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Best coffee grinder

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#1 hotchilliwoman

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:42 AM

Hi, just wondering if anyone grinds their own coffee and could recommend a grinder to purchase? It would be good if it could do spices too.


#2 *LucyE*

Posted 21 January 2013 - 03:50 PM

We have a dedicated coffee grinder. DH is a coffee snob though.

What he looked for was a conical burr
grinder which creates even sized grinds with lots of surface area. You can get cheap or expensive ones. The main difference is mainly quality. Both will start out well.

We personally feel that good quality coffee grinds purchased in small quantities from a reliable distributor is better than freshly but inferior ground coffee. Others feel differently I'm sure. We have an espresso machine which may make the difference more noticeable than say, a plunger.

And as for spices, I prefer a mortar and pestle to get the best flavour.

#3 Feraldadathome

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:45 PM

I wouldn't use my coffee grinder for spices, either a motar and pestle or basic blade grinder.

As a starter grinder the Sunbeam EM0480 at around $200 full price (although often on special or thrown in when purchasing their EM6800 series machines) is the cheapest reasonable machine for espresso grinding. The Brevile smartgrinder at $299 is better, and then you can go up progressively from there.

#4 Stellajoy

Posted 21 January 2013 - 05:49 PM

Depends how much you are into coffee. Do you buy it fresh (5 days after roasting is best)?

Look for a burr grinder not a blade one. It won't do spices though.

#5 hotchilliwoman

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:11 PM

Thanks everyone, I was given an espresso machine and I haven't really been happy with the taste of the coffee it makes. I don't have a huge coffee knowledge but it tends to taste a bit burnt or bitter to me.

I have been blaming the machine but DH thinks it could be the coffee I have bought ( ground -from the supermarket)

We stayed with friends on the weekend and they made beautiful coffee, they told me they grind their own so I thought that might be the answer. I didn't realise a good grinder would cost so much though...sounds like I have a fair bit to learn about coffee!

#6 Feraldadathome

Posted 21 January 2013 - 08:41 PM

QUOTE (hotchilliwoman @ 21/01/2013, 09:11 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I didn't realise a good grinder would cost so much though...

Sorry to say, but the ones I mentioned really are the cheapies for decent espresso grinding. I bought my EM0480 secondhand via coffesnobs for about $!30 - look for specials.

And buy fresh coffee rather than supermarkt if you can, although grinding fresh can help. There is so much to learn about the types of beans and blends (too much robusta in the blend is often bitter), let alone the grind size, dosing (ie. how much coffe to use) and tamping. And extraction original.gif

#7 *LucyE*

Posted 21 January 2013 - 09:26 PM

Coffee making is a bit of an art and relies a bit on the users' feel of the machine. There are so many variable to get a really good cup of coffee that I've resorted to using a pod machine at home.

What sort of machine do you have?  Is it manual, auto or semi auto?  Does it have enough consistent pressure?

Coffee. Naturally, freshly roasted and ground on demand is best but not everyone has access, drinks enough or wants to go to that trouble. I found the specialist coffee grinds to be reasonable if we used them within a week. Supermarket coffee does not compare. Stuff sitting around in dodgy cafes doesn't compare either. You really want beans that are within a week of roasting.

Then you have the issue of grind fineness. Different machines have different quirks and this is where having your own grinder is good because you can practise to find the perfect grind on a cup by cup basis. Buying pre packs can get expensive but you might find the right grind size. A good coffee specialist will offer different grinds for different applications.

Filling and tamping.  Using the right sized head thingy is important to get enough coffee in. We found the singles for our machine (Rancillio) to be next to useless. The double was needed to fit enough coffee in, to make a single cup. There was a trick to the tamping/push down of the grinds. Again, it's trial and error to get the right pressure so that the water doesn't rush down the edges but is forced through all the coffee grinds to extract all that yummy flavour.

The test DH uses for playing with the different variables, is to have a good coffee made in 25 seconds from when the button is pushed to it stopping. He's a long black drinker and we adjust from there. So, 25 seconds for 60mL of good strong coffee with a good crema with no lingering bitter or sourness.

If it takes longer to get that amount, your grind is too fine/too compacted from tamping. If it takes less time, your grind is too coarse/not tamped enough. You mentioned it tastes bitter (ignoring for now, the coffee beans themselves and their unique flavours), is usually a sign of over extraction so not enough coffee grinds/too coarse a grind/under tamped.

Anyway, there's a heap of coffee experts out there who love talking about coffee on the various forums. I would play around with the basics to firstly make an unobjectionable cup using preground coffee and then invest in a decent grinder later. You may find that you don't drink enough coffee at home to make it worthwhile or maybe your machine isn't up to scratch and doesn't perform consistently. It does require a bit of an addiction to make a good cup of coffee at home biggrin.gif

#8 *~*Melinda*~*

Posted 22 January 2013 - 12:22 AM

we buy our coffee from here and grind on the sunbeam burr grinder it takes a bit of playing around to get the grind and floavour right but once you do its heaven


#9 hotchilliwoman

Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:38 PM

My machine is similar to this one


Thanks LucyE, I may have to adjust the amount I am tamping, or maybe I should use the two cup filter for the one cup?

Thanks Melinda I will check out the website.

What is the "crema"?

#10 Feraldadathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 02:46 PM

QUOTE (hotchilliwoman @ 22/01/2013, 03:38 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
My machine is similar to this one


Thanks LucyE, I may have to adjust the amount I am tamping, or maybe I should use the two cup filter for the one cup?

Thanks Melinda I will check out the website.

What is the "crema"?

Store bough tpre-ground is rarely fine enough for espresso, even if it says it is on the packet. Overdosing and tamping as hard as you possibly can might almost get you somewhere.

Whole beans stay fresher longer than ground coffee, and freshly ground coffee also retains more of its oils than even vacuum sealed pre-ground. I agree with PP that it can take some playing around with the grind to get what you want, and dosing (ie. the amount of coffee youput in the portafilter) and tamping can also make a difference.

Crema is the lighter coloured creamy liquid that should be on top of a black coffee, which contains many of the oils and flavours.

#11 hotchilliwoman

Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:07 PM

Ok I just tested the machine using the two cup filter and it had crema on the top! But I got 60ml in under 20 seconds, so that might be too fast? So I need to put more in and tamp it down a bit harder?

#12 weepingangel

Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:13 PM

We have the breville smart grinder and it's pretty good.

A coffee grinder ( and fresh beans) is more important than your machine!

Coffee snobs has a good forum where you can find out heaps of info.


#13 Feraldadathome

Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:13 PM

QUOTE (hotchilliwoman @ 22/01/2013, 04:07 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Ok I just tested the machine using the two cup filter and it had crema on the top! But I got 60ml in under 20 seconds, so that might be too fast? So I need to put more in and tamp it down a bit harder?

Yes, it's worth a try. Do you have a separate tamper? If you do, put the portafilter down near the edge of the cupboard and really lean on the tamper two or three times.

I've had an espresso machine for about 16 years, but a grinder for almost two (a few months after I upgraded the machine), so understand the pain of pre-ground, or even ground by a specialist roaster and brought straight home. My experience has been that buying a half decent grinder has had a far greater impact on my coffee than upgrading the espresso machine.

#14 AllyK81

Posted 22 January 2013 - 03:23 PM

We have a Rancillo Rocky grinder and it's awesome.

We use it with an Otto espresso machine - bliss!

I wouldn't put spices in Rocky, though - use a mortar and pestle for that.

We mix up where we buy fresh beans from - Sensory Lab @ DJ's is good, as is Proud Mary (if you're in Melbourne).

Now I want a coffee!!

#15 *LucyE*

Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

Ok I just tested the machine using the two cup filter and it had crema on the top! But I got 60ml in under 20 seconds, so that might be too fast? So I need to put more in and tamp it down a bit harder?

Ok, to confuse you some more original.gif  I had a quick look at that link and it looks like a small machine. Does it have enough pressure?  If it doesn't have enough pressure, finer grinds and tamping too much can cause problems too. I'm not trying to be difficult, but these adjustments can only work so much within the bigger picture. I agree with dadathome that freshly ground coffee makes more of a difference than the machine but I believe that's working off a certain base level of machine.

Are you preheating the machine for long enough to allow it to build up enough pressure?  When we were using the proper machine at home, we had a timer turn it on an hour before we wanted coffee.

Are you preheating the basket/head thingo?  It's useful to flush out the machine and heat up the head so it is all warm and less temperature variation for when do do actually make the coffee. For machines that don't have much pressure, it also then gives a more accurate pressure reading.

How are you filling the basket?  I found it to be messy at home which is one of the reasons why we don't use it anymore. DH would grind and over fill the basket. Then he would wipe off the excess with his finger so it was level. Even over a container, this results in blasted coffee grinds everywhere (sorry, one of my bug bears). Then he would place it on the bench and give it one simple tamp. He bought a different tamper to the one that came with the machine to give a better 'tamp' (cue eye rolling lol). If the tamper doesn't fit snugly to the sides, the coffee isn't being evenly compacted so the water will travel the path of least resistance rather than give you an even extraction.

Anyway, keep playing around and when you get that awesome cup of coffee, you'll feel an immense sense of satisfaction.

Oh, just thought I'd mention that as dadathome mentioned, coffee grinds dry out quickly so if you are still using the same bag of coffee, your technique may need to change a little when you open a new bag/borrow some from your friends etc.

#16 Chaos in stereo

Posted 22 January 2013 - 09:41 PM


Edited by Chaos in stereo, 26 August 2013 - 05:03 PM.

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