After checking out the Technivorm at Williams-Sonoma and being dismayed at how chintzy it felt, I ended up getting a Bunn NHB from Target today. The Bonavita looks very nice, but the reliability (my parents have had exactly two coffee makers in the last 25 years, both of them Bunn) and customer service from Bunn is a known quantity, whereas Bonavita doesn't seem to have been around long enough to establish either. The Bunn seems to have the temperature, time, and shower head-like spray down, so I'm not sure how the Bonavita (nor Technivorm) would end up being much of an improvement. Thanks to the always-on water tank, 3-4 minutes to a pot of coffee is pretty hard to beat.
If anybody wants to pick up some Larry's Beans, they're having a 17% off sale through 4/14. Coupon code is: SPIRIT47
We're big Larry's Beans fans in my house.
So what made you end up with this grinder instead of the other you listed? The other one is cheaper and has better user reviews on Amazon.
Are there any good sites people would recommend for professional reviews instead of Amazon user reviews?
I've been using a decent ~$100 burr grinder for a couple years now but its parts are starting to wear down, figure I'll replace it with something $200-300 that'll last a lot longer.
I know you posted this 6 months ago, but Vivace is amazing. Easily the best coffee roaster and espresso shop throughout Seattle, their drinks are always incredible. I should try some of their beans.
For a cheaper blend, I always really like Peet's Major Dickason's.
Vivace's book "Espresso Techniques" was how I learned to pull a hell of a good shot, along with a lot of practice. I'm lucky enough now to have an Alex Duetto II, a mazzer mini, and some Alchemy Espresso to feed into it.
How about these guys.
That seems more like "one enthusiast's site" rather than a professional review, but the advice on drip coffemakers is pretty much what I'd gleaned from various places on the web: the only two really good machines are the Technivorm and the much cheaper Bonavita. I bought a Bonavita for my wife based on that, and it's been kind of frustrating because on a couple of occasions the filter basket clogged somehow and overflowed. Which was not something I'd encountered before.
Me, I use an aeropress. It's annoying and work compared to a drip coffee maker, but the result is noticeably better than the Bonavita.
Can't comment about the grinders. I use a $120 Bodum grinder, and it seems to work well enough, but it's not like I'm making espresso. I mostly appreciate that it's considerably less messy than my wife's Brataza Maestro.
Why two grinders? My wife drinks Starbucks French Roast, and I drink fresh-roasted coffee from a variety of sources, usually whatever's free shipping at Go Coffee Go. She keeps hers loaded with beans, and I weigh what I'm going to grind and otherwise keep it empty.
I've looked around a lot and am now trying to decide between these two grinders:
Both seem to be rated very highly, and do well with everything from an espresso grind all the way up to a coarse french press grind. Anyone have experience with either? I'm leaning toward the KitchenAid.
What pushed you towards those two? I'm curious.
Browsing over the Amazon reviews reinforced my feeling that the majority of Amazon reviews for coffee tools are of little value. Most people are content with coffee I'd consider awfully bad. The most-helpful review for the Breville mentions that they previously used a blade grinder, and were surprised that switching to a burr grinder improves the flavor. It's of no value if you want to know if it's better than other burr grinders, since they've never used any other burr grinder.
I've never used either one. Honestly, I don't know that much about grinders, but from what I've read almost any burr grinder will do a good job unless you're making espresso, where precise, fine, repeatable grind matters. Just not using blades means you're not burning the beans as you're grinding.
I can't seem to find what I'd call professional reviews of either unit, but I think consumer reviews from an enthusiast site are more helpful than Amazon's general population. Here are the "most helpful" reviews of both machines from CoffeeGeek:
There are of course other reviews on the site for both. Both reviews mention that you probably want something more expensive for espresso. Both are kind of high priced for a grinder meant for drip or other methods.
Personally, I'd kind of like to have a grinder that accurately measures coffee. Currently I weigh it and grind everything I measure, since using the timer is nowhere near precise enough. It's not a feature that's worth replacing my current grinder. I'm not sure I'd even pay the $70 price difference between my Bodum and the Breville for it.
I'll take a look around more at coffeegeek. I was simply looking around Amazon for grinders around $200 that got good overall review averages, and then dug into the reviews to make sure I could find a good number of people who seemed to know what they're talking about mention how they did for espresso and french press.
For some extra context, this is the grinder I have now:
It worked decently well for a while, but in the 3 years since I bought it, it's become less effective, resulting in far more static that causes grinds to go everywhere, and the adjustable grind level doesn't work too well in either direction anymore.
One reason I chose the Bodum is the glass receptacle, and reviews that mentioned that static isn't much of a problem as a result. I doubt my own process of choosing a grinder was ideal, though.
Interestingly enough, I just sorted the grinder views at CoffeeGeek by rating, and the top two on the list below $200 were the two you're considering. So maybe they're good choices regardless. "$200 or below" is pretty far down the list, since many of the top-rated grinders are very expensive or have no price mentioned.
Mine is Still going strong. Pretty sure I read a giant preview for mine on Coffee Geek, but for anything that I expect to last I scour the earth for info to pass through my bullshit meter before deciding.
Yeah, definitely looking for one with more glass than plastic to help reduce static.
The Bodum you listed looks good too. I'll look looking, as well as the Baratza.
I really need a Consumer Reports of coffee!
I agree, though there's some irony there - I think Consumer Reports isn't the Consumer Reports of coffee. They are generally terrible at anything with specialized knowledge or taste. Their coffee coverage is pretty much like Amazon's, their standards for what constitutes good coffee are very low. Their guide to coffee beans, for example, is all about grocery store brands, which is sort of like talking about which stale grocery donut tastes best. Their "best buy" coffee maker is a Mr. Coffee, because it's cheap. Coffee makers like the Technivorm and the Bonavita aren't even on their radar.
Are you using it for drip, espresso, French press, etc?
I have an oldish bunn burr grinder that does French press, drip etc fine but wasn't really fine enough for espresso.
Tried a few 200-ish baratza units when I added an espresso machine a year ago, but they seemed like a compromise and didn't adjust finely enough. Ground always a little too big, small, etc for the current bean and humidity.
Finally ended up with a rancilio rocky doserless. It is around 100 bucks more but fully satisfied. Many fine size adjustments to reach exactly the size you need. Tough but simple construction. Not pretty but very utilitarian.
Basically I ended up keeping 2 depending on the need (espresso vs other).
I have had the Kitchen Aid for a few years. What I like is that the glass grounds container fits snugly. It feels "nice" when it goes in.
There will be some leftover as you remove the receptacle. I have to clean the coffee-making area once a week. The replacement glass receptacle is pretty inexpensive. I bought two because caffeine-free people are clumsy and tend to break things.
It very rarely jams - a couple of times a year. I just take the little brush and clean it a few seconds, and all is well again. I have been using the same very dark oily beans for years - through 3-4 different grinders/machines and this is the most reliable.
I broke some part of a cheap $15 Kitchenaid grinder and called to buy a replacement container. They just sent me a new one, no charge. Pretty happy about that.
I've also had a Rancilio Rocky - that one broke pretty quickly and cost a heck lot more. Broke a couple of super automatics too. I'm not dealing with any Italian company again - they don't pick up the phone, don't answer emails, and the repair process was a huge pain - they wanted me to ship a semi-automatic espresso machine to Italy. I said screw it, got one of those Aeropresses and not buying another espresso machine again.
Neither my Bodum nor my wife's grinder has ever jammed. Maybe it's an issue with grinding espresso? Because I've never ground for anything finer than drip.
Now and then I've toyed with the idea of getting into espresso, but every time I do, it seems like the cost and the difficulty are astronomically higher than more ordinary coffee, and I'm scared off. As I mentioned upthread, I use an aeropress because I find it does a better job than a drip coffee maker.
Here's something terrible I'm doing: I have been using my Aeropress for McDonald's McCafe ground coffee.
I imagine it probably helps take off the edge. Not that I have any idea what that stuff is like.
I won't drink coffee you can buy at the supermarket because the age of the beans makes it too bland for me. It's coffee, but it doesn't really taste like much to me. I had no idea McDonald's would even sell you ground coffee rather than brewed coffee, but I'm guessing it's the same - beans that have been in the bag for months before you grind and brew them. I don't bother with coffee at restaurants or similar situations for much the same reason, it has to be awfully good coffee for me to care about it, and I have no idea what I'm getting.
It's kind of weird that coffee is sold that way, as if places routinely sold generic "wine" with no qualifiers. Or if people treated all cheeses as identical under the label "cheese."
On the other hand, I'm not really that discriminating as long as the beans are fresh. I rarely can match the various note descriptions on the bag label. It may say "raspberries" or "citrus" but I don't taste that. I did have a bag of Novo Espresso once that tasted distinctly of banana to me, but the next bag I bought didn't. It's more like "I can tell it tastes like something, but I'm not sure what."
The McDonald's stuff is pretty good for mass market swill.
Does McDonalds use Green Mountain Coffee in places other than New England?
There are not-insignificant numbers of people who do think of cheese that way. Usually, the "cheese" they think of is square orange slices (i.e. kraft singles / velveeta).
One time my wife was hanging out with some friends-of-friends, and she brought a snack of some squares of pretty standard cheese (edam or white cheddar or something). One guy literally said "what the hell are you eating?", he just had no idea what it was.