Friends are opening a coffee shop in remote NW Kansas.  They are full service breakfast and lunch AND want to provide great coffee.  At the moment, they are very low volume but are looking for a good quality grinder to help them get started.


Any suggestions for what kind of grinder would work for them? 


Thanks!

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Larry, that usually depends on what their budget is. Also, are you speaking of coffee, espresso or both? Also, what type of coffee or espresso machine do they currently have or are they looking at purchasing?

If they truly want to provide great coffee/espresso, they should budget appropriately. The initial tendency for places that want to add a coffee program to an existing establishment is to search for the cheapest equipment that will fulfill their requirement of adding coffee/espresso to the menu.

 

-phil

For cheap, look for a used Mazzer on e-bay.  It's cheap, and it will get the job done.  It's not optimal, but it doesn't sound like that's what they are looking for.  "Great coffee" tells me that this will do the trick. 

 

It will not, however, work for drip, french press, or anything other than espresso.  The fix is the same.  Look on e-bay for a bulk grinder.  A Bunn G1, 2, or 3 should be fine.  I wouldn't use a Grindmaster.  

Larry, I have had some pretty good luck buying Mazzer grinders from ebay. I actually have one coming in this week that I just bought on Tuesday! The main issue you may run into with buying Mazzer grinders on ebay is that the burrs may be dull, but they are cheap enough to replace ($25-$50) if you can get the grinder cheap enough.

 

As far as the Bunn G1,2 & 3 grinders go, it can be quite a bit more risky. If the grinder was used to grind flavored coffee, it can be a pain to try to get the oils and the smell from the grinder. I actually just bought one 2 weeks ago that had this issue and I took the machine apart and soaked some of the parts in mineral spirits to clean them thoroughly, then I scrubbed the hopper and other parts and it still smells a bit. Also, if you need to replace the burrs on a Bunn grinder, it can be quite expensive (usually over $250!) You may be better off buying a used Bunn grinder from a local used restaurant equipment dealer, where you can check the machine out and hopefully send a few beans through to see if it is still grinding consistently, or if you need to replace the burrs. You can get a new Bunn G1 for around $700, or a refurbished one from a few online equipment dealers.

 

As long as you are willing to take the risk, you can save quite a bit buying from Ebay. Just be prepared that if the machine needs some work or replacement parts, it could be more of a hassle than it's worth and you may not end up saving much cash in the long run!

-phil


Jason Haeger said:

For cheap, look for a used Mazzer on e-bay.  It's cheap, and it will get the job done.  It's not optimal, but it doesn't sound like that's what they are looking for.  "Great coffee" tells me that this will do the trick. 

 

It will not, however, work for drip, french press, or anything other than espresso.  The fix is the same.  Look on e-bay for a bulk grinder.  A Bunn G1, 2, or 3 should be fine.  I wouldn't use a Grindmaster.  

They have little budget but I've convinced them they need something decent or they will never get good espresso.  They love the idea but have almost no knowledge of espresso, milk, drink preparation, etc.  That's where I come in.  

 

They really want to learn and do it right.  A tight budget makes that challenging right now but it's where they have to start.

 

I think they picked up a used Astoria 2 group but I don't know which model?  I'll check on that.


Cheers...Larry

The Mazzer super jolly is a great grinder and can handle when shop gets more customers.  Its also 7 or 8 hundred and at the lower end of the price spectrum.  I am looking at going doserless though and going with the mazzer kony electric in a shop I am building out now.

Ben,

You'll have to let me know what you think of the Kony E. I have used everything from a Mini & Mini E, Major and Major E, the Robur and Robur E. They Kony is the only model I have yet to work with. Somebody posted about the Kony on another thread on here and said that they were dreadfully slow. I love the speed of the Robur and we were using a Major next to that for decaf. The Major, even next to the Robur was pretty quick, especially for a decaf grinder! I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money on a Kony when I had already used and was quite impressed with the Robur, especially after hearing negative reviews on the Kony. But, the same user also said the Kony had flat burrs, which it doesn't. So maybe his info was flawed from the start.

Let me know your thoughts!

-phil


Ben Cordova said:

The Mazzer super jolly is a great grinder and can handle when shop gets more customers.  Its also 7 or 8 hundred and at the lower end of the price spectrum.  I am looking at going doserless though and going with the mazzer kony electric in a shop I am building out now.

Since I'm the one who wrote the referred to post, I'd like to know where I wrote that the Kony has flat burrs.

 

Perhaps you're the one whose info is flawed...

 



Phil Roberts said:

 I just couldn't bring myself to spend the money on a Kony when I had already used and was quite impressed with the Robur, especially after hearing negative reviews on the Kony. But, the same user also said the Kony had flat burrs, which it doesn't. So maybe his info was flawed from the start.

 

Jay, I was referring to a coffeegeek review a couple years ago when I was trying to decide between the robur, kony, and anfim.

-phil

Ok, gotcha.

 

Back to the OP - considering your friends have no clue as to how to make quality coffee (great that they want to learn) perhaps a La Marzocco Swift will be their best bet.  Then maybe a Major on the side to practice with (if they're really serious).

 

Otherwise, stay with the Swift, focus on the food and serve decent espresso.

 

Actually, if their focus is going to be with the food, ditch the espresso altogether and focus on making really great brewed coffee.

Hi Jay,

They started with the intent of doing coffee only.  They WANT to learn how to do great coffee so I'll help them with that.  I'll check out the Swift and Mazzer's.  There's a reputable "refurbished" company in the area so we'll see what's available.

 

Attitude wise:  I walked into a shop the other day with dirty steam wands, thick ugly dry foam and said hello to the owner.  He sounded like they knew all they needed to know and had their espresso down to a science....no apparent openness to learning.   Sad and all to common an attitude!

 

The people looking for a grinder and help:  they are loaded with passion, desire to learn and openness.  I'm optimistic!


Thanks for the help!!!

Larry-

 

One thing to bear in mind while visiting other shops is that they don't know you and don't trust you.  Of course, why should they?  You (or me) are just another schmoe walking into their shop telling them how to make a million bucks.

 

Before you're able to impact anyone or any business, they have to know you first and trust your knowledge.  Take your friends who you're helping.  They know you and know your level of expertise, which is why they place value in your thoughts.  If they didn't, they wouldn't.

 

People are willing to be open to help but it has to come from a person/entity they trust.

Hi Jay,

 

Thanks for the suggestions.  What I'm referring to is a closed minded attitude.  My 'friends" didn't know me until i walked through  their door and asked them how they were doing.  They said, "honestly, we are struggling".  When I asked if they had any questions or if there was anything I could to do help, they pounced.  So open, curious and eager to learn!  That's when I described them as friends.  They really really want to improve and do whatever they can to be better.

 

The second shop, same sort of scenario except for the response and the that they knew me already.  I went in because I've had so many local people (small town of 1,200, only coffee shop) ask me if I would help them.  Drinks were bitter and sour and inconsistent.  

This shop is new, open about six months, has high school students running the bar an had a shot sitting on the counter from the last customer waiting to be used on the next customer.   

 

They were "closed" and knew everything they needed to know.  Mindset....but, the choice is theirs.  I've learned so much over the past 15 years by asking questions everywhere I go.  You never know when one little tip will change things for the better.  


I've been a corporate facilitator for over 20 years and feel my way through situations.  Whether a coffee shop, corporation or any other sort of profit or non-profit operation, there is no wiggle room for improvement if there isn't some openness, personal accountability and curiosity on their part. 

 

That part, "we know it all already", that's the part I don't understand because I'm simply not wired that way.  

 

Here's to good coffee everywhere!

 

Cheers...Larry

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