New Ceado E37S - initial impressions and more (over time)

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

#1: Post by CarloM » Mar 02, 2019, 2:35 am

Hi everyone! I'm posting this in the hopes that it will be of help those of you in the market for a new grinder. If you read a lot of the threads here, much of what I'm writing will be familiar from other threads, as I agonized over the decision to upgrade grinders over the course of a month or so. I finally pulled the trigger and purchased a Ceado E37S from WLL. So that I don't have one long post, I'll follow what seems to be a fairly common practice here and split this up into multiple posts. It may also take a few days for me to post everything. I'm also happy to answer questions as I'm able.

This first post I'll focus on the unboxing experience and a side-by-side pic with my old grinder.

Background: I wanted to upgrade from my Mazzer Mini-E. It's been a workhorse for over 5 years now; I just couldn't help but notice the grind quality difference in terms of quickness, lessened static, fluffiness, consistency, etc. from my favorite 3rd wave local shops vs. my Mini-E. Local places use the titan Mazzers, Mahlkonig K30 or Peaks. I realized there was quite a gulf between my results and theirs. I relentlessly stalked this forum, whittling down my choices based on budget limitations and owner satisfaction. I then began participating in threads for the E37S, the Atom Specialty 75, and the Niche Zero. It was clear from the owners of all 3 models that they were nearly-universally praised. I wanted to spend under $2K, the less the better, and get a quality product that I hoped would be my "last grinder" (knock on wood).

I ultimately decided to go with the E37S for a few reasons which are deeply personal, and are not meant to disparage the other finalists. These are my choices alone and may not apply to others, or if they do, you may decide on a different machine based on your own assessment and judgment. That's all to the good! 1) I wanted a known company; Niche has turned out a fantastic product, I just wanted that security blanket of a big company that's been in the game for a while. 2) I wanted a "commercial" type machine. Again, DaveC and others gave highest marks regarding the craftsmanship of the Niche, but as an owner of a Mini-E, I grew to love the industrial look of that style of grinder. 3) I wanted fast, high quality, fluffy grinds with little to no static. 4) I wanted something easy to use, easy to adjust, easy to clean and maintain and quiet for its power. 5) I wanted as low grind retention as I could reasonably expect for a commercial machine (if this was the only criteria, it would have been the Niche hands down).

The E37S arrived today and surprisingly the box was great shape (thanks UPS!). WLL did a great job double boxing it. Here's a pic from above with the Ceado box inside the larger box surrounded by cardboard padding. The Ceado box was in near-perfect condition.
ImageImage

Unboxing was easy and assembly was a snap except for one thing: I could not open the bottom flap to the short hopper. It turns out, this is a thing. Luckily, Google and YouTube are also a thing. I found this video (note: I had to do the place a towel on table and tap method 42 seconds into the video...now the flap slides open/shut easily):
I finished assembling it, and placed it next to my Mazzer for comparison's sake (Quickmill V2B 1st gen to the left, out of frame).
Image

Next up: rudimentary, imperfect, grind retention experiment while seasoning burrs with old beans.

CarloM

#2: Post by CarloM » Mar 02, 2019, 2:52 am

Part II: Well since I'm seasoning the burrs...why not perform an admittedly imperfect grind retention test?

A barista I befriended at one of my local 3rd wave shops gave me 5lbs of old beans they were going to throw away. Since I was going to season the burrs with them, I thought "what they heck, let's see how much grind retention the E37S has".

Full disclosure: my scale only has 1g increments. All pictures in this post show weights after the cup has been tare'd. For this series of tests in this specific post, I loaded the beans and held the button until no more grind came out of the chute.

After opening and setting up the Ceado, I decided I'd put in random amounts of the old bean and weight what came in and out. My first test was on a completely empty, never used hopper/bean chamber. The first pic is what I put in, the second pic is what came out.
ImageImage
Again with a 1g increment scale, that could be as little a hair over 2g or as much as a hair under 4g.

Without doing anything else, I loaded up another scoop of beans (using a larger cup because I almost overflowed the measuring scoop).
ImageImage
Whoa. 36g in, 36 out. Okay, let's try again.

Another random scoop from the cup into the Ceado E37s.
ImageImage
Again. Whoa (#KeanuReeves). 50g in, 50g out.

Time to open it up and see what it looks like inside. I fully expected to find 2-4g in there. Probably packed around the burr chamber just like what happens in the Mazzer Mini-E (which retains like 5g). I wasn't prepared for what I saw. The following pictures were taken immediately after I removed the hopper and removed the 3 Philips head screws. I did not brush or do any cleaning. Just lifted the top off. First pic is the top burr laying down. Second, third and fourth pic are the bottom burr and chamber, taken from slightly different angles as I tried to give you a good view all around the sides of the burr.
ImageImageImageImage

There just isn't much there. First of all, it's clear to me the initial question of 2g-4g margin for error due to the 1g increment scale, is that it's closer to 2g than 4g. Second...I'm not sure there's 2g in that picture. If I had to guess, I'd say less than 1g.

Next post: the mystery of the missing grind deepens

CarloM

#3: Post by CarloM » Mar 02, 2019, 3:01 am

Part III: More grind retention analysis

Here's a picture of the chute, just in case you might thing the missing 2g is in there.
Image
Just a very tiny amount. Certainly not 2g.

At this point I decided to just grind the remaining coffee. I figured, maybe the grind chamber will gum up like the Mazzer Mini does (and I mean it gets caked on).

So I ground nearly 5lbs of coffee (maybe like 4). I did this over a period of an hour. Just taking breaks to do other things. But I never cleaned the chamber. I kept the hopper about 1/3 full most of the time. I just ground double shots (set at like 6 seconds), tossed, ground another double, tossed, filled the hopper, ground a double, tossed, rinse and repeat.

After about 4lbs, I opened up the top again. Here's what I saw. And again, I did not do any cleaning at all while grinding the 4lbs. The only thing I did was, when I decided I was going to open it back up, I just held the grind button down until no more grinds were ejected from the chute. Here's what I found:
ImageImage
I don't know what they treat the inside of the burr chamber with, but there is way less retention than I'm used to seeing in the Mazzer, which has a much smaller chamber but retains so much more. Maybe the "newness" of the steel makes it hard for grinds to grip and stay there. Maybe the powerful motor and RPMs create enough wind force to push grinds out. I don't know the answer. I'm just genuinely surprised at how little retention there was after grinding 4lbs of coffee straight without cleaning it at all.

Okay, bedtime, I'll continue tomorrow, with a focus on grind quality, dialing it in, and maybe even post a video if I'm able to take one.

Peter_SVK

#4: Post by Peter_SVK » Mar 02, 2019, 7:30 am

CarloM wrote:...
There just isn't much there. First of all, it's clear to me the initial question of 2g-4g margin for error due to the 1g increment scale, is that it's closer to 2g than 4g. Second...I'm not sure there's 2g in that picture. If I had to guess, I'd say less than 1g...

Part III: More grind retention analysis
Here's a picture of the chute, just in case you might thing the missing 2g is in there.
<image>
Just a very tiny amount. Certainly not 2g.
In well designed grinding chamber the most of the retain coffee is inside the grinding chamber chute between anti-clump device (flapper) and the chamber itself
Image
your picture shows the "exit chute" only from outside just in front of the anti-clump device (seen on the picture at the end of the "tunnel").
According to my measurements from other project, for the given size of this chute and simple "flat" anti-clamp like E37S use it retains ca. 1.5 - 1.6g of the coffee (measured with ligh roasted coffee, so maybe a bit less with dark roasts), so yes, missing grams are there :wink: . With specifically designed anti-clump device the retaining coffee in the chute can be lowered down even to ca. 0.7 - 0.4g depending on the design. :)
The rest of the retention is in the chamber, between sweepers, under the lower burr, etc. "Exit chute" (by your definition) is usually always almost empty (for good design).
However, ca. 3g (2.5 - 3.5g) is still very very good number for OD grinder.

CarloM

#5: Post by CarloM » Mar 02, 2019, 8:04 am

I won't be opening it up again for a while but if the majority of the grind is there I think that's a good thing because it will all be ejected with a 0.3s purge. If it pooled around the outer well like it did on my Mazzer mini, who knows when those grinds would finally leave the chamber. Next time I open it up I'll look at that spot.

Peter_SVK

#6: Post by Peter_SVK » Mar 02, 2019, 8:15 am

You can't purge it because the "chute" is closed with the flapper (anti-clump device) and there is no coffee pressure to purge it out if the grinding chamber is empty. This design (with the flapper) is necessary for 1/ declumping , 2/consistent ground coffee flow when timer is used. It still retains the coffee out of principle, equal to the volume of the "transition" chute, the lower the volume of the chute is, the lower is this part of the retention (btw. Mazzer Mini and Fiorenzato F4E have very large transition chute by poor design).
I borrowed your picture to make comments in it
Image

CarloM

#7: Post by CarloM » Mar 02, 2019, 8:56 am

Ok maybe I'm misunderstanding. But when I say purge I'm implying there is coffee in the chamber and hopper. Because I'm not single dosing at the moment. So part of my workflow will be to start on manual and do a short purge and then switching to double shot.

Peter_SVK

#8: Post by Peter_SVK » Mar 02, 2019, 9:12 am

Oh I see (misunderstood you as well :) ). In such case there will be more coffee in the chamber between sweepers, maybe additional 2 - 3g. If you would like to measure that exactly, grind some coffee with the beans in the hopper, close the hopper and remove it. Then vacuum clean the grinder throat with the upper burr stil in the place to remove all unground coffee from the space of the lower burr, remove the upper burr and check (weight), what remains in the chamber. You will get an idea, how much of stale coffee you should purge manually before switching to double shot (somebody could argue, that the stale coffee is mixing with the fresh one gradually, so the amount of the purged coffee should be even higher :wink: ).

linuxAndJavaScript

#9: Post by linuxAndJavaScript » Mar 02, 2019, 12:18 pm

Thanks for the excellent review!

How do you find the spraying? Does it go into the puck reasonably or do you find issues of it spraying like users reported a couple of years ago?

Also, are you getting any clumps?

CarloM

#10: Post by CarloM » replying to linuxAndJavaScript » Mar 02, 2019, 1:26 pm

I'm a little bit confused by the question. Are you talking about spraying, like spritzing, from underneath the portafilter while you're doing the extraction? I was thrown off because you say "does it go into the puck reasonably" and I don't know how to answer that, because I can't see how the water from the brew group goes into the coffee puck because obviously the portafilter is attached and I don't have x-ray vision :mrgreen:

If you are talking about spraying in terms of spritzing during extraction (meaning most of the extraction streams down to the cup but you get random streamers spraying every which way) I spent about 15m dialing in the grind this morning (new beans). When the grind was off, spritzing/spraying occurred. The extraction was too fast, the grind needed to be made finer. The minute I got it dialed in, no spritzing whatsoever.

Or...do you mean spraying as in the grind from the chute sprays all over the place and not directly into the portafilter? (in which case I think you may be using "puck" to refer to the portafilter basket)

In that case, the answer is a resounding **no** :D

All the videos you see online from WLL and Ceado...you may be tempted to think those are "best-case marketing videos". I know I was dubious. But from the moment I unboxed and started grinding beans, everything fell directly into the basket. Whether I was seasoning the burrs with old light roast beans, or moving to my 4 day old espresso roast, the results were the same. But don't take my word for it. A picture is worth a 1000 of them. So what's a video worth?
PS - I notice that the LED buttons are flickering in the video. They don't do that in real life, to the naked eye. I think it's something to do with the iPhone recording frame rate (you know how if you try to record a TV it flickers on the video you recorded but doesn't in real life?).
Edit - to clarify, when you're dosing, the single/double LED light does blink to indicate whichever one you've selected, but the other LED doesn't flicker to the naked eye like it does in the video.