Weirdly different settings for Comandante and Aergrind on La Pavoni Europiccola

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

#1: Post by stewie »

I have two grinders I use with La Pavoni lever machine, the Aergrind and the Comandante (standard axle).
All the rest being equal (coffee, coffe weight 14g, water, water pressure, tamping, lever pressure):
- When using the Aergrind, I need to keep a setting that's considered good for filter coffee (1 full round + 9 or 10, often indicated as 1.9) not to choke the machine;
- When using the Comandante, I need to keep a setting that's considered good for turkish (4-5), anything bigger than that makes a mess.
Extraction times being equal, the coffee I get with the Comandante is consistently bitterer and generally, tastes bad.

I cannot understand what I am doing wrong here. Can it be that the Aergrind produces an amount of "dust" that chokes the machine even at coarser grinds? Why is the Comandante's coffee so bitter in comparison?
The burr distances are are effectively far apart, so the settings are far apart, but why do I need to set them that way to obtain the "same" result?

Team HB

#2: Post by ira »

First of all the setting on grinders do not tend to mean very much, you should use them as a way to adjust or repeat settings on your grinder and maybe something to approximate a starting position if someone else makes a recommendation. More importantly if you put the grounds spread out on a sheet of white paper, what do the grounds from the 2 grinders look like? Or maybe how do the grounds look different?


#3: Post by Coffiend »

The lower end of the filter range (1-cup V60) starts beyond the 2:0 setting on the Aergrind. The Aergrind burrs create a fair amount of fines, so your grind setting doesn't sound abnormal in any way.

My brother and I both have a MadeByKnock Feld47, and our grind settings differ by about 4-6 minor numbers, with all else being equal. Both grinders have the same zero point. (A good example of how misleading or unreliable the suggested grind settings can be).

If grinders didn't have numbers or suggested settings, we'd all get to tasty coffee of our own volition. (Albeit with a little more waste along the way!)

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#4: Post by bringyoutomyhell »

For comparison I have a Kickstarter Aergrind (not particularly aligned) and I'm around 1.2 for espresso, and with my Comandante Mk.3 I'm around 7/8 clicks for the same coffee. Older or darker coffee needs a finer grind in both, I went as low as 5 clicks sometimes. Taste is similar for both. I recently acquired a 64mm flat burrs grinder and the espresso seems to have more clarity, but not tons of less bitterness. How's the grind from the Aergrind visually?


#5: Post by ojt »

About the taste. If the coffee is fairly darkly roasted I'm thinking the uneven grind from the Aergrind gets you less extraction and thus less bitter taste, whereas the grind from Comandante is even and good getting you higher extraction.

I'm going to make a wild guess here. I think you might need to lower your brew temperature quite a bit. But do that while using the Comandante. If it's an unmodified Millennium Pavoni I would go with something like 80 to 85 degrees of grouphead temperature, which you should measure btw. You could also try and pull the coffee a bit more ristretto.

If you don't have any kind of a thermometer to stick to the grouphead try and find other ways of not heating it up so much. Don't flush the group at all, leave it less time to heat up, cool off the portafilter with water, etc.

Fammi sapere poi!