Are you a home espresso enthusiast that wants to up your coffee experience? You'll need a solid grinder. We've been there, tried to go without. “We don't need a grinder,” we said. But let's face facts, friends: in this day and age, if you want to make cappuccino at home you're going to have to bite the bullet at get a grinder. Good cappuccino doesn't fall out of the sky. And in this economy, you can't just pass a grinder on the street and ask to bum a grind from some stranger, and you certainly can't pick one up at a bar. Believe us, we've tried.
Our grinder experiences have varied, from one night flings to dramatic tear-streamed breakups to true, sweet, undying love. We've had some unfortunate run-ins with clumpy grounds, static in the sheets, and those dreaded locked burrs (the result of ticky-tacky manufacturing practices). We don't want you to make the same mistakes we've made, so we've listed five great grinders for you to put on your cruising list, each one we met (or spent the night with again) at the 2015 SCAA Event. We wouldn't kick these grinders out of bed for eating crackers.
This one's from Spain! We love Spain. Indeed, we hear good things about the interesting grinder encounters you can have while on holiday in Barcelona. But this year, Compak has unveiled two beautiful grinders at SCAA, with fine-tune knob adjusters, strapless collars, and a great big powerful motor. These grinders were literally fending off matches, but we spent a little time together and you know what? We felt a connection there.
Grind adjustment similar to Mazzer, strapless collar,
Finer tuned grind adjustment, via a knob.
Who doesn't love the dashing good looks of the EK43? People are actually obsessed with this grinder. But has it all gone to EK's head? Is he a terrible primadonna now, always checking his phone, looking for a better match, and bumping you down the wait list? Perhaps you enjoy a grinder with a smaller footprint, or more your size. We get it. Mahlkönig has been developing the PEAK, a K30 body with very similar design as the EK43's innards. It's like all the bulk and stamina of a big bad EK43 in a more compact body. Daddy likes.
“K30 body, complete overhaul on the inside.”
80mm cast steel burrs, come as close as possible to stuffing an EK43 into the K30. Still in test stages.
No potentiometer, simpler buttons. Increased rpm.
Cooling fans on motor, one on bottom and one on rear, large fans.
Beefier hardware, frankly.
Adjustable spout with lighting system.
Ships in or around July 2015.
Now here's something even more compact. It's the La Marzocco Lux-D grinder, shipping in a combo-pack with the cute-as-buttons Linea Mini. These sturdy machines were dutifully pulling shots at the La Marzocco Home Experience bar all weekend long at SCAA, and come in all kinds of colors.
The Lux-D grinder is a collaboration with Mazzer. Lux-D pairs well with home machines, but consistent dosing and increased burr size mean he's a great option for cafés looking to add a second, or even a third partner to their ongoing grinder relationship.
$975 list price.
Here's a grinder we keep coming back to. Once dubbed the Sexiest Grinder Alive, the Forte has been stealing hearts at the SCAA Event for years now, and we can't enough. Scales, LEDs, and built strong, with a price point that we can really sink our teeth into.
$899 for ceramic / $919 for steel
The Breville's in the details, as they say, and this spunky new-comer to the show makes for an impressive entry-level grinder for the espresso enthusiast. The Breville Smart Grinder Pro, well, it's easy as all get out, with Breville's signature intuitive buttons. Perfect for the home espresso geek on a budget.
Digital interface offers 60 grind sizes, from espresso to French press.
You can dose by shots, and the grinder comes with gauges for different portafilter sizes (58 or 54).
Digital timer offers precision up to .2 seconds.
Hands-free grinding (no judgements).
Adjustable top burr to tighten or loosen the potential Grinder match range.
Photos by Charlie Burt.