help for a conical burr grinder


New member
May 27, 2009
Visit site
Hello, I am new to the espresso making process. I was going to Starbucks or Lasaters every day and started watching really close how they made my drink. Till one day I realized, I think I can do this myself. Needless to say I started searching backwards, looking for an espresso machine, not a grinder. Well, I bought a Brevill 800ESXL, like it alot, just not doing real well with the taste of my espresso, so now I'm in the market for a grinder. I'm not neccessarily on a budget, but don't want to spend lots of money. But I do want a good espresso grinder that I don't have to adjust in any way. I may want to try it for drip for my husband down the road, but again, that is not that important. Can anyone advise on what I should get.

I'm not sure what you meant when you wrote "But I do want a good espresso grinder that I don't have to adjust in any way.".

Most burr grinders have some sort of adjusting feature where you can select the type of grind that you want. Since you also say that you may want to eventually grind coffee for a drip coffee maker, it sounds like you'll need a grinder that can be adjusted.

I have a Capresso Infinity Burr Grinder and I'm happy with it. When I bought mine it was $100, but I just found it on sale on this website: ... 53&sr=8-18

I hope this helps.

  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #3
Thanks Rose for the info. What I meant about didn't want to have to adjust in anyway. I was reading on another forum and they were talking about having to modify their machines to make them work properly. I've not even taken a look at a conical burr grinder to really know what I'm talking about. Some have talked about the different grinders, I think the Capresso Infinity was one that they said wasn't good for espresso grind. I had it down to 3 choices a few weeks ago and then I was told they were not good for espresso. Anyways, they were the Capresso Infinity conical burr grinder, Baresto Maestro grinder and the Breville. But since then I've heard that they don't work well for espresso. So I was looking at low higher end conical burr grinders and got even more confused. So, as you can see, I am just totally confused. I don't mind spending a little bit, not over $500, if I can do that. So, Rose, now you know where I am. How long have you used the Capresso and do you use it for espresso. I have the Breville 800ESXL and I like it a lot. just want my espresso to taste good not bitter. so, I figure if I have a decent conical burr grinder I can than adjust my grinder til I get the best grind for espresso. I am a very patient person and enjoy trying to get it right. I know I went to wrong way on getting an espresso machine before the grinder, just new at it. Thanks again for the info and any more that you and the forum can give me will be nice. Looking at getting one real soon, like within a week. Flo
Hi Flo,

I haven't used my Capresso Infinity grinder for espresso, so I can't offer any help there. I'm surprised that some people have written reviews saying that it doesn't make a good espresso grind. With so many settings on the Infinity, it seems that they'd be able to find a grind that pleases them.

So... It looks like some further research in in store for you. If you have as much as $500 to spend on a grinder, I'm sure there are some other forum members who could make a recommendation for a better model.

I'm sure you already know that there are many factors involved when making espresso.

I've read reviews on your Breville 800ESXL, and like most things, some people love it ,and then some others are dissatisfied. Some people say that you have to grind a little coarser, some say you have to get another tamper other than the one that comes with the machine, others say you should use bottled water....etc. I'm glad that you're having a good experience with yours.

  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #5
Hello Rose,

Thanks for responding so quickly. Thank you also for all the info. Like I said earlier I'd not even looked at a grinder, but you would think that if the Capresso had so many settings that a person could find the setting that they needed for whatever type of coffee they were making. I still may try the Capresso. I'll let you know, because I want to get one by the weekend.

I've been thinking about getting another tamper, because the one that came with the machine doesn't seem like it FITS, it is a little bit smaller then the portafilter. I know that this is going to sound dumb, but I don't know how to measure the filter to get the proper size tamper. I saw a post on here that a guy had the Breville and did get another tamper, so maybe I should talk with him as well.

I've gotten my coffee grounded from the grocery store, my coffee shop, and a coffee/tobacco store, it may be the grounds were grinded to fine for my type of machine, since it appears that I need a coarse grind.

I have filterd water in my house, so that is not a issue. Sometimes, my coffee might had been a problem becasue I think it went stale on me, because of the amount I had to purchase. And if I do need a coarser grind and they've grind for espresso that could also be some of the problem of the bitter taste. That's the reason I'm wanting a conical burr grinder so I can test myself. But I guess that's why most people get them. Not to mention the freshness that you are suppose to get from the beans.

I have a few more places that I'm going to check out to make my final decision, I Hope. LOL

Just in case I don't know, what are the many factors involved in making espresso.

Thanks again, Flo
Hello Again Flo,

I happen to be off from work today.... merrily doing all sorts of things besides what I should be doing, (such as my household chores, for example).... so that's why I've been able to answer your posts so quickly.

It appears that you've already been exploring most of the factors involved in making a good espresso,
such as using a good espresso machine, getting fresh coffee beans, grinding them properly, using the proper amount, tamping, good water, etc.

The manual for your espresso machine should say whay size portafilter you have...
If not, then you'll need to measure the inside of your portafilter insert so you can get a proper fitting tamper. You'll need a ruler that has metric measurements because the tampers are sold in metric sizes such as 53, 56, 57 and 58 mm. Once you find the size that you need, then you can do an on-line search for a tamper.

Maybe one of the other forum members can help you find one.

Making good espresso is a matter of personal taste. An espresso that you think tastes fantastic may also be something that another person isn't happy with. You're going to have to explore what works for you. It looks like you're on the right track. Good luck!

  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #7
Hey Rose, I'm right there with you. I just happen to be off today, and doing what you are doing. Otherwise I would not be answering so quickly.

I did find a post on here about a guy that has the Breville and he purchased a new tamper and the Capresso Infinty and coffee from, I forget where now, but I've put them in fav. so I can look more at them.

Just wanted to thank you for all your help and guidance. I am excited about getting all the new info. I'll let you know later how things are coming.

Thanks Flo
Well I own an Infinity and I'll chime in here. The Infinity will work quite well for espresso. Probably better suited for less demanding extraction methods, but it will indeed work. Only complaint about it is some grounds are retained in the grinding chamber when grinding finer.

I have used the Infinity with my KA Pro Line semi-auto machine and am actually using it right now with my Olympia Cremina lever machine, which is pretty demanding of grind quality. I'm modifying my Pro Line grinder by transplanting Mazzer Mini burrs into it, but it's out of service at the moment. So the Infinity is my backup.

If you can spend more then that's fine. But if you plan to keep the Breville you WON'T need anything better or more adjustable than the Infinity. In that setup the machine will be the weak link, not the grinder. Later!
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #9
Ive had the Breville for a couple of months now. I find using it ok, just looking at better tasting espresso, which I am hoping that a grinder will help. When this one does go out on me, well dont know what Iwill look for then. But I do not believe I would be looking for an espresso machine with a grinder, but one that is more automatic than the Breville.

Didn't find the grinder like I had planned this weekend, so I'm still searching. I did read some info that makes me think that I should consider a flat burr instead of a conical burr.

Thanks for everyones help. I'll keep ya posted.

Well the Breville utilizes pressurized baskets and a thermoblock heating system. These are the 2 things that hold it back quite a bit. You can get standard baskets for it that will improve the shot quality alot, but not much you can do for the thermoblock. It is what it is.

Don't know if I'd want anything on the auto or super auto level. You do have the added convenience and repeatability, but that's all you'll gain. The autos and super autos usually leave alot to be desired in terms of shot quality. And if you're a milk drinker they are poor choices as well because the heating systems don't allow for proper milk texturing.

I surely wouldn't say flat burrs are better than conicals. Different but not better. You can get a good flat burr grinder on a commercial level much cheaper than a commercial conical grinder. I've read lots of comments on both styles and most agree that neither is better than the other, just a little different.

I'd also like to point out that conicals have been around a long time and work quite well.... just look at hand grinders. Most offer grind consistency on par with commercial grinders and the hand grinders almost always use conicals. Later!
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #11
Okay guys, I went a bought a Baratza Virtuoso today for my birthday, well actually my husband bought it for me. I'm going to cook with it tomorrow being it is so late this evening. I'll let you all know how things went. Wish me luck. I'm really excited and nervous.
  • Thread Starter
  • Thread starter
  • #13
Hello everyone, I finally got around to trying my new Baratza Virtuoso grinder, (been working so much).
I tried the 6 setting since the book showed espresso grind 1-10, coffee wouldn't even come out, so I tried different things that the Breville machine suggested, i.e. tamp. Than I went to 8, still the same. I guess that is what some call choking? Anyways, 10 and then 12. Twelve turned out pretty good, later though I think I am going to try it on 14. I know people think illy is not very good, but that was really the only fresh I could find at the moment, still searching for this. I did like the taste of my mocha frappicino, there was a difference with it versus the grind I would get at my coffee shop. I was a bit surprised as to how little coffee I had to grind to get a double shot. So, I'm still experimenting and really having fun doing it. I'll let you know how things go in the next few days.
Your machine will require something more coarse than standard espresso grind particle size/consistency. This is due to the pressurized basket(s). It will also require less tamping pressure for the same reason. What I always do (with new beans in particular) is grind a bit finer while keeping all other variables (dose, tamp, etc) the same until the machine chokes a bit, then for the next few shots grind a bit coarser until you find the sweet spot. No way to say exactly what/when that is because taste, texture, etc. is so different for all of us.

Illy is good if it is a few days old. They go to great lengths to have the best beans, the best processing, etc. , but once shipped here they are pretty stale by most accounts. There are lots of online roasters that offer great product and decent prices. Surely won't be anymore $$$ than Illy. Later!