Grinders

  • Video Roundup: Holiday Edition!

    It's time for our last video roundup of the year! This week we're taking a look back at all of our holiday content to share some you'll enjoy!

    First, here's a look back at our favorite espresso machines of 2018!

    Next, Gail gave us some great gift ideas, here's one of many videos in our "Gifts Under" series!

    Speaking of Gail, here's a little SCG Holiday Special featuring some holiday treats!

    Last but not least, we tried to make an eggnog latte!

  • Video Roundup: 11/16/2018

    Welcome to another video roundup from Seattle Coffee Gear! Let's dive into this week's videos!

    First up, we have a new crew review for an old favorite!

    Next up, we took a look at two new Izzo Espresso machines!

    Finally, we have a Crew Review we've all been quite excited for, the Breville Bambino!!

    Thanks for watching! We'll see you next week!

  • Seattle Coffee Gear’s Top 3 Grinders of 2018

    Hot on the heels of our top 3 espresso machines of 2018, we’re back with our top 3 grinders of the year! This year we saw some exciting new releases, so we’ve decided to feature two of those alongside a home espresso classic.

    The Rancilio Rocky

    The Rocky is a classic standby in home espresso brewing. This is a grinder that has existed for a long time and sold loads of units. This is for good reason. The Rocky is built with the same design ethos as Rancilio’s commercial machines. This makes for extremely high quality grounds and a solid built, especially at the Rocky’s price point. This grinder features 55 stepped position adjustments and a set of 50mm flat steel burrs. This burr set doesn’t provide quite the lack of retention of more expensive conical burr grinders, but it makes up for this with consistency and quality. The motor is also extremely robust, giving you the kick you’d expect from a quality grinder. All around, this grinder is just an excellent choice for home use, with very few caveats.

    The only thing that you may notice is a lack of programmability. There’s no timed or volumetric dosing options, and the grinder is controlled by a simple on/off switch. An option with a doser is available for those seeking espresso grinding specifically. The Rocky is a great grinder for a wide range of applications, from espresso all the way up to press and pourover.

    The Baratza Sette 270Wi

     

    The Baratza Sette 270Wi is a new grinder for 2018 that improves upon the 270 model. Most of these improvements come in the form of updates to the weighted dosing of this grinder, its most compelling feature. Built with scale tech from Acaia, one of the leaders in coffee scales, the 270Wi grinds extremely accurate doses of coffee. After just a few calibration grinds, the 270Wi can grind to three pre-programmed doses, and does so consistently.

    On top of the convenient dosing, this grinder features an easy to clean, drop out 40mm conical steel burr set. Our only word of caution is that the stepped fineness settings really work best for espresso. We recommend a secondary grinder for drip or press brewing. That said, due to the design of this grinder, you’ll likely prefer using it with a portafilter anyway. Other convenient design features include a flip down stopper on the grinder’s hopper to keep beans from flying when you remove it, as well as adjustable portafilter arms. An excellent, well priced espresso grinder that really nails weighted dosing better than most!

    Eureka Mignon Specialita

    The Specialita is one of the awesome new Mignon grinders added to Eureka’s lineup this year. These grinders offer a more compact footprint and are less expensive than some of Eureka’s larger grinders. They also add some powerful noise dampening technology that will keep them from waking up the whole family in the morning. It’s this quiet operation that puts this grinder over the top for us, but it’s not all it offers.

    The Specialita features large 55mm flat steel burrs. While plenty of grinders (especially in the commercial space) have larger burrs, it’s rare to see them of this size in this form factor. The Specialita should easily fit on even the most cramped countertop, and looks stunning, especially in red. We also love the touchscreen. It is extremely simple, but looks great and offers easy access to timed dosing. The portafilter activated button on this grinder keeps grinding simple and easy. Last but not least, smart design features like the wide, anti-clumping chute and easy to access burrs make this grinder easy to recommend. The stepless grind setting adjusts the bottom burr, meaning you can take it apart to clean it without losing your setting.

    These three grinders make a great addition to any countertop, and we hope you’ll agree! For more thoughts, check out our video of these three grinders below!

  • Gear of the Month: Eureka Mignon Perfetto Espresso Grinder

     

    Eureka!

    This month marks our release of several new Eureka grinders. The burly Atom 65 is more than a contender for the Gear of the Month crown, but given its price point we decided to feature one of the new Mignon grinders instead! These new Mignons come in three flavors. The least expensive of the trio is the Silenzio, which is a no frills, 50 mm burr grinder that runs silent but requires manual dosing. On the high end is the Specialita, which has all of the features of the Silenzio, plus timed dosing and a set of 55mm burrs. Both of these grinders are excellent options, but we decided to focus on the middle brother of the three, the Perfetto!

    The Perfetto strikes a nice balance between the Silenzio and the Specialita. It has the baffled internals for a whisper quiet grind, as well as the timed dosing and touch screen. The only thing that separates it from the Specialita is the burrs, with the Perfetto having the smaller, 50mm burrs. We still think it strikes a great balance between the two machines, and we think you will too! Let's dive in a little deeper.

    Features

    The first and most noticeable feature is how quiet this grinder is. Like the other new Mignons, the Perfetto is quiet enough to use at 4AM without waking the kids or the neighbors. It really is impressive how quiet these things get while still offering fast, consistent, and powerful grinding.

    On the usability front, the Perfetto offers timed dosing controlled by a vibrant and beautiful touch screen. While the interface is very simple, it's a huge step up from the manual control of the Silenzio and other non timed grinders. With a little but of time spent dialing in you'll be able to grind without needing to weigh your dose thanks to this timing. This cuts down on time spent prepping your shot, which is always a plus. It is worth noting that this touch screen is resistive, which means that pressure on the screen is what works the buttons. This can feel a little tacky in the age of capacitive touch phone screens, and you have to be careful not to press too hard. We didn't feel this detracted from how useful and striking the screen is.

    The other major usability feature is the EZ dial. This stepless dial has a guide on it that will help you find the starting point for your brew. While you'll still want to take time to dial in espresso shots, this dial will at least help you find where to start, and gives you a good guide for brewing drip or press. We did find that getting down into the Turkish level was really the sweet spot for espresso, so your mileage may vary.

    Conclusion

    Aside from usability features, this grinder features the solid construction and excellent burrs that you'd expect from a Eureka grinder. While a little smaller than it's big brother, these burrs still do a great job grinding your coffee quickly and consistently. The footprint and durability of the Perfetto is also excellent, we don't expect to hear of many problems with this workhorse.

    Ultimately, the Mignon Perfetto is an excellent exercise in combining simplicity, usability, and durability. Get yours here today!

  • Video Roundup: 7/27/2018

    Happy Friday!

    Time for another video round up featuring some awesome clips from Gail and John!

    First, feast your eyes on the Jura S8 in this crew review with Gail!

    Next, we joined John for some portafilter tips!

    Finally, something... Silent? This way comes, in an exciting sneak peak of some fantastic new grinders!

    Enjoy! And make some coffee you love this weekend for us!

  • On the Grind: All About Grinders—Part 3

    Welcome to the third part in our educational series on grinders! So far we've discussed burrs, motors, control settings, and more.

    This week we're closing out our Grinder focus with some talk about the odds and ends of various grinders.

     

    Hoppers of All Sizes!

     

    There's no doubt that the stuff we've covered already (burrs, motors, control, etc.) are what really matter when it comes to selecting a grinder. With that said, different options do offer a range of other add-ons that can sweeten the deal.

    Let's start with hoppers

    The Eureka Drogheria (pictured here) is an example of a commercial grinder with a huge hopper. Hopper size is mostly important for commercial settings like cafés, but if you are the kind of consumer that drinks one kind of coffee all the time, being able to dump whole bags of beans in can be a nice feature.

    It is worth mentioned that in many cases you can swap out or replace hoppers down the road. This isn't always the case though, so it's best to find out ahead of time if your grinder choice has the ability to change hoppers before you buy.

     

    If you plan to brew with lots of different roasts for different methods, hopper size may not be an issue for you at all!

     

    Dosers Galore!

     

    Some grinders grind directly into a portafilter or container for quick brewing. Often these grinders will have some sort of control method controlled by a scale or timer to stop grinding. The other option for controlling flow of coffee out of a grinder is doser.

     

    Grinders with dosers feature a chamber on the front that the grounds go into after grinding. From there, you can use a lever to feed grounds into a portafilter or container. It's a great way to control the dose of your coffee and cut down on mess and waste. This type of grounder is particularly useful for espresso, as you'll usually be dosing into a portafilter. You definitely would not need to worry about shopping for dosers if you intend to brew press or drip coffee!

     

    Pictureed here is the Mazzer Mini E Type A!

     

     

    Scales, Timers, and Screens, Oh My!

     

    There's a lot of other odds and ends out there on grinders. The Eureka KRE uses a vibrant, bright display to walk you through options like single or double shots, and uses a timer to grind individual shots. You can set the grind time for single and double shots, then trigger a shot with the click of a trigger!

     

    The Baratza Sette Wi (pictured) offers Acaia scale technology to grind by weight instead of time. This gives your very precise grinding with just a little bit of extra set up time. It also features a screen that provides feedback and details about your grind settings.

    Where to Begin?

    We've discussed all of the basics that you should know before you set out on your grinder shopping adventure. So what's next?

    First, you should determine exactly what kind of coffee you want to make. Are you planning on making drip or press? Pourover? Espresso? This decision will help you avoid wasting time and money on a grinder you'll just replace, and will give you a starting point.

    From there it's all about research. Using the info in this guide, look at things like burr type and size, motor speed, control type, hopper size, dosing control, etc. to really guarantee a great purchase. Now go forth and grind!

    P.S. For some starting points, the Baratza Encore is a great drip and press grinder to start out with and the Breville Dose Control Pro offers a good starting point for espresso!

     

     

     

     

     

  • Video Roundup - 7/13/2018

    Happy Friday!

    It's time for another video roundup!

    First, we joined Gail for a look at preinfusion and why it matters:

    Next, we got the low down on tamping from John:

    Finally, we joined Gail for a Crew Review of the Nuova Simonelli G60!

    Have a great weekend, and remember to make coffee you love!

  • On the Grind: All About Grinders—Part 2

    Last week we talked about the basics of burrs and grinders. You can find that post here!

    This week it's all about control and motors. Let's jump in!

    Control

    Grind control is another extremely important aspect of choosing a grinder. When we talk about "control" we mean opening and closing the burrs of the grinder to achieve a finer or coarser grind. Finer grounds are used for espresso and Turkish coffee. Coarser grinds are typically used for drip and press brew methods.

    There are two different control methods most commonly found on coffee grinders: stepped and stepless. Stepped grinders tend to "click" into place at set intervals. This is very useful if you need to switch between drip and press grind levels. On the other hand, stepless grinders don't feature this clicking between settings. Instead, they smoothly adjust from setting to setting. While this can make switching back and forth a pain, it helps for dialing in the perfect expresso grind immensely.

    But what does this mean for you? You should look for a control type that fits your needs. Stepless is great for espresso fans, while stepped grinders are better if you switch between drip and press methods a lot.

    Motors

    Also of great importance is the motor in your grinder! This can be a hard thing to gauge without trying a grinder for yourself, but it's a key part of the machine. The motor spins the burrs in the grinder, which, of course, grinds the beans. The biggest concern when considering motors is reliability. It's easy to replace burrs, and controls very rarely fail, but a bad motor can be costly to fix.

    Motor quality can be hard to judge, but generally you can feel it when the grinder kicks on. Motors will sound consistent and strong if they are of good quality. You should also notice some torque when it comes on as well.

    The other aspects of a motor are volume, speed, and consistency. Noise reduction can be achieved with baffling and other techniques, but speed and consistency are all in the motor! You'll want a motor that works fast, but stays consistent with it's grinding. This is fairly easy to achieve with home grinders, but often techniques like gear reduction will be used to manage speed and consistency on commercial machines.

     

    What's next?

    Next week we'll dive even deeper and discuss all of the odds and ends that put grinders over the top. Join us then, and remember to make coffee you love!

     

  • Gear of the Month: Eureka KRE Espresso Grinder

     

    For this month's Gear of the Month we're featuring the Eureka KRE. This mammoth grinder has been our primary source for espresso grinding for the last month, and we love it! But at this price we needed to be impressed. This is an expensive machine designed for demanding commercial environments, but in that environment it excels.

    Overview

    The Eureka KRE features large, 68mm conical burrs, stepless adjustment, bottom burr adjust, and timed dosing controlled by a bright, easy to use interface.

    It's an expensive grinder, with much of the cost being driven by the large burrs and powerful, gear-reduction motor. In general, the KRE offers stable grinding and is quick despite its gear-reduced low RPMs. It is also extremely consistent, requiring limited adjustment after dialing in.

    Burrs and Motor

    The 68mm conical burrs are the real stars of this grinder. It's rare to see a large format conical grinder come out, and this one is already at the top of the grinding game. These burrs feed beans extremely well, and we haven't experienced any jams after thousands of shots.

    These burrs also adjust at the bottom burr, below the motor. This is a great feature when it comes to cleaning the KRE. Because of the way the motor and burrs are assembled, you can open the grinder up for cleaning and maintenance without modifying the grind setting. This means you won't need to re-dial the grinder, which means less wasted coffee, and less time spent doing maintenance.

    Speaking of the motor, the KRE's high powered motor really kicks when you fire it up. This is a good sign, as it indicates a high quality motor. This grinder features gear reduction to lower the RPMs as well. This means that it takes full advantage of a powerful motor, while still providing consistent grinding without clogging. What's more, even with gear reduction this is still an incredibly quick grinder.

    Odds and Ends

    Everything else about the KRE is just as dreamy as the motor, burrs, and adjustment. This grinder features a sturdy portafilter holder, a clicky grind trigger that feels just resistant enough, and timed dosing controlled with a bright, vibrant screen.

    The dosing timer can be set for double or single shots, which allows one grind with the click of the trigger for either need. With a 2.2 lb hopper you will be able to handle a bag or so of coffee at a time as well.

    The Verdict

    It all ties together to make a great piece of technology that is as reliable as it is efficient. We did find that it has more retention issues than we were hoping, which is a negative, but with everything else this grinder has going on it's hardly a deal breaker. The biggest concern with this model is, of course, the price. But the grinder you choose for your café or restaurant should be one of the most important purchases you make, and the Eureka KRE justifies its price tag in numerous ways.

    Check it out here for yourself, and remember to make coffee you love!

  • On the Grind: All About Grinders—Part 1

    One of the most essential parts of the coffee brewing process is grinding your coffee beans. Whether you're brewing in a press, pourover, drip brewer, or (especially) pulling espresso shots, having a reliable grinder is extremely important. That said, it's not easy to shop for a grinder, there's a lot that goes into selecting the right one for your kitchen. But we're here to help! We'll be taking a look at what makes these machines tick, and what you should look out for when purchasing. Let's get grinding!

    Why Bother?

    At a basic level, grinders are just motorized devices for making your whole coffee beans fit for brewing. So why not just buy whole bean? Why not grind them at the store? These are great questions.

    Beans are at their most flavorful just after grinding, so ideally you'll brew with them within a few hours of having ground them. pre-ground coffee offers less in terms of flavor notes, and generally just produces a standard "coffee" flavor, with strength dependent on dose and roast level. To get at the real flavor notes of specialty coffee, you'll want to grind it fresh.

    On top of that, different brew methods require difference grind levels. For pourover coffee, as an example, you typically want a consistency closer to rock salt. By contrast, espresso requires a much finer grind, one that isn't even possible with most coffee grinders.

    Blades Vs. Burrs

    So you're ready to buy a grinder, but why not just grab a $20 blade grinder at the grocery store? It turns out, for a number of reasons. Blade grinders are simply a pair of blades that spin at high speeds and slice beans to pieces. They are extremely inconsistent, and offer no control over grind level. On top of all that, they have to be replaced frequently as the blades dull.

    Burr grinders, on the other hand, provide a great degree of control and consistency. They also tend to last far longer than blade grinders, and can be maintained for years and years with proper cleaning and part replacement.

    But what is a burr?

    Burr Science

    Burr grinders use two plates to grind beans. These plates can be made of a variety of materials, but the most common are steel and ceramic. In the case of most home grinders, the plates will be flat, and sit on top of each other. Some higher end commercial grinders use conical burrs, with a cone shaped burr fitting inside of a funnel shaped burr.

    In any case, the burrs will have bumps and nobs that work to grind the beans as they are fed in from a hopper. Typically, a knob can be used to control how far apart the burrs are, thus controlling how fine the grounds are after grinding.

    Material Matters

    Arguably the most important aspect when purchasing a home grinder is the material and control method for the burrs. We'll discuss control and why it matters next week, but of these two aspects, burr material is the more relevant here.

    As noted above, burrs are typically made out of hardened steel or ceramic. There are some very high end coatings, but what you will see in 95% of home grinders (and even commercial) will be steel or ceramic, and each has its pros and cons.

    Steel burrs are strong and efficient, but they also tend to dull over time. Because of the nature of burrs, re-sharpening can be a challenge, so after several years the burrs may need to be replaced.

    Ceramic burrs generally solve the problem of dulling, and offer highly consistent grinding. They are, of course, more likely to shattering if a bad bean or other debris gets caught within the grinder.

    Both materials, however, are completely viable and should last years.

    Join us next week as we dive into the specifics of grind control and motors!

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