Versalab M4 Unboxing and First Espresso

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

#1: Post by BVLDARI »

I've had the Breville Oracle for about six years and finally decided to venture into making finer espresso. Decided to start with a grinder and pretty much went all in - just picked up the Versalab M4. I am super excited about it and wanted to share some unboxing pictures and a couple of short videos. This thing is an absolute beast. I am pretty sure it weights about the same as the Breville Oracle Touch. For those of you that have the Versalab grinder, please share tips and tricks!

Here are the links to:
- my first grind (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zysn6sGOfLY)
- my first shot of 17.5g of coffee in and about 34g of liquid out (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FU17_KBWET8)

Shipping box:


Packaging:


Unboxing instructions:


Close up of packing:


Other side of grinder laying on floor out of the box:


Felt pads for feet. Not what I was expecting but very effective:


Ready to go:

Corgo

#2: Post by Corgo »

How's the work flow? Is it truly rdt and wdt free? How easy is it to adjust the grind? Are the grind size markers still stickers? Thanks for answering! Been interested in this grind for the supposedly no need for rdt or wdt.

Plinyyounger

#3: Post by Plinyyounger »

Welcome to the team, we are a small group but we are strong! Lol. Lots of folks don't consider the M4 because of alignment issues on the first gen grinders. Those issues are long gone now. What some don't know is a few of coffee's media OG's will only use Versalab for their personal grinders. You have a gem, enjoy it.

I cut of the felt feet off and added rubber shock absorbing feet, both are great but it's easier to slide the grinder around with the felt feet.

Work flow is fantastic, it is as real as people say. Flavors won't be quite as bright as a flat but still very good. Acidity will be less, channeling will be a LOT less and body is great.

No tips and tricks that I can think of, it just works, and works very well. I do use a small rhino shot glass to add my beans to the chamber, works great.

I think you will be happy, please let us know your thoughts. Feel free to pm.
Big 98mm flat grinder, been there done that, sold it. I’m happy now.

BVLDARI (original poster)

#4: Post by BVLDARI (original poster) »

Corgo wrote:How's the work flow? Is it truly rdt and wdt free? How easy is it to adjust the grind? Are the grind size markers still stickers? Thanks for answering! Been interested in this grind for the supposedly no need for rdt or wdt.
Full disclosure - this is my first grinder and I don't have it dialed in yet - something about work these days LOL...

Yes, the markers are still stickers and I have not installed yet. I meant to ask Versalab to do it at their shop and completely forgot.

Everything I've ever seen or read says you don't need rdt and wdt. I have some retention that's more than I would expected but Versalab is stating that it should better. I've only run a few things trough the grinder so too early to tell. Overall the test is worlds better than the stock Breville Oracle grinder so I guess I am super stoked.

BVLDARI (original poster)

#5: Post by BVLDARI (original poster) »

Plinyyounger wrote:Welcome to the team, we are a small group but we are strong! Lol. Lots of folks don't consider the M4 because of alignment issues on the first gen grinders. Those issues are long gone now. What some don't know is a few of coffee's media OG's will only use Versalab for their personal grinders. You have a gem, enjoy it.

I cut of the felt feet off and added rubber shock absorbing feet, both are great but it's easier to slide the grinder around with the felt feet.

Work flow is fantastic, it is as real as people say. Flavors won't be quite as bright as a flat but still very good. Acidity will be less, channeling will be a LOT less and body is great.

No tips and tricks that I can think of, it just works, and works very well. I do use a small rhino shot glass to add my beans to the chamber, works great.

I think you will be happy, please let us know your thoughts. Feel free to pm.
Thank you. I've been a long time lurker and finally figured I'd sing up and contribute.

Based on current kitchen setup I will keep the felt feet but excellent idea regarding the rubber feet. Will keep that in mind and am sure will eventually get those.

Thanks for the tip on the Rhino shot glass. I bought these 2 oz jars which work well for storing beans but are a bit cumbersome to get the last few beans into the grinder. I like prepping the beans ahead of time - I don't want to be measuring 18.0 grams at 6 AM LOL... Might get the shot glass to use to transfer into the grinder.

Will keep you updated as I get to play with this a bit more over the weekend.

I am starting to eye some new machines and wondering if I should dive into a DE1 or I recently noticed the Dalla Corte Mina. Obviously huge price difference and not sure that price point will work but am super intrigued by the Mina's somewhat manual nature yet relatively automated set up. How do you like your DE1pro?

mborkow
Supporter ♡

#6: Post by mborkow »

Congratulations!

User avatar
CoffeeMac

#7: Post by CoffeeMac »

BVLDARI wrote:I have some retention that's more than I would expected but Versalab is stating that it should better.
I've had my M4 a few months now and also had initial retention on clean funnel of up to 3 grams! I eventually was able to bend the wiper closer to the funnel and reduce initial retention to about 0.5g. In vs out is now usually +/- 0.2g.

No RDT/WDT needed - one of the biggest benefits of the M4 vs my prior grinders. I have gotten a few (3-4?) pinhole channels resulting in gushers, but these have diminished after doing a more consistent vertical tap of the portafilter on the mat before tamping.

Regarding machine upgrades - you could do worse than considering a modern lever machine. I'm very happy with my current M4 + Londinium Compressa setup.
Eventually you will end up with a lever.

LMWDP #706

Plinyyounger

#8: Post by Plinyyounger »

BVLDARI wrote:Thank you. I've been a long time lurker and finally figured I'd sing up and contribute.

Based on current kitchen setup I will keep the felt feet but excellent idea regarding the rubber feet. Will keep that in mind and am sure will eventually get those.

Thanks for the tip on the Rhino shot glass. I bought these 2 oz jars which work well for storing beans but are a bit cumbersome to get the last few beans into the grinder. I like prepping the beans ahead of time - I don't want to be measuring 18.0 grams at 6 AM LOL... Might get the shot glass to use to transfer into the grinder.

Will keep you updated as I get to play with this a bit more over the weekend.

I am starting to eye some new machines and wondering if I should dive into a DE1 or I recently noticed the Dalla Corte Mina. Obviously huge price difference and not sure that price point will work but am super intrigued by the Mina's somewhat manual nature yet relatively automated set up. How do you like your DE1pro?
No need to change the feet, just something I tried. The felt feet are just fine.

As far as the Decent machine, it's awesome. I've drunken the kool aid, it is an amazing machine and a lot of fun to use. Still learning but I've never made better espresso. Steaming is slow compared to my double boiler, but it's much drier and creates great milk.

I used to take slight jabs at the Decent guys for their enthusiasm, lol, not anymore they were right. :D
Big 98mm flat grinder, been there done that, sold it. I’m happy now.

BaristaBob

#9: Post by BaristaBob »

Are there markings to set the grind? I didn't see any... And it looks like it can throw beans, isn't there a plastic guard for the top?
Bob "hello darkness my old friend..I've come to drink you once again"

Corgo

#10: Post by Corgo »

Unless they have updated, there are stickers for the top part and the metal arm holding the burr section that serve as the grind size indicator. The anti popcorn is basically two piece of clear plastic that you can buy as an accessory.