Single Dosing Grinders
What Are Single Dosing Coffee Grinders?
In the last couple of years single dosing grinders have become more and more popular with home baristas. While the single dosing process has been popular with prosumer home users with more delicate palates, it has become apparent the retention in more traditional hopper-based grinders does have a significant adverse effect on flavor. Traditional hopper grinders can sometimes have as much as 7 grams of retention between the burrs, burr chamber, and exit chute. This retained coffee remains between the burrs until the next time the grinder is used, which may be many hours later or sometimes a day or more later. This retained coffee loses flavor quickly after being ground and starts getting rancid. A work around that has been used over the years before single dosing grinders became the norm was to purge the first 5 grams or so before pulling a shot. This purge would remove retained coffee from between the burrs and improve the quality of the brewed coffee, but the problem with this is the waste of coffee, and in many cases expensive coffee.
With single dosing grinders, the beans are weighed before hand and then ground into a portafilter or dosing cup. These are usually placed into a blow hopper, then the grinder is activated and run until all beans have been ground, then a bellows is usually pumped to create an airflow to remove any remaining coffee from between the burrs. There is no such thing as a zero-retention grinder, but there are grinders with very low retention. The Turin DF64 grinder as an example has about 0.2 grams in many tests. Retention can vary based on how the grinder is used, the roast level, age of the coffee, burr size, etc, but with single dosing grinders it is not too difficult to have half a gram of retention or less. This is a very minimal amount and it is very difficult for even the best in detecting coffee flavor nuances to notice a flavor difference from such minimal retention.
Another benefit of single dosing is that beans are not stored in a hopper. Beans stored in a hopper are exposed to air and light and therefor they lose a lot of flavor when compared to better storage methods such as in a vacuum sealed, cool dark place or when frozen.
Single dosing grinders also make it easier to switch between a variety of coffee beans and brewing methods. With traditional grinders it can be difficult to make the switch and there can be a lot of waste associated with dialing in the grinder everytime a change is made. Even with hopper stoppers, there is usually quite a bit of waste associated with making changes to brew methods and coffee beans.
Single Dosing Pros Summary
- Low retention
- Ability to switch between brew methods
- Ability to switch between coffee bean varieties / roast levels
- Reduced cost associated with purging coffee
- Improved flavor
- Allows for better bean storage methods
Single Dosing Cons
There aren’t many cons with single dosing other than the additional steps in the workflow associated with weighing beans into a dosing cup and pouring the beans into the blow hopper each time you make a drinks. Another drawback over the years has been the additional cost associated with single dosing grinders that have comparatively been quite a bit more than manual or electronic dosing grinders. This has changed with grinders like the Turin SD40 and Turin DF64, which in most cases are even lower in price than manual or electronic dosing grinders.
Popular Single Dosing Grinders
Single dosing grinders have taken over the home specialty coffee market, with grinders like the Turin SD40, Turin DF64 (and new variations, including the DF64E, DF64P, and DF64S) and Niche grinder being the largely dominant products in the space. We expect the new Turin DF83 will become another very dominate model. Aside from these there are quite a few other single dosing coffee brands and models, including the following list. Aside from the Lagom Mini and Eureka single dosers, most of these grinders are in the $1300 to $5000 price range. This is part of what makes the Turin DF64 grinder so popular – at it’s price point it is very difficult to find a grinder that provides better grind quality, especially if it is used with SSP burrs.
Single Dosing Grinder Models Other Than Turin / Niche
- Ceado E37SD Single Dose Grinder
- Ceado E37Z Hero / Naked Single Dose Grinder
- Ceado E5SD Single Dose Grinder
- Eureka Oro Mignon Single Dose
- Eureka Mignon Zero
- Mahlkonig EK43 (Hopper or Single Dose)
- Kopi Deva Single Dose
- Lagom P64, Option O Single Dose 64mm
- Option O, Lagom Mini Single Dose
- Versalab M3 Single Dose
- Compak PK Single Dose (with single dose attachment)
- Molar Mini Z
- Weber EG-1 (popular higher end unit)
- Bentwood Vertical 63 Single Dose or Hopper
- Monolith Titan Conical Burr by Kafatek Single Dose
- Acaia Orbit Single Dose
There are also modifications that can be made to other grinder models that allow for single dosing. Usually the upgrades involve a single dosing hopper and/or a single dosing bellows. These options generally reduce the retention enough to do a pretty good job with single dosing. Grinders that can be modified for single dosing, include, but are not limited to the following: Mahlkonig X54, Baratza Sette 270, Eureka Atom 75, and ECM S-Manuale. There are also single dosing upgrades available for a variety of Mazzer grinder models.
Cheapest Single Dose Grinder
The cheapest single dosing electronic grinder that we have seen is the Turin SD40. This grinder is really a huge bargain when compared to other grinders even close to it’s price range. The Turin SD40 is a conical burr grinder that has 40mm burrs and is built with a compact, but sturdy medal body. We and others have tested it against the Niche Zero, which is also a conical burr grinder, and in taste tests it does a very similar job and, in some cases, even better. For a grinder that is usually 2 or 3 times less than the Niche Zero, that is quite impressive!
Best Single Dose Grinder
While grinders like the Monolith, Kopi, Mahlkonig EK43 do a great job, we also have to take cost into account and these units are definitely on the higher end of grinder prices. At around $500 we are huge fans of the Turin DF64. At below $1000 it is very hard to heat the Turin DF83. While we don’t sell the Niche Zero, it is also a very popular grinder under $1000 and for this reason we consider it one of the best single dosing grinders under $1000.