Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

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Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Greg H on Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:39 am

We use an Anfim Super Camiano in our training lab but I have thought many times about changing to a Robur E.

Setting aside all the debates regarding: flat burrs vs. conical, dosing/timer issues, heat issues, grind adjustment issues etc...

Is there anyone out there that has made the switch from the Anfim to Robur that could give a impression of how the taste profile changed.

Let's say same coffee, same roast date, etc.

What differences did you notice--were they substantial and dramatic or subtle and non-distinct?

Thanks in advance for any comments.

Greg
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby Greg H on Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:35 am

This post was too narrowly focused.

Would anyone reply if the question was directed toward any flat burr grinder compared to the Robur E?

What is the effect on taste?

Are the Robur benefits only speed and functionality?

Thanks for any feedback everyone.
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby Robert Goble on Mon Feb 22, 2010 10:43 am

Although he's the importer and is therefore open to suggestions of bias, Vince Piccolo speaks often about the taste of Anfim relative to other grinders. I'll send him the link and invite him to make a few comments - general or specific - about this.

R.
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby IanClark on Mon Feb 22, 2010 11:46 am

We're almost through transitioning from Anfims to Robur E's at 10 shops.

The reason for the transition was a combination of efficiency and health & safety. Freeing up about about 5-7 seconds per drink has been wonderful and repetitive stress injuries were occurring which was not quite so wonderful. You're probably not too worried about efficiency or repetitive strain in your training lab though!

In terms of sensory changes, right off the bat I remember finding improved viscosity and a slightly different expression of aroma in a good way when we started switching to Roburs. I'll note that this probably depends a great deal on many other variables so I think it's safe to suggest "results may vary". I've had astounding shots from both grinders under many different circumstances.

For the past several months we've been running some shops on Anfims and some on Roburs and I really haven't been conscious of a difference. That said, our water quality is pretty brutal in the winter though so really for the past few months I've been happy just to hit a balanced taste. At this point from a quality perspective I'm hesitant to suggest one over the other. They're both great. I'd suggest getting access to a Robur E with your coffee & bottled water from your lab to experiment =)

You might also consider training outcomes in your decision. Are you training clients? Do they use dosers? They'll likely be a little discombobulated if you train them on a Robur E and then send them home to figure out how to use a doser on their own.

All the best

Ian
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby nick on Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:24 pm

I'm still a big fan of the doser Roburs. Add the digital timer ("Delta?" From Espresso Parts, I think?) to help with waste control and consistency, and I think that's the bees' knees.
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby Alistair Durie on Mon Feb 22, 2010 4:11 pm

I'd echo Ian's comments here. 5-7 seconds per shot is a huge savings, nor have we noticed a very noticeable spread in the quality of our espresso (we have both grinders on the same bar). Great espresso can be made with both of these grinders.

Nick: I see nothing positive about having a doser on any grinder, which are designed for a totally different purpose than how we are all using them (ground per shot)... they cost more time and more strain.

disclaimer: our company sells both Anfim and Mazzer
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby nick on Mon Feb 22, 2010 6:10 pm

Alistair wrote:Nick: I see nothing positive about having a doser on any grinder, which are designed for a totally different purpose than how we are all using them (ground per shot)... they cost more time and more strain.

I beg to differ, my friend.

I absolutely agree that a grind-per-shot barista, when using a doser, is using it in a way that it is not designed to be used. A doser (as you know, but for some in the audience...) was designed to be filled with coffee grounds, using the dosing mechanism to deliver measured doses. One pull for single, two for a double. Adjust the dose amount by adjusting the vertical axis on the dosing star.

Grinding fresh per shot with a grinder-doser, a barista has to pull the dosing lever rapidly to keep up with the grinding, especially on some of the faster grinders.

A grind-on-demand a.k.a. doserless grinder, such as the E-series from Mazzer or the Mahlkonig K30 series, should be the solution. They address many of the negative issues associated with the doser. Less strain and time, as you wrote, Alistair. Agreed.

Problem is, the Mazzer E's dosing mechanism (the 'funnel') leaves much to be desired. The extruder screen/wires are there to address one issue (static, grinds flying everywhere, and consistency of dose quantity) but create others (clumpiness, clinginess, added heat). The size and shape of the funnel seems actually quite arbitrary, merely replacing the doser in size and general shape, rather than a start-from-scratch approach that focused on the function of dosing.

But the doser, in a serendipitous way, provides something that the Mazzer E's don't: they mix the coffee grinds. I will argue that this is something positive.

Whether or not it is relevant could be debated, but I believe that it is. A better argument would be whether the mixing that the doser provides (assuming it's indeed a positive effect) enough of a positive effect to outweigh the negatives.

Personally, I do prefer a timed grinder-doser. It gives me more control over the dose, dose placement, and rate of delivery into the basket.

A grind-on-demand grinder is great for the average barista. It's great for beginning baristas. They definitely help reduce waste (when used properly). For skilled baristas, I still prefer a grinder-doser.

Right now, with everything available, here's my dream setup: Mazzer Robur grinder-doser (including the pre-grind auger), BUT slowed down about 30-50% with a frequency drive and with a Delta timer... and some sort of more advanced cooling mechanism that doesn't exist yet, and a dosing-hole funnel (like Schecter's or Elvin's) for cleaner dosing. 8)

(Elvin, if you're reading this, still waiting to see those mods we talked about in Seattle! :P)
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Andy Schecter on Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:27 pm

Greg H wrote:Is there anyone out there that has made the switch from the Anfim to Robur that could give a impression of how the taste profile changed.


I can't speak about a Robur E, but I have both an Anfim Super Caimano and a dosered Robur on my kitchen counter. The Anfim is on loan from the importer, Vince Piccolo; the Robur is an 83mm model running on a timer and variable speed frequency drive.

Frankly, I wanted the Robur to spank the Anfim in taste testing. After all, it belongs to me, and it's bigger, badder, heavier, faster, quieter (and of course, a lot more expensive). But the Anfim has done really well in direct comparisons to the Robur. If anything, from time to time, an Anfim shot will reveal a flavor that I hadn't been tasting in the same coffee with the Robur (lemon, candied orange, almond, etc).

When comparing shots visually with a bottomless portafilter, the Anfim shots look worse -- more spritzes and less even flow -- but these visual "defects" don't seem to register on my palate.

In my mind, the Anfim is an excellent grinder, and a great value for the money.
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby IanClark on Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:32 am

Andy Schecter wrote:In my mind, the Anfim is an excellent grinder, and a great value for the money.


Before making this comment I'd first like to agree with Andy.

This morning I'm swapping a shop over from an Anfim SC to a Robur E. This provides a pretty good opportunity to pull shots in about as close to a ceteris perebus situtation as I can imagine. The one difficulty is that the Anfim's burrs are aged but are still performing well.

Mindful of dose, flushing coffee from the chute/burr chamber, etc, I've pulled shots side by side to see if I could tell the difference. I definitely could but there's no clear "winner".

Like I mentioned earlier there is a slightly different expression of aroma between the shots. The Robur tends to offer a bit more complexity with my coffee this morning but the Anfim, while marginally less layered, offers a slightly different aromatic expression that is perfectly delightful. I can see this evaluation being highly dependent on the coffee being used.

In terms of taste balance there's pretty much no difference on average. The Robur shots appear to have a slightly higher solubles yield both visually and through tactile and taste evaluation. This could easily be due to the difference in burr age though.

From my experience both grinders offer solid texture, aromatic complexity and control over taste balance. In any given situation it's probably very likely that one will perform better than another, but this outcome will be circumstantial.

With regards to the doser/doserless comments, although the doserless model doesn't necessarily give a "perfect" extraction every time when you simply dose in the centre and tamp it's pretty darn close and more than consistent enough for me to trust that such an approach will result in us serving the best product we can as consistently as possible. For anyone reading unfamiliar with my situation, I've got over 150 people using these grinders with varying degrees of interest and committment (although they are all awesome and I'm very proud!). Again, this discussion is really circumstantial.

I'd love to see a doserless/doser "throwdown" some day to really put the theory behind doser sweeping to the test. I bet there's some merit to it although I think the latest Mazzer and Mahlkonig doserless models have really minimized any advantage there if it does exist.

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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Greg H on Tue Feb 23, 2010 10:48 am

Thanks a million for all of your comments everyone!

Ian, I especially appreciate you taking the time to do a little tasting this morning--very kind and helpful.

Since I posted this, I thought I should do some taste comparisons with our current set up to see if there were any noticeable differences between the Anfim and our Super Jolly.

Set-up: the grind, dose, volume, and profile was as identical as we could produce.

Yes, this is circumstantial, but...

The general results after multiple shots (with multiple tasters) over the past few days are as follows:

Anfim: really brought the fruit forward in both aroma and taste in all the shots we tasted. The chocolate and creamy caramel came in at the finish to leave a great aftertaste, but they were overpowered in the initial tasting.

Super Jolly: shots more balanced between bittersweet chocolate, caramel, and fruit. The fruit did not dominate, but settled into the background from start to finish. The Mouthfeel was more silky as well.

We tried this test in different orders and at different times of the day.

Results were always the same: the grinders produce noticeably different sensory profiles, and surprisingly, we all liked the shots off the Super Jolly more.

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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby barrett on Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:41 am

Vince is on a plane today, so he asked me to weigh in on this one.

We started using the Anfims before the WBC in Bern, as a way of reducing the amount of waste on the counter. We previously had Roburs and one or two other Mazzers where the Roburs wouldn't fit. The dosers on the Robur are capable of dosing clean - but it takes some work cocking the portafilter to the left to catch all the coffee, and/or fanning the doser handle.

There are certainly things that I liked about the Robur - the weight is awesome. That thing doesn't move on the counter. Although, carrying it into a football stadium for a competition is less than awesome. (Trust me on that one.) It made good coffee, that was never the motivation to switch grinders. I like the funnel on the E, but my limited experience with the timer was less than stellar... but I've only spent substantial time on one unit, so maybe it was a one off.

I think head to head taste tests are nearly always fundamentally flawed because the newer burrs should always perform better than the old one. Short of sitting in a different room, deaf to the distinctive sounds of both grinders, we're tasting with our eyes and ears.

Vince, on the other hand prefers a doser, he feels it breaks up any clumps better. There's no question that the Robur grinds faster, but the thing about a doser is, that the grinder can run unattended. Most of our baristas will hit the button to start the grinder as their tamping the previous shot, so by the time they're ready to dose, it's just finishing up grinding. For awhile, we had a Robur and an Anfim around here that we played around with for a long time, and Vince felt the Anfim was a slightly cleaner shot, with a little more nuance. YMMV, but that's when we went into full swing putting them in the cafe.

As to repetitive stress, my experience has been that the in and out of portafilters into groups was much more taxing than dosing - and when I had problems, there was no dosing (most of it was off a Swift) Pull a portafilter in and out 800-1200 times a day though, and you'll get a tender arm. I'm also sure this is the reason corporate coffee has gone to button pushing.

Last summer, after the SCAE, I spent about 14h on trains to see the Anfim factory in Milan. It was pretty interesting to hear their take on certain things, like aluminum vs brass components. They use a brass ring where the top collar screws in. They said they could save money and use aluminum, but they say it wears out much sooner. Same with the internals on the doser, the brass parts last longer. They said that aluminum is half the price, and some companies do that, but they go for brass. It was interesting to see and hear their take on things, and the little things they do, that I'd have never thought of.

I don't know what the price of a Robur E is in the USA, but here in Canada, there's a substantial price gap. They're both great machines, both capable of making great coffee in a cafe environment and both have won national level barista comps, I think in the end, it comes down to preference.
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Andy Schecter on Tue Feb 23, 2010 7:49 pm

barrett wrote:The dosers on the Robur are capable of dosing clean - but it takes some work cocking the portafilter to the left to catch all the coffee, and/or fanning the doser handle.


The "shnozzola" link in my signature is not just a throwaway line. Click it. In ten minutes, with ten cents worth of materials, your Robur can dose clean with no leftward toss.
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby naznar on Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:24 am

Which Anfim Super Caiminos are you all talking about?? I think its important everyone specify here since there are a few versions. Steel burrs, or Titanium (coated/alloy). timer? rotation speed?

I just received the Anfim Super Caimino with Titanium Coated burrs, 800rpm motor, 90 drilled out steps vs the stock 70, continuous running fan, and Omron timer adjustable to a hundredth of a second (.01sec). Preliminary results show that the chute holds roughly 6.5 grams. The vanes surrounding the burr set that sweep the coffee out appear to hold much less than a single phase Robur. Our tests with a Robur show that the area around the vanes holds roughly 14g (very rough here, but look at that area inside its huge.)

We have just sent our Anfim to CoffeeHouse NW here in Portland, who are running a 110v Robur E with doser, combined with a regular 110v Robur. They serve Stumptown Coffee. Most of the employees have now spent a little time on a Robur with Delta timer. At this point it has only been two days for them. We did a little seasoning ourselves over the weekend (12 pounds) at one of our accounts, before biking the grinder over late Sunday.

The one thing this Anfim has is a way sweeter actuater button. The casting of the doser lever sucks. The purge button is genius (something lacking on the EPNW w delta timer). The lack of clumping seems to relate to the huge chute from burrs to hopper. more later
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Sandy on Wed Feb 24, 2010 9:34 am

barrett wrote:
As to repetitive stress, my experience has been that the in and out of portafilters into groups was much more taxing than dosing - and when I had problems, there was no dosing (most of it was off a Swift) Pull a portafilter in and out 800-1200 times a day though, and you'll get a tender arm.




Ditto.
I've experienced the Barista elbow syndrome- cortisone shots, therapy, surgery- the whole nine yards.
My experience was related to the Swift and Linea set up as well.
Twisting and pulling portafilters out of the linea, into the swift, out of the swift, into the linea each and every dose was much, much more repetitious and taxing on the forearm than pulling a doser lever, giving that, of course, i am consciously pulling the lever with my whole arm towards my body vs dosing with a bend at the wrist.


Andy Schecter wrote:
The "shnozzola" link in my signature is not just a throwaway line. Click it. In ten minutes, with ten cents worth of materials, your Robur can dose clean with no leftward toss.



Highly recommended indeed.
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby barrett on Wed Feb 24, 2010 12:47 pm

naznar wrote:Which Anfim Super Caiminos are you all talking about?? I think its important everyone specify here since there are a few versions. Steel burrs, or Titanium (coated/alloy). timer? rotation speed?

I just received the Anfim Super Caimino with Titanium Coated burrs, 800rpm motor, 90 drilled out steps vs the stock 70, continuous running fan, and Omron timer adjustable to a hundredth of a second (.01sec).


We use the same Super Caimanos, only with the stock motor (1080RPM) - which we've been calling v2.0.
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Re: But how does it change the taste...

Postby Aaron Ultimo on Wed Feb 24, 2010 3:08 pm

nick wrote:I'm still a big fan of the doser Roburs. Add the digital timer ("Delta?" From Espresso Parts, I think?) to help with waste control and consistency, and I think that's the bees' knees.


I guess I still have a lot of murky in me. I ordered a doser and new forks for my doserless Robur E last week. :wink:
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Oliver on Wed Feb 24, 2010 10:19 pm

A couple years back Michael Elvin and I did some taste comparison with the Robur with an early version of a timer Elvin created before the delta timer was in use and the Anfim with the search timer thingy.

One of the things that for myself was consistent again and again is the Robur allowed more texture (body) with a matching clarity of acidity when we used a blend or origin that had more of washed coffee base.

When we used this base of washed coffees in an Anfim the washed coffee acidity seemed more sour, rough, with a body that was tighter but less textural or fleshy.

When we looked at blends or origin that had more pulped naturals and naturals these issues of body and clarity of acidity became more mute and harder to perceive the difference.

Don't know if this is just our findings? But here there are!

Also of note, we pulled the Anfim off our bar when we started with Olympia Coffee with a Robur with the Delta timer and have not looked back.

But I like washed coffees, but I think that thread is somewhere else right?
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Philip Search on Thu Feb 25, 2010 11:06 am

This debate could go on forever. BOTH grinders are good, both can make excellent espresso, both doserless and doser technology has benefits and problems. However, both platforms are fatally flawed and should be rejected. Period. Re-think the parameters. Its not hard to fix the problems when you do this, and you'd be surprised how little it costs to do a better job.Image
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby Andy Schecter on Thu Feb 25, 2010 4:44 pm

Oliver wrote:One of the things that for myself was consistent again and again is the Robur allowed more texture (body) with a matching clarity of acidity when we used a blend or origin that had more of washed coffee base.


Repeating what Joel said, there have been various Super Caimanos, with different burrsets, different rotation speeds, etc. It's not clear if you'd get the same comparison with the latest and "greatest" Anfim.
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Re: Anfim vs. Robur E taste comparison

Postby naznar on Mon Mar 15, 2010 3:27 pm

Anfim Super Caimino Titanium burrs, omrom timer, continuous cooling fan, 90 steps, 800rpm (seasoned with 12lbs)- vs mazzer e with doser (broken in but on the first 1/3 of its burr life).

Same gram weight dosed- check with scale.
espresso used- Stumptown
machine- Synesso Cyncra- same group
Testers- CoffeeHouseNW in Portland

Differences perceived in cup- none.
I had to ask multiple times, but they tell me they did not perceive differences.
I would like to taste this for myself...
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