As technology has advanced and prices have tumbled, many coffee aficionados are able to make barista-grade coffee from the comfort of their own home.
Having a high performing grinder is considered to be one of the most defining factors in being able to produce high quality coffee but do home grinders translate for use in your coffee business?
Some home grinders such as Breville’s Smart Pro Grinder and the Fellow ODE Brew Grinder certainly give the professional feel in the home environment, but how would they stand up to the demands of a coffee roastery for example?
We asked a few successful coffee roasters their thoughts on this subject and gave them a list of some great home grinders to get their opinion. Here’s what they had to say.
When I first started out, I tried selling my roasted coffee with the Baratza which cost me around £150. Put simply, it couldn’t handle it. It started making all sorts of funny noises. Whilst home grinders can perform as well as some professional grinders, they simply can’t keep up endurance wise.
I ended up buying an EK43 which is…a lot. If someone’s thinking about becoming a roaster and selling their coffee, I’d suggest they invest in a high quality commercial grinder and think about the costs associated with this.
Honestly, I wouldn’t buy any of those grinders. They just take far too long to grind. In my opinion you’re better off investing in a commercial grinder like a Malhkonig EK43 or a Ditting. That way you can change grind from espresso to cafetiere in a second with minimal grind retention.
If you buy one of the home grinders, the moment you have to grind more than 1 shot of coffee – even 250g – you’ll be waiting around twiddling your thumbs. If someone is going into the roastery business, and they want to grow it, then it’s an investment they’ll need to take.
I actually use the Smart Grinder Pro at home and it does the job for home use, albeit a bit inconsistently and I have to have it on setting 1 to get it fine enough.
I’d go commercial grade because otherwise if you use this home style grinder (Smart Grinder Pro) you’ll die of old age before you serve all your customers! If budget is an issue, you can do what I did and rent a commercial-grade grinder until you make enough to flat out purchase one.
I have a DF64 which does a fantastic job in terms of grind quality and decent build, but in comparison with a Mazzer Super Jolly I had it still doesn’t hold a candle. Your chosen grinder needs to do a full bag without breaking a sweat. And do another immediately after. Every day.
While some of the home grinders can and do give outstanding quality, none of them have the robustness that you’ll need – especially when your customer base starts to expand.
With a startup budget and grinding bag after bag for shipping, consider a Mahlkonig Guatemala or Kenia as well as a Bunn GVH. The EK43 are very expensive but they are well known and bring a bit of recognition within a cafe when present.
Most of the local shops use a separate espresso focused grinder when they have an EK43 as it does not have the largest range of grind sizes but it is so very fast to put bags out the door and thus is great for a roaster selling direct to customers.
I started out with a home grinder and it wasn’t the brightest idea I’ve ever had. I understand that if someone has a tight budget it might sound like a good idea but invest in a commercial grinder. Any other grinder will burn or break in 1 month, and after 2 weeks you will not be able to adjust the grinding due to problems.
A good alternative is the Mahlkonig Tanzania, it has an excellent price and grinds 1 kilo in about 80 seconds. Also look for second-hand options, a commercial grinder has a very long life and is easy to repair.