Portland (intro)

I'm just back from Portland OR and it's clear I need to post about it.

Less about the coffee, however, and more about the place / people / culture / market.

I need to formulate my thoughts and then will write something up.

I will - however - say this much (as a teaser)...

Apex is one of my favorite beer bars in the world.
The Pork Belly Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich at Bunk Bar is sick.
To understand why coffee in Portland is what it is, you need to understand the weird mix of DiY/indy and taste/flavor and passion/craziness that drives people who create places like Apex and Bunk Bar (and Pok Pok and Le Pigeon and and and). And you need to understand the people in Portland and why the support these lovely lunatics.

Let me ponder and expect something odd soon.


Anfim (at home - v Robur)

So... as if it were not absurd enough for me to have done a review of the Robur grinder at home (see here for final conclusions) now I'm going to spend some time sharing thoughts on the Anfim Super Caimano (modified).

This is the new v2.0 modified Super Caimano (digital timer, cooling fan, some changes to things like the number of adjustments available for the grind, slower speed motor, purge button).

I've been using it for about a week now, and have some initial conclusions. I'll break these down into three sections. First - the grinder. Second - the grinder at home. Third - the grinder vs the Robur.

The Grinder

For someone (like me) used to Mazzer grinders, the Anfim takes some getting used to. It's a stepped adjustment grinder. It's much smaller than the Robur. The doser feels "weird" at first. Figuring out the whole digital timer thing seemed fiddly and tweedly at first.

Once you get used to it - you start to see the strong points of the grinder (and the weaknesses start to emerge as well).

The primary weakness of this grinder is stability on the counter. The grinder "walks" across the counter when dosing (and no joke we're talking about something like 6 to 8 inches of travel). This is obviously a major issue. You can work around it by wedging the grinder in place or by extending a finger from the hand holding the portafilter to brace against the fork. Now... all this being said, I'm told that there is a retrofit for the grinder that adds different feet to it and makes it very stable and fixed in place.

The secondary weakness is the stepped adjustment. While there are now a ton of steps, changing from one step to the other is still an est 3s change in a shot. Again, you can work around this by changing dose when you change grind - but I'd love a worm-drive non-stepped adjustment!

The final weakness is the throat from the burrs to the doser. A lot of coffee gets trapped in here. The grinder ships with a small brush to help clean this - and the new purge button allows you to purge stale coffee - but it's still a PITA. Out of curiosity I measured total grinds trapped in the Anfim and compared to the Robur. What is interesting is that they're roughly equal. It's just that you don't see all the grinds with the Robur (whereas you do with the Anfim).

In terms of the strengths of this grinder...

First (and foremost) is the quality of the grind. The Anfim produces a fantastic output. Shots were incredibly transparent and lacked any muddiness. Shots were sweet and very aromatic. The Anfim's grind quality is at least on par with if not better than the Alinox (IMHO).

Second, the Anfim doser is massively superior to other dosers I've used. Drop is clean and centered. Combined with the quality of the grind, this makes distribution ridiculously easy.

Third, once you get the timer dialed in your waste goes down dramatically. I set it to give me a tiny bit more coffee than I need, but that's largely 'cause I'm a control freak. I could see wasting only a tiny amount of coffee if I didn't do this.

The Grinder at Home

It's just a silly idea.


Between the amount of coffee trapped in the grinder and the challenges of dialing in the dose timer and grind (and their interaction) and the fact that you really cannot use it in a single dose manner this grinder is arguably as poorly suited (if not more poorly suited) for home use than the Robur.

The Grinder vs the Robur

First... this is kind of an unfair comparison as the Robur costs a lot more than the Anfim. And it's kind of a silly comparison because they have such different approaches to solving the problem.

That said... my thoughts...

1. If I were running a high volume coffee bar I'd use the Robur as my workhorse grinder.
2. If I were running a high volume coffee bar with a blend and a single origin espresso, however, I'd use the Anfim for the single origin espresso.
3. The shots from the Anfim to me had better clarity, better sweetness and better aromatics than from the Robur. I'd never really noticed the muddy stuff going on with shots from the Robur before - but now I taste them consistently. The Robur produced shots that had more low end body than the shots from the Anfim showed.
4. If I were running a lower volume, high touch ("luxury") coffee bar - especially if I were serving expensive coffees - I'd use the Anfim.

At the end of the day... I like the taste of the shots from the Anfim more than the shots from the Robur.


Time... perspective

I should have done this earlier, but before it's too late (I hope) I'm going to take a little time off from participation in the various coffee websites etc.

My frustrations have recently spilled over and been communicated in manners that were not productive and I need to step away to gain some perspective. My hope is this will allow me to re-engage in a manner that is more productive and respectful (for all involved).