Burrs are what makes your coffee beans turn into a useful substance to make coffee out of, be it espresso, pour over, moka pot or Aeropress. The ‘grinder’ itself is only a tool to enable the burrs to do their thing. As long as any grinder A, B or C is able to spin burr X in a good fashion, theoretically, they should perform identically in the cup. Atleast that is the notion behind high perfomance burr manufacturers. Other factors the grinder influences are RPM, Burr alignment, bean feed speed, static-screen (causes ‘regrinding’) and possibly many more. Don’t forget to factor in workflow in any future grinder purchases either.
Before continuouing this quest for the perfect equipment, watch Lance Hedricks truthbomb video
This wiki page contains an overview of existing high-perfomance burrs. Many of which are not made by the OEM of the grinder, but a third party. SSP (Sim Sung Precision) Grinding is a big player here. We also cover some exceptional burrs from OEM. Mahlkönig / Ditting has a long track record of designing excellent burrs, which look like the basis for many SSP burrs (not getting into legal issues here).
There are hundreds of ‘standard-espresso’ design burrs. We won’t cover those, since most of them perform relatively the same, creating a lot of fines and not a very uniform, or unimodal grind.
This being a minefield of contradictions.. I try my best.
Burrs change big beans into small particles. The uniformity (size, shape) of these particles have big impact in taste. Burrs can also be unimodal or bimodal (mostly particles of size X or mostly particles of size X and Y). They of course also can be none of the above.
Again generally more fines give more body/mouthfeel, and less flavor seperation or ‘more mudiness’. Less fines give less body/mouthfeel / a ‘thin’ shot, and more flavor seperation or clarity (minefield)
Apart from the ‘safe space’ of any burr below, a lot of burrs can be dialed to a different taste, meaning that you, the user, still have a lot of influence on what comes out apart from the machine. There are limits of course to what you can create, a burr is just one of the tools in your quiver.
What we mean by a ‘standard’ espresso burr
“Standard espresso burr” - this one is from ItalMill (DF64 stock)
We also won’t cover conical burrs, mainly due to lack of available third party burr options. Short mention here however is that most flatburrs give a more uniform grind, with less fines than most conical burrsets.
- Outer diameter/OD (64mm, 83mm, 98mm etc)
- Mounting (2 hole, 3 hole, blind)
- Geometry (Some have ‘names’ which can be very confusing and contradictory)
- Coating/material (“Red Speed” - “SilverKnight” - “Titanium” - “Tungsten Carbide”)
Burrs consist of different parts, we name them to easier talk about it.
Prebreakers marked Red – Flats marked white:
Prebreakers & flats on a standard EK43 98mm burr
[ table ]
The SSP 64 High Uniformity is an espresso focused burr, meaning it can easily grind fine enough for espresso, and be easy to dial in. 64 HU gives a full-bodied shot, while it also provides more flavor seperation than stock burrs, making it an excellent option for people looking for tasty espresso, that still provides the body/mouthfeel they’re looking for. Not considered as high clarity - more a good middle ground between body/mouthfeel and excellent flavors.
SSP 64 Multi-Purpose (as in both brew & espresso) is considered the high clarity burr in the 64mm landscape. It gives good flavor seperation at the cost of thin shots / a lack of body/mouthfeel. Acids can get very pronounced which might not be to your liking, however this can express the fruity notes better. Not for everyone! Don’t fall into the search for clarity rabbithole. Can be very ‘harsh.’
SSP 64 ‘Brew’ - An ‘older version’ of 64MP, now brought back to life due to high demand. Very capable to do espresso. Very similar to 64MP. Main difference being less ‘flat’ flats or what we call more outfall. Some consider it as slightly better flavor seperation than the MPs. See the images that shows them next to MP. The difference is very hard to see and mostly (only?) the flats. The Brew has more sawtooth, the MP has more zigzag or complete flat in some revisions.
Silver: 64 BREW, Red 64 MP (note there are still many other revisions of MP)
In my opinion the best looking burr, if that adds anything. An adaptation of the Ditting 80mm Lab Sweet burrs found in the Ditting 804 and 807 ‘LS’ to fit common 64mm mounting. Also considered the ‘sweet spot’ between body and clarity (minefield). More ‘soft’ and ‘sweet’ compared to MP and HU respectively.
The ‘Original’ cast burrs from Ditting. Also come in this same geometry but non-cast. Found in the 804 and 807LS and also fit the Mahlkonig PEAK and E80S.
No details on this! Please msg me if you have anecdotal info.
EG1 core & ultra are 80mm blind burrs that solely fit the EG-1 (and Ditting 805? anyone?)
SSP 83mm HU. The ‘Original’ 83mm SSP burr. Before the DF83 came out this size didn’t get much attention from HanSung. Compared to 64HU, 83 HU shifts more towards flavor saparation, while still retaining the body. Please add more info here, since I know jack sh*t about it.
SSP83 MP. Currently not yet really in the hands of users. So no info here further. Release 4/2023
SSP 83 Cast ‘Lab Sweet’ - release 4/2023
LU vs HU outer edge
SSP 98 Ultra Low Fines - I know its very low fines, and therefore not really suited for espresso grinding in the traditional manner. Please add!
A burr that was made before the 98 LU/HU split. Basically a 98HU with LU prebreakers. After some recent convo with ssomebody on the discord, this same geometry is recently revived under Low Uniformity too.
The original MK / Ditting burr was what made the EK. Still considered as a good burr, however around 2015 the EKs started shipping with a more finey burr, to accomodate the recent hype in using it for espresso. We think Mahlkonig themselves actually had no idea why it peaked interest at the time. Very similar looking to post-2015. Serial number of pre-2015 ends with A.
The more finey EK burr, not bad, just not as spicey as the old one. The difference between the two is hard to see with the naked eye. Their serial numbers are different (post 2015: ends with B)