Sunday, March 09, 2008

   from AndyS

New Grinder Paradigm?

Along with his timer mod to the Anfim grinder, the innovative Philip Search has offered up a different way for baristas to "manage" their espresso grinders. It's too early to say how popular this will become, but it sure deserves a close look.

First, here's a summary of the conventional way of espresso grinder management:

1. Based on taste testing, the barista decides on a coffee dose: 7g, 14g, 20g, whatever. Once decided upon, this dose is kept as constant as possible: ideally within a few tenths of a gram.
2. The constant dose may be provided by keeping the doser full and using the vane mechanism to dole out the right amount. Or, since modern baristas prefer to grind fresh for each shot, dose consistency is maintained by eye, by feel, and by using techniques such as "overfill the basket and strike off the excess." An electronic grinder timer can also help to provide approximately the same dose for each grind cycle.
3. The barista adjusts grind fineness to obtain the desired shot volume within a 25-30 second pull (the exact timing depends on individual preference). In tweaking the grind, it is generally assumed that a grinder with infinitely adjustable burrs is required to get the optimum result.
4. As the coffee and environmental conditions change, the barista makes minor grind adjustments to maintain shot timing.

OK, that's the old way of doing things. Here's Philip's new way, as I understand it:

1. The barista decides on an approximate dose, and finds a setting on the Anfim's stepped adjusting collar that gives about the desired shot timing.
2. Using the Anfim's built-in timer, the barista adjusts the amount of time the grinder runs with each button push. This controls the amount of coffee delivered to the doser. Shot time is fine-tuned by changing the dose, not by making grind adjustments!
3. As the coffee and environmental conditions change, the barista makes minor dose adjustments (by twisting the timer knob) to maintain shot timing.

So what's the advantage of this new method? People say various things. In my opinion, for the working barista, it's just a matter of simplicity. Shot running too fast? Twist the knob to dose a little heavier. Shot running too slow? Twist the knob the other way. It is simpler because dose and grind become one integrated process. The old way, there are two separate parameters (dose and grind fineness) that must be managed. Once the barista gets in tune with this method, he or she most likely produces less waste because grinding too much coffee is avoided. Fewer coffee grounds end up dumped into the knock box.

This is pretty simple, but it's also pretty radical. Have you tried it long enough to acclimate to the new method? What do you think?


Notes:
1. Yes, I've always wanted to use the word "paradigm" in the title for a post. So my lifelong dream has now come true.
2. I first heard of this technique from Philip, apologies to anyone who may have proposed it earlier.
3. Apologies also to Philip, et al, if I have the details of this process wrong.
4. Of course, this method can be used on any grinder equipped with a timer adjustable to 1/10th second or less -- not just on an Anfim.
5. Although I have a penchant for bad puns, I go on record noting that I've resisted the temptation to title the post "Searching For a New Grinder Paradigm."
6. Hey Nick, with this, I think I've just about blown my wad.

43 Comments:

Blogger Mike White said...

Nice write-up Andy. I think the most important part is that the timer mod forces you to reevaluate how you think about grinding. Even if you use the Waring Timer mod, what we've always taken for granted while grinding is suddenly questioned all over again. It never hurts to go back to school.

Oh, and nice pic...

3/09/2008 02:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I go by how Vince Piccolo taught me how to use the grinder:

- coarse adjustments: the stepped grind collar
- fine adjustments - the timer.

I love the Anfim and it's the best grinder I've ever had the pleasure of *regularly* using, but I do have a couple of issues with it:

- Stepless, son.
- There's a surprisingly large amount of grinds left in the chute. Not such an issue doing shot-to-shot (since most of the fresh grinds flow through the sorta "tube" the old grinds have created), but a real PITA when changing coffee or experimenting with different grind coarseness settings / dose (ie, going from trying 14g doubles to 20g doubles).

My solution for B is from Illy - remember their music note spoons from a while back? It is small enough, but a wide enough flat handle that you can put the handle side into the chute, and quickly sweep out all the grinds left inside. Then I fresh grind a new "prep" at my new settings, holding a grinder brush up to the entrance of the chute to quickly "clog" it up again to get that consistent shot-to-shot dosing.

Grinders still have a LONG way to go w/regards to grinds left over in the machine, chute designs, "on demand, by the shot" grinding, but the Anfim's nice fluffy grinds, awesome manual dosing, quietness, speed, lack of waste (until you need to change coffees or shots profiles) etc are all making it one of the best choices out there for a cafe.

There's been a lot of "aggression" out there in the vendor market to try and get this grinder away from 49th Parallel (who Phillip works for). I hope it stays with them for a long time. They worked hard with Anfim to get this grinder where it is.

3/09/2008 02:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Lukas said...

Excuse me if I don't see your point, but well, what's the point? You can influence shot times by either changing the grind or changing the dose. Do whatever makes your shot taste better. So?

But please, don't stop posting, the posts (and resulting discussions!) are very interesting!

3/09/2008 04:48:00 PM  
Blogger chris baca said...

The biggest problem with this is that with the Anfim there are dead spots...dose and grind fineness both need to be adjusted to achieve the results you want. The steps are big and sometimes if your shot is too slow and you back off on the timer you just don't have enough coffee for what you're trying to do. Go that one notch coarser and to nail the flow rate you're looking for you need more coffee than you want and you don't get the flavor profile you want. Your optimal setting is somewhere in between. Using this new paradigm you can most certainly nail in any flow rate you want but flow rate and flavor profiles are two different things.

3/09/2008 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

Thanks everyone for your great comments.

Mark: I like your method of "chute management" when changing grinds. Won't we be better off, though, when the engineers have worked out the bugs in their chuteless grinders? My chuteless M3 grinder is back at Versalab for readjustment; I can't wait to get it back.

Lukas: I wasn't very clear, but in theory, this "new paradigm" allows you to focus on just one adjustment : the timer knob. The old way, if you're using a grinder timer, you have to adjust both the grind collar and the timer setting to keep the dose consistent. Anything that simplifies the mental gymnastics that the barista is required to do will allow her to better concentrate on the coffee....

Chris: Great point. The Anfim's large steps (~10 seconds per notch when I tested it) are pitiful. By comparison, the Rancilio Rocky, an entry-level consumer grinder, has steps that are 20% smaller than the Anfim's.

3/09/2008 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger bkkespresso said...

Nice write-up Andy,

I think the step in the Anfim isn't that bad. Anfim should make finer thread on the collar and the same step will become much smaller.

Another thing that bother me is about the noise in the doser. That thin aluminum sheet shakes while grinding and it makes very awful noise.

However, I supposed these problems never existed for Anfim when they have mainly the Italian market. Now, as I'm from Thailand and you guys from the US continent, they can easily improve the quality of their grinders just for this new style of making espresso.

3/09/2008 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

Hi bkk:
Anfim is more likely to increase the number of notches around the collar than use a finer thread. There are potential durability issues based on the hardness of the material, but using 100 notches rather than 72 would be a big improvement in adjustability.

I agree with you about the awful noise, and I don't understand why Mark calls this grinder quiet. It is MUCH louder than my Robur, even if one prevents the aluminum sheet from rattling. Perhaps the one I have and the one you heard are louder than usual, but then that means Anfim has quality control problems. :-(

3/10/2008 03:22:00 AM  
Blogger onocoffee said...

Is this really a "new" paradigm in grinder technique or merely the stop-gap cover-up for a shortfall of the Anfim?

If we review current WBC Theory on "understanding the grinder" it's the adjustment of the grind that defines "understanding", rather than simply adding more coffee - which is, exactly, what you're doing by extending the timer run.

When I was discussing the Anfim and asked about the step adjustment problem, I was told that you compensate for the step with the timer dosage. To my mind, this is not ideal in any way. As a long-time grinder timer user, I want to be able to keep my dosage consistent and compensate with grind setting and not trying to cram more coffee (or less) into the portafilter.

After using the Anfim several times, I think it's a great grinder, but I see this "new paradigm" as a concession due to a glaring problem with the grinder.

3/10/2008 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Nick said...

We got our Anfim in last week.

Andy, I'll accept your "I first heard of this technique from Philip, apologies to anyone who may have proposed it earlier."

Using dose-adjustment as a quick(er than grind adjustment) way to control flow rates is nothing new.

I'll tell you something interesting though...

Albina Press got an Anfim Super Camiano in. Now they have three grinders on bar. I totally love this paradigm (there... I used it too!):
- a grinder for decaf
- the Anfim for most 'regular' espresso shots--for all milk drinks
- the Robur for straight shots only (maybe macchiato... I forget)

The idea is that the waste-control you have with the Anfim makes it great for your milk drinks, which make up the bulk of the shots pulled. The Robur still has a better grind-quality (a.k.a. shot quality), and you have the added benefit of the Robur sitting cool, except for your straight espresso.

For me, this is the ideal setup for today's 3rd Wave espresso bar. Way to go, Albina Press!

3/10/2008 08:52:00 AM  
Anonymous philip said...

Heres a few comments guys, and I think there is a little bit of miss understanding among some on the best way to utilize a system like the anfim has.

1. The noise on the anfim, if it is coming from the doser, is just a simple adjustment. you tighten the upper sweep and it eliminates the noise. Can a grinder like this be made quieter? sure, it is still a work in progress.

2. The crux of understadning using this grinder is extraction rate. In any grinder you have two variables, quanity or dose, and grind particle size. With grinders like the Anfim you can address them independantly. You gain a new variable, rate of grind control. The idea isn't simply to control the flow rate, but to address how changes in grind size affect the extraction rate of the coffee. The two variables are linked and not as controllable on a traditional system like a robur. For example, a change to finer will increase your dose by weight in a practicale sense. This isn't allways the case in the hands of a very skilled barista I imagine that this can be controlled, but not consistantly. In the case of the anfim you get to deside (by taste) what the coffee needs. Dose control forces the barista to think about the effects of grind adjustment on taste. For example, with fresher coffee you need to be at a finer grind setting and using less coffee. To the point that you may have to "dose down) below the rim of the basket. A very hard thing to control on a busy bar.

3. Regarding the steps, I would challenge anyone here to take a grind sample and have it tested, comparing the grinde size change on the anfim to that of the change you make ona robur. I think youll find a couple of things... a. the stepped change is almost the same as the smalles change you can make on a stepless grinder. b. it is more consistant.

4. Don't forget that this system isn't directly comparable to every other grinder as the distribution of particle sizes coming off this burr set are different than say a robur. Each grinder, requires an understanding of what you are doing, and shouldn't be run the same.

5. This system isn't about not adjusting the grind size, but making a concious change to it, by taste, not by flow rate. I adjust the collar a couple of times a day on average. Sometimes more.

6. Not all blends work the same in any grinder. Don't forget in your opinions of whats best that you have to factor in the cupping of the blend (what grinder was it on?), roasting style, and many other factors not related to the function of the grinder.

For me I guess, I don't want to be limited in my consistancy on the bar. What I mean is that with a leveling technique, you have to change your basket to stay consitant with a different dose, and this goes to hell when you change the grind. I don't think dose should remain the same mind you, but I like the ability to "profile" my shots with a system where I can easily adjust the dose and the grind independantly. I find that I can offer my customers a better, more consistant shot across all the baristas on the bar because their all dialing in by tast of the coffee.

One more thing, as for the "dead spots" I most often find that this is where the barista adjusts the anfim the wrong way. Sometimes its alittle counter intuative.

3/10/2008 04:42:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

Oh man...this is the kind of discussion that should go on in person, for hours, with plenty of beer. My brief comments are gonna come out all wrong, but I only have a little time:

Jay, isn't it incumbent upon all serious baristas to broaden and improve upon current WBC theory? If we want to "understand the grinder," we have to understand how ALL the factors interact: grind adjustment, coffee freshness, dose adjustment, basket headspace, rampup time to pressure, and many more. If all we can do is adjust the grind, we don't understand very much, no? You're a "longtime grinder timer user who likes to keep his dose consistent," but surely you realize that adjusting the grind fineness changes the amount of coffee the grinder delivers per second? Interactions like that make things complicated.

Nick, of course using dose adjustment is an established method of controlling flow rate. This isn't what I was posting about. I thought what was interesting was (1)how complicated things get when you change the grind adjustment vs (2)how simple things are when you get the grind in about the right ballpark and just twist the timer knob to control your flow. For long stretches of the day, can you use just ONE KNOB to control your flow rate and one pushbutton to dose your coffee? No worries about the exact dose, no worries about how your grind adjustment and timer setting interact, no worries about how your grind fineness affects your overfill and strike dosing result, no dumping of one or two shots worth of coffee every time you change the grind setting....

Philip, I have a lot of respect for what you're doing, but...to say that the Anfim steps aren't bigger than what you can get on a Robur is bizarre. I agree with Baca, the Anfim steps are BIG. I can easily get steps four or five times finer on the Robur compared to the Anfim.

3/10/2008 07:34:00 PM  
Blogger bkkespresso said...

Hi everyone,

With all respect, I just wonder how do you measure the step of the Anfim and decide that it's big? I find the stepless is much more difficult to adjust. And if you compare the size of the adjusting collar, which is bigger on the Anfim, to a smaller one on the Mazzers, I think it's not that critical. But I do like smaller step though :-)

Philip,
Very nice writing. I totally agree.

3/10/2008 07:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This "new" way to control shot time is the old way of quite afew super-automatic machines, where the machine looks at shot times and makes a time adjustment for the grinder as in most of these machines it is to hard to access the grind adjust.

3/11/2008 10:41:00 AM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> how do you measure the step of the Anfim
> and decide that it's big?

Pull several shots at a single grind setting, keeping the weight of dry coffee within +/- 0.1 grams and the weight of espresso beverage within +/- 1 gram (an automatic machine is helpful for the latter). Time the length of each extraction and take an average.

Change the grind setting one Anfim notch coarser or finer. After clearing out residual old grinds in the chute and chamber, pull another series of shots, using the same weight of dry coffee and beverage. Compare the difference in average extraction time required.

When I did this with the Anfim, I got a difference of about 10 seconds. I can make a small grind setting change on the Robur and get 2-3 second changes without much difficulty.

3/11/2008 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger onocoffee said...

Andy-
I agree that adjusting the grind changes the amount of coffee delivered, therefore, requiring a potential change in grind "time". All of the variables you mentioned are necessary for proper extraction.

After using the Anfim a bit more (and I'd like to use it even more), I'm coming to realize that it's "just a grinder." Yes, it has some cool features like the titanium burrs and the straight fall dosing, but like any grinder, there are compromises that must be compensated for - one of which (and a major one to my mind) is the stepped adjustment.

How about getting Anfim to produce a stepless, conical burr, no chute grinder with the timer?

3/12/2008 05:12:00 AM  
Anonymous Kevin C said...

Philip,

Isn't there a relatively simple mod to provide step-less adjustment of the Anfim? (I thought I read about that somewhere.)

If so, can you provide any details?

3/12/2008 07:58:00 AM  
Anonymous Philip said...

Hey guys,
just a couple of things. I did the grinder test today, and looked over the old notes I had from when I did the test before, as well as spoke with a couple of others... and we have some varied results for the change in the grind. With a constant dose I'm getting a 4 second change with a standard deviation of 2 seconds. I checked with three other people I know who did similar tests, and they see about a 4 to five second change with one notch.

This is about the same as a mazzer I think. To each his own though.

As for making it step less, this can be done by attaching a spring clamp to lock the adjustment collar in place. Not worth it in my opinion, but seems that there are quite a few of you who want it to have a smaller adjustment.

Feel free to shoot me an email if any of you want to take about it further... Philip@49thparallelroasters.com

3/12/2008 05:37:00 PM  
Anonymous philip said...

One more thing... I am curious about peoples ideas/paradigm/philosophy when they are testing the adjustments. Are you wanting the dose to be the same at the other adjustment? Meaning, when actually using a grinder and wanting to make an adjustment to the extraction are you wanting the dose to not vary much /at all when you adjust the grind? I assume a 2-4 gram change when I need to make a grind adjustment. water absorption changes, extraction rate changes, etc, etc. With this in mind it's kind of like tuning an violin you make larger (especially taste) adjustments on the collar, and fine adjustments on the timer knob. Anyway, I wish sweet tasty coffee to you all.

3/12/2008 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

Hi Philip: thanks for continuing the discussion, but there's some things I still don't understand. You said:
> In any grinder you have two variables, quanity or dose,
> and grind particle size. With grinders like the Anfim you can
> address them independently.

Why does the Anfim make dose and particle size more independent than any other grinder? If you change the Anfim grind setting one notch coarser and leave the timer knob alone, it'll deliver about 5% more coffee. So dose and particle size are not independent at all....

On a conventional grinder, if you grind one notch coarser and dose using the "overfill and strike excess" method, you'll probably get about 5% LESS coffee (coarser grounds don't pack as tightly).

What's interesting is that in the Anfim case, the two changed parameters (grind and dose) partially cancel each other out, while in the conventional case they reinforce each other (in terms of flow rate). I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that the canceling out effect is why you see only a four second change per step.

I gotta agree with Chris and Jay above that it really would be a better machine with finer (or infinite) adjustment.

By the way, I think the Anfim makes excellent espresso, and so far I haven't found it lacking compared to the 3-phase Robur (in terms of coffee quality -- when it comes to build quality it isn't in the Robur's league, IMO).

And I think you made an excellent point over on shotzombies: it is a little silly to say that conicals make better coffee than flat burrs. It depends on WHICH conical and WHICH flat burr you're comparing. It's humorous that the whole "conicals are better" thing was apparently started by Schomer, and what he was calling a conical wasn't actually a conical at all, but a conical/flat hybrid!

3/12/2008 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

Another thing: how come it says on the 49th Parallel site that the grinder runs at 800 rpm? Mine runs at 1200 rpm. Do I have the wrong motor?

3/12/2008 06:50:00 PM  
Anonymous philip said...

To further explain my comments on why it seperates the variables... dose and grind particle size are independent in the sense that you can control them independently. I can adjust the timer and leave the grind alone, or I can adjust the grind collar and leave the timer alone.

You are right Andy that the timer helps to cancel the changes to the grind colar in some ways... but this is definantly not why we are seeing about a 4-5 second change over here. Im wondering if the difference was more in the amount we set as a test dose? I was pulling shots at 20 grams.

As for the RPM thing, the two I actually measured the RPMS on were right at 800, and this is on the ANFIM web site as the speed as well. HMM... why don't you give me a call when you get a second Andy?

3/13/2008 01:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I measured here at 1177 RPM
John

3/13/2008 09:09:00 AM  
Blogger Mike White said...

maybe they measured in metric revolutions ;)

3/13/2008 01:49:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> dose and grind particle size are independent in the sense that
> you can control them independently. I can adjust the timer and leave
> the grind alone, or I can adjust the grind collar and leave the
> timer alone.

The Anfim does NOT let you control particle size independently from dose. Adjusting the grind collar ALSO changes the dose delivered.

> Im wondering if the difference was more in the amount we set
> as a test dose? I was pulling shots at 20 grams.

That may very well be, the step change probably has a smaller effect at higher doses.

> why don't you give me a call when you get a second Andy?

Will do.

3/13/2008 04:41:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We've been using the Anfim in our cafe for about 6 months and most of the baristas do not like it.

The steps are definitely too big, no question.

The Anfim forces the barista to fudge too many of the variables -- since you cannot always choose the grind you might want, you have to compensate by adjusting the dose, but then you are no longer using your preferred dose, and so on, down the line. The resulting shot is often only an approximation of the shot you wanted to pull. Hence, to a certain extent, the Anfim dictates your parameters, which is obviously not ideal.

Moreover, shots from an Anfim taste noticeably different than shots from a Mazzer, even when the parameters are the same -- thinner body, different profile. Baristas at other cafes using Anfims have confirmed this. In other words, there is an “Anfim taste” and I’m not sure I like it. Maybe this is the result of the burr shape versus a Mazzer?

I think the dosing timer is a useful mod, but I would rather not have to choose between fine grind adjustment and fine dose adjustment. I want to be able to fine tune EVERYTHING.

3/15/2008 12:05:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> The steps are definitely too big, no question.

Vince is a very bright and very thorough guy; I think he'll get this problem fixed ASAP.

> In other words, there is an “Anfim taste” and I’m not sure I like it.

Of course this begs the question, what speed is your motor running at?

3/16/2008 05:31:00 PM  
Anonymous philip said...

So, a couple of things seem to keep getting miss-understood, and I apologize since I don't seem to be very clear. I never intended to imply that when you change the grind on the Anfim, it will not affect the dose, what I am saying is, you have the choice to control the dose. I.E. If you want to dose 20 grams at X grind setting, you can, just tweak the timer. Your in control. On a normal grinder using a leveling technique, this is very hard (to do consistently) unless you change the basket or utilized some other method. Hope that is more clear on what I ment by "independent" control.

Second, to Anonymous - Every time you adjust the grind you change your dose accordingly. Its how flow rate and extraction rate are tied together. Are the steps too big? Seems like some think so, and I am researching this more, but if comes to your coffee having less body and an "Anfim" profile, I am sorry you feel that way, but I can point you to a vast majority of baristas who use Anfims now, who used to use Mazzer etc., people with lots of experience and pallets I respect who would disagree with you in regarding the coffees they use. Known industry people from companies like Synesso, Stickman Coffee, El Beit, Olympia Coffee Roasting, Elysian Coffee, Trabant Coffee, Kopplins Coffee, and more. Even Andy told me he can't seem to distinguish between good shots on his custom set up three phase robur and the Anfim.

I am not sure who you are or where you are from, but I would be happy to meet with you some time and pull some shots and have some fun tasting coffees if you would like and discuss this more, but I can't seem to wrap my head around a some of your comments. The grinder always will, in one way or another dictate your shots, and the technique you use. Where we disagree is which grinder dictates it more. This is true to an extent about every piece of equipment you use in a bar. That is why we dedicate so much time to training baristas on extraction theory, and understanding the equipment they are using.

Well, I’m done. :) Hope all your coffees taste as sweet as the yummy lever shot I just pulled using an $85.00 dollar home krups grinder.

3/16/2008 11:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Andy -
may be a stupid question - but from your description this grinder seems to be very similar to the Azkoyen Cappricio grinder - independent ability to adjust either the particle size or the 'grind time' to up or down the dose delivered with small numerical changes... is there something different about the Anfim system?

3/17/2008 02:49:00 AM  
Blogger AndyS said...

Hi emily: Not a stupid question at all. I've never used the Azkoyen. But looking at descriptions of it, yes, the basic principle seems similar to the Anfim. The Azkoyen is doserless, while the Anfim has a doser. Since dosers do a certain amount of stirring and clump breakage, I think they have the potential to help the extraction (although dosers obviously have to be kept clean).

One difference between the two: looking at the web references, I see that the Azkoyen has "Gourmet Mode." Hey Vince, hey Philip, how come the Anfim doesn't have a Gourmet Mode? :-)

3/17/2008 04:15:00 AM  
Anonymous Emily said...

Not quite sure what 'gourmet' mode is - all I know is i've been using them on and off for about 8 years. Their first model was a bit clunky and the newer one being the cappricio. It has two options - either grind when you 'click' the back of the saddle, or a pre grind that automatically grinds once you've dumped the previous shot, so as long as you're working consistently there is always a fresh load there. Problems I've encountered with them over the years are mostly to do with the design mechanism inside and how the coffee is distributed through a plastic tube. I think from memory (it's been 4 years since I took one apart) the grinder blades sit vertically rather than horizontally to they clogged up a bit.

From what you've described, the Anfim is much more like a traditional grinder, with some super cool adaptations and a splash of lateral thinking :-)

3/18/2008 02:36:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let's assume that you have a conical burr grinder with a design that truly allows independent grinding and dosing i.e. adjusting the grind will not affect dosage and vice versa, how do you think this would help baristas to facilitate the "management" of the grinder?

3/18/2008 03:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mike White said...

you mean like this one?

http://www.coffeed.com/viewtopic.php?f=33&t=1972

Management would be the same, conical or flat.

3/18/2008 03:21:00 PM  
Blogger Mike White said...

Dose will always be affected when you alter the grind, it's the ability to make infinite micro adjustments that make this particular timer sing. Any timer would allow the dose to remain constant, but not always at the specific weight desired.

3/18/2008 03:25:00 PM  
Blogger Berta said...

Great and interesting thread!

I work for a company that replaced their Roburs for Anfims so I think I can give an honest opinion.

First of all it was a little difficult to get use to the new doser timer/grind adjustment ballet but once you understand it, it's really easy and consistent.

I find this grinder to be very consistent, produces fantastic shots and unlike the anonymous poster above I feel the shots are better on the Anfim. Contrary to his beliefs, I get sweet and fuller bodied shots with more clarity.

Comparing Anfim versus Robur is probably like comparing Apple to Microsoft. Everyone has their preferences. I can understand why anyone would like either one of the grinders. I'm just very happy with the Anfim.

Another thing I noticed with the Anfim is that the Barista's gravitate to using this grinder more than when we had the Robur and training time has been diminished drastically on the Anfim compared to the Mazzer.

3/18/2008 03:58:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> how do you think this would help baristas to facilitate the
> "management" of the grinder?

anonymous, truly independent adjustment wouldn't improve the ultimate shot quality; it would simply make it easier for baristas to
"understand their grinder." Presumably this would get the shot tasting the way you wanted it to taste a little quicker.

3/18/2008 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> it's the ability to make infinite micro adjustments that make
> this particular timer sing.

1. Sure, but I like the convenience and repeatability of this better:
http://flickr.com/photos/82921813@N00/2334690396/
2. If you like the infinite timer adjustability, then surely infinite grind adjustability would be good, too. No?

3/18/2008 09:01:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is Anon from 3/15.

Re: Differences in taste.

A few months ago, I ran the Anfim and Mazzer side by side. I pulled shots from each grinder at the same parameters and compared them. I thought I detected a significant difference in taste between the shots.

Also, as Nick mentioned, the baristas at the Albina Press still use a Robur for straight shots, so evidently, they feel there is a difference in taste as well.

Yesterday, I repeated my experiment, only this time, another barista and I compared the shots. Then I asked a third barista to pull shots and we compared those. All the shots tasted fairly similar, and in cases where the profiles may have diverged, the Anfim shots were not necessarily inferior.

I am glad to admit that I seem to have been mistaken about a taste difference with the Anfim.

3/19/2008 01:14:00 PM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> I repeated my experiment, only this time, another barista and I
> compared the shots. Then I asked a third barista to pull shots and
> we compared those. All the shots tasted fairly similar, and in cases
> where the profiles may have diverged, the Anfim shots were not
> necessarily inferior.

Your experience pretty much mirrors mine.

I think it's interesting that when people generally talk about taste differences between grinders, they seize upon particle size distribution to explain the perceived differences. That may be, but there is also the way the grinders present the grounds (clumpy, not clumpy, etc) that can change the flavor markedly. The significance of this is that sometimes techniques of distribution and "grooming" the grounds can make grinders taste a lot more alike than may first be apparent.

3/19/2008 07:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just want to mention that we are able to control the viscosity of the 'dripping honey' with a robur- no mods required. Less so with a bnz conical due to it being a stepped grinder. However what makes the anfim fail compared to the bnz from reports here is that there's a 4second gap between steps?! I'm sorry, but I think I'm with the others in this thread who talk about the value of infinite grind adjustment like a mazzer's or much smaller steps for the anfim.

Maybe some type of hybrid grinder that's a mix of the robur, anfim and bnz? :|

3/22/2008 06:35:00 AM  
Blogger AndyS said...

> You are right Andy that the timer helps to cancel the
> changes to the grind collar in some ways... but this is
> definitely not why we are seeing about a 4-5 second change
> over here. I'm wondering if the difference was more in the
> amount we set as a test dose? I was pulling shots at 20 grams.

Philip, I did some pretty careful testing this evening starting out with a higher dose than before (per your suggestion). I dosed at 18.5 grams and pulled ristrettos that weighed about 19 grams.

At the initial Anfim grind setting, this resulted in shots that ran an average of 29 seconds.

Then I made the grind coarser by one notch on the collar. Leaving the timer knob untouched, this gave doses that were 20-21 grams and reduced the shot time to an average of 25 seconds -- a 4 second difference (just what you observed).

But when I readjusted the timer knob to maintain the original 18.5 gram dose, the shot times averaged 20 seconds, a 9 second difference.

To me it is much more accurate to say that at an 18.5 gram dose, the Anfim steps are about 9 seconds. It is only by changing two variables at once (as you did) that one could say the Anfim steps are 4 seconds.

I repeat what others have said: IMHO, the steps are awfully big.

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