Machines. They stay one step ahead while we catch up. For every piece of new equipment we see in the coffee world, there is a learning curve, and a need to ponder its relative merit. The espresso machine was patented in 1884. Ever since then, the espresso machine has received modifications in every form imaginable. However a point in time came where the progression of creativity hit a wall, and it was time to make a proper bean shredder. Welcome the electric burr grinder.
In recent years, the name Mahlkönig grew notable fame with the release of the k30 espresso grinder, and the rise of the ek43. Like the ever-happening modifications and advancements of the espresso machine, the team at Mahlkönig refines the professional equipment used in millions of cafes every day. I personally have been using Mahlkönig products for nearly four years. However I have recently noticed a definite scale-up in each grinder style.
As for the ek43, I will give it my best to refrain from referencing Matt Perger’s analytical and detailed trilogy of the ek43 as much as possible, though the series is extremely well done and gives excellent insight into the dark art of particle size manipulation. Unfortunately for us at Sump, regardless of how detailed Perger’s series is, our roast style for our espresso ended up making things much more complicated than anticipated. I have no clue what the shots were like from Perger’s original ek findings, but all I know is, the shot extraction was quite ghastly when I tried to replicate the study. Until recently that is. Mahlkönig realized that the reason the ek43 sales skyrocketed is because other specialty shops like Sump are using their grinder not for the intended purpose, but to make espressos with a higher extraction yield. Therefore, they made yet another modification, using a different burr set dedicated to making light roasted espressos extract more evenly, and less like pulling a shot on a $100 home machine. Since the modification, our ek43 has been pulling shots like a champ, allowing us to sample different coffees not only brewed, but also as espressos.
Now the Peak grinder. The first reason for deciding to write a wholeheartedly praising blog post toward Mahlkönig. I remember hearing hushed whispers about this grinder over a year before its release. Even at the last Coffee Fest, the Mahlkönig team told me about it and I basically said, “Yeah, can you maybe hold one for us?” just because it sounded awesome. Basically, the Peak grinder is a k30 on steroids. The steroids in this case being extra electricity. The peak has a wider burr set that spins at a higher rpm, which basically means more to move at an even faster rate. Tacked on with a double ventilation fan to cool down the burrs which the Sump staff found to be a better option for consistency purposes than keeping a consistent temperature by heating the burrs like other grinders experimented with. After many critiques about “the value of particle size distribution,” the engineers behind the Peak went middle of the road, somewhere between the ek43 and a mazzer. Which again, I decided also works best for our coffee. Nobody dare say our espresso is too light anymore. If the Peak is affordable, I say purchase it.P.S. The Peak has multiple colored light selection and a party mode that flashes color after color. You know how we do though, party mode all day.