Niche Zero Upgrades

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

#1: Post by macaber8 »

Hello Folks,

This is just me sitting there staring at my Niche Zero and thinking perhaps I could do something with it. Sir far, I found 2 upgrades that I'm interested in:

Bellow upgrade:
I love my Niche 0.1g, sorry Zero. While this is not a big deal, Niche Zero always leave at least 0.1 gram of coffee in the machine that I had to clean up every morning. I really want to solve this problem. So I see this bellow for Niche 1 is a good solution: ... ws-and-lid
I imagine this would help. In the mean time, I am a bit worried that the bellow would blow my coffee out of the dose cup. Any suggestions?

Burr upgrade:
I saw this burr upgrade, and want to learn what would this upgrade do?
I like to drink the old school, thick, syrup like, chocolate suggesting espresso in a milk based drink. Just pulled trigger on a Vesuviana Leva, still waiting. Currently getting coffee from my Aero Press. Would a flat burr help me towards my flavor?
Most importantly, I saw some flat burr diagrams. Would this hurt my retention? ... p507175010

Any input is appreciated!


#2: Post by espressoren »

I don't know if changing burrs is going to solve your problem, I guess it depends on where the remainder is catching. Maybe these are unrelated.

One thing you could do is just add 0.1g to your original dose, then make your drink and just bellow out the Niche during cleanup. Maybe you're more interested in reclaiming that last bit?

If you're grinding a lot you probably only have to do it once at the end. The Niche usually measures same in/out for me until it is blown out.

macaber8 (original poster)

#3: Post by macaber8 (original poster) »

I wasn't expecting changing burr to solve retention problem. I am just not sure if burr replacement would contribute to the flavor that I am looking for? Would burr replacement hurt the retention?


#4: Post by MCal2003 »

Agree with post #2. I dose ~0.1gm heavy on the first dose. Probably really not necessary. 0.1gm of a 16gm dos. 0.6% is minimal. Other elements probably effect the cup more. Just bellow to clean after last dose. JMHO, the conical burr on the NZ is biased towards what you prefer in shot quality. It's my personal preference, but no to any milk. Just prefer my coffee drinks straight up. Thinking, guessing a different espresso machine is the way to go to tweak your coffee even more towards your preference. Think manual lever. Allows for wide range. The versatility and challenge that a pure manual lever allows. So many options from relatively expensive to relatively inexpensive. But first consider the origin, blend and roast level of your beans. You may find a bean that delivers more what you want than your current choice.

After ~6 months of almost daily use. I'm biased toward the Flair 58. The MCal (spring lever machine) has become the occasional "weekend" machine.
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#5: Post by Jeff »

My experience is that most flat-burr grinders that "people are talking about" are going to take you away from that classic espresso flavor (including texture). Without getting into the thousands of dollars, the Kony burrs are about as good as you're going to get. Most of the classic flat-burr grinders have comparably terrible retention issues. With many, using bellows drives fines into the inside of the grinder.

I never found the 0.1-0.3 g that the Niche Zero retained without using a puffer to be an issue. I have used both the Fanwer palm compression cup and the bulb off an Aspetek insect duster. They get in-to-out weight within 0.1 g for me on medium-light and lighter beans, without RDT. (I do not use RDT with a Niche Zero.) Either run around $10-15 through Amazon US. That Etsy product seems like total overkill and probably a pain to work with for me.


#6: Post by jdrobison »

In addition to the flat burrs most likely contributing to even more retention, it's been my personal experience that they won't result in a better cup for you. I only pulled 2 shots of espresso after doing the mod and if there was any appreciable difference - it was very subtle - they each had less of what you prefer, not more.


#7: Post by Trop_de_Cafe »

+1 on the $10-$12 Aspectek powder duster available from Amazon - it fits the Niche perfectly and works well, but I agree with the other poster that you are unlikely to notice a difference in the cup.

As someone remarked in another thread on the topic of flat burrs in the Niche Zero, if you really want to play with a flat burr grinder, you're better off getting a flat burr grinder. I wouldn't see putting flat burrs in the Nicha as an upgrade, particularly in your instance; more of a side grade or downgrade. (Actually, my initial reaction was simply Why? The machine was designed around a particularly great set conical burrs, and is one of those rare appliances that actually delivers all that is promised.)

I have owned and used a Baratza Vario with the ceramic burrs (later converted to steel burrs for brew, and then sold), a Baratza Forte with the steel burrs (I still use it as a brew grinder, but wasn't above a little espresso experimentation), a Mazzer Major, and the Niche Zero, and Niche is by far my favorite, both in terms of the results and workflow. Folks with far more refined palates have also praised the Niche, here and elsewhere.

There is always a tendency, particularly in this era, to scratch an itch or reach for a technological solution to a real or imagined problem (how else would I have ended up playing with a dosered Major and its 83mm burrs for several years?), but the best approach is often to make a serious,good-faith effort to make the most of what you have. It's also true, I believe, that if one works with a smaller set of tools, one develops better familiarity with them and therefore can achieve better results.

As others have suggested, given your stated preferences (which are similar to mine), if you're not getting what you want out of your setup, you owe it to yourself (and your wallet) to address all the other variables first.


#8: Post by bpappas »

I'm a proud owner of one of the original Niches. I use it daily. I love its workflow and looks. If I wanted a flat burr grinder with a bellows, I'd buy a DF64. Then you have the best of both worlds: Niche for espresso and DF64 for hand-crafted coffees. By the time you add the flat burr conversion (I worry about the Niche motor) and bellows, you are almost up to the same expense.

Also, for your Niche, buy a pressure-drum cup for 17USD on Amazon to act as a bellows.



#9: Post by HansGruber »


My Issue with bellows is that they also draw coffee up into the coffee bean feeder area. I tried this on my Niche recently which worked really well apart from said issue. ... UTF8&psc=1

I spray the tiniest amount of water onto my beans which seems to get most of the coffee out. Havn't notcied and corrosion.


#10: Post by MCal2003 »

Using an insect powder duster bellow. Just a bit of a niggle. The "pleats" tend to trap any blow back coffee fines. Static cling requires vacuum suction if you feel the need to completely clean the bellow. Reduce the residue by waiting a couple seconds before releasing the depressing the bellow. Reduces. Not eliminates. As the poster #7 noted. Palm chest percussion cups. No bellow pleats. Most are silicone vs. the plastic duster bellow. Eventually the plastic will probably crack. Added plus. Less $s.
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