dosers or doserless - which is a better kind of grinder for espresso at home?
Dosers versus doserless grinders
When people upgrade and start using commercial grinders at home (yes we have to be insane to do this) they are confronted with a choice – should they get a grinder with a doser or without a doser. The initial answer seems obvious. Dosers were designed for a high volume coffee shop with a line out the door, where they run the grinder for a while and then use the doser by pulling it once to dose a shot into the portafilter basket. At home this would never work because the volume is not enough to justify pregrinding more than one shot at a time. Then again, one could even argue it does not make sense in a coffee shop because dosing by volume or by pulling a doser is very inconsistent and is not likely to yield the best possible shot, so perhaps even in a coffee shop the doser is obsolete.
On the other hand most people do not use the doser at home or in professional competitions the way it used to be used any more. Instead of just pulling once they run the grinder and thwack the doser, pulling it many times per second dropping the coffee into the basket from there. On some of the introductory commercial grinders, such as the Mazzer Mini, or Macap M4 this is very helpful because any clumps in the grind get broken up by the thwacking. Clumps are a problem if they are much denser than the rest of the coffee in the basket resulting in an uneven extraction. On the other hand on some of the bigger commercial grinders clumps are not a problem because although they are visually clumpy, they are so light and airy that they are essentially the same consistency as the rest of the coffee meaning that they do not adversely affect the taste.
If you do not have a doser you do not have this option of thwacking to help the distribution. Then again grinding is much quieter without a doser thwacking away and may be neater depending on the grinder. The conclusion is that it is a matter of taste and may depend on the specific grinder. There is not a clear winner in the battle. I have used both quite a bit and I still do not know what I would want in my next grinder if I were to get another one. Then again that is good because I am happy with what I have.
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