How does a grinder make coffee better?

Want to talk espresso but not sure which forum? If so, this is the right one.

#1: Post by Boomer44 »

Good morning,

Been messing with my Rancilio Silvia for 5 years now. I bought a breville smart grinder pro and can easily dial in espresso with it from espresso roast to lighter single origin roast. 18 grams in 36 out at 30 seconds on average with a Acaia scale.

My question is I always see to upgrade grinder whenever anyone says they have a cheaper grinder like I do... What would I gain from a better grinder? Will it actually taste better?

I do notice that (depending on barista) the shop I buy my beans from, the espresso is just a little better than I can get at home. I attributed that the the beautiful kb90 espresso machine. but is it the grinder?


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#2: Post by Nunas »

Grinders simultaneously produce grinds of various size, not just one size per setting. The output is usually a bell curve, with some grinders producing a low curve with lots of "boulders" and "fines", while others produce a tight, tall curve with fewer of these. To complicate the matter, some grinders produce an output with more than one peak. This article isn't exactly the answer to your question, but it contains relevant information on the subject. ... stribution

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Team HB

#3: Post by baldheadracing »

All I can say is that I have a handful of machines and I can pair and dial in most of them to taste close enough that I can't tell them apart - but I also have a handful of grinders and I have a much easier time tasting differences.

Whether the differences in taste are for the better or worse in relation to your current grinder is dependent on you, the coffee, the water, etc.

As for "How," the short answer is different burrs and different grinders break/cut/crush coffee differently. I realize that is an unsatisfactory answer, but as far as taste goes, grinder/burr development happens by copying other manufacturers, and then trial and error.
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada

Boomer44 (original poster)

#4: Post by Boomer44 (original poster) »

I appreciate the help!

It would make sense that a better grinder would make better espresso. I guess what I was confused about was being able to pull a shot just fine with a breville as far as shot time/ output being in the sweet spot and using a bottomless portafilter and watching the shot, everything looks right.

In my head I was thinking that just to get your standard 18 in 36 out in 30 seconds is all that mattered. And if my grinder was able to do that then I was good. But then I started wondering why a shot just had that, I'm not sure maybe "cleaner" taste at the cafe. But lacking something at home. With the same roast.

Thanks again.

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#5: Post by cafeIKE »

You can definitely get a sweet spot for a coffee / grinder / machine / shot preference that may evaporate with not too radical a change in coffee or shot preference.

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Moka 1 Cup

#6: Post by Moka 1 Cup »

The big limitation of the Smart Grinder Pro is the reduced ability to fine tune your shots, which for example may be needed if you want to experiment with the various nuances of third wave coffee. Having one that has that capability does not always mean that it makes a better espresso. My Eureka Specialita' makes better espresso. However with my Niche Zero that costs more or less like the Eureka, I don't necessarily like the the espresso more than the one made with the Breville. But I drink only "classic" espresso.

I would be curious to know if anybody has seen a particle size distribution for the Smart Grinder Pro.
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Team HB

#7: Post by baldheadracing »

Moka 1 Cup wrote:... I would be curious to know if anybody has seen a particle size distribution for the Smart Grinder Pro.
Labelled as Sage:

- full test results at ... inder-pro/

BTW, you can't taste a particle distribution. I found it more informative to look at their blind taste test results across class winners: (the SGP won the entry-level class) ... n-zuhause/
-"Good quality brings happiness as you use it" - Nobuho Miya, Kamasada