Category Archives: Grinders

Crew Review: Breville Coffee Grinder Comparison

When I say Breville you say grinder! Breville! *crickets*Breville Coffee Grinder Comparison

Ok…that isn’t as much fun as I remember. But we all should be really excited! With the recent addition of the Breville Smart Grinder Pro to the Breville Coffee Grinder line up we decided that now is as good a time as ever to compare them all! So may I present to you the Great Breville Coffee Grinder Comparison of 2015!

To start things off we took a look at the entry level grinder, the Breville Dose Control Pro. With an entry level grinder with Pro in the title, how can you really go wrong? We liked this grinder a lot. The finest grind held its own when we compared all three. The body has a little more plastic than the other grinders in this line up, but the build still feels strong.

Next we took a look at the Smart Grinder. This grinder, as well as the Smart Grinder Pro, has a digital screen that is your control center. The display will show you everything from your grind setting to the amount of time remaining on the grind session. All three grinders have attachable portafilter holders (for 58mm, 50mm and 54mm), but the two Smart Grinder models also come with a convenient grounds catcher for those french press or pour over days.

The Smart Grinder Pro is the latest addition to the line up. It is really the next generation of the Smart Grinder. Some of the additional features includes an adjustable top burr which gives you over 60 grind settings for really fine tuning your grind. However, it should be noted that during our testing, we noticed the Smart Grinder Pro has a little trouble grinding when it’s simultaneously set at the finest burr setting and at the finest digital setting. If you adjust the top burr to the finest setting, we suggest you do not take the digital setting all the way down to the very finest grind. This shouldn’t be an issue unless you have your heart set on a very fine grind for Turkish coffee. Even with that hiccup, the grind is still very fine. Gail was impressed.

Take a look at the video below to see the full comparison.  And if you haven’t already, be sure to subscribe to our YouTube Channel for new videos 6 days a week!

 

Crew Review: Breville Dose Control Pro Burr Grinder

While trying to grind and brew our mandatory caffeine fix on many an early morning, we want nothing more than breville-dose-control-prothe simplest way to quash our cravings and stop those annoying deprivation twitches – you get them too, right? So imagine our pure joy when Gail introduced us to the Breville Dose Control Pro Burr Grinder!

Designed to make even the most novice of home baristas feel like a pro, this helpful grinder features a labeled grind adjustment collar with easy to read grind ranges, a simple timer that can be set for up to 50 seconds of automatic grinding and a grind button for continuous, manual grinding. Throw in removable conical burrs, not to mention Breville’s graciously added goodies, and we’re grinding like no other!

To learn more about those goodies and other great features the Dose Control Pro has to offer, check out Gail’s latest review!

Crew Review: Rancilio Rocky Grinder Redux

When we think of reliable and hardworking, we think of the Rancilio Rocky rocky_grindersgrinder. Is that weird? We don’t think so…

The Rocky is available in a doser version, for those that go through a decent amount of coffee and/or rarely change their grind, or a doserless version, which grinds directly into your portafilter. Each one gives you a sturdy build and 55 different grind settings, so you can go from espresso to drip (and back again) with ease.

Given that the Rocky is the apple of our eye, we decided it was time for an updated Crew Review. Check it out below and watch as Gail and Brendan walk us through features, dialing in the grind and removing the burrs for maintenance!

Crew Review: Rancilio KRYO 65 OD

Rancilio KRYO 65 ODWant to be able to create the perfect grind on demand when making drinks at your cafe? Now, you can with the Rancillio KRYO 65 OD. The “OD” just happens to stand for “On Demand.” With this grinder you will be able to easily dose any amount of coffee you want to be ground with the single, double and customize buttons on the machine. The thing that is particularly nice about this customize feature is that you can grind continuously when making drinks. For instance, if you are making a single, double and triple, you have the function to grind for all three drinks without actually going in and changing the settings as you would on most other machines. Likewise, with this grinder you will be able to grind for nearly any application you can imagine – French press, drip coffee espresso, fine drip/pour over and even Turkish coffee.

While the On Demand function is what makes this machine standout most from its “sibling” the KRYO 65, there are a couple of other features, such as dosing and counting, which are unique to the Rancilio KRYO 65 OD. One feature we really like is the “start dose” option. This setting provides you with the choice of starting the dose by activating the grinder with a portafilter or the press of a button. Thus, if you don’t like to have to constantly push in your portafilter to start your grind, this is a very nice option.  Another option you have within the KRYO 65 OD’s dosing settings is to set the grinder to dose out your coffee based on time. To do this you will have to figure out how many seconds your grinder needs to run to in order to fill up your portafilter for a single or double shot, but once you do so, you can program the machine to run for that length of time every time you want it to grind for a single or double shot.

When it comes to counting your drinks, the KRYO 65 OD allows you to keep track how many total drinks you have made, as do many other machines. However, unlike other machines, you can also keep track of how many single, double and customized shots you produced on the grinder. By keeping track of your drinks this way, you can make sure you aren’t running through a bunch of espresso and not charging for it. In addition, there are counters for the burrs themselves, a feature we haven’t seen on many other machines. These counters allow you to calibrate your grinder by weight, so it will tell you exactly how many grams of coffee you use when you make a shot. You then can take that weight and input it into the settings of the machine, so your grinder thinks every time it makes a shot it is dosing a certain amount of coffee. Finally, you can then use the burr counter to see how much weight has gone through the machine. While this process isn’t completely perfect, it is great because it allows to you too see how much coffee has gone through your machine so you know when you are due to replace your burrs (this typically after going through 900-1,000 pounds of coffee).

Ultimately, we found the Rancilio KRYO 65 OD to be a pretty great grinder. It is a pretty clean grinder, so you won’t have to worry about cleaning up a huge mess after making a drink. In addition, the price point of the machine is pretty reasonable, especially considering all the great features that are included. To see what actually all of these features and options to do, watch as Brandon explores some of the machine’s settings.

Crew Review: Rancilio KRYO 65 OD

Tech Tips: How to Replace the Bean Hopper on a Rancilio Rocky

Rancilio RockyCoffee enthusiasts will rejoice when they discover how much control they can have over their grind when they use the Rancilio Rocky coffee grinder. It is no wonder that this machine is one of the most recognized names in the industry. In addition, the Rocky won’t look bad on your counter and it is made to last. However, just as with any other coffee equipment, if you don’t take good care of your grinder and keep up on its maintenance, your Rocky won’t stay looking beautiful forever. If you do make the mistake of falling behind on your machine’s maintenance and your bean hopper starts looking more green than blue, you do have the option of replacing it. In case your wondering, the reason your hopper has changed color isn’t a trick, it is because coffee oils and residue have built up on the plastic and stained the hopper. Discoloration is not the only reason for replacing your hopper. You may also want to replace your hopper if it is really old or has gotten damaged during shipping.

Once you’ve decided to replace your bean hopper on your grinder, the process isn’t overly complicated, but it does involve a couple of steps. Keep in mind that while you’re replacing the bean hopper on your Rancilio Rocky is also a great time to complete a grinder service on the inside of your machine. This will allow you to clean up any stale coffee grounds and residue that have built up inside your grinder that can cause your coffee to taste off or even damage your machine.

While the replacement hopper does come in a kit that includes directions for installation, a stopper, screws and a sticker, the instructions are not incredibly clear, so we have broken them down to make them a bit easier to consume. Better yet, you can use this process to replace the bean hopper on both the doser and doserless versions of the machine, so it doesn’t matter which model of the machine you own.

Watch as Jeremiah guides Brendan through the process step by step. If you’re still feeling nervous, just know that this was also Brendan’s first time completing this swap, and he completed the task without any major hang-ups. If Brendan can replace the bean hopper on a Ranicilo Rocky grinder, so can you!

Tech Tips: How to Replace the Bean Hopper on a Rancilio Rocky

Crew Review: Baratza Preciso

Baratza PrecisoWe’ve long enjoyed the grinders produced by Baratza due to their ability to grind our coffee and espresso to just the right consistency to produce that the perfect cup. The other thing we love about Baratza is they are constantly innovating and improving their grinders. This means each usually model features an upgrade that causes us to like it even more. Such is the case with the Baratza Preciso, which used to be called the Virtuoso Preciso. While the name of this grinder changed to simply the Baratza Preciso a while back, we realized we didn’t have a video of this model with its new moniker. We’ve also had a few people request that we compare the Preciso with its cousin, the Baratza Virtuoso. Therefore, we decided why not kill two birds with one stone and create a video that solves both problems.

Like the Virtuoso, the Preciso is designed with 40mm conical steel burrs that will produce a consistent grind every time. Yet, while both grinders create a very good grind, we found that the Preciso has a couple of features that give it a slight advantage over the Virtuoso. The main difference between the Preciso and Virtuoso is that in addition to the 40 macro adjustments found on each machine, the Preciso also has 11 micro adjustments in the front. This allows you to have more control over how fine or coarse your grind is, since you can adjust the micro setting to future dial in the macro setting you have selected. In fact, we’ve found that the combination of these micro and macro adjustments allow the Preciso to have more precision and options than other models, meaning you will hardly ever have any trouble dialing in your grind.

We also like that the Preciso comes with a portaholder (which is not included with the Virtuoso, but you can buy the portaholder separately and add it on) that will hold your portafilter in the grinder for you for easy dosing. We even tested out several different portafilters in the portaholder, and were pleased to find that the majority of them fit without any adjustments.

Ultimately, we decided that the Preciso has a bit of an edge over the Virtuoso, since it has more options. Thus, the Preciso is a great machine for home baristas who is brewing different types of espresso and really wants to experiment with their coffee and their grind. That doesn’t mean the Virtuoso isn’t a good grinder, because it certainly works well. However, the Virtuoso is better suited for people who don’t need as fine a grind or are using a pressurized portafilter. Of course, we couldn’t claim that the Preciso was, like its name, more precise without first testing our theory. Watch Brendan and Gail as they put both the Baratza Preciso and Virtuoso to the test to see which machine can create the finest grind.

Crew Review: Baratza Preciso

Crew Review: GSI Outdoors

GSI OutdoorsHappy Monday fellow campers! In case you forgot, this weekend is Memorial Day weekend, and while we’re excited about the extra time off, we even happier that it is the unofficial kick-off to camping and hiking season. After all, just because you’ll be spending more time outside doesn’t mean you’ll have to give up your caffeine habit. In fact, we think that coffee and camping go to together pretty well. There are a slew of products, such those produced by GSI Outdoors, that allow you to take or make your coffee wherever you go!

GSI Outdoors GrinderWith this lightweight and compact gear that is conductive to backpacking and camping, you will be able to brew up nearly any type of beverage you prefer. For instance, there is the Commuter Java Press, which is like insulated thermos with a French Press inside. However, instead using a rod, the press component of this carafe is plunger with a filter built in, so your brewed coffee ends up inside the middle channel. The other unique feature of this press is that, unlike regular French presses, there is a gasket as part of the filtration system, which will help keep your grounds from leaking in around the edges of the screen. GSI Outdoors has also created a cute little percolator like device they call the Stainless Mini Expresso Maker that brews espresso. It works much like the Bialetti. You put the water in the bottom, the grounds in the filter basket, but instead of brewing the espresso into a top portion, the espresso comes out the spigot and into the matching cup. There is also the Collapsible Java Drip, which is a silicone drip coffee maker that compacts down to the size of a Frisbee-like disk. It’s nice our people enjoy Chemex-style brewing since it allows you to bring it on the road and the lid won’t melt so you can use it as a trivet for anything hot. Finally, there is the Java Mill, a hand grinder that collapses down for storage. Surprisingly, this grinder actually has conical ceramic burrs that you can adjust so you can get the grind fine enough for Turkish coffee or coarse enough for French press.

All of these products are made from recycled materials, so things like your old yogurt containers have now been transformed into something you can use for years to come instead of sitting in a landfill somewhere. Thus, while you are out enjoying the environment, you are also helping save it for future generations. With all this great gear don’t be surprised if people in nearby campsites start wandering over for coffee or if people accuse you of glamping (glorified camping). Watch as Gail and Brendan prepare for an SCG camping trip and test all of these delightful products out.

Crew Review: GSI Outdoors

Comparison: Baratza Forte AP and Mazzer Mini Type A

Mazzer Mini Type ABaratza Forte APIt’s time for another grinder matchup! In this two part series with Brendan and Gail, we got the Baratza Forte AP and the Mazzer Mini Type A together in a room and had them duke it out. This was somewhat of an easy comparison, since while these two electronically controlled grinders are similar in price; they are very different in functionality.

In the first corner is the Baratza Forte AP, which is a 54-millimeter flat ceramic burr grinder, with a removable hopper (you can also increase the size of the hopper by purchasing an extender), burr removal tool and portaholder. One of the features we love is that you have the ability to measure your dose by weight (when the grounds bin is in place) or by time (when the portaholder is in). In addition, there is an amazing range of settings on the Forte AP, as you can make both macro and micro adjustments to your grind. We tried out the finest, midrange and coarsest grind settings and were impressed with how fine and coarse the Forte could actually go. This well-rounded grinder is less commercial than the Mazzer Mini, and is a great option for home users who are looking to brew different types of coffee, from espresso to drip, at any given time. We have also seen the Forte used at pour over bars, as the option to dose your coffee by weight makes it a perfect fit.

In the other corner is the Mazzer Mini Type A. With 64-millimeter flat steel burrs, the burrs on the Mazzer are slightly larger than those on the Forte AP.  However, like Forte, the Mini Type A comes with a removable bean hopper that you can get in a variety of sizes (short, medium or tall). On the Mazzer, your dosage is always monitored by time, which you program, and there is a stop on the grind adjustments, so you can only take it down so far. However, with the Mini Type A it’s likely you wouldn’t be changing your grind setting very much, and when you did, you would probably be adjusting them in small increments so this isn’t a deal breaker. We tried playing with the finest, midrange and coarsest grind settings on this grinder as well, and found that the finest and midrange grinds were pretty similar to those on the Forte AP, but slightly more consistent. The coarsest grind wasn’t as good as the Forte’s, but again a bit smoother. The consistency of the Mazzer Mini Type A make it ideal for commercial setting dealing mostly with espresso, which is what it was designed for, a even a high end home use.

So which grinder won this round? Check out our videos to find out and to hear Brendan and Gail’s thoughts as they play around with each grinder.

Comparison: Baratza Forte AP and Mazzer Mini Type A Part One

Comparison: Baratza Forte AP and Mazzer Mini Type A Part Two

Commercial Tips: Choosing a Commercial Grinder

Commercial GrindersWhether you’ve decked out your café with the latest and greatest espresso machines or are just starting to put together your shopping list of equipment, one of the most important things you’ll need is a commercial grinder. However, even though having a good grinder is a crucial aspect of your shop (in fact, some people would say it is even more important than your espresso machine) it can be hard to figure out exactly which one you should choose. For instance, what type and how big of a grinder do you need? Or what is the difference between all the various burr-set sizes, burr shapes and dosers anyway?

When deciding upon a grinder, the first step is to think about the type of shop you have and then calculate how many drinks you are expecting to serve per day. Based on our caffeinated mathematics for stores here in Seattle, a donut or bagel shop serves about 20-50 drinks, a coffee shop will serve around 200+ drinks and restaurant or a bar can expect to serve 10-50 espresso beverages a day. Of course these numbers can fluctuate depending on how big your store is, where it is located, etc.

Once you have determined how many people you will be serving, you can start thinking about what type of grinder to pair with your espresso machine. If you have a smaller sized bakery or donut shop with a one-group machine like a Rancilio Epoca, you’ll get something like the Mazzer Mini, which is a 58mm burr-set grinder that is perfect for doing 20-50 drinks a day. If you have a slightly higher volume store, such as a small to medium sized coffee shop that makes about 120-200 drinks a day you will need to move to a bigger grinder. Generally, if you are making this number of drinks you will have a two-group espresso machine such as the Rancilio Classe 7 or Nuova Simonelli Appia, so you will want to pair it with a 64-65mm grinder like the Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith or the Mazzer Super Jolly.

What is the advantage of having bigger burrs? You won’t have to wait as long to get a shot. With a smaller burr-set like 58mm, it will take you about 8-10 seconds to get a double shot of espresso, while with a 64-65mm burr-set it will take only 6 seconds. Thus, if you have a small volume café, it is ok to go with smaller burrs since you won’t experience as much of a time crunch. However, you cannot use a smaller grinder at shop at that is doing 150 drinks a day, as it will slow you down too much.

Does your shop fall somewhere in the middle? You can try getting a commercial grinder equipped with a doser. This allows you to make multiple drinks at once by grinding for them and then fill up the portafilter back to back. Another good rule to keep in mind is that 75 drinks a day is the limit for a smaller 58mm burr-set grinder, and 200 drinks a day is maximum for a mid-size 64-65mm burr set grinder. Finally, if you are making more like 300 drinks day rather than 200, you will need to get a large grinder to get your doses out even faster. For these grinders, you will be looking at something like the Mazzer Major, a 83mm burr-set (which is the biggest flat burr grinders get) grinder or even moving to a conical grinder such as the Compak K10.

Still have questions? Check out this video as Brandon and Kaylie describe picking out a commercial grinder in more detail.

Commercial Tips: Choosing a Commercial Grinder

Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder

Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith 65E GrinderEureka! That’s right, we’ve found the prefect high-capacity grinder — the Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder. While this grinder is indeed a great discovery, the name comes from the brand Eureka, which was bought by Nuova Simonelli many years ago. This grinder is basically the same as the Nuova Simonelli MDX and still has as a 65mm burr set and identical internal features. The only difference in the Eureka Zenith 65E is that it has an electronic front on it. Nuova Simonelli created this machine because they really wanted to get into electronic grinders, and it is their answer to others on the market like the Mazzer Type A grinders or the Rancilio KRYO 65 OD.

As such, the big feature on this grinder is the new electronic doser, which is really easy to use. You have two programmable dosing options available to you, enabling you to decide whether you want your coffee to be dispensed by volume or by time, which can be adjusted at the push of a button. If you know an adventurous barista, you can lock these adjustment settings, so they won’t play around and make changes to your grind. Another unique feature on the Nuova Simmonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder is the resettable digital dose counter, which we actually haven’t seen on any of the on demands yet. In fact, people frequently ask how they can reset the counter on a Mazzer and there is no way of doing that.

In addition to these upgrades, Nuova Simonelli has carried over two of the most popular features from the MDX. One is the stepless micro adjustment dial, which allows you to adjust your grind finer or coarser by simply turning a knob with your finger instead of having to struggle to change the setting with a big lever as on other grinders. The second feature is the ability to open up your grinder and clean the burrs without having to recalibrate your grind. Not only does this make cleaning and maintaining your grinder a breeze, but it also makes the process quicker – you can probably the job done in-between shifts at your café.

To learn more about the features on the Eureka Zenith 65E, watch as Brandon explains what makes it different from other grinders on the market in this video. Just don’t blame us if find yourself shouting “eureka!” too by the end.

Crew Review: Nuova Simonelli Eureka Zenith 65E Grinder