Spong Coffee Mills: A Grinder for the 23rd Century - Page 5

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

#41: Post by polifrog »

For those of you interested, I can finally confirm the existence of the Spong #0. A fellow from Ireland emailed pics of his to me in an effort to price and sell it.

http://polifrogblog.blogspot.com/2010/0 ... r-and.html


#42: Post by Melior58 »

Hello Dan,

You mentioned that you were making cups for Spongs. How is that going? Any chance they might someday be available for sale?

Can't wait to get my kitchen finished and my #3 Spong up and operating.



#43: Post by BlrdFX »

Wow! Just stumbled on this Thread and it brought back many good memories. I used a Spong for 20 years grinding coffee for my Chemex. No electricity at the time and it was not worth trying to do it with 12vdc. These are so simple and rock solid that they do not break!

I now have a Versalab on order...


#44: Post by DutchAmsterdam »

I've got a number 3 Spong that is in pretty good condition, except for the top of the hopper. The white paint is 'crackled' and some light rust is showing.

I intend to clean it up and repaint the hopper. What kind of paint would you suggest I use?

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DJR (original poster)

#45: Post by DJR (original poster) »

Dialing in the Spong
This could apply to any grinder, but I've been asked specifically about the Spong.

1. The range for acceptable espresso grind in any grinder is pretty narrow and in the Spong quite narrow because the threads on the adjustment screw are 1/4 x 20 or twenty threads per inch. On such a small screw, a 1/8 turn makes a big difference.

2. A lot has been made of fancy electric grinders having micrometer adjustments. I'd suggest that making tiny adjustments in the burrs on any grinder, ASSUMING YOU ARE IN THE ESPRESSO RANGE ON THAT GRINDER, is like chasing your tail. Too many other variables will have an impact on the pull, such as dosing, weight, the particular coffee etc.

3. A better approach is to adjust the amount of coffee in the basket. You can get noticeable adjustments by half a gram at a time and reach a perfect pull in one or three attempts. Again, this won't work if your coffee is so coarse as to be out of the espresso range or too fine. Think of play ground sand as a starting point.

4. YOU MUST BUY A SCALE. They are so cheap ($10-15 check Amazon) that they are almost disposable. But without a scale you will learn nothing that can be repeated. I didn't use a scale for a long time-- thought it was a bit silly. It isn't. If you want to learn and repeat and eliminate the largest variable (dose size) you must use a scale. Not many people can tell the difference by feel between 18 grams and 18.5, but you can tell the difference in taste, again assuming you are in the espresso range. (If your machine is almost choking on 18 grams you won't taste the different between 18 and 19, but will taste the difference between 18 and 17).

5. Start out at say, 18 grams in a double basket. If the shot chokes at that, you should release the adjustment screw and let the grind go coarser. If it gushes out, tighten the screw. You will then be in the espresso range. But don't try to fine tune it by using the screw. Again, you'll chase your tail because assuming you nail it, what if the next time your dose is different by a gram? It will make a huge difference and you won't know whether it was the grinder, dose, dosing or what.

6. Now check your pull and increase the dose by half gram increments or decrease it to get the timing of about 25 seconds right. While you're doing this, taste what you are doing as well.

7. Next day or week or whatever, dose the same as you did last time. If it pulls too fast or two slow, you will only have to make a minor adjustment to the dose weight -- don't adjust the screw! You'll be dialed in in one or two shots at most. Which is what the term "spousal americano" was invented for.


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DJR (original poster)

#46: Post by DJR (original poster) »

I don't think it matters what paint (designed for metal) you use. I'm assuming you don't store coffee in the grinder. The grinder is going to get oil from the coffee on the funnel more than paint on the coffee. I don't see how the paint will transfer to the coffee given the momentary contact. Don't get paint on the burrs or if you do, run a few ounces through to clean them.