Mazzer Grinders and Burrs…

There’s been a surge of technological development that has given us new tools and devices to research our coffee. We’re learning at a much fast rate than we were a few years back.

That said, I’ve been wondering… What is more important? The relationship between a barista and their grinder or the relationship between the barista and the burr set? James Hoffmann has been trying get some momentum built on this topic here.

I had a brief conversation with Mike Phillips about his experience in London. Asking how he managed to get all his gear over seas… and how did he pull off two Robur-E’s. He said he borrowed two roburs and brought with him the two sets of burrs he had been working with.

To me, this was genius. It’s also a lesson in priorities. In the past few months, I’ve ran coffee through and broken in a dozen new e-grinders or so… all of them settling out differently. Different grind times for certain dosers. Variations of speed. I’m wondering, what is different between them all? Is it the grinder or the burr set?

I feel like I could get better at or find a more consistent way to break in new grinders. Could I have one Robur-E that is constantly set up to throw new burr sets into, then run a set amount of coffee through them, so they all break in the same? Would they break in the same? Is there anyway to get a consistent result? Or does it vary from burr set to burr set… From date of manufacturing?

I’ve never had a problem voicing how much I like the Robur-E. I really do. I just want to know how much of what I love is a specific burr set or the grinder itself? Which has the greater impact?


2 thoughts on “Mazzer Grinders and Burrs…

  1. Hmmm… good questions. My first impulse is to say that it shouldn’t matter, if you have a good grinder (such as a Robur-E) season the burrs, and figure out your dose to volume ratios you should be able to get tasty shots regardless. Unfortunately, some burrs break in differently than others and sometimes that’s can be a good thing, and sometimes not. I think of it sorta like brewing tanks for beer. There was a great brewery which I loved that started out with some very old, very small tanks. When they outgrew their setup and upgraded, their beer tasted different. I talked to the brewer and they said every ding, dent, and imperfection changed the flavor of the beer a little. I’m not sure if this is a great metaphor, but I do know that there comes a point in a burr’s life that I’m freaking loving the shots I’m getting just a little bit more, and then they get too worn, and then I replace them, and start all over. Vicious cycle. I think one thing that can remedy this is to receive consistently seasoned burrs from the manufacturer as Mr. Hoffmann has suggested.

  2. Ryan, it’s Carlos from Los Angeles. Thanks for keeping me informed about the nuances of the process. I’m moving on from my daily Intelligentsia fix (I’m the LAFD-guy that would come in most mornings) and would like to get your opinion on some machines I’ve considered buying. If you have a moment, I’d appreciate some advice: Thanks!

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