[Homeroast] Forced plurimodality

Doug Hoople doughoople at gmail.com
Sat Sep 29 17:51:32 CDT 2012

A quick word of explanation is probably in order...

A couple of years ago, some charts circulated on the Internet comparing
"espresso" grinders to "drip" grinders.

They contained an analysis of the distribution of particle sizes.

As I was interested in the properties of coarse-ground coffee, those were
the charts I focused on.

In the chart for the "drip" grinder, it was mostly flat and low, but there
was one pronounced spike toward the coarse end, indicating that the bulk of
the grounds were coarse.  There was also a discernible bump in the fine
area, indicating the presence of at least some fines, but it wasn't all
that big.

The the chart for the "espresso" grinder, the chart looked very similar.
There was a pronounced coarse spike that looked very similar to that of the
"drip" grinder.  But, in place of the bump in the fine area, there was a
spike that was nearly as pronounced as the coarse spike.

So the "espresso" grinder was always going to deliver a fine spike no
matter what setting the grinder was set to, but the "drip" grinder would
allow for a consistently coarse grind without any fines.

These charts had me wondering for years, and I was always curious as to how
to validate this in the real world of cups of real coffee.

What sent me digging through all this again was the experience of looking
at the output of the Compak K6 and the Baratza Vario side by side.

And of tasting the difference.  The difference in the cups is huge.

In the end, what really fascinated me was the ability to simulate the
"espresso" result using a "drip" grinder.  It certainly lent weight and
credibility to the results in those particle-size charts.

Which one is better? The cup ground at the pure drip coarse setting? Or the
cup at the espresso coarse setting (real or simulated)?  I haven't decided
yet.  They're both nice!

At the very least, it adds an intriguing dimension to the pursuit of the
perfect cup of coffee, a pursuit that never ends!


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