Overkill? Robur at Home

To be honest I've never really understood people buying Roburs for home use.
From my perspective, it always seemed like kind of crazy overkill. When you look at the strengths of the Robur (and there are many) really only one of them (grind quality) matches up well with home use cases.

But people do it. People put down the big $$ for these monster grinders and use them at home.

And finally I get a chance to actually share an opinion on this based on some facts. That's right - I have a Robur at home.

Now... admittedly it's just a loaner. And it's just for a little while. But still... I've got a Robur at home and I'm not afraid to use it.

I'm planning on sharing some thoughts and experiences along the way. Most will be short and sweet. I'm not going to even try to pretend I don't know the machine or am not familiar with it. I've probably pulled thousands of shots from Roburs to date. But they've all been while working the bar. So these thoughts are going to be in two specific areas. First - is a Robur really a realistic grinder for home (why? why not?). Second - what are the major differences between using it at home and on bar?

Today is Day One with the Robur.
First impressions are that this thing is freakin' enormous. I know I have a smallish kitchen (like a lot of ex pro cooks I prefer smaller spaces for cooking) but DAMN. Even stuffed over in the corner it looms over everything like some sort of freaky death-star-monolith-robot.
And it's not just huge - it's REALLY heavy. Moving it around is kind of a struggle.

The good thing about the weight becomes clear once I start using it. It's like it's bolted to the counter. Not only doesn't it move around, it doesn't even wiggle or anything. That's really quite nice!

And compared to my Cimbali the thing is really quite quiet. It's more of a mechanical hum than the collection of grinding and rattling noises that I'm used to from home grinders.

Almost immediately, however, three negatives crop up.

First - the thing is so tall (in all ways) that it really almost requires a lower counter surface. Seeing into the doser requires leaning up on tip-toes.
Second - it burns through coffee. Changing grind and purging isn't the 3gr-4gr process I'm used to. Dialing in a new coffee this AM probably took 1/4lb in total (and I was really close on both grind and temp to start by pure chance).
Third - it seems like grind quality and consistency drops dramatically once you have less than 1/2lb of coffee in the hopper. I think I'd probably be going from getting coffee in 1lb increments to 2lb increments given point 2 above and this issue.

I was working with a new coffee today, so I can't compare the results in the cup. That will have to wait. From first impressions, the flow rate looks fantastic. Consistency looks (and tastes) like it's really good. It seems a little harder to get light (sub 17.5gr) doses (perhaps the grind is a little less fluffy than with the Cimbali).

I'll score a couple pounds of Ecco and a couple pounds of Four Barrel and start doing some comparison testing. After that I might do the same with some Hairbender.

First impressions, to sum up, are that it's going to eat up a lot of coffee, that's it's really easy to use once set up (but hard to set up), that it's not really going to require any changes to my prep, and that the grind quality seems quite high.

Stay tuned.


Mike White said...

You think a regular Robur is overkill, you should see Andy Schecter's:


I agree that the grind can be inconsistent, but I've always noticed it from the other end. When the hopper is full, inconsistencies begin after grinding a half pound or so. The same principles apply though. You find a setting based on the weight in the hopper (whether full or not) and as soon as the volume changes, so does the grind.

Does yours have an auger?

AndyS said...

Hiya, Chris:
Not sure the words "overkill" and "espresso" belong in the same post -- but I look forward to your continued observations.