James Hoffmann's grinding coffee slowly technique

Beginner and pro baristas share tips and tricks for making espresso.

#1: Post by Katran »

I did this trick from this video
Basically, the trick is to feed the beans very lowly. This changes the distribution of the fines (less of), because there's traffic in the grinder... haha

I get visibly higher extractions, and the coffee tastes better. I'm getting more clarity, and the coffee is a bit sweeter. I'm using a Linea Mini with preinfusion/blooming (needle valve kit), set at max 7 bars, with unifilter portafilter (with Weber paper). I'm grinding with flat 84mm burrs, Ceado e37-z hero.

Did anybody observe the same? Is there any tool to make the bean feeding easier?



User avatar
Supporter ♡

#2: Post by yakster »

This has been well covered on the forum in previous topics. I remember seeing some projects to make devices to slowly feed coffee into the grinder, but haven't been able to quickly pull these threads up. There's also many grinders like the Niche Zero and Weber Workshops Key that have been flow restrictors to slow the feed of coffee into the grinder. The Niche Zero started out as one home-barista's project but got taken up by the company and added as a part of the grinder. Slowing the feed of beans into the grinder can also prevent stalling.

Bean flow restrictor for DF64

Hopefully others will remember some of these previous threads with been feed projects and ideas. I think I remember a rotating closed tube with a hole in the end that would slowly feed beans into the grinder hopper.

LMWDP # 272

User avatar
Supporter ♡

#3: Post by yakster »

I should have been able to find this earlier as it's the 2020 posting of the James Hoffmann video.

Slow feeding beans for single dosing? (as seen in James Hoffman re-grinding coffee video)

LMWDP # 272


#4: Post by GDM528 »

This was easily the most epic change to my grinder output. Part of my motivation came from having to clean out clogged burrs:

If that's what they look like after being overloaded, what do they look like when I'm blissfully operating just below the clogging threshold?

I get this is obvious, but the cross-section of the entry into the burrs is orders of magnitude larger than the exit from the burr. So the beans aren't just sheared by the burrs, they're also crushed as they crowd through the exit. Oily beans and/or excessive RDT can form a paste that can take up long-term residence in the burr grooves. This can violate one's sense of a properly engineered system...

Despite producing a grind closer the what the burrs intended, I had mixed feelings about it for the first month or so. By altering the distribution of grind size, I eliminated what may have been a 'technique safety cushion' by reducing the quantity of fines. I've had to dial down so much finer that I think I'm actually more prone to clogging the burrs if I'm not careful. Espresso flow resistance was frustratingly erratic for many weeks until I gradually learned how to adapt my workflow. James Hoffman is very skilled and well equipped to quickly adapt to changes, whereas it forced me to up my game for all the surrounding steps to grinding. This might influence the marketability of a general-purpose bean feeder.

User avatar

#5: Post by MB »

Before I sold it, I did a slow feeding technique on my Niche for brew with some benefit (as the Niche was not great for brew without it). I used a V60 over the opening and held the lid safety button down with a chopstick with one hand and a folded paper to feed the beans with my other hand. A little ridiculous, but effective.

My Levercraft Ultra has a puffer with a shutter that flexes out of the way when you push the puffer, essentially dumping all of the beans into the grinder. It's helpful for starting the motor before the beans enter, but I discovered that if I only push down on one side that the shutter only partially opens allowing a limited number of beans to drop. Ten or so of these pushes (fully on one side) are sufficient to slowly feed the full 20 grams that it holds. I only do it for brew, since for espresso, it removes a significant amount of resistance in the puck (even at finer settings), and I feel the regular amount of fines with my HU burrs are helpful to the shots I like.
LMWDP #472


#6: Post by iyayy »

if you do find some beans behave erratically at same grind settings, i'd suggest giving your catch cup a good shake before transfer to portafilter.

i have some that actually channels one side of the basket when transfer straight even with rigorous rdt. shaking to redistribute before transfer helps mitigate this better.


#7: Post by Maak »

After seeing that vid when it first came out I wondered what air pressure would do in agrinder.
I have a mazzer SJ with ssp burrs
So jimmied up a pipe that fit the smallest part of the throat (no hopper) that was the same diameter as the inside of the burrs.
As I'm only grinding for myself, I breathed air pressured down the pipe while grinding. This sped up the grinding and i had to adjust the grinder a lot finer to pull the same shot time.

I liked the result so i trialled quite a few fans before settling on a small usb pump. I've used this technique for the last 2 years daily and it has a similar result in cup to slow bean loading..(to my tastes, black, medium roast esprtesso only 19.5 g dose 28g yeild in 28 secs)

I have yet to analyse the grind distribution of this method over std loading w no fan to see the difference but to me the jury is still out. It's definitely different, but cant say absolutely better at this stage.

It probably depends a lot on your bean, roast, grind, grinder, dose, puck prep, flow/pressure profile, yield and desired flavour, whether or not this technique or slow loading is better.


Supporter ♡

#8: Post by buckersss »


That sounds very interesting. Would you be able to post a photo?



#9: Post by Jonk »

buckersss wrote:Would you be able to post a photo?
I asked for photos last year, have a look at DF64 vs Mazzer Super Jolly / Major vs Kopi Deva for more info :D

Let's hope we get some kind combination of all these cool techniques incorporated stock in some upcoming grinders. Automatic air pressure / slow feeding of beans, chaff removal cyclone and I guess an air pump would aid in purging after each use.


#10: Post by coyote-1 »

This is amusing, as it's something I've been doing since I got my grinder. It's an Urbanic 070s, which I modified to stepless. The hopper has a sliding gate. I start the grinder, and then I start feeding beans in. I do perhaps three or four 'openings' of the gate for a 14 gram dose. I even looked into a single dose hopper with bellows, but rejected it because it lacked the gate.

It just seemed to make sense to me to not dump all the beans into the chute in one shot. I suppose that was mainly out of fear of choking the unit. It is, after all, not a $700 grinder but a $200 grinder. A $700 grinder should, in my opinion, not struggle with bean loads. I want mine around for awhile. Which means that burning out the 250 watt motor is a no-no.

I love it when I find out that the common sense things I do have benefits beyond the obvious 8)