Bodum Antigua Burr Grinder – Review

October 11, 2005

Bodum Antigua Burr GrinderLet me say right up front, that this is not a great grinder. It may not even be a terribly good grinder — what it is is a good grinder for the money.

There is probably no single step that will give you more quality improvement for your money than grinding your own coffee beans. Ground coffee goes stale literally within minutes. If you spend your money on decent beans (or even halfway decent beans) and grind it or have it ground at the store, you’re wasting your money. By the time you get to the second pot, you might as well be drinking coffee out of the can.

Unfortunately, where most people go for their first grinder is to a “blade” grinder — one of the little “whirly-blade” things that doesn’t really grind coffee as much as it chops it up. In the process, it also gets the beans hot, burns them, and destroys some of the character of the taste. Worse, it produces an uneven grind — little pieces and big pieces.

While the coffee from a blade grinder will be light-years ahead of pre-ground coffee, a fairly small step up can get you almost as much further ahead again.
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Kitchenaid Pro Line Burr Grinder Review

September 5, 2005

Kitchenaid Pro Line Burr GrinderThe Kitchenaid Pro Line Burr Grinder has been causing a bit of a stir on some of the serious coffee sites. The reason is that many people are beginning to feel that this is finally a consumer-oriented machine that seriously competes with some of the more expensive “pro” grinders such as the Rancillio Rocky or the Mazzer Mini. Since those machines go in the $300 – $600 range, an under $200 competitor is understandably quite a surprise.

On first impressions, the Kitchenaid Pro Line is beyond a doubt a Kitchenaid appliance — it will look right at home on your counter next to a Kitchenaid stand mixer. It has the same styling queues, the same rock-solid metal build, and the same excellent finish. This is a piece of gear that belongs in the kitchen, not a refugee from a coffee-shop somewhere.
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Starbucks Barista Burr Grinder (Solis 166) Review

September 5, 2005

Solis Maestro Conical Burr GrinderIt’s no real surprise that when people “step up” from blade grinders and poorly built home-store grinders, they often end up with a Starbucks grinder. Starbucks is omnipresent in most parts of the US, and although I’m ever more disenchanted with their coffee, they do sell some quite nice equipment.

The Starbucks Barista Burr Grinder is essentially a rebranded version of the Solis 166 Conical Burr Grinder. Solis is a well-known manufacturer of coffee and espresso equipment, and they make a nice grinder, particularly if you’re more interested in drip brew or press-pot brewing than high-end espresso. Solis has updated this grinder slightly in their own line, and market the updated version as the Solis Maestro (pictured above).

I spent about 6 months with the Barista Burr Grinder and was in general quite pleased with it.
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Dialing in your grind

September 5, 2005

Once you’ve got a grinder that produces a consistent grind and allows you to control the size of the grind, you’ll need to “dial it in” for your coffee brewer.

Most consumer oriented grinders will give you an approximate setting for different types of brew — either a notation on the grinder adjustment itself, or instructions in the manual on which setting to use for which type of brewing.

This is your starting point.
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It’s all in the grind

September 5, 2005

If you undertake to learn a bit about coffee, you’ll soon find that most serious coffee aficionados will tell you that the single most critical piece of equipment you own is a grinder.

A grinder is often a person’s first “step up” into the world of better coffee — once you grind coffee, the flavor begins to dissipate within seconds, so buying whole bean coffee and grinding it yourself just before you brew gives you much better flavor.

Unfortunately, many people stop there, and never realize that the type of grinder, and how it works, makes a vast amount of difference to the final result in the cup. This is true regardless of the type of coffee you are drinking — espresso, drip brewed coffee, or press pot coffee.
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