Six grinders one coffee with a spring lever espresso machine and heavenly donuts

One coffee:
Workshop Coffee Co
Cult of Done Espresso
La Ilusion Santa Ana Region, El Salvador;
Fully washed process;
95%Bourbon, 5% Pacamara
Roasted on 2013 July 30th

Six Grinders:
1: Mazzer Robur E, 71mm conical, 420rpm
2: Eureka Olympus KR, 68mm conical, 330rpm
3: Compak K10, 68mm conical, 420rpm
4: Eureka Olympus 75, 75mm flat, 920rpm
5: Anfirm Super Caimano, 75mm flat, 800rpm
6: mahlkonig EK43T, 98mm flat, 1480rpm

Spring Lever machine:
Bosco Espresso 2 groups,
pressurestat set at 1.1bar; hybrid direct dipper (groups not direct mount to boiler); spring pressure: static 11bar, dynamic on SCACE2: max 6.55bar then drops; brew water temp in SCACE2: max 93.2c then drops 3c during extraction

Brew Recipe: 18g dry on VST basket, then as close as possible to 10s preinfusion, add 25s on first drop, +-30g brew.
We don’t have a refractometer to measure extraction %, so if anyone like to know and has the instrument we are happy for them to come and measure.
Another note is that we try to dial in to get the flavour as close to the dry grind fragrance as possible.

Tamping: we nutate and tamp flat the grind so it is as similar as possible for all the 6 grinders.

Scale: 0.1g increment

Water: Everpure Claris filter set at 2

It is with naked portafilter, so we can observe buttom of basket to see how coffee exit the basket and the changes through out the brew.

On the EK43T, we have no experience like Jeremy had and his updates was not published yet when we were testing,  so we did not have any sieves, VST refractometer, etc. http://www.prufrockcoffee.com/2013/08/the-kaminsky-report/
What we did was weight beans, drop into grinder, cup to collect and had knocked the chute, drop grind into portafilter with paper cup funnel, shake to break clumps and make it as uniform as possible, then tamp.

We had about 6-7 rounds of test for those who thankfully came but lost count of dialling in and repeated test in between.

But I have to say, although the intention is to have as close a dry weight, tamp method/ weight, group temperature, shot time and brew weight as possible, due to my ‘skill’ there is unfortunately a fair amount of inconsistency particularly in serving them to taste. So I am more than grateful for those who came and took part!

At the end of the day, I did the whole set again, 2 cups per grinder to understand inconsistencies and have the following thoughts, with reference and  feed backs I had from those who came:

1. Robur: a powerful punch of flavours; baker chocolate/almond bitterness then red stone fruit acidity/ sweetness with lingering baker choc/ almond
The layers/ sequence are packed really tight. Most taster said they didn’t like the cup: “bitter, sour ….”. Some comment the lever machine temperature is inconsistence ( not according to SCAE2 test), but somehow corresponded to taste description above, too punchy/ intense and tight.

2. Eureka Olympus KR: softer delicate experience: clean red stone fruit acidity follows by sudden spike of fresh lemonade acidity/ stone fruit sweetness / very tiny almost undetectable hint of baker choc/among bitter-sweet. Layers/ sequence of flavours are clear and distinct yet joints up one after another softly distinctively with clarity. General taster comment was this was rather acidic, not the unpleasant one. After being at Ben Kaminsky workshop, I wonder whether this sudden peak of acidity is ‘sour’ note by underextract of larger grinds or not…

Perhaps the smaller burr with different geometry in the burr’s cutting design and low rpm made it tasting rather unique among the espresso grinders.
This is a DIY doser less with timer, I am suspecting if we has the doser chamber it might even made extraction ‘better’?

3. Compak K10 on demand: distinctive but not overwhelming (unlike Robur) strength. Soft Red stone fruit acidity / sweet red stone fruit dominant than acidity, intertwine with hint of baker chocolate/almond bittersweet. It felt rounded big sweet juicy that is balance easy to drink cup without delicate details, similar to 5. Anfirm. Most taster like the taste from this grinder.

It will be nteresting to investigate further the burr geometry difference vs Eureka KR (same size) Yet with the speed it has (same as Robur in rpm but different size is slightly slower) it is perfect for busy coffee shop yet more pleasant in taste.

4. Eureka Olympus 75: weighted intensity, red stone fruit acidity then a short peak of preserved lemon (in salt) with clear presence of baker choc/almond bittersweetness/ red stone fruit sweetness. Aroma has hint of vanilla/ mash mellow. Intensity and tasting notes made this drink just slightly less aggressive than Robur E but not as easy drinking as other.
(Will clean out grinder to re-evaluate) Most taster dislike the cup with similar tasting note as the Robur E.

The new on demand feature is very simple to set and quick access to manual over ride. Dosing is neat and clean with LED lights at perfect location. Yet, we ran out of time to check dose acquiesce and repeat ability ( we did manual on all machine)

5. Anfirm 75mm flat burr: it is well rounded Red stone fruit acidity/sweetness and a hint of the baker chocolate/ almond bittersweet at the end. Sweetness is more dominant than acidity here. It is similar to the K10. Most taster also like the taste from this machine as well, the sweetness seems the best seller.

We have not yet check the geometry of burr vs Eureka’s 75mm but suspecting the taste difference could be the rpm is lower and doser chamber helps to ‘even out ‘ grinds. ( update on burrs: the Eureka has a slight (1-2mm) wider burr cut area to the Anfirm)

6. Mahlkonig EK43T: soft uniform taste of mild baker chocolate/ almond bitterness, second soft of all behind Eureka KR/bright light red stone fruit acidity/ red stone fruit sweetness. They are all softly evenly layered without one dominating others similar to the KR. Most taster like the cup, saying it is more variety of flavors in there yet not overpowering/ unpleasant.

Evenness of how coffee exit filter basket depends a lot on whether the grinds are shaken/ tossed inside the funnelling cup before tamping, hopefully I will get better insights in the technique after Tuesday’s workshop.

It was extremely satisfying that one can weight 18.2g and get 18.1/2g out so quick (grind time 3-4sec) in dialling in espresso easily. It is similar with Versalab M3 or the new HG One hand grind in the process, with little to no retention. (Not comparing grind quality/time, just retention amount)
Perhaps shortening the legs/ lowering into the bar helps visually, and perhaps using a hopper with dosing device like the Versalab could work in shop environment ( then post sieving/ weighting again) where as now is perfect when one has small amount of sample to taste.

We did not have the chance yet to measure grind temperature, it felt like a +5c increase but will do more later in the week.

We were aware of the difference of the two conical grinders at the bar in Exhibit Golden Lane but never had a chance to taste side by side with the ones we have today. So even though it was not that scientific, with doubtful level of consistency, it was still insightful to be able to do it and get an impression of it all.

It is the beginning in trying to understand something very complex, I hope this hands in study can continue ! ( need helps to get more grinders, measuring device for grind size, sieves, microscope to see grind shapes, accurate scales (0.01 accuracy?), thermometer, humidity checks, pump base espresso machines, different roast style of coffee, more tasters….. Anyone? )

Of course, hopefully we will have another chance to do more insightful espresso tasting in addition to Coffeeshots after Ben Kaminsky class on Tuesday night.

Thank you to those that came and super support from the team at Dunnfrankowski and super tasty donuts from Chloe!

Note: cups of coffee are in order of the grinders….

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3 thoughts on “Six grinders one coffee with a spring lever espresso machine and heavenly donuts

  1. fatnancy says:

    i’d be intrigued to see a comparison of hand grinder vs machine

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