ZF64 - Page 2

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

#11: Post by LewBK »

Regarding the ZF64W, how accurate have you found the gravimetric weighing mechanism? Also, how well does it do coarser brew or V60 coffee versus espresso? Which does it do better?

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#12: Post by Nunas »

DamianWarS wrote:<snip>When you say a "bellows hopper" do you mean one that's about the same size as the bellows on the DF64? or is it a completely different design? You wouldn't happen to have used or own the DF64 too? I'm interested in their comparison. BTW where did you get it and how much did you pay for it?
Yes, I suspect it's the same bellows hopper, as both grinders are made by the same company and have the same size burrs. Mine measures about 58mm ID, 66 mm OD by 75 mm tall, not counting the lid. The bellows hopper comes with a plastic magnetic gadget that triggers a magnetic safety switch in the grinder. The big hopper has an inbuilt magnet to do likewise. One thing I was surprised about is the lack of retention. I assumed that when I thumped on the bellows a bunch of coffee grinds would come out. After grinding for a few shots, there was nearly nothing.
No, I don't have the DF64, so I can't give you a comparison.
I got it direct from the manufacturer on Alibaba. You can find the current price there. The TiN burrs are extra, as is the bellows hopper. They were very easy to deal with.

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#13: Post by Nunas »

LewBK wrote:Regarding the ZF64W, how accurate have you found the gravimetric weighing mechanism? Also, how well does it do coarser brew or V60 coffee versus espresso? Which does it do better?
The inbuilt scale works well enough, sometimes overdosing by a tenth of a gram or two. It's not as accurate as a Sette. My Sette is dead on more often than not. The Sette self-calibrates and self-tares when you change grinds/beans and so on so that it becomes more accurate over time. This one is more rudimentary. It tries to self-tare, but not that well. It does not appear to self-calibrate. I have not yet had a good look at the destruction manual to see if there's a manual calibration function. I expect it does, as it comes with a 500 g calibration weight. I put it on and it read 500. In any case, it has a manual tare button that works just fine.
I can't say about how it does coarser grinds, as I drink almost exclusively espresso shots and milk drinks. But, the burrs are standard flat Italamill 64s, the same as those in many other grinders. I opted for the TiN coated ones for no particular reason.

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#14: Post by Nunas »

For those who would like a look at the grinder, attached are two photos. The first one, taken level with the grinders, shows that it is about the same height with its bellows hopper as the Sette. In the foreground, you can see the massive hopper; clearly, this is designed for commercial use. I don't know how much coffee it can hold, but it would easily be several pounds.

In the second photo, taken at a downward angle, you can get an idea of how deep and wide it is, compared to the Sette.

The flat plate on which the scale sits is removable; its sole purpose seems to be to catch stray grinds, although it does have a keyway into which the scale slides. I've tried it with and without...there's no discernable difference in accuracy. Compared to the Sette, the weighing function of this grinder is a kind of kluge. You can't see it in the photos but the scale is connected to the grinder with a ribbon cable.

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#15: Post by Nunas »

In this photo, you can see the modified hopper atop the grinder. I cut off 55 mm, which allows the grinder to fit nicely under the lower shelf in my espresso bar.

In the foreground, you can see the part I removed. Alas, because the hopper is slightly tapered, the lid would no longer fit. I tried modifying it to no avail. So, we walked around Canadian Tire (for those of you south of 49, CT is an automotive/department store chain) looking for something that might work. We found a square popcorn tub, the bottom of which is exactly the right size; that's the white lid you can see atop the hopper. Frankly, I could have cut off a bit more, as I'll never fill the modified hopper more than half full.

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#16: Post by Nunas »

Update on what I've learned about this grinder:
1. the ability to continuously variably grind that I experienced at the onset goes away as the grinder is repeatedly adjusted and the burrs carrier becomes easier to turn. If set in between stops, after a half dozen or so grinds, the carrier slips into the next stop and stays there. No big deal, but a small disappointment for those who are fastidious in dialling in their grind. Without exhaustive testing, I estimate that the difference between any two stops is about two seconds of shot time.
2. the grinds are quite fluffy and make a slightly bigger mound than my Sette for the same dose. Moreover, they pile up a bit to the right side. As a result, they spill over if overdosing, For example, on the Sette, 18 g will fill to the top, and nearly no coffee spills over. On the ZF64, I lose about a half gram. On the other hand, on a Sette, the design of the PF holder is such that it is not possible to use an ordinary coffee funnel, while on the ZF64, one can, and there is no spillage when using a funnel.
3. the ZF64 panel has presets marked with icons for 1-cup and 2-cup shots. I never do 1-cup shots, so naturally, I set the 2-cup icon to dispense 18 grams. Alas, the ZF64 appears to default to the 1-cup setting on powering up, and I have not found a menu item to default to the 2-cup (and I don't often read destruction manuals :oops: ). The workaround is to set the 1-cup icon to the dose one uses the most often and set the 2-cup icon to something else.
4. the ZF64 has humidity and temperature sensors and a display of both on the panel. I can't think of any good reason why there are there. Regardless of the temperature or humidity, I'm making coffee in the morning!
5. there's a cooling fan on the back of the grinder. Either it's there for commercial use, when the internals of the grinder may overheat with sustained use, or it's the quietest fan in the world, as I've not heard it go on once despite having run at least five pounds of coffee through the grinder.
6. as delivered, the burrs are aligned quite well, but not perfectly. Aligning the burrs is on my maybe-someday list.

I don't understand why local vendors do not sell this machine, while in other parts of the world, they do. It has been around for a while, it works well and appears to be very robust, It comes in a version that does gravimetric dosing for a small increase in cost, and the overall cost is very competitive. I prefer not to buy overseas, especially from China. We need these grinders to be sold and supported here.

ethiopianbuffman

#17: Post by ethiopianbuffman »

How did you cut the plastic hopper without breaking it?

DamianWarS (original poster)
Supporter ♡

#18: Post by DamianWarS (original poster) »

Nunas wrote:I don't understand why local vendors do not sell this machine, while in other parts of the world, they do. It has been around for a while, it works well and appears to be very robust, It comes in a version that does gravimetric dosing for a small increase in cost, and the overall cost is very competitive. I prefer not to buy overseas, especially from China. We need these grinders to be sold and supported here.
china can make quality grinders and they have the advantage of jumping into the market without any baggage and of course, the large and cheap workforce makes everything cost less. I think a grinder like this however plays more to a commercial market than a home where the DF64 is more of a home enthusiast. in a commercial space, they deal with a distributor and buy what the distributor sells and they also tend to be less trusting of unknown brands and rather would stick to brands that are more familiar and their customer is more familiar with. Sometimes the eye candy of the brand plays an important role in communicating to the customer standards (which is probably why the ZF64 looks so familiar). in an Asian market however it's developing and people don't have as great of commitment to brands and they are more willing to try a product that's a whole lot cheaper but produces the same results with more features. It's not always like that but if you can't afford the machines these other products seem a better fit.

Nunas
Supporter ♡

#19: Post by Nunas »

ethiopianbuffman wrote:How did you cut the plastic hopper without breaking it?
First, I put masking tape over the area I wanted to cut. Then, I marked the cut line with a pen supported horizontally at the right height on a work surface and moved the hopper upside down against the pen. This gave me a nice level line. I first tried a hacksaw with marginal results. It would have worked but was rather slow. Then, I use a coping saw; that worked somewhat better, but it wasn't easy to keep straight. In the end, I put a circular saw blade on my Dremel tool. Even setting that to low speed did not work that well, as it melted the plastic as much as it cut it. But, it was much faster and reasonably controllable. Once that was done, the surface of the cut was burred and somewhat uneven. So, I carefully worked it against a sanding belt on my Shopsmith. At this point, there were no undulations in the cut, but the plastic was not as smooth as I wanted. So, I placed the cut edge face down on increasingly finer sheets of sandpaper on the bench and moved the hopper by hand until I was happy with the job. It's not perfect, and I'm sure that I could get the edge to be almost a factory finish by working it more and wet-sanding with finer grits. But it's good enough for me, and I'm more interested in drinking coffee than working in my shop :lol: At no time during this process did I ever feel that there was a danger of cracking the plastic.

megamixman

#20: Post by megamixman »

@Nunas, on the Alibaba site there is usually a single voltage and then later a 110-240V specification, suggesting it may be a DC motor with a universal voltage controller. Can you confirm if your ZF is listed for one voltage or universal voltages?