Top 5 Grinders for Light Roast Espresso Application

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

Postby Aguirre » Feb 05, 2019, 1:14 pm

Hi everyone, I know the information covering this is already extensively discussed here, but it's scattered across several topics, and my goal here is to see if there's a consensus on which grinders perform best in this specific application: delicious light (really light) roast espresso.

Without going into the merit, and just to start the conversation, this would be a wild guess from my reading on the matter:

1 - Monolith Flat MAX (v3)
2 - EK43 (obviously perfectly aligned) with SSP Burrs
3 - EG-1 with SSP Burrs
4 - Monolith Flat with SSP Burrs
5 - Monolith Flat with Original Burrs (first versions)

And now that LWW has just released the EG-1 v2, where would that fit into this list?

nuketopia

Postby nuketopia » Feb 06, 2019, 4:40 pm

I've been using a Monolith Conical quite successfully with light and very light espresso roasts for several years now.

Aguirre

Postby Aguirre » replying to nuketopia » Feb 06, 2019, 4:53 pm

Well, I have been using a big conical (HG-1) as well, almost exclusively for light roasts and have been extremely happy.

But what I find reading through more experienced members of the community is that the big flats perform better in this area.

My assessment after combining all the different inputs is that, for light and very light roasts espresso application, you need to get close to perfectly unimodal distribution, with the least amount of fines.

With our big conicals it seems we can't achieve exactly that.

nuketopia

Postby nuketopia » Feb 06, 2019, 5:08 pm

I think a lot of that internet hooyie.

Really honestly, I doubt in double blind testing, anyone could even identify coffee prepared from conical or flat grinders of high quality. I've certainly owned both.
★ Helpful

Aguirre

Postby Aguirre » Feb 06, 2019, 5:24 pm

nuketopia wrote:I think a lot of that internet hooyie.


that's a bold statement. :D

As I'm not one of the users here that spent hours doing side-by-side tests and comparisons to get to the conclusions I'm referring to, I don't feel personally offended by this, but anyway, some of these comparisons seemed to me credible. Just the fact that someone took the time and effort to do it for the sake of sharing with the community is by itself a reason to give it credit.

We also have Denis Basaric himself with the same claim.

Aguirre

Postby Aguirre » Feb 06, 2019, 5:26 pm

nuketopia wrote:I doubt in double blind testing, anyone could even identify coffee prepared from conical or flat grinders of high quality.


This sounds like a nice exercise I'm willing to go through. When I'm ready for it I'll look for volunteers to take part in the experiment. :D

malling

Postby malling » Feb 06, 2019, 6:25 pm

nuketopia wrote:I think a lot of that internet hooyie.

Really honestly, I doubt in double blind testing, anyone could even identify coffee prepared from conical or flat grinders of high quality. I've certainly owned both.


I did it several times and I never had any problems detecting each, the difference is quite noticable if you know what to look for!

The flat can be allot more transparent, clean, more balanced and the conical has a quite a uniq sweetness to it that rarely do any good to very light roast, it also tend to be either astringent and/or sour.

Conicals are entirely incapable to extract the very light roast, when I refer to light, I refer to roast allot ligther then those medium(light) roast Rao talk about, that in my book is anything but light.

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redbone

Postby redbone » Feb 06, 2019, 6:46 pm

Recently using same light-medium roast coffee I did some taste testing with astute tester wife. Found when coffee was fresh we preferred the flat grinder. As the coffee aged post 10 days the conical brought out needed acidity and astringency. Have found this with other light-medium roasts. Nothing scientific here just an observation with wife not knowing what grinder I used.
Between order and chaos there is espresso.
Semper discens.


Rob
LMWDP #549

malling

Postby malling » Feb 06, 2019, 7:22 pm

Personally I try to avoid drinking very light roast before day 14, and with modern coffee roasters like the Loring it is typically beyond day 21. When I'm really desperate I might drink coffee between day 10-14 but I try very hard not too, as it is rarely equally enjoyable.

I had several too notch coffees that peaked at day 30-60, this is both as espresso and filter, this is very common with lighter roast in particular those of African origin, in particular the varieties from Kenya need a long rest.

I never find any problems with acidity, but then again i "brew" my own water and use an EK with ssp burrs.

Again it is with coffee with a developed time of less than 20% this might not translate to a Rao type of light 20-25%

Bunkmil

Postby Bunkmil » Feb 06, 2019, 8:13 pm

I keep reading that flats are better than conicals to extract light roasts. Maybe it's true but I wonder if it's really a matter of flat vs conical rather than a burr geometry thing.

When we look at the high end grinder and burrs offerings there is much more choices in the flat category.

At the moment SSP don't have the equipment to build their own conicals. Maybe once they do they will be able to produce a burrset that is as good as flats at extracting light roasts. Maybe not...

Apart from Mazzer there isn't a lot of options for big conicals owner right now...