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Choosing The Right Commercial Espresso Grinder

Fiorenzato How-To Choose A Grinder Mahlkonig Mazzer

You’ll often see or hear people say that your espresso machine is the heart of your cafe, but that’s only half true; choosing the right grinder to work in tandem with your machine is the other half of the equation. While finding the espresso machine that works best for your business is essential to pulling great shots, pairing it with the wrong grinder could lead to a less-than-optimal extraction, leaving you wondering where things went wrong.

Choosing the right espresso grinder can feel a bit overwhelming with all of the options that are available. That’s why we’ve put together this comprehensive guide full of factors to consider so you can be sure that, when your grinder arrives, you’ll feel confident knowing that you’ll be getting exactly what you need to pull the best shots possible, day after day.

Speed & Output

Speed and output are two of the biggest contributing factors to consider when buying a commercial espresso grinder, and based on your business’ volume, these attributes should help to narrow the playing field quite a bit. If you’re running a dedicated cafe with expectations of handling large rushes of 50 - 60 drinks per hour, you’ll certainly want a grinder that can keep up while maintaining a consistent grind uniformity. However, if you’re working in a low to medium-volume environment such as a pop-up cart at a farmer’s market or in a restaurant where espresso is not necessarily your focal point, this changes how your grinder will need to operate.

We thought that it might be helpful to offer a few espresso grinder recommendations as they pertain to the number of drinks per hour that you anticipate serving.

Workflow

You can draw a straight line from how quickly you need ground coffee to the way your workflow will look. A grinder with programmable, timed doses will help to maximize your gains in a high-volume environment where you may not have time to weigh each individual output before distributing, tamping, and pulling a shot. For the best results from a quick workflow perspective, a grinder that allows for small, incremental changes in the time spent grinding will produce reliable results. Many timer-based espresso grinders allow for changes of 1/10 of a second, but some take it a step further with 1/100 of a second adjustments for unparalleled consistency.

The Mazzer Major V Up Electronic and the Fiorenzato F64 EVO are just two examples of phenomenal espresso grinders that enable you to make these minuscule changes in grind time, and are perfect for medium-volume environments. If you’re operating in a high-volume environment and want something that can handle those rushes of 45+ drinks per hour, you can’t go wrong with the Mazzer Robur S or the Mahlkonig E80S.

An alternative to grind-by-time espresso grinders are the increasingly popular grind-by-weight options. These grinders integrate a load cell into the portafilter forks that are capable of detecting your portafilter, taring it, and grinding a desired amount until your programmed dose has been achieved. This technology, while relatively new, is being seen in more and more grinders each day, and they are quickly becoming the norm in high-volume environments for the ease-of-use that they provide.

While Grind-By-Weight Technology is incredibly popular, the choices, at this time, are a bit limited. However, the Mahlkonig E65S GBW is a fantastic choice for medium-volume operations, while we recommend the Mahlkonig E80S GBW for high-volume applications.

Burr Type & Size

Commercial espresso grinders can be broken down into two categories: those with conical burrs and those with flat burrs. Conical burr grinders tend to spin much slower than flat burr grinders in order to keep heat away from your grinding chamber while flat burrs spin at nearly three times the speed of conical burrs, but use an increased surface area to achieve the same result. Conical burr grinders are designed to rotate at a significantly slower speed than their flat burr counterparts. This deliberate slow rotation aids in preventing heat from reaching the grinding chamber. On the other hand, flat burrs spin at a speed almost three times faster than conical burrs. However, they compensate for the higher speed by utilizing a larger surface area to mitigate heat transfer to the coffee grounds.

While commercial espresso grinders can be broken down into either conical or flat burr categories, burr sizes can vary drastically. However, there is a very straightforward reason for this. In the simplest terms, a larger burr set will lend itself to a faster output while the opposite is true for smaller burr sets. In these regards, if you’re looking for the quickest output possible, a larger burr set will serve you well as the larger surface area of the burrs allows more contact with the whole coffee beans and works to grind them faster.

Again, we wanted to offer a few recommendations based on some of our favorite grinders with different burr sets for medium and high-volume setups.

While the three points that we’ve touched on are undeniably important to the success of your coffee business, there are a few other factors that are certainly worth taking into consideration, such as:

  • Budget
  • Ease of maintenance
  • Grounds retention
  • Aesthetics

If you have any questions about which commercial grinder would best suit your business, please contact us. We are always happy to talk all things coffee and espresso, and we would be thrilled to help you find the perfect grinder for you.



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