Once you’ve chosen the right commercial espresso machine for your business’ needs, the next thing to do is buy the right grinder, or ideally two grinders, so that you can always be sure of doing justice to your coffee.
The majority of good coffee shops will have one large main grinder which your baristas will use for the majority of their coffees, and a smaller secondary one for lesser ordered decaf beans.
If you are going to be serving decaf drinks from time to time then you will definitely want the second grinder, since it will be too much of a hassle to clean out your grinder every time you want to switch beans, and any leftover grinds will compromise the result of either type of coffee.
Other establishment will have even three or four different grinders if they generally serve multiple types of beans on a regular basis.
The reason grinders and heat don’t mix
You might be wondering if you can buy two secondary grinders in order to save you money.
The answer depends on how much coffee you are going to be grinding. If you expect to sell 30-50 pounds of coffee per week, your grinder is going to be running non-stop and is going to heat up, which will negatively affect your coffee grounds.
One way of avoiding this is to have another backup, but investing in a high-quality, high-volume grinder will be able to handle high volumes without overheating.
Smaller, secondary grinders
It is recommended to get a commercial flat burr grinder for this purpose; something like the Mazzer Mini or Super Jolly grinders, or the Fiorenzato F4 or F5.
These grinders, if you get them new, will range from around $900-$1500, or used from more like $450-$800. Smaller grinders like these will serve you just fine if you have a fairly low-output operation; or if you have a specialty bean that you don’t grind as often like decaf or a specialty bean.
Larger, primary grinders
These larger version come in two varieties, conical or flat burrs. Generally speaking the conical grinders will be larger and more expensive, and tend to rotate more slowly than the flat burr grinders.
For pure espresso shots, the conical grinders tend to produce better results, but for milk drinks the difference likely won’t be detectable. For the conical grinders we recommend a Mazzer Robur E or Mazzer Kold, or a Fiorenzato F71K. Grinders like this will run you $2000-$5000 new, or $950-$1850 used.
There is certainly nothing wrong with flat burr grinders, and these are what you will most commonly find in most coffee shops. For these we recommend the Mazzer Major or Fiorenzato F6, which will cost between $1700 and $2750 new, or $850 and $1350 used.
In the end remember that it is just as important to invest in a quality grinder as it is to invest in a quality espresso machine, so you shouldn’t see your grinder as an area to cut costs. Moreover don’t even consider buying ground coffee in order to save money because no serious coffee shop uses pre-ground coffee beans as it seriously lessens the quality.
Setting the Grind Amount
There are a variety of factors that affect the quality of the extraction: humidity, grind setting, correct storage, speed of pour. A perfect extraction will generally be around 25-30ml of espresso along with 5-10ml of dense and fine crema.
Always aim for a balanced and steady pour of approximately 25-30 seconds, and the crema should hold for about 30 seconds.
If your coffee is too course, it is going to be gushing out of the spouts, pouring much faster than the recommended 25-30 seconds, the coffee will taste watery or weak, and the cream on top, if any, will disappear much more quickly.
If, on the other hand, your coffee is ground too finely, it will drip or pour very slowly, with the extraction lasting much longer than 30 seconds. The coffee may also taste burnt.
So you can see it is very important to have a high-quality grinder that can be adjusted so you can grind your beans just right. If you grind your beans wrong then even the best espresso machine in the world isn’t going to make good coffee.
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