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  1. #1
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    Buying grinder for French press - shortlist made - please help me choose

    Hello folks; this is my first post.

    I'm thinking of switching to coffee from tea. What attracts me is the French-style café au lait - I want to French press a dark French roast, mix with scalded milk in a 1:1 ratio, and add a dash of sugar.

    I've decided on the Bodum Chambord French press. Now I need a burr grinder. I already know that French press requires consistent coarse grinds. Which of the following grinders would be most suited to this particular application?

    I do not intend to make espresso or drip coffee.

    I need to buy two grinders - one for myself, and one as a gift. For my grinder, budget is around $150, but I can go up to $200 if really worth it. For the gift, budget is around $50, but I can go up to $75 if really worth it. The gift grinder should also be small and portable (my grinder does not need to be).

    • Bodum Bistro (~$120)
    • Capresso Infinity (~$80)
    • The Hario and Kyocera hand grinders (<$50)
    • Saeco CA6804/47 (~$60)
    • Breville Conical Burr Grinder (~$100)
    • Baratza Encore (~$140)
    • Cuisinart DBM-8 (~$50)
    • Baratza Virtuoso (technically exceeds my budget )


    Could you please suggest a grinder for each of the two price brackets I mentioned (again, keeping French press specifically in mind for both)?

    Thanks a lot!
    Last edited by Atriya; 08-31-2013 at 07:14 PM.

  2. #2
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    Baratza Encore hands down out of that binch for yourself, tiny retention, better buur set, and way better control of fines and consistancy vs Infinity etc.

    For the $50 range, for french press...not sure there. Grinders around that amount are more like low end bean mashers with how bad their grinding/consistancy/fines control are. If you can stretch for the Infinity that would be way better then cheap grinders.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer View Post
    Baratza Encore hands down out of that binch for yourself, tiny retention, better buur set, and way better control of fines and consistancy vs Infinity etc.

    For the $50 range, for french press...not sure there. Grinders around that amount are more like low end bean mashers with how bad their grinding/consistancy/fines control are. If you can stretch for the Infinity that would be way better then cheap grinders.
    Thank you. I had almost decided on the Baratza Encore myself.

    Then I saw some reviews about how dark, large or oily beans tend to bounce on the burrs instead of being ground. Sure enough, I found this problem acknowledged in the troubleshooting part of the Baratza website. The solution given by Baratza (slowing the burrs down) involves taking apart the grinder, which I'd rather not do.

    One reviewer talked to a Baratza rep who admitted that the Encore is not ideal for dark, oily or large beans. He recommended the Virtuoso, but that is of course much more expensive.

    Have you faced any such issues with the Encore? Do you think I'm likely to run into such issues with, for example, Starbucks French roast?

  4. #4
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    Any beans like that can do the samething in even higher end $$$ grinders. I'd avoid Starbucks, their beans are beyond charred and by the time you buy them they are anywhere from 4-12 months stale. Get some fresh roasted beans whether nearby or ordered online and you'll see a massive difference. French Press is just a style, you don't need to use french roast only.

    I've used the Encore (I have a Preciso), and its more then enough for coarse use. And blows away the other grinders in the list except for the Virtuoso which has more adjustability and has the Preciso burr set. I had an Infinity and it doesn't hold a candle to the Encore, burr set isn't as good, large retention, not as good consistency and more importantly fines production which is a major factor in doing a french press unless you want a silty/muddy tasting cup.
    Last edited by Surfer; 09-01-2013 at 09:37 AM.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Surfer View Post
    Any beans like that can do the samething in even higher end $$$ grinders. I'd avoid Starbucks, their beans are beyond charred and by the time you buy them they are anywhere from 4-12 months stale. Get some fresh roasted beans whether nearby or ordered online and you'll see a massive difference. French Press is just a style, you don't need to use french roast only.

    I've used the Encore (I have a Preciso), and its more then enough for coarse use. And blows away the other grinders in the list except for the Virtuoso which has more adjustability and has the Preciso burr set. I had an Infinity and it doesn't hold a candle to the Encore, burr set isn't as good, large retention, not as good consistency and more importantly fines production which is a major factor in doing a french press unless you want a silty/muddy tasting cup.
    Okay, thanks for the recommendation!

    Any other opinions are welcome!

  6. #6
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    I've had the Encore, and now use a Virtuoso for non-espresso brews. When grinding larger beans, the problem is only at the end of the grind when there isn't the weight of beans in the hopper forcing beans into the burrs; it's the last several beans that want to bounce around. The workaround is to use the pulse button on the front of the grinder, and pulse the motor, a second on and a second off, and so on. That lets the beans settle down into the section of the conical burr that is designed to pull the beans into the section of the burr that does the actual grinder.

    Try it, you'll like it.

 

 

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