Anybody know much about automatic espresso grinders? I want one, but there are few I would like to find some more info on. also if you know of one that I do not mention please feel free to add it in.

Robur E- Or something like it. Automatic but no tamping technology except for like DYNAMOMETRIC TAMPER 

Mythos- Nice automatic that has a tamping system built in, which is cool, but you still have to tamp it yourself

Volcano- Don't know much about, but interested.

Swift- Truly an amazing grinder if it works. automatic grinder and automatic tamp. I hear it jams and break often, but I wonder what causes it, and does it really happen? Are they worth it with unprofessional baristas? 

Please post any cool automatic grinders you know of and any automatic tamping you know of

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Ahhh... the Swift. It does work, but is truly a mediocre grinder. Enormous, clunky, expensive to buy, difficult to set up and repair, less reliable than grinders that cost half as much, and only works with La Marzocco portafilters.

If you're looking to simplify your dosing and tamping, my first choice would be the Mythos. Without the tamper, its a good solid grinder that's in my top 3 for quality-focused bars (with the other two being Compak's K-10 conical and the Robur).

I think the K-10 is still available in a programmable dosing grinder. Will check out the offerings at SCAA in a couple of weeks and see what else impresses me.

Why no tamper on the Mythos?

Ever used the Dynamometric tamper by CMA?

Also, What is the difference between a conical burr grinder and a flat blade grinder? Which is better for my situation at the church? Serving as many possible people as we can in 20-30 minutes.

1. What I was trying to say was that the Mythos is a great grinder even if you weren't looking for one that had an onboard tamper. I'd put it on a quality-focused bar in a heartbeat... though most applications would be better served by the barista model without the integral tamper. Yours is a somewhat special case.

2. No.


Austin Lee Decker said:

Why no tamper on the Mythos?

Ever used the Dynamometric tamper by CMA?

The Swift grinder can actually be set up to work with many other portafilters than the La Marzocco one. It just needs to be set up before being shipped out by La Marzocco USA.

Thanks Mark, I remember you telling me that!

Bradly, do you like the on board tamper on the Mythos?

I've tried to order Swifts set up for other machines in the past and I've always been told that it wasn't something they did. In the early days of the Swift La Marzocco maintained a special spacer that allowed them to set the grinder up for a Nuova Simonelli but they stopped maintaining that part. The other issue you run into is the basket size and portafilter diameter. The Swift only has one size of tamper impeller and it's been designed for La Marzocco baskets, as you might imagine. So it will bind up in smaller baskets and leave a ring of uncompressed coffee in larger ones. I've set up swifts for Simonelli since then but it takes some MacGyvering.

There's a shop that just opened up down the way from my house that has an NS with a Swift.  Seems to work fine.  

We have a customer that has 4 or 5 Swifts in service.  I had to rebuild all of them last year when their roaster's de-stoner apparently failed (and they shipped the coffee anyway with out warning).  If they had had steel burrs, I doubt they would have needed much service.  Actually, it's probably been more like 18 months since we've had any calls on them.  

Though, my personal experience is limited with grinders like the Robar-E.  My conversation with new shop owner recently, is that they are a little slower then they would like for the busy periods.   It seems a Major Automatic would be faster.  

Majors are not faster than Roburs. Robur-E's are super-fast. Think an 18g dose in under 4 seconds. But they're crazy expensive... If you could find a used one, that might be good. Same goes for Mythos -- awesome grinder, but pretty pricy. 

New, I'd grab the Compak K-10 Fresh. It's under $2,000 and is also hella-fast. I know the Anfim is now in a doserless version as well from Visions, but I've never used it.

However, the law of diminishing returns applies. How many more drinks can you realistically pump out because your grinder doses in 4 seconds instead of 8? If you're running two people on the machine, you're absolutely not going to double your capacity just because your grinder is double the speed. I put a Compak K-8 Fresh in my shop -- it's the same as the K-10, except with flat burrs. The dose time is 8-9 seconds, but since you tap the PF and leave it in whilst it grinds, there's plenty of efficiency, and these run about $1,300 new.

BUT BUT BUT: If this is a once-a-week thing at a church, perhaps try Baratza's Vario-W (or the new commercial-build version of it that they're releasing in the next few weeks)! You'll save yourself a ton of money and I think they're pretty quick; I'm always concerned about over-buying on something you'll wish you'd saved on later. Just some thoughts.

I was thinking a Major with a doser.  For the intended purpose it would work.

R. Justin Shepherd said:

Majors are not faster than Roburs. Robur-E's are super-fast. Think an 18g dose in under 4 seconds. 

I was watching a lot of videos on grinders today, and I have some questions. Seems like all these automatic grinders can be programmed on how fast you want the coffee to come out, but if you do it too fast the espresso ground beans comes out hot or warm, which is bad for the coffee/shot maybe? idk

Also, lets say both a Mazzer mini e and Robur e are set to grind a double shots worth of espresso, what would happen in the long run to the mini? Could the mini even do this? Would the mini's grind be hot or something, and would it being hot mess up the espresso. I don't know much about this, so please explain everything.

I really like the Mythos because of the built in tamper, but the if the automatic compact A-8, K-10, and K-8 are cheaper and just as fast, why not get them, and a dynamometric tamper from CMA?

I also checked out the Vario-W, and it seems to have good reviews, but is built for commercial use like I am doing (Serve as many people possible on a 3 group in 20 min. Serious the line never ends for 20-30 min straight) It looks like their is no place to set the PF but maybe you have to take that front plastic cover off, idk. Just the Vario and some younger models than the Vario-W seem to have slots for PF. How does this grinder compare to the Mythos and automatic Compak A and K series?

The "speed of the dose" is a direct result of the grinding mechanism. Minis have a very small burr set, so it takes longer for them to grind the same amount of coffee. Major and Compak K-8 have a similar larger flat-burr set; Roburs and Compak K-10 have a conical (as opposed to flat) burr set and grind even faster than the others. 

Doserless grinders (Robur-E, K-8 Fresh, K-10 Fresh) make for more efficiency because you can tap the PF and hook it on the rest, then fill a milk jug or do some other task in the 4-10 seconds it's grinding. 

To answer your question: You could run a Mini nonstop for a half-hour or so with no problems, I think, but the grinder is really slow for a commercial application and so you'll stand there holding a PF for 20 seconds or more when you could be doing other things. And yes, your dry coffee might get hot. 

As for the Vario-W -- plenty of shops use this grinder for decaf or for single-origin espressos, but I don't have real-world experience to tell you how fast they are. 

Here's my question to you: What are you using NOW? Depending on the answer, you may see a huge efficiency difference just by switching to a mid-level grinder -- by way of example, I switched a Mazzer Super Jolly out for the K-8 Fresh a couple years ago and watched my line suddenly start to move a whole lot faster. 

Also, I'm not sure why you want a big tamping device -- these don't improve efficiency at all, so much as they take up valuable space and require your barista to work around it. Tamping shouldn't take more than a couple seconds with just a regular handheld tamper. 

Ultimately, based on the various postings you've been making, I think you (or, at minimum, whoever is going to be "running" your coffee setup) would be really well-served to approach a few cafes that you or they think do a good job with coffee. Ask them these questions; maybe volunteer to "intern" for a week or two if they seem amenable to it. All the options on equipment can be overwhelming even for me, and I've run a busy shop with 12 employees for the better part of a decade. But get some hands-on experience in a real-world setting and suddenly you'll better understand the things you MUST HAVE, the things you'd LIKE TO HAVE, and the things you absolutely DON'T NEED. 

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