If you have ever read a home espresso forum or hung out long enough with coffee geeks, inevitably the terms "grind retention" will arise. It is a fascinating subject - that combines a bit of engineering, physics, and economics. It affects all coffee grinders and when it comes to espresso it can be the difference between a perfect shot of espresso and... well, a mess. As we have not touched on it before, we produced a video to run through:

  1. What is grind retention? 
  2. Does it matter?
  3. What do you do about it?
  4. Which grinders are best at each price point?

Regardless of your budget, brew method, or whether you intend to single dose or not, we recommend giving it a watch so that you can pick an espresso grinder that suits your ideal home espresso setup.

 

17 comments

  • @Stefan: The Sette 270 was the first grinder we reviewed in the above video. If you have any more questions about that, I’d be happy to help.

    @Billy: Some grinders aren’t able to single dose, because their grind consistency goes down without a weight pressing the beans down. Give us a call or email and we can clarify this and help you find the perfect grinder for your needs.

    @Mark: I’d recommend a Baratza Virtuoso for your drip coffee :-)

    Ben Piff @ Clive on

  • No mention of the Baratza Sette? The low retention is the primary reason that I purchased it.

    Stefan Wrobel on

  • Hi.
    How important a factor is the weight of the beans? How much does that affect the quality of the grind and therefore the shot, together of course with factors as retention, heat, power of motor etc, when singe dosing? Specially as electric grinders are usually designed to work best with a hopper, big or small, full of beans and not by single dosing.

    Thank you,
    Billy

    Billy on

  • Please disregard my previous attempt to post, as I had not yet watched the video and I now see that the Baratza Sette 270 was featured. Thx.

    Steve on

  • Can you please comment on the Baratza Sette 270 I bought from you? Thanks!

    Steve on

  • I currently use a Breville BCG820BSSXL The Smart Grinder Pro Coffee Bean Grinder, Brushed Stainless Steel for my drip coffee and a Jura J6 for my espresso. Would you recommend a better grinder for drop coffee? I am grinding for a Moccamaster coffee machine

    Mark Shaheen on

  • @Toby: The Mazzer Mini is one of the higher retention grinders we sell, and we definitely recommend using it with the hopper full. There are two key factors that produce this retention: Mazzer’s screen design and the taller-than-average burr chamber. Removing or modifying the screen can aid in reducing this but it can also make the grinder a bit messier. As stated in the video, if your shots tend to be inconsistent in the morning try a purge of 5g or so, and go from there!

    Charles on

  • On Mahlkonig grinders: Their grinders, K30 Vario included, have quite a bit of retention due to their combination of large burrs with a large surrounding chamber. They’re designed entirely for commercial use where high retention is not much of an issue due to high volume. The benefits of retention are also greater in commercial use, ensuring a fast and very consistent flow of grounds with each dose. We don’t generally recommend them to home baristas, in part due to retention but further due to the considerably more affordable options with less retention and similar specs. You can even save yourself a few hundred and get the Eureka Olympus in this video which has 75mm burrs! If you want a deeper comparison, get in touch. I know Ben would love this kind of chat.

    Charles on

  • @Doug: A large conical burr grinder like the M7D will require quite a long grind time when single dosing, much like the Eureka KRE discussed in this video. This is because the M7D has a good bit of retention, though not quite as much as the KRE. The first doses were likely quicker due to a percentage of the grounds simply being lost in the burr chamber. I imagine those first doses were also a bit off target.

    When I single dose with the M7D I generally purge around 5g, and would recommend doing so before your first use of the day to be thorough. If you’d like to minimize waste, you can purge a bit less and only experience a marginal difference in shot time, with the usual effects of stale coffee on taste.

    Glad to hear you’re loving your setup!

    Charles on

  • @Gene: The Vario was one of the first flat burr grinders that excelled at single dosing. It has relatively small burrs and a small chamber as well, so retention is pretty minimal. If you experience any inconsistency for your first shot of the day consider a small purge. If not, keep doing what you’re doing!

    Charles on

  • What is the grind retention of the Mini Mazer I purchased from you?

    Thank you,

    Toby

    Toby Garcia on

  • Thanks Charles….. informative as ever!

    Jeff Mundle on

  • I bought a Compak E5 from you guys which I like very much. I notice it has some retention but I don’t know how much. I use the single dose hopper each time I pull a shot. And I purge before each shot is ground.

    So my question is how much retention should I expect.

    Lou Cragin on

  • Grind retention – interesting. Any data on the Mahlkonig grinder? – I’m guessing that it is on the heavy side of the scale.

    Robert S Smith on

  • Good video!

    Can you comment on the K30 Melkhonig, please

    Thanks

    Victor Kareh on

  • Quick grind retention question. Did you look at the Mazur M7D. I like to single dose-usually just one macchiato or two each morning) but suspect at least some grind retention. I also have noted it takes longer than I would have thought to grind 20.5 grams ie 35 to 40 sec for such a robust machine. (initially after purchase it seemed to completely grind that dosage within 10 sec or so. For dealing with grind retention—what amount of beans is good to run through the machine 1 or 2 grams or more ie 4 or 5 gms. Thanks, BTW love my Synchronika and Mazur. Doug

    Robert Cullom on

  • I have a Baratza Vario, purchased from you. I didn’t see it covered in your comparison. I use it for single, timed doses three or four times a day. Suggestions?

    Gene

    Gene Bergoffen on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published