you are grinding so fine the shot is now running fast because it's channeling. This happens to lots of people---including me. When this happens, the shot will run slower when adjusted to a substantially coarser setting.

Pressino
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#6: Post by Pressino »

If in fact you haven't opened the burr chamber yet to clean it, it's possible a fair amount of gunk has accumulated in nooks and crannies as well as on the cutting surfaces of the burrs. Grindz can help but is no substitute for getting in there to clean the burrs. Gunked up burrs is also a cause of symptoms like your machine's...

cyclezib
Posts: 172
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#7: Post by cyclezib »

Do not open up the Kafatek grinder to clean the burrs. That will get everything out of alignment and you will have a difficult time re-assembling it properly.

As another person wrote, the sticker is in a relative position. Just ignore the markings until you have ground fine enough to get the proper shot time and then move the sticker or add a new location marking. I'm doubtful anything is wrong with your grinder.

Pressino
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#8: Post by Pressino »

I'm not sure why you think the burr chamber should not be opened to clean the burrs, especially since the owner's manual describes how to do that. I don't own any MC model, but I've read their manual and watched video of their burr disassembly and cleaning. Seems easy enough for anyone with reasonably basic mechanical skills.

mborkow
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#9: Post by mborkow »

Denis doesn't recommend opening his grinders anymore.

Tuchiya
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#10: Post by Tuchiya »

Hello, I cannot understand this, the mill is sure to accumulate coffee inside, I do not recommend opening it, I do not consider it an acceptable option, the mill should be built for easy disassembly and without losing alignments, it is what is expected of a mill of such category.
Regards