Option-O 98mm Mizen Burrs - User Experience

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#1: Post by EvanOz85 »

Been killing me to keep this under wraps, but for the last few weeks I, along with a few others here, have been testing out Option-O's upcoming 98mm Mizen burrs that they designed for their P100 and upcoming Lagom 01 grinders.

At first glance, the burrs look similar to EK-43/SSP Cast. But when you look closer at the image, you can see significant differences. More prebreakers, significantly different flat/finishing section, and machined rather than cast.

I've tested and own a wide variety of 98mm burrs, including pre-2015 EK-43, Shuriken LM, SSP Cast, SSP Brewing, and SSP HU, so I have a pretty good basis for comparison.

I've been using these burrs every day since receiving them, and I feel confident in saying these are the best all rounder 98mm burrs on the market. Following Option O's advice, i seasoned with only 3lbs of coffee. This caused the zero point to move a full number (10 ticks) lower, and it hasn't moved since.

Light roast espresso is where the Mizens shine the most. I pull mainly 1:2 ratio shots, and I've found traditional timing to work best with these burrs. Shots are super sweet and well balanced, retaining a wonderfully creamy body without sacrificing clarity. The closest thing I can compare the shots to are the Shurken LM burrs in my Max, but I was still able to easily tell them apart in multiple blind tastings. The shots from the Mizens are kind of like Ditting Lab Sweets mixed with the Shuriken LMs. All of that clarity and note separation, but with a luscious sweet mouthfeel backing it up.

Filter coffee is, for me, the best I've had. I have been a huge advocate for SSP Brewing burrs for the past year, and have made multiple posts about how they are the ultimate burr for light roast filter for me. Not anymore. The Mizens are unequivocally my favorite filter burr. I have done 10+ V60 blind tastings against SSP Brewing and Shuriken LM, and the Mizens win by a mile each time. I was fully expecting the Brewing burrs to come out on top in my first few testings, but it wasn't even close. The Mizens present MUCH more intensity of any given note in the cup, all rounded out with a creamy sweetness much like the espresso shots. SSP Brewing tastes hollow in direct comparison. This was just shocking to me. Darker roasts are also much, much nicer than any of the other 98mm's I've tried, and presents a cup somewhat similar to Ditting LS, but with a much cleaner finish.

The only area that I think the Mizens slack off a bit would be with darker roast espresso. I'd say the shots were about on par with the Shuriken LM's, but my MC5 produced superior shots to both. I will say dark roasts are the one thing I didn't test all that much, so it's possible I could get some better results as time goes by. By no means are the shots bad...at all. Much better than my 98mm SSP HU's and Cast ever produced. But there just isn't that "wow" factor I got from the light roasts.

Also interesting is that these burrs barely require RDT, if at all. I don't need to use any with filter coffee, and I get 1:1 output with light espresso using the Neat Clicker and auto-purge. Darker roasts had some slight clinging, but definitely less than other flat burrs I've used.

The upcoming Lagom 01 grinder will feature 102mm blind burrs with the same geometry.

I'll add more to this thread as I continue to use the burrs, but let me finish by saying if I could only have one grinder and one set of burrs, it would be the P100 with 98mm Mizens.

*I was paid nothing by Option-O, and was asked to give my honest opinions both directly to them and publicly.*


#2: Post by Eiern »

I'll post my impressions right below, just note that I have 98 Brew in my EK which change their presentation a little compared to when used in a P100 so my impressions of Brew vs. Mizen isn't exactly like EvanOz85 above.


#3: Post by Eiern »

98mm Mizen impressions

I'm a coffee enthusiast that have been brewing specialty coffee for over a decade. I work a lot from home and get to brew a lot of filter and espresso daily with my own setup just the way I like it.

I live in Norway which has a strong filter coffee culture. Filter was my first love and I drink pourover(PO) every day. I didn't drink much espresso(spro) before as most cafes made bad espresso for my taste (especially the case a decade ago) but some specialty shops showed me the light and now brewing my own I usually drink a cup or two every day.

Sam at Option-O asked if I was interested in trying out the 98mm Mizen burrs and I gladly accepted. I only paid import fees for the burrs, I don't get paid otherwise, I have no relation to Option-O other than having bought a P100 grinder from them.

I didn't know anything about the burr so it was fun receiving and getting to know them. My findings are only from a three weeks of use but based on a lot of careful comparisons and well dialed in cups. This is still only an initial impressions review. I can only drink and waste so much coffee in a few weeks time.

When I received the Mizens I thought they looked a little similar to the EK43 coffee burrs, but with sharper and more uniform middle section grooves plus more and gentler prebreakers. I was happy to see a different amount of prebreakers and finishing teeth between the two burrs. EK burrs (and SSP Pre 15 Cast) are symmetrical with only two prebreakers per burr that all engage at the same time. Many machined burrs have multiple prebreakers and odd numbered sides in a set so the grinding action is spread out. The burrs are not coated and have a semi-rough/matte finish to them (on purpose) that kind of give them more like a cast burr texture/surface.

I ran three kilos of beans for the initial seasoning and cleaned them out before I started brewing with them. I have only used speed setting 3 (~580 RPM) on the P100 for PO and spro so far.

I have used mostly Wendelboe beans, filter roast, for both PO and spro but also tried with something "lesser". I live in Oslo and have the same water source as Wendelboe has at their roastery and coffee bar, my espresso machine is also hooked up to a carbon and a softener filter but for filter I use straight tap (which is soft).

I have done many blind side by side shootouts with my EK43S with Titus carrier and 98mm Brew burrs by SSP ZrN coated by Titus. I have been using 98 Brew daily for over a year for my POs and really enjoy them with high quality beans. My 98 Brew set have a lot of clarity but also just enough complexity to not get boring or feel too analytical for my taste. I really value clarity even though the dowside is that anything off with bean quality/roast, grinder setting, technique etc. is presented clearly too. It's a price I'm willing to pay as I really enjoy them with the good beans/cups.

For spro I have mainly used SSP High Uniformity (HU) in my P100 lately but have previously used my SSP Ultra Low Fines (ULF) a lot. I have also tried SSP Low Uniformity, SSP Cast Pre 15 and two different sets of Mahlkönig EK coffee burrs (post 2015 ones) in my P100.

For PO I usually alternate between V60, Kono and Kalita/April brewers. I have tried them all with the Mizen. I have done blind A/B comparisons (temp controlled) with all brewers and with multiple beans but also tasted cups on it's own without any comparison or measurments to just experience the cup more casually.

Findings from the tastings:
With 12/200g V60 brews tasted blind next to 98 Brew, really well dialed in and matched TDS and temp, I couldn't always confidently pick out 98 Brew vs Mizen. They were that similar in their presentation at times. With Kono brews (I find Kono a little higher in clarity/seperation compared to V60) I could often pick out the 98 Brew as it had a little higher clarity, a little more pronounced/lively acidity and a little slimmer mouthfeel. I did however pick wrong a couple of times with Kono too.

The Mizen provide very good and balanced cups but they are generally a bit more mellow or rounded off, a little more relaxed in their presentation. The Mizen might seem sweeter as there's less poking out competing for my attention, but brews wasn't really more sweet than 98 Brew in my opinion. For filter I enjoy 98 Mizen a lot and they present specialty coffee in a clear way, just not always as hyper clear as 98 Brew.

For espresso I had luck pulling shots the same as with my High Uniformity burrs: 18g in a Pullman 876 basket with a wetted Chemex filter in the bottom, aiming for 45g in the cup in under 20 seconds. My machine's pump is set to deliver a little over 6 bar max with a 6ml/sec water debit and I use 86°C temp (I could also go a little higher with Mizen) I usually peak around 6 bars briefly and then the shot decline to 4 bars or under toward the end. I found I needed to cut the shot a gram or two earlier with some beans as I otherwise could get some dirty dusty finish, not in the finish of each sip but a little while after finishing the shot.

Mizen for espresso is a little more laid back, a little softer than HU. HU is very intense and punchy and with a little more pronounced acidity. Mizen still have high strength and a good amount of clarity but more calmly presented. I measured (with syringe filter) a well executed Wendelboe Kenyan spro and it measured 9.23 TDS and calculated ecactly 23% extraction. They seem to work best on the faster side for me, sometimes a 16 sec shot could be very good but one notch finer at 20 sec was not that tasty.

I would say in general these are uniform and actually give a clean and clear presentation but they have a slight blending and are a little more relaxed VS the ultra clear 98 Brew. Sweetness often stand out in spro too as other things are relaxed/toned down vs. HU.

Mizen have delivered satisfying cups, some SSP burrs may have clarity but aren't as enjoyable (looking at my 64mm SSP Brew) Being a little less extreme might make them more enjoyable for daily use for a lot of people. I think they still have their own level of clarity and cleanliness. When dialed in I can't say I really found much discractions or negatives. I'm pretty sensitive to astringency and bitterness and would definitely notice if I ran into that a lot.

Mizen is so far a very good and enjoyable filter burr for specialty light roast compared to most burrs I've tried. They are also good for modern espresso. If I had a second P100 I'd be happy to have this burr as a second option for both filter or spro. However I still don't think Mizen will replace my 98 Brew for filter or my 98 HU for espresso (I just bought a HU set in Tungsten Carbide) as I really like their presentation. I'm impressed by the Mizen and can recommend them, they are solid and rank high on my burr list for both PO and spro.

-Eirik (Gourmet Coffee / musicoffee)
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EvanOz85 (original poster)

#4: Post by EvanOz85 (original poster) »

Eiern wrote:I'll post my impressions right below, just note that I have 98 Brew in my EK which change their presentation a little compared to when used in a P100 so my impressions of Brew vs. Mizen isn't exactly like EvanOz85 above.
I have my Brew installed in my Nautilus, which is vertical like the EK, BUT no pre-breaker. So I suppose the differences would come from the pre-breaker, personal taste, or a combo of both. Don't get me wrong, I still love the Brewing. It's just for my tastes I enjoy the heightened sweetness of the Mizens.

Maybe I'll try pre-breaking and then feeding into the Brewing to see if I notice a difference.

It's also worth noting that I have a set of the original Brew burrs, as well as a slightly modified more recent revision. I only tested the Mizens against the original version. I will install the revised Brew soon and test again.


#5: Post by Eiern »

In the end it's also subjective, both are very good, presentation is slightly different. SSP also change burrs slightly from time to time, alignment might be slightly different. Seems most user feedback on the Mizen is in line with each other.

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EvanOz85 (original poster)

#6: Post by EvanOz85 (original poster) »

Very interesting that you specifically preferred faster shots, while I preferred traditional! Could be down to machine as well.


#7: Post by Eiern »

Might be caused by bottom paper filter, do you also use that? That require a finer grind setting and tend to flow fast.

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EvanOz85 (original poster)

#8: Post by EvanOz85 (original poster) replying to Eiern »

Nope, I only use a top filter these days. I'm going to try a few shots with the Unifilter and bottom filters to see how that compares.

I forgot to mention how ridiculously easy these burrs are to dial in. Huge sweet spot, and I've honestly never experienced noticeable channeling or spritzers.


#9: Post by Eiern »

Some pics

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EvanOz85 (original poster)

#10: Post by EvanOz85 (original poster) »

Here are comments that Option-O posted from some of us who were selected for this beta testing, from https://www.option-o.com/news

I've bolded my comments, and "uncensored" the burrs I referred to. I'm sure Option-O censored them to not cause a stir or be too controversial, but I personally am under no such obligation.
Mizen 98OM Testers' Feedback (preliminary testing):

"The 98 Mizen is sweeter than any of my burrs here currently and the clarity is skyrocketed compared to 98aaa, it was closer to my 98BBB though. So to sum up, the Mizen is like a combination of 98aaa in clarity and 98bbb but sweeter. ....I'd be happy for both my espresso and filter coffee any day. "

"Shocking result today. I blind tasted filter coffee the Mizens against SSP 98mm Brewing...I fully expected Brewing to win by a mile. When I started tasting, there was instantly a clear winner in sweetness, florality, acidity, finish, etc. One was just clearly the superior cup, and I thought to myself "yep, that's the Brewing burrs" Nope, it was the Mizens."

"Had a super fair blind comparison now with Wendelboe Karinga Kenya... The Mizen cup was very good! The sweetness comes through nicely with these, a little softer here too, xxxx had a little sharper (but nice) acidity, a little more clarity and a little slimmer mouthfeel, but was not clearly better, just different presentation."

"New bean, good Mizen spro....Sweet and balanced, less intense than xxx but enough clarity (with paper filter at least) to get a good sense of what I'm drinking."

"I also did a Kono side by side with a cheaper bean today, and the Mizen clearly told me they were old crop/faded and darker roast like 98xxx did, they have enough clarity to reveal things like that."

"For pour over V60 using the 4:6 method i found the mizen burrs to produce a very clean cup with great clarity and good sweetness. I would normally use anything from a very light nordic roast to a light to medium roast, and the mizen burrs did a great job with them all. Of the 3 burr sets i tested, the mizens were my favourite for pour over coffee"

"I've decided to forego seasoning for now and to just use them...Results are pretty clean cups, mild blend, good sweetness, good acid presentation. I like the Mizens more than my xxxx, by far..I haven't had any astringent or undrinkable cups yet which is a surprise"

"I really think these are the best all-rounder 98mm burrs I've used. They just excel at pretty much everything I throw at them. Filter coffee has been fantastic at every roast level, and espresso pretty much the same thing. I've even gotten some better shots from the Mizen's with darker roasted espresso than I have with the Ditting Lab Sweets. It's not always been the case, but definitely with an few beans.....I just really can't find any faults with these burrs, and I'm actively trying to!"