If you have looked at the Turin DF64 at all, you have probably seen a lot of talk about burr upgrades. Are they worth it? Why? Which is best? These questions get asked a lot, and cause a lot of confusion as what are the real differences between the burrs? I like lots of pictures, YouTube videos are amazing, but I want to take a close look at each burr.
Stock Turin DF64 Burrs
The Turin DF64 comes with 64mm Italmill Stainless Steel burrs. These burrs are very reminiscent to the Mazzer Super Jolly 64mm burrs, in fact, they are interchangeable. Originally I was not familiar with Italmill, so I had my skepticism. In fact I was a bit skeptical about the DF64 in general, which faded away almost immediately after using the grinder, it is great!
The Italmill burrs come with a nice cutting pattern, designed for all brewing types such as pour over, drip, and espresso. They excel with each brew method, and the Turin DF64's design allows you to easily change between brew methods as long as you can remember your previous grind setting. Make sure to always adjust your grinder with the motor running!
So what if you want to step up your game? Maybe you bought this grinder only for drip, maybe you bought this grinder only for espresso? How will the SSP burrs help and why? Below is a quick video of me unboxing the three SSP burrs, taking the first look at them.
SSP Multipurpose Unimodal
First lets check out SSP's Multipurpose Unimodal burrs. Upon first glance all three variants of SSP do not look much different than the stock, except for the red coating on the burrs. They look a tad different, but it is hard to understand why until we take a closer look.
One of the most popular set of SSP burrs are the Multipurpose Unimodal burrs. What does unimodal even mean? Back in school, in math or science class we talked about mean, median, mode, and range. If you have tried to banish those classes from your memory, let me give you a quick reminder. Mode is the most frequent number that appears in a sample, so if we use that in relation to coffee grounds, it is a burr that produces grounds that are extremely similar in size to each other. Unimodal burrs offer high clarity, or the ability to zero in on a particle size that is ideal for your extractions.
These burrs are considered dual purpose meaning they are designed for both drip and espresso brew methods. The geometry of the cuts are designed to minimize coffee fines regardless of brew method.
Taking a closer look at the Multipurpose Unimodal, you will notice extremely precise machining offering sharp cutting surfaces, but also taking a second look you will find additional cutting surfaces that are not on the stock burrs. These cutting surfaces allow the bean to be cut into more precise grounds.
You can pick up a set of Multipurpose Unimodal here, OR when you purchase your Turin DF64 from Espresso Outlet, you can opt to have the burrs included, as well as aligned.
SSP Espresso High Uniformity
The Espresso High Uniformity burrs from SSP are the closest in cut style and pattern to the stock Italmill burrs. The biggest difference is that SSP has machined these burrs to extreme precision in comparison to the Italmill. You will receive a much more consistent grind distribution. The geometry of the cuts in the burr allow for fast and precise cutting of the coffee beans. I recommend these burrs if your primary use is for espresso only.
If we take a closer look and compare the SSP Espresso High Uniformity to the stock Italmill burrs, you will find a similar but slightly more aggressive cut pattern on the burrs. Comparing to the stock, the quality of the machine work on the SSP is top notch!
SSP Cast Lab Sweet
The Cast Lab Sweet Silver Knight coated burrs are the most expensive out of the three SSP options we are looking at. For those that are not familiar with cast burrs, cast burrs have been used for quite a while, and have resurfaced in grinders such as the Ditting 804 Lab Sweet. The process involves casting the burrs basic features as well as the bean breaking and course grinding portion of the burr. The outer cutting surfaces are then machined to extreme precision offering a nice sharp cutting surface. While they look less fancy than the other two options from SSP, they offer a unique and amazing cup of espresso or coffee. The Cast Lab Sweet burrs are a dual purpose burr.
If we take a closer look, the Cast Lab Sweets cutting surfaces are very similar to the SSP Multipurpose Unimodal. The bean breaking teeth are cast where the cutting surfaces are machined to a sharp cutting surface.
Which Burr is the Best?
So which burr is the "best"? Well that is up for you to decide, possibly you are happy with the stock burrs, as they are great burrs! In my experience, I really enjoy the Lab Sweet burrs, they offer an amazing mouth feel and texture that I did not receive from the other two burrs.
I also prefer espresso, the Multipurpose Unimodal and Cast Lab Sweet did an amazing job at making top notch espresso. I will note these two burrs are extremely particular about settings. Half a dial setting can make a big difference in your shot. They are much less forgiving, so if its your first few times using the burrs they can be a bit more difficult to dial in and might frustrate you at first.
The Espresso High Uniformity were probably my least favorite burr set. While they are fantastic, I found them to be an upgraded version of the OEM burrs which came with the grinder. Easy to dial in, they cut fast, and offer great precision. Are they still worth it? I would say yes! Don't think I am saying they are bad, when comparing three sets of premium burrs you just have to choose what fits your brew style and I noticed the biggest difference with the other two burrs.
Parting thoughts, any of the SSP burrs will improve your cup, it is just up to you to choose which is best for your needs. All three we tested out are made of tool steel and all three are rated for between 8,800 - 11,000 pounds of coffee beans. So you will probably own these burrs for life! If you ground a pound of coffee every week, these will last the next 150 years!
Overall Side by Side Comparison:
Outer Cutting Surface Comparison Top View:
Outer Cutting Surface Comparison Edge View:
Worried About Installing and Aligning Your New SSP Burrs?
It will take a bit of time, as well as trial and error to install your new SSP Burrs if you so choose to purchase. I have put together a simple video, others might have a slightly different method, but this method has worked for me throughout years of swapping burrs. All you will need is a Philips head screwdriver, a dry erase marker, and possibly some aluminum foil.
Note: the video below is an early V1 version of the Turin DF64