Pros and cons of doser vs. doserless grinder?

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
mrosco
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Joined: Nov 06, 2005, 8:35 pm

Postby mrosco » Nov 14, 2005, 11:35 am

In my previous post I was caught up in what machine to buy and if the grinder in the package deal was a good grinder (MACAP4). I didn't give much thought to whether I wanted a grinder with a doser or doserless. A couple articles mention "I wish a had a doserless" or some other opinion but never get into the pros and cons of each.
By default I ordered doserless because it seemed like it would be less cleaning, less clutter, etc. Can someone give me what the pros and cons are. I probably will pull about 10 -12 shots per day and only occasionaly entertain so I have no real need to grind a significant amount of beans at one time. I have time to change my order (I think) before it ships at the end of the month.


Thanks.

Michael

hperry
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Postby hperry » Nov 15, 2005, 9:40 am

I've been using the Versalab M3 grinder which is doserless. Besides really the Versalab's good distribution one of the big plusses I've appreciated about a doserless grinder is that you do not have old grounds. The Versalab takes it one step further and has a "wiper" that cleans the funnel everytime that you grind. With my previous Macap which had a doser there was always one shot that went to trying to clear most of the old grounds in the doser away. While you'll still have some old grounds left in the burrs themselves, I would think not having a doser would reduce this substantially. The doserless Macap came out after I bought mine - at the time I wished I had waited for the doserless model.

mrosco
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Joined: Nov 06, 2005, 8:35 pm

Postby mrosco » Nov 15, 2005, 1:34 pm

Thanks for the reply. What you said makes sense. The wiper feature sounds like a good idea, I'm surprised other manufactures haven't done that.

torretta
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Postby torretta » Nov 16, 2005, 1:55 pm

They both have pros/cons which probably nets to not much of a difference. Personally, I don't like how most doserless grinders look (the Rocky Doserless for example). More importantly I am not very fond of standing with a portafilter in my hand waiting for the shot to stop grinding which could take anywhere between 10-15 seconds depending upon the grinder.



mrosco wrote:In my previous post I was caught up in what machine to buy and if the grinder in the package deal was a good grinder (MACAP4). I didn't give much thought to whether I wanted a grinder with a doser or doserless. A couple articles mention "I wish a had a doserless" or some other opinion but never get into the pros and cons of each.
By default I ordered doserless because it seemed like it would be less cleaning, less clutter, etc. Can someone give me what the pros and cons are. I probably will pull about 10 -12 shots per day and only occasionaly entertain so I have no real need to grind a significant amount of beans at one time. I have time to change my order (I think) before it ships at the end of the month.


Thanks.

Michael

hperry
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Joined: Aug 14, 2005, 1:07 am

Postby hperry » Nov 16, 2005, 4:01 pm

You're right - as a matter of fact with the Versalab it's a little more time than that. Also the production in Michael's case, 10 - 12 shots a day, particularly if it's done within a relatively short period of time, somewhat reduces the impact of old coffee. However, with the Macap clearing old coffee completely out was a PITA. For me it's worth the standing to get the better shot without having to clear the doser. My experience has been that there isn't much time difference between making sure the old coffee is out, and just grinding into the portafilter in the first place. Because, for me, function trumps form it's more important what it does than how it looks.

torretta wrote:They both have pros/cons which probably nets to not much of a difference. Personally, I don't like how most doserless grinders look (the Rocky Doserless for example). More importantly I am not very fond of standing with a portafilter in my hand waiting for the shot to stop grinding which could take anywhere between 10-15 seconds depending upon the grinder.

Woofy
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Joined: Oct 31, 2005, 4:05 pm

Postby Woofy » Nov 26, 2005, 7:42 am

It really boils down to what works the best based on your usage patterns, practical needs and don't ignore the what-makes-you-happy-when-you-use-it factor. After all, most of the grinders under discussion are likely to last a decade or more under home use. If the burrs and grinding chamber are comparable, it makes no difference in the cup which one you choose. Neither style can substitute for a well-practiced dose-distribution-tamp when it comes to making great espresso, even if the dose comes from the spout of a doserless grinder. Don't forget that as pretty as the toys are, it's your skills as a barista that's going to give the espresso you make its soul, its life. Making espresso is like baking good bread. The more love you give it, the more it gives that love back to you.

When it comes to grinders, my typical usage patterns can only be described as bipolar. I am either languishing over a cup at various times of the day, or I have 8-16 guests over for breakfast, which at last count was good for 96 shots and approximately 3.5 gallons of steamed milk in 38 minutes! With that sort of peak usage, a doserless is pretty much out of the question since I have six burners and a griddle going at the same time. I initially purchased a really wonderful doserless grinder, but it just couldn't keep up during the peak usage. It now pulls duty for decaf and all other coffee drinks, plus it serves as a backup when the main grinder is being cleaned.

So now I have a Cimbali Junior grinder used exclusively for espresso. It's wonderfully smooth and fast and doesn't even break a sweat when grinding 96 shots in short order. The quality of grind is outstanding, actually fluffy in texture, and fine tuning the grind is substantially more useful than I would have previously ever admitted it would be. The Cimbali was definitely NOT my first choice, but after using a friend's one day pulling voluntary brunch barista duty, I fell in love with it. I never have to twack the doser lever to break up clumps. The grounds fall straight down into the portafilter, not all over everything else so it's unbelievably neat compared to the Mini, or my other grinder.

In the end, whatever your choice is, if your grinder does what you want it to do AND makes you happy when you use it...all that joy has only one place to go and that's in the cup. Then take any money left over and spend it on a good barista training course.

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nicfortin
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Postby nicfortin » Dec 26, 2006, 4:20 am

Why we don't see more doserless grinder in commercial setup (Third wave cafe)?
It just make more sense to me, instead of goin' crazy on the doser "swept" lever like crazy, don't you think?
Plus cleaning the thing every other time...
Doser made sense before the "third wave" when we didn't care much about "seconds freshness" of ground coffee

Since I'm starting as a Barista pretty soon in a "new" cafe I'd like to get input from Pros about that doser vs. doserles spacially in a cafe.

Thanks

nic
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luca
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Postby luca » Dec 26, 2006, 8:04 am

I used to be a big fan of doserless grinders. They certainly have appeal to someone who keeps on reading about using freshly ground coffee all the time. What I found, in practice, though, is that they tend to have a few drawbacks. Clumping and heaps of mess are big ones. Most doserless designs seem to be the equivalent of a doser design and, therefore, still have an exit chute from the burrs that holds up a few grams. I hope that people realise this and purge it clean, just as they would on a dosered grinder. Then let's not forget the "stand there for half a minute holding the pf" thing.

I ditched my doserless rocky for a dosered mazzer mini and couldn't be happier. The standard doserless designs don't appeal to me much. The mini-E gets some bad press, but I set one up to demo one of our machines the other week and I have to say that I wouldn't mind one. I was actually able to adjust it to grind the perfect amount for a double shot with one push of the button! After we had made about seven shots there were maybe twenty grains of coffee on the table. What more do you want?

nicfortin wrote:Why we don't see more doserless grinder in commercial setup (Third wave cafe)?
It just make more sense to me, instead of goin' crazy on the doser "swept" lever like crazy, don't you think?
Plus cleaning the thing every other time...


What decent commercial doserless grinders are there?

We tried the Mahlkoenig out and it was great for a while, but a bit of a PITA. The stepped adjustment really threw the timer out of whack and it dosed MASSIVE clumps. Plus the exit path seemed to be really long ... hate to think how many stale grounds sat in it. Some people think that they grind so fast that they burn the coffee. Mahlkoenig now have a stepless version, which might be an improvement. The grinder does have good aspects, though; the PF holder is really good, it is relatively low on mess and wasteage and it grinds relatively quickly.

The Brasilia competition grinder is a bit ecclectic ... haven't even really heard of anyone else who has one. If it weren't for the incredible amount of mess that it sprays everywhere, it might be the perfect doserless grinder!

I have to say, though, that I'm surprised that more places aren't modding their mazzers. The toilet roll in the centre thing actually works surprisingly well, and it allows you to remove the dosing chamber plate so that you can halve the number of pulls required!

Cheers,

Luca
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Grader Exam, Brewer's Cup #3, Australian Cup Tasting #1

Dogshot
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Postby Dogshot » Dec 26, 2006, 10:02 pm

Here's my reason for preferring doser to doserless:

after removing the finger guard on a doser model (on the Mazzers and Macaps), you have an unobstructed path through the chute to the exit point for the grounds from the burrs. You can take a brush after grinding for a shot and sweep and visually inspect the path to ensure there are no leftover grounds. Not only does this contribute to accuracy in dosing, it also ensures that you are not using old grounds to make a shot. In a home environment, this is a big advantage IMO.

Mark

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luca
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Postby luca » Dec 26, 2006, 10:48 pm

Wouldn't just purging the first few seconds of grinds achieve exactly the same thing with a millionth of the fuss and effort?
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