One of the requirements for a good coffee? Instant grinding, since otherwise the powder risks losing up to 70% of its aroma half an hour after grinding. The invention of the grinder stems back to the times of One Thousand and One Nights, when it was necessary to transform the first spices from the East into very fine powder.
Pestles for coffee
When coffee spread throughout Europe in the 18th century, spice grinders began to be used for pulverizing the beans, along with pestles and mortars. However, to obtain an optimal grind it was necessary to have a more solid instrument with a container to collect the grind, capable above all of producing a uniform medium-sized powder, preserving the original aroma.
The first grinders
The first coffee grinders came from Turkey, where the drink had been popular for some time: it consisted of a copper cylinder, often carved or decorated with precious stones, operated with a knurled ferrule inserted in the upper part. The first wall-mounted grinders were not patented until the early 19th century, formed of burrs that crushed beans and a wooden draw in the lower part for collecting powder. The designs were gradually embellished, according to the customs of the period, and industrial production of grinders started in around 1840: in France, by 1858, the Peugeot company had already manufactured 42,072 wooden grinders and 281 cast iron grinders. The first grinder manufacturer in Italy was the Piedmontese firm Tre Spade.
Manual or electric, with flat or conical burrs
Nostalgic, reliable old manual grinders characterized grandmothers’ homes with their irresistible crank. They are still produced today, especially in Japan, with ceramic conical grinders. However, since grinding an espresso dose requires around 200 turns of the crank, electric coffee grinders became a valid alternative, equipped with flat blades that guarantee a more regular, precise particle size. Grinder performance has significantly changed since the advent of the 9-bar espresso machine.
This fundamental shift happened immediately after the Second World War with the use of the lever machine, which required the use of a much finer particle size than before.
Doser or doserless
With or without a doser? The choice between a tool that “pre-grinds” coffee, making it available in a container from which the necessary dose can be quickly collected in the filter, and a powder ground only when an espresso is made is a dilemma for many baristas.
In any case, it is important to keep the hopper and doser clean using a cloth and an odourless alcoholic detergent that helps to dissolve fats, dries quickly and does not require rinsing. When a grinder is not constantly cleaned, there is a risk that the coffee oils oxidise, making the blend rancid.
Grinder-dosers, as the name reveals, have a double function: they grind coffee to the right particle size and dose it in the right quantity. When choosing a grinder-doser, it is essential to take into account the functional, aesthetic and production needs of the bar. In automatic grinder-dosers a sensor automatically activates the grinding process when the level of coffee in the doser falls and then stops when the pre-set quantity is reached. In manual coffee grinders, however, it is the operator who grinds the beans, when necessary, using the appropriate switch.
Design and automation for high performance
Conik WL * has quickly become one of the most sought-after grinder-dosers thanks to its ability to automatically dialogue via Bluetooth with a coffee machine equipped with the appropriate board: the machine sends a signal to the grinder-doser, which then adapts the particle size and and dose * based on data received to guarantee the best result in the cup.
The Magnum on demand model is even more professional: it can be programmed to work automatically or manually, with dose pre-selection through the touch screen.
Finally, one of the most advanced models on the market is LaCimbali’s Elective grinder-doser, which boasts a unique integrated system via bluetooth, a completely customizable touch screen, a new motor with an inverter and a ventilation system that keeps the temperature of the burrs, beans and grind constant. Over two hundred years, the concept of grinding has definitively changed, leading to coffee without alterations or compromises.
* Conik WL has a volumetric doser: it does not change the dose through a signal from the machine, but only changes the particle size.
The Magnum O.D. WL and the Elective vary both the particle size and dose through the signal that comes from the machine.