Clearly you have done a remarkable job, and my hat's off to you. (Well, it would
be if I wore a hat.) As usual, however, I have questions.
When it comes to the Compak, you wrote (edited):
another_jim wrote: . . . the Compak WBC model was a large, solid conical grinder that performed well for the people who chose to use it. Several of the competitors took them back to their shops for further evaluation, and the reports have been excellent. The grinder is said to be as consistent a shot maker as the Robur.
These reports dovetail with what I've been seeing from the M7K and Doge Conico: the 68mm conicals have performance characteristics virtually identical to the Robur. The Compak WBC distinguishes itself from the 68mm pack because it is designed for "3rd Wave" barista-ing. The rotation speed is slightly lower (275 versus 400rpm), the motor is a bit bigger to accommodate the required gearing (750 watts versus 500), and there are no auto-grinding accouterments inside the doser. From a home user perspective, that, along with the simple grinder throat and chute, which favors single dose operation, makes this grinder a hair more home user friendly than the other Titans. I was looking for a replacement for the M3, and these little details made me spring for the Compak rather than one of the others. The grinder is solid, and starts up more quietly than the other 68s, because it has a motor starter. The only problem so far has been a flimsy on/off switch that needed to be replaced.
* * * * *
In the first two, 16.5 gram rounds, the Compak tasted a hair more laid back than the Robur. In the first round, I slightly preferred the Robur, in the second, the Compak, in both cases, due to extra sweetness. Unlike the the other conicals, the difference did not vanish on retasting. The Compak's crema was more persistent in both rounds, so it split the rounds, but came out 2 points up in the early going.
In the second two, 13.5 gram rounds, the pattern repeated, only more strongly, and I could tell which grinder was which instantly. However, for the life of me, I couldn't decide which of the shots I liked better . . . The final score is 1 round to the Compak, and 1 round to the Robur on flavor, the Robur won an extra round on crema, while the Compak won the overall scoring with 1 point for the same reason.
I did not get a taste profile distinction between the Robur and the two Italian 68s. The 63mm Macap MXK is definitely brighter, while the Compak is definitely more laid back. The Compak's profile is similar to the Mini's, except its flavors are more defined, so it can stand up to the Robur in this regard, while the Mini could not.
OK, I'm not sure what "laid back" means. But it SEEMS like the Compak is the equal of the Robur.
Then, there is the Cmbali Max. Again, you wrote (edited) . . .
another_jim wrote:In the Max, Cimbali is reviving the conical/flat burr-set from the fabled Alinox-DRM grinder. There are a few changes. The Max is housed in body of the Junior grinder, a 64mm flat burr. This means that the original 68mm planar has been shrunk down slightly. Since this changes the inner diameter, the conical section, which acts as an augur to force the beans into the flat burr, is also slightly smaller. Finally, the direct drive 350 watt motor from the Junior has been retained, so the grinder spins at 1800rpm (emphasis added), rather than the geared down speeds of the conicals . . . .
The Max is a pure espresso grinder; converting it to a single dose, all purpose grinder would take more than the usual amount of hacking. It might be doable, but the other grinders in this test are far more suitable for this than the Max. On the other hand, the look and size of this grinder are a lot more counter friendly than any of the large conicals and even of most 64mm flat burr grinders. I have to admit I'm not fond of the way this grinder is set up (emphasis added), since I prefer grinders that can be used general purpose; but as a pure espresso grinder, the form factor is outstanding.
* * * *
The Max pours more steadily than the Mini or M3, but not quite as well as the big conicals, and I had to keep my eyes closed early in the shots to keep the tasting blind. But this did not affect the shot taste.
[The Max] won the round by 4 points.
I don't much like this grinder (emphasis added), but so far, it's done the best in the beat the Robur stakes, splitting the rounds and winning by 4 points. It is not a distinctly bright grinder, like the Macap MXK, nor a laid back one like the Compak. My early sense of the Max, relative to the other Titans, is that it does an outstanding job with the middle flavors: caramels, nuts and woods, reproducing them with great clarity. However, this is my first full day with it, so this is still very tentative.
OK, final quote:
another_jim wrote:Running Score Sheet
Grinder Score Rounds Won-Tied-Lost
Nemox Lux -7 1-0-3
Mazzer Mini -15 0-0-4
Versalab M3 -10.5 2-0-2
Macap MXK +3 2-0-2
Macap M7K -3 1-1-2
Fiorenzato Doge -0.5 1-1-2
Compak WBC +1 1-1-2
Cimbali Max +4 2-0-2
Pede Manual -13 0-0-4
Mazzer Jolly -1.5 2-0-2
Rancilo Rocky 0 2-0-2
Mazzer Kony 0 2-0-2
So the Robur ALWAYS won at least two of the four rounds. But you can win 2 and lose 2, and have a net score of zero (the Kony & the Rocky!), +4 (the Cimbali Max), +3 (the MXK), and even -10.5 (the Versalab)!
Meanwhile, it SOUNDS to me like you didn't like the Max, preferred in fact the Compak, yet it scored a +1 with a 1-1-2. And the 63mm conical MXK outperformed its big brother, the 68mm conical M7K -- and be a six-point spread!
Do I have this right?