grinding for groups

It was Mimi’s 1st birthday today, and like any good father, I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to prepare for the party. I’m not as committed as Paul who owns his own bouncy castle but I do my best. The wife and I were having a few friends with their little ones over, and as usual it was a mad rush in order to get everything ready. In the midst of feeding the kids, and hanging the decorations, and being careful not to get the two reversed, I made my coffee. Almost too late, I realized we were almost out of beans. Pressed for time, I asked the missus if I should run out to get some more–she rolled her eyes and insisted.

I had been boring friends and family to tears about the grinder, and it was a good opportunity to show them what I had been obsessing over. I threw Child #1 into the car, and sped over to Silver Lake to pick up a bag of Black Cat at Intelligentsia. Rushing home, I heated up my Cremina, put some meatballs and mini quiches into the oven, and waited for the guests to arrive.

Without fail, coffee was requested and in the ensuing 35 minutes, I ground and pulled 11 shots making everyone who asked, either a latte or espresso. Now here’s the interesting news.

I found it easy. When I relayed this news to Paul, he coincidentally, had been finding it easier to grind as well. In addition, he was finding it was taking less revolutions on the flywheel to boot! Were we somehow magically transforming from our drab daddy selves, into chiseled clothing challenged Abercrombie and Fitch models? Sadly for our wives, the answer was no.

What we do think is our burrs have reached a point where they are broken in. In the course of our testing, Paul and I have been swapping parts from one machine to the next which of course included burr sets. Around four weeks ago, Paul and I hit a point where everything we had been testing was resolved and we locked our configurations. On average we were grinding a couple of pounds a week in our testing, which should give you a rough idea of how much coffee it might take before you notice a difference.

We believe there is truth to the widespread axiom, even with pre-seasoning, conical burrs need a breaking in period. We haven’t noticed a change in quality, but we have noticed it’s easier to grind.

Point number two. It wasn’t an issue grinding that much coffee for our guests. It took around 30 seconds per shot to grind, and my friends kept me company while ogling the grinder. Was I tired, did my arms ache, did I need to wipe the sweat from my brow in a dainty fashion with a linen kerchief?


This is a subjective experience, and I’m sure someone else’s experience will be different from mine. Was it something I thought worth sharing?