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Battle of the Big Grinders.
les_albjerg
I just finished 6 hours of testing the Mazzer Major against the Macap MK7R. Since I don't know how to post pictures to this forum, I have put a picture on my website, www.thortamper.com/grinder.html. In some ways I think this shootout was a better matchup than some of the activity that went on over at home-barista. So here is the tale of the tape.

Mazzer Major
83mm flat burrs
1600 rpm
650 watt
895.00 steet price

Macap MK7R
63mm Conical Burrs
400 rpm
400 watt
995.00 street price


For those who don't want to read all the details, the bottom line is they are both great grinders and I wish I could keep them both! However there are differences worth noting.

My first test was with my signature blend. This is a blend that I have enjoyed over and over. It is a post roast blended coffee of 4 beans. It had been rested for 5 days and it was at its peak. This is an espresso test. The second test was with a commercial roasted blend.
I used the US Braista Champainship Espresso Blend from Coffee Klatch. The third test was 5 day rested Ethiopia Idido Misty Valley, as a S.O. The 4th test was Idido Misty Valley that was 5 days old, but roasted way too fast. The 5th test was Idido Misty Valley that is 28 days old. The last two tests were to see what the grinders do with abused coffee.

My first job was to dial in each grinder. This was done based on volume of the pull and I used my Expobar Office Control. With its electonic controls all shots were done with an 8 second preinfusion and a 22 second pull. What I discovered in general is the Conical has a much bigger sweet spot than the Flat Burr grinder. With that said, Once each grinder was dialed in I could taste the differences in the grind, but I really couldn't judge one grinder better than the other. The Conical brings out the fruit notes more that the flat burr. There is a richness in the flat burr that I couldn't get out of the conical. I would have to rate all three of my first experments as producing excellent shots. I then moved to Cappos from all three and they too were excellent.

The big difference came with the abused homeroast and the stale homeroast. The Conical did not tolerate these coffees near as well as the flat burr grinder. Just as the conical brings out the fruited notes in the roast more than the flat burr, it brings out the stale flavors of an old roast and the bite of a poor profiled roast. So forgiveness seems to go two ways. Grind sizes is more forgiving in the Concial. Roasting profile is more forgiving in the flat burr.

Will I be giving up my Mazzer Major for a Macap MK7R? No. What I learned this morning is I have been sloppy in setting up my grind. When I worked at getting the Major dialed in, I was getting just as excellent of a cup as with the Macap. However it is a little different. The best shot of the day was a SO of the Idido Misty Valley that was a mix of both grinders at their ideal sweet spots! I had the fruit of the Macap and the rich chocolate finish of the Mazzer. With the minor differences in these two grinders, I don't think you can go wrong with either one. I am convinced that these big grinders are the only way to go to get the most out of your coffee. Next weekend the Macap will be taking on the Zassenhaus. The David vs Goliath battle of the Conicals. So stay tuned.

Les
 
David
Here is the picture from www.thortamper.co...inder.html
David attached the following image:
BigGrinders-336x450[555].jpg
 
Dan
Les, Thanks for doing this. Not many of us have access to these large countertop grinders, let along two side-by-side. Very interesting. How do they compare to the Mazzer Mini? More of us home roasters have that grinder, myself included. Dan
 
les_albjerg
Thanks for adding the pictures. I need to learn how to do this. I did a head to head with the Mazzer Mini a number of years ago. I had a Mini at my house for 3 months. I was thinking seriously about selling the Major and getting a Mini until I tested them head to head. There is an amazing difference in the complexity of the cup using the bigger grinders. I think a lot of folks upgrade and upgrade espresso machines hoping to get a better brew wihen the issue is the grinder. I don't like the way Mazzer cheapened the Mini with using aluminuim in the carrier. I think it flexes causing an uneven grind. In many ways the Rancilio Rocky is built better. This is one area where the Rocky is more solid than the Mini. The other big difference the mini has 58mm burrs and the Major has 83mm burrs. Grinding time is lightning quick with the Major compared to the Mini. With all of that said, I must confess that we are in the quest for the best here. I still think you can get an awesome cup of coffee from a Rocky or better grinder. That said, I think I am getting better espresso from my Expobar - Major combination than I could get from a LaSpaziale - Mini combination.

Les
 
Dan
Les, thanks for the comparison. I'm not so interested in speed. Are you saying that the Major has a steel or cast iron carrier? Just curious. Dan
 
les_albjerg
Dan,
My only interest in speed is the faster the grind the less heat build up. :@ The carrier in the Super Jolly and Major are marine brass and stainless steel.

Les
 
farmroast
Les Your "Grinder Blends" sound interesting. Now you can tweak the % of macap- major.s:2 With the higher hp and the 83mm burrs you can really "hear" the difference in the major vs the jolly or mini. The rpm stay very consistent on the major. Haven't tried the large macap. Ed
Ed B.
DreamRoast 1kg roaster, Levers, Hand Mills http://coffee-roa...gspot.com/
 
Dan
Les, I'm not positive, but I believe that increasing speed means the beans will heat more. To increase speed you have to increase energy input (the Major is 650W, remember) yielding increased heat, not less.

For instance, if you grind very, very, very slowly, as in a hand grinder, the beans won't heat up at all since they have lots of time to dissapate frictional heat to the environment. As you shorten grinding time you also intensfy heat.

On the other end of the scale are the large industrial mills that grind tons per hour. They generate so much heat they are water cooled!

The mitigating factor here is that the way we grind, in tiny batches, means those large burrs have time to cool between batches. Their huge heat latency (?) actually cools the beans at first, but eventually friction will heat them up. I wouldn't be surprised if using the Major to grind a few ounces of coffee at a time would yield cooler beans, but if you start grinding a few pounds at a time I think you'll be seeing more heat, not less.

Frankly, the temperature difference between the Major and the Mini are probably going to be so slight that it won't matter. I imagine that the flavor differences your are observing have to do with grind uniformity and not heat.

I'm going to measure the MM grinder heat after I bring my DVM home from work. It has a bead TC, very quick acting. I'll meaure bean temp before grinding, temp in the output chute during grinding, and then ground temp immedicately after grinding and see what the incrase is. Dan
 
farmroast
The way I looked at it , As the blades heat up from grinding and come in contact with a bean. I would think the faster they can accomplish their shave the less amount of heat has time to transfer to the grounds. So then it is about temp of burrs./time of contact with burrs. How hot do the burrs get after x amount of time of grinding on a mini to major. and then the grinds exposer time of the two, sec. to grind/x amount of coffee. I'm a total Major fan s:1 guess that's why I have 13 of them at present!
Edited by farmroast on 10/14/2007 3:32 PM
Ed B.
DreamRoast 1kg roaster, Levers, Hand Mills http://coffee-roa...gspot.com/
 
Dan
The answer lies in testing, there are just too many factors at work. Here are the results of one test on a Mazzer Mini. This is the average of three grinds, all were the first grind of the day, so the grinder was at room temperature.

Beans before grinding: 81.4?
Grounds exiting the chute: 88.3?
Ground in the doser: 85.3?

So, you can see the grounds are being heated. That isn't surprising, we are adding energy to them, and they are experiencing some friction, which turns into heat.

Les, would you measure those larger grinders? I used a 28 ga. (very fine wire) bead TC connected to my DVM.
Edited by Dan on 10/17/2007 8:52 AM
 
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