User Experience: Kafatek Monolith Flat MAX - Page 57

Grinders are one of the keys to exceptional espresso. Discuss them here.
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Eastsideloco
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#561: Post by Eastsideloco » Jul 24, 2019, 7:31 pm

Chert wrote:That could be a nice goat trail. Is Olympia Sweetheart a light roast? :roll:
Not really following this thread (so who knows what I am stepping in), but in my experience Olympia is definitely on the under-developed side of the spectrum. But I've only had their SO offerings. Whatever you call it, I like what they are roasting.

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Jake_G
Team HB

#562: Post by Jake_G » Jul 25, 2019, 1:16 am

NelisB wrote:Hi Jake,
When I read your posts it seems to me that the taste difference between your SJ and the Max is not that big. I would expect a huge difference. Your writing is mainly about the workflow, sound etc.

Have you tried light roast coffee? Did you experiment with rpm?

Is it correct that taste differences were not that big?

Thanks, Niels
Niels,
This is hard to answer objectively not only because taste is subjective, but also because it just is difficult to put into words accurately, so bear with me.

Let's break this down into a simple binary test between MAX and the Conical first. Then we'll insert Señior Super Jolly, then we'll put it into context. We'll start with my previous comment:
Jake_G wrote: •MAX wins on clarity and sweetness.

•The Conical wins in mouthfeel with less clarity. Sweetness is less prominent but the rich mouthfeel and texture makes up for it. Not worse. Different.

•Poor SSJ is right behind the pack in all accounts. It comes close to the mouthfeel of MAX and the clarity of the conical, with less sweetness than either.
OK.

So, binary results looks like this:
         Clarity   Mouthfeel   Sweetness
MAX         1          0           1
MonoCon     0          1           1
SSJ         0          0           0
Looking at this, there would be some imaginary "Ultimate Grinder" that had the Clarity of MAX and the Mouthfeel of the conical with no loss of sweetness.

Then there would be the "Compromise Grinder" that had scored a 0.5 in clarity and mouthfeel, fitting nicely between MAX and the conical.

Then there is my aligned SSJ, which is not quite that good. Mouthfeel is NOT better than MAX. Clarity is NOT better than the conical. Likewise, sweetness is less than either the Conical or MAX (which are nearly equal, but different).

So SSJ is a big fat loser, which is fine and well until you put this into perspective and utilize the appropriate spinal tap scale to explain just how good the clarity of MAX really is, and just how good the mouthfeel of the conical is. This gives us the following chart:
         Clarity   Mouthfeel   Sweetness
MAX         11         10          11
MonoCon     10         11          11
SSJ         10         10          10
And then you correct it further, realizing that there are many other grinders clearly better than SSJ but not quite in Monolith territory and you get this:
         Clarity   Mouthfeel   Sweetness
MAX         11         10          11
MonoCon     10         11          11
SSJ         8.5        8.5         8.5
So the question remains, how much better is MAX than SSJ?

Enough that its noticeable.

If you're the kind of person that needs to have the best, you need MAX and MonoCon. They complement each other. If you're the kind of person who appreciates the best, you'll want to try MAX and MonoCon and decide if the best is worth the cost to play. The hardware is hands down, bar none, absolutely worth every penny. There's is simply no question when you hold a monolith in your hands that it was money extremely well spent.

I miss MAX. I really do.

But for me, I can appreciate that I can go visit Mike and get coffee that is better than what I make at home and still enjoy what I make at home, because it's darn good. Perfection is the enemy of good, and I make great espresso with my current gear. I appreciate those who chase perfection, and some day the stars may align for me to own one of Denis' fine creations, but for now, I'll enjoy the fruits of my labor as I thwack away :wink:

In summary, MAX is better in every way than my SSJ. My SSJ still makes good enough espresso that I feel no immediate need to upgrade. Not because MAX isn't better enough (it is), but because I am content with making excellent espresso.

With respect to the whole "light roast" thing, I don't really have a dog in the fight. Some will say that what I generally use is not light. Others will say it is. I would call what I normally drink a medium-light roast. I go for fruit and berries and chocolate and caramel. Darker roasts that are all nuts and chocolate just seem a bit boring to me. I like something brighter and my favorite descriptor for when I hit gold is "juicy". That said, I despise sour shots and nearly everything I drink benefits from a lever style shot profile with 2.5 bar of preinfusion, a controlled ramp to 9 bar for 5 to 10 seconds and then a gentle decline to 5 or 6 bar. I pretty much always pull some variation of this profile and make espresso that I consider to be quite yummy.

Cheers!

- Jake

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NelisB

#563: Post by NelisB » Jul 25, 2019, 11:15 am

Hi Jake,

That's a great explanation. It helps a lot!

And yes, taste notes are a lot more useful to describe darkness/lightness of espresso than the actual colour of the roasted bean.

Earthy

#564: Post by Earthy » Sep 23, 2019, 9:43 pm

RyanP wrote: I am finding the flat max shines is in clarity with longer shots and in the ability to pull a tight ristretto. This is a new type of light roast espresso for me. 1:1 thick fruity extractions. Denis mentioned to me today that he also pulls similar style shots and even takes it as far as 1:.6 (18in, 12out).
I have seen comments like this a couple times and I find them confusing. If the max is similar to the ek43 in burr design, all I read about the ek is that shots should be pulled long. People have mentioned that if you like short shots you should avoid the ek. What makes the difference?

mivanitsky
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#565: Post by mivanitsky » Sep 23, 2019, 11:15 pm

Probably just the ridiculously good alignment of the MAX.

I'm absolutely sure that it is not superior barista skills, or better ability to select/roast coffee than others here, but all of us who use MAXs are able to do it. I never find a need to pull a shot above 1:1.5, and often prefer shorter, including the exact well-developed ultra light roasts recommended by Denis (Vienna, not Kafatek). I do occasionally pull long shots, and they are great too, but they are not my choice, generally.

There is a learning curve, but any competent person here can easily learn to do it, as long as your machine has preinfusion profiling of some type. Slayer, LR, and manual levers do just fine.

Rytopa

#566: Post by Rytopa » Sep 23, 2019, 11:45 pm

The main difference between the EK43 and the Max is the RPM, assuming alignment and everything else is the same. RPM has big impact on grind distribution, if i am not wrong the RPM of the Max maxes out at 400 vs 1400 for the EK.

My unproven theory about RPM for Flat burrs is :

1) lowering the RPM causing it to behave more like conical burrs, improving mouthfeel due to the wider grind distribution.

2) Slowing the RPM increases the grind time, the beans spend more time in the burrs, increasing contact with burrs. The grinds exit the burr slower, causes a buildup of grinds in the burrs, leading to the grinds being regrinded by the burrs and neighboring grind particles. The interaction of fines and bigger particles at this stage causes in shift in grind distribution (widening it)

3) Fruit Ninja : Imagine and knife you are swishing it around in high speed cutting fruits thrown in the air, most likely you will end up the clean cuts, depending on how fast you are swishing the knife the fruits will be cut cleanly and thoroughly in half. Imagine another scenario, you are moving the knife much slower, you will end up maybe pushing the fruits away or ending with more a crushing style of cuts, increasing fines and changing grind distribution.

ira
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#567: Post by ira » Sep 24, 2019, 12:07 am

Rytopa wrote:3) Fruit Ninja : Imagine and knife you are swishing it around in high speed cutting fruits thrown in the air, most likely you will end up the clean cuts, depending on how fast you are swishing the knife the fruits will be cut cleanly and thoroughly in half. Imagine another scenario, you are moving the knife much slower, you will end up maybe pushing the fruits away or ending with more a crushing style of cuts, increasing fines and changing grind distribution.
Burrs are not generally sharp enough to cut much of anything and what happens when you try to cut a coffee bean in half with a knife? You certainly don't end up with 2 pieces of coffee with a clean cut line.

Ira

mivanitsky
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#568: Post by mivanitsky » Sep 24, 2019, 12:08 am

Alignment is not the same, but I did neglect rotation speed. That probably is a major factor as well.

Rytopa

#569: Post by Rytopa » Sep 24, 2019, 12:41 am

ira wrote:Burrs are not generally sharp enough to cut much of anything and what happens when you try to cut a coffee bean in half with a knife? You certainly don't end up with 2 pieces of coffee with a clean cut line.

Ira
Yes i agree,the burrs are not sharp enough to cut, but i am guessing the speed + impact at which it hits the beans + the burr geometry would be affecting the way the beans get grinded. The higher the RPM the more explosive the force becomes, i would speculate for the EK, the moment the beans hit the inner diameter of the burrs, the explosive inertia of energy would have "exploded" the beans to a certain extend.

ira
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#570: Post by ira » Sep 24, 2019, 12:58 am

Rytopa wrote:i would speculate for the EK, the moment the beans hit the inner diameter of the burrs, the explosive inertia of energy would have "exploded" the beans to a certain extend.
Yes, that seems to be how coffee grinders work, but I don't see how it compares to Fruit Ninja since no matter what you do, the bean will shatter.

Speed likely changes how the bean is ground, and while it seems obvious that faster speed should equal more fines, I'm not sure that we know enough to say that slower speed is always better. We believe that the Max has better alignment than the EK and it seems to be true that alignment is extremely important, but is the Max better because of it's alignment, it's speed, both or better burrs? And maybe the most important question, is the Max always better?

Ira