Technology moves fast, like a wildfire really. Blend the rapid progress of technology with the passion and creativity of the coffee industry, and you’ve got a potent combination! There’s always something new on the horizon and a plethora of manufacturers all fighting each other for your money. I’ve personally been guilty of buying into the hype of a product which doesn’t deliver. Thankfully though, through this process you find some real gems, and that’s what I’m here to share with you today.
Mazzers are famous for all the right reasons. Their grinders are reliable, consistent and fast. They’re also incredibly measured in the way they release their equipment. The Kold was announced a whopping five years ago! But I’ve got to say that the wait was worth it. I’ve had a full month now with the Mazzer ZM, and to say that it has impressed me is an understatement.
The burr housing is machined, and the grinder is capable of self-aligning and self-zeroing. This means that when you’re dialling in one ZM, you’re digitally separating the burrs by a set number of microns – a process that is both highly repeatable and highly reliable. Add to this 0.5g of grind retention, memory to hold 20 settings (4 of which are available on quick-launch) and a burr chamber which is accessible by undoing just three screws (allowing for quick and easy cleaning) and you’ve got a winner!
“But CJ — how does it taste?!”
Clarity, sweetness and balance are all on display no matter how we’re brewing!
We’re running the espresso burrs in ours full time now. The test pour overs and batches have all been exemplary and the espresso is nothing short of fantastic. Working in microns means that adjustments are meaningful, and desired outcomes are at your fingertips. Did your last shot pour three seconds too fast? That’s ok! An adjustment of just five microns will slow down your extraction just the right amount. We’re now at the stage where we’re putting one on a bench to get some café-world experience. Only time will tell whether it will maintain its excellence throughout the pressure test, but all the indications are that this grinder will be found on coffee benches for years to come.
Acaia are also a household name for cafes and home brewers alike. Famous for their Pearl Scale, which was a kickstarter in 2013, the Pearl is now a main-stay in the coffee industry. But while they’ve been busy shipping Pearl Scales around the world, they’ve also been developing The Orion – a skittles doser. Or a coffee bean doser, if you want.
I used this first at MICE (Melbourne International Coffee Exhibition) in March this year. At the end of each day, we had to dose 12 different coffees into 19 gram doses, ready to serve filter flights by the hundred the next day. The Orion was a life saver. Pre-dosing was effortless, and reliable. It has both a ‘green bean’ and ‘roasted’ setting, as well as a ‘fast’ and ‘accurate’ setting. If you’re pre-dosing for your single origin on-demand grinder, the ‘roasted/accurate’ setting dosed inside of 0.5g variance 9/10 times, and if it accidently went over by 0.5g or more, a little light would advise you to take some out. If you’re a coffee roaster packing 250g bags, the fast setting will give you a result within 2g of the desired weight (up to 3kg), with just one click, leaving you more time to get your roast on, and be charming.
There you have it! Two items that had me humming with just fifteen minutes of hands-on experience and continue to impress months later. These products are certified excellent.