My experience with the Mahlkonig E65S vs. the K30 Vario

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

#1: Post by Marshall » Apr 28, 2019, 3:38 pm

I have used and enjoyed my Mahlkonig K30 Vario for 4-1/2 years and their ProM before that. So it has been about a decade since I had any experience using any grinder but a Mahlkonig. So, this is not an attempt to compare any other brands of grinders. Also I do not "weigh and grind." These Mahlkonigs were not designed for that kind of single dosing. I usually put a small load in the hopper and then grind by timer. So this is also not a comparison with any single dose machine.

But I assume many people will be wondering if the E65S is worth the $350 price bump over the K30. I had a chance to work with the E65S at this month's Boston Expo, and decided to buy one, since it has finally won NSF certification and is finally available in the U.S. in a 110v model with a smaller consumer hopper. I have had it for several days now and have a few observations.

1. As anyone can see online, the E65S has a much smaller footprint, which allows more breathing room on my tight bar space.

2. Then, going roughly top to bottom, the hopper is sturdier and locks firmly into the body. Instead of being hinged, the hopper lid just lifts off for filling, allowing easier access, if it is partly under cabinets, as mine is.

3. The top collar of the machine adjusts the fineness, as it does on the K30. The E65S collar rotates smoothly and locks down with a simple dial switch on the back, instead of a screw on top.

4. The timer is much easier to adjust on the E65S. A single dial button rotates among several preset times, each of which is adjustable. Adjusting the time on the K30 is tricky, as it quickly moves past the time you want, and you usually have to go back and forth a bit to set it. On the E65S you simply push the button in, and it advances .05 seconds for each soft click as you rotate the dial. You push it in again to stop the adjustment (or it will do so on its own, if left alone for a few seconds). [CORRECTION: You have to push it a second time to confirm the change.]

5. The portafilter holder on the E65S has been grooved out at the back to accommodate the tamping foot that La Marzocco added to their portafilters a couple of years ago. I had to remove the bottom of the holder entirely on the K30 to use an LM portafilter and then hold the portafilter manually during grinds (admittedly not a big burden for under 4 seconds).

6. The E65S grounds are clump-free and extremely fluffy, which I think is partly due to the short path down the redesigned chute and the new, improved de-clumping and anti-static flap. The flap removes easily for cleaning. There is very little retention of grounds, and I have abandoned my habit of a short purge each morning (which, of course, saves coffee).

7. That new chute slides out easily for cleaning.

8. The plastic spill tray is held in place by magnets, which means I can gently remove it for cleaning without fear of jerking grounds onto the counter.

9. The E65S grinds more quietly than the K30, which was already a very quiet machine.

So, to sum up, although the E65S burr set is the same as the K30's, this is a seriously re-thought and improved grinder.

Note: I'm not a tech guy, so please don't ask for particle analysis or a disassembled view of the innards!
Marshall
Los Angeles

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BaristaBoy E61

#2: Post by BaristaBoy E61 » Apr 29, 2019, 12:57 am

Thanks for your thoughtful analysis Marshall. I really appreciate this, as I too am an owner of a Mahlkonig K30 Vario for 4-1/2 years.

Other than the smaller footprint, for me, I would see little reason to change as the burrs are the same and I wouldn't expect any difference in taste.

I have long ago removed the hopper lid's plastic pins that attach it to the 'frosted' part of the hopper assembly to facilitate the replenishment of fresh beans as our grinder is also partially under a kitchen cabinet. The main reason though for removing the pins is to do a more thorough cleaning of the hopper, which I do regularly, without risk of breaking the hopper pin eyelets during the process.

While there is some clumping with the K30 output I've never found it a problem as I do some form of WDT. The adjustment of the time could hardly be easier as it is accomplished with 3-fingers of 1-hand. Generally the double shot button is set for 3.8 seconds and doesn't have to be changed often and the single shot button is always set for .4 seconds just to 'top up' a basket. Adjustment of the grind is even easier.

The K30 has been such a faithful grinder that it would take a lot for me to give it up.

Good luck with your new acquisition and let us know your thoughts after you've settled in and have used it for a longer period of time!
"You didn't buy an Espresso Machine - You bought a Chemistry Set!"

JeffryMacpherson

#3: Post by JeffryMacpherson » Jun 29, 2019, 2:39 pm

Hey Marshall, just wondering where you were able to get the grinder with a smaller hopper, been looking online and cant seem to find a small hopper for the e65s

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Marshall

#4: Post by Marshall » Jun 29, 2019, 2:42 pm

Not a problem. It came with it from Mahlkonig USA.
Marshall
Los Angeles

Cam101

#5: Post by Cam101 » Jul 03, 2019, 10:18 am

As a K30 Vario owner as well, thank you for the detailed comparison. Very appreciated and answered a lot of the questions I had.

I have loved the K30 for years, and it has been flawless, but I have definitely been tempted for the upgrade. For no reason other than updated to newer tech and something to play around with.

Would you be able to measure the height with the short hopper?

JeffryMacpherson

#6: Post by JeffryMacpherson » Jul 03, 2019, 10:21 am

Just a heads up, I asked prima when they thought the short hopper would be available this is their response.
A short hopper for this grinder should be available by 8/19. From what we hear, the design is finished and they're just finishing up the design for the cardboard box! You can either purchase the grinder now and buy a short hopper later, or you can request an E65S with a short hopper later this summer and we'll switch out the hoppers free of charge.

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primacoffee
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#7: Post by primacoffee » Jul 03, 2019, 11:40 am

Cam101 wrote:Would you be able to measure the height with the short hopper?
Our short hopper is an earlier prototype, but I measure the total height at just over 19 inches.
Prima Coffee
888-837-7892
4603 Poplar Level Rd
Louisville, KY 40213
http://prima-coffee.com

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Marshall

#8: Post by Marshall » Jul 03, 2019, 2:29 pm

Cam101 wrote:As a K30 Vario owner as well, thank you for the detailed comparison. Very appreciated and answered a lot of the questions I had.

I have loved the K30 for years, and it has been flawless, but I have definitely been tempted for the upgrade. For no reason other than updated to newer tech and something to play around with.

Would you be able to measure the height with the short hopper?
17-1/4" on the production model.
Marshall
Los Angeles

User avatar
Marshall

#9: Post by Marshall » Jul 03, 2019, 2:30 pm

JeffryMacpherson wrote:Just a heads up, I asked prima when they thought the short hopper would be available this is their response.
Sorry. I thought they were generally available. I guess knowing the USA Pres. has its privileges.
Marshall
Los Angeles

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Marshall

#10: Post by Marshall » Jul 03, 2019, 2:36 pm

Two follow-up notes on my E65S:

1. If you adjust the timers, they do not reset until you push the button again to confirm the change.

2. The extreme fluffiness of the grind was getting messy with overflow. I did what other owners have done with new Mahlkonig burrs. I cut the timer by half. After the first grind, I do a few settling taps on the holder. Then I finish with a second grind.

I am very happy with the machine.
Marshall
Los Angeles