Universal Grinder Translator?

I have often thought that it would be incredibly useful to have a chart that lists the particle size for each grinder on each setting so that you can have a starting point for translating someone elses recipe to your grinder and/or brewing similar flavors at a pop up as at your shop and/or recommending a starting number to a customer buying a bag of coffee.

I know there are challenges (grind quality, burr style, wide particle size distribution, dull burrs, differing models, etc. etc.) but anything would be better than the pure subjectivity and imprecision of “sea salt” or “fine/medium/coarse.”

Does anyone already know if something like this?

If not, I’d be more than happy to make one if all you fine folks can load me up with as much data as you have. I’ll take anything from micron sizes to draw down times to brew recipes to your own starting numbers for fine, medium, & coarse on your grinder.

Also, link to any online resources are very welcome!

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This sounds awesome, but wouldn’t this be affected by humidity or general temperature in different areas? I’m asking because some friends run a pour-over stand and they said that they experienced 20 degree temperature change. As a result, they had to re-dial in throughout the day. How would problems like this be accounted for?

I guess it’s nearly impossible to develop anything like a comparison chart. It is not possible to compare the grind settings of EKs, because the burr settings are different, every EK is different zeroed and the dials are different. Mahlkönig uses 2 different ones and there are many others. Do you want to compare the mass or the volume of every sieved micron setting batch? My approach to compare grinders would be the maximum TDS before bitterness, but this is only possible if you use the same beans and same circumstances. Maybe I could help you.

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Something super exacting would be incredible! But for now, I am just looking for a basic tool to translate recipes from one grinder to another. The person using the different grinder will almost certainly have to adjust a bit (depending on a number of factors) but at least they will have some place to start so that they dont waste a ton of coffee and time.

HERE’S WHAT I PROPOSE:

Let’s take advantage of the size of this community and gather data once piece at a time.

Every time someone finds a correlation between 2 grinders, post the information in this thread. Once we get a significant amount of information, i will put it into a database, taking care to note discrepancies as well as corroborated findings.

Please do contribute anything you can, even if it is one piece of information, and especially if it is something someone else has already posted!

I don’t buy the argument that everything is different so couldn’t possibly etc.,

Just want to be somewhere in the ballpark and quite valid to have that comparison, and then adjust.

Of course, just inspection of the grind should be sufficient… :slight_smile:

Well here it is from my comparisons of Baratza Preciso and Lido 3 for home use, also google for the baratza grinder comparison pdf which is out there given average micron distribution information crude as it is. From there can compare micron distribution with any other published grinder information for relative comparisons. I compared mine visually and by brewing so I am close with the below table. I am rather near sighted so stand by my visual inspection and associated “fingering” of grinds.

Has to be a better way of describing that… Anyways…

Honestly, when I hear “coarse salt” or whatever other description, I just assume they don’t want to tell you for “proprietary” reasons though that would be nonsensical. The only purpose the comparison does is save some coffee beans from being wasted. Quite sufficient reason.

Baratza Preciso Lido 3
13F 5.5
22F 10
23F 10.5
24F 11
25F 11.5

Thanks!

Between your data & the baratza website, i have a rough starting point for a database.

For what it’s worth, it seems 18 on a baratza encore ~ 17 on a baratza preciso ~ 7.5 on an ek43 ~ 5.5 on a ditting kr804.

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I do love data! And this is simple enough that it might just work.

Let me know if you make a form or way to submit data easily and I’ll share it amongst the peeps!

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This would be so great but I feel like it’s entirely dependent on everybody’s grinders grinding the same - which they don’t!

I think a better way is to measure the 2nd mode of your grind.

You wouldn’t have to sieve your grinds every time you brew a coffee, but do it several times and you’ll be able to make some pretty educated guesses about the particle sizes your grinder produces at different settings.

By the way, I don’t ever think I’ve ever seen a recipe like this before.

Awesome. I’ve got a spreadsheet going but I’m still working out the details on the easiest way for people to submit data. I’ll start exploring an online form tomorrow and let you know as soon as I have something workable.

I’ll gladly take any suggestions if anyone knows of a free program that makes this simple!

Hey Matt, I have a very simple explanation and online submission form here: https://duskcoffee.com/grindertranslation/

Let me know if you need anything else from me to make this happen. Thanks again!

You’re right of course but with enough data we can get some P-values and still have an idea of how similar or dissimilar grinders are, and an idea for variance on each grinder.

This data could have a wealth of uses later on. Especially if someone who actually took stats got a hold of it. Especially if we got a ton of data.

One more plug for this: please go to https://duskcoffee.com/grindertranslation and fill out the form if you have any info whatsoever.

Feel free to put a question mark after numbers you are only mostly sure of or add notes in the comment section. I will definitely label items based on strength of evidence so as much data as possible is good and you will not hurt anything by giving me numbers you haven’t tested extensively as long as you let me know.

Also, for what it’s worth, the email field is optional. Only fill that out if you want me to email you the results. Otherwise, you can just keep looking on this forum because I will post it here as well.

Very curious to see if you get any useful data. There will certainly be a lot of challenges in the way of getting something useful:

  • differences between grinders of the same make/model arising due to design changes / manufacturing tolerances / wear / environmental factors
  • human error / variations in technique
  • presenting it in a useful, compact format

Especially in the case of consumer grade grinders (which many customers would presumably have), the variations between two grinders of the same make/model (whether due to design changes, manufacturing tolerances or wear) would render the data rather imprecise. Couple that with differences in technique/dose which adds variance to your data, which also makes it less useful to the consumer.

Good luck!

p.s. if you get anything useful, you might be able to present it on something like a nomograph - they have been used in engineering for a long time for this kind of thing.

I would be thrilled if something like this would come to existence, but unfortunately I agree with people on the point that that the variables are so complicated that it is almost impossible to find a correlation chart that is not spurious.

But I want to contribute with some useful criticism, who knows maybe it could somehow work out:

  • First we have to acknowledge that the “grind size” is not a simple variable. By making this chart in terms of grind size we are ruling out all the intricacies such as particle size distribution, shape of the particles etc. Those variables are by definition outside of the reach of this chart.
  • But anyway, to make the data as consistent as possible, we have to ask the contributors about the default “calibration” settings of their grinders. i.e. I have a Mahlkönig Vario and I adjust the default position of the burrs to suit my scenarios of coffee brewing, so its settings wouldn’t correspond with even another Vario. Therefore, to make the data meaningful, you should match it with the fact that my calibration point (which is the setting that burrs start to touch another) is around 2D. Only then you can make meaningful comparisons between different grinders. Otherwise even if you gather large amounts of data, they would be simply internally inconsistent due to these differences.
  • And there isn’t a universal definition of calibration point, so it should be defined for every popular grinder in a way that won’t cause misunderstandings.
  • Then of course, there’s the need to find a way to calculate these data in terms of one another, because you will need to extract meaningful information from long lists of equations like that:

Vario (Zero Point: <ε>) setting <ζ> = EK43 (Zero point: <η>) setting <θ>
EK43 (Zero Point: <α>) setting <β> = KR804 (Zero point: <γ>) setting <δ>

and so on.

  • And since these kinds of data can’t be calculated manually, there have to be a sort of program that would use the data to calculate and give specific output for specific grinders with various zero points. (i.e. it should answer a question like “what is the correct setting in an EK43 with a zero point <α> to grind the same size as a Baratza Forte setting <β> with a zero point <γ>.”)

I still think that the idea is excellent, and I would definitely want to have a translator like this; but it’s probably impractical. Nevertheless, with reference points, it might have a chance if the calculator could be built.

Hey Troy, thanks for the heads up on the nomograph. I think that could prove very useful! I have also added a “manufacture date” field to the form to help me isolate more significant variables.

This is why I love this community! That was really helpful constructive criticism. I have added zero point fields to the form.

I’ll just have to see how much data I collect but I am hoping that I will collect enough exacting info for it to be sensical to create a calculator where you can type in zero points and grinder types and get your answers. Here’s hoping.

Again I say, anything that gets you in the ballpark in better than, “course sea salt” or “medium fine” when it comes to having a starting place.

And TO EVERYONE, please just try to make your favorite recipe using 2 different grinders and give me the info for each once you get the same general results with both. If everyone who views this thread does that just once, we will have something meaningful in a couple of weeks!

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Hello Josh,

Great post, I have also put some thinking into universal grinder chart.

I sent an email to Matt a couple of months ago with the idea of using a material (not coffee but behaves the same as) as a reference. Changing the measurement from grind size to flow rate. So let’s say you and me have the material we grind it in our grinders and try find the flow rate. We both have EKs. To find the same grind size i could grind the material make a v60 and tell you it took 2.3 minutes. Then you grind the material on your EK trying to find the flow rate of 2.3.

I thought it was far-fetched until Matt’s latest post where he purposes the use of a foreign material to help with extraction.

The material would not be easily found, but would save you having to collect a tonne of data!

Just some fun thinking!

It probably is a good idea to only have input of grinders that are knowingly re-calibrated with Burrs churping at the lowest/ 0 setting

I would place a high priority on data acquired from grinders calibrated such and be sure to notate the grinders not calibrated as such. Currently, I have received only 1 data submission, so I am not being too specific with my requirements :slight_smile:

I like this! My most obvious thought is Urnex Grindz Cleaner but that could get fairly expensive for people. However, you do get a clean grinder out of the deal :slight_smile:

I just placed an order for Grindz so I will be sure to do some playing around with it along these lines soon.

In the meantime, if you come up with any other ideas for substances, definitely let me know. I am primarily concerned that it be standardized and not “gum up” or flavor the grinder.