Anfim Rising

Posted on January 5, 2008 by

Yesterday our newest toys arrived in the form of a pair of Anfim Super Caimano’s.

Anfim

While the subject of some discussion on various forums and blogs, these grinders are not common here in the States (at least not on the East Coast) due mostly to their limited availability. Imported from Vince up at 49th Parallel, they just arrived for service at our forthcoming Nolita espresso bar. The first thing I noticed about them is how much lighter the packages were than I expected. Weighing in at just under 40lbs, they’re about 20lbs lighter than the Robur.

The second thing I noticed is that the titanium (coated?) burrs are flat and not conical (which I admit is something I should have already known).

Flat Burrs

Although flat, they do however provide a large amount of surface area to grind with at 75mm, compared to the Robur’s conical 71mm (single phase). Along with an increased burr size, the Anfim’s are rated to spin at 800rpm, also an increase over the Robur (420rpm).

The dosing however, seems to be an area in which the Anfim really gains significant advantage. They dose so well that distribution is rendered practically unnecessary. They also eliminate almost all waste typically caused by the doser sending errant grounds all over the bar.

Dosing

The built in timers are cool, although long term fans of modifying our Mazzer’s to operate on Waring timers have rendered this feature mandatory. This timer is definitely a bit trickier to adjust, as there are no indicators on the knob and adjustment is necessary each time you change the grind.

Built in Timers

Most importantly (to me) is that the grinders should produce less heat than the Roburs, an issue that has plagued us for a while in our Brooklyn store.

We shall see…

UPDATE: I should also mention that there’s no way to “pulse” just a few more grinds through the chamber.  If you come up short on your dosing, you must start the cycle over entirely.  That means another several seconds of grinding even if you need just a gram or two more.  The only remedy is to start the grinding and then cut the power entirely to stop it when you’ve topped off your portafilter.  When you’re in the zone this shouldn’t be an issue, but who never needs another second or two of grinding once in a while?

  • http://www.murkycoffee.com nick

    It should be easy enough to integrate a “pulse” button.

    Why “should” this grinder produce less heat, pray tell?

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    supposedly the burrs are designed better, in terms of size, shape, and ratio to the motor rpms. But really i think that the even distribution and zero “fling” will save a lot of unnecessary compensation in the form of MORE grinding. less grinding = less heat, whether it’s timed or not. We’re gonna water cool ours…

  • http://barismo.com Ben Kaminsky

    When speaking about this to Matt Lee at Manic Coffee in Toronto, he said it was a necessity to run two anfims side by side simply because they do in fact heat up very quickly. He allowed me to pull a couple shots on one and I noticed that there was a little warmth after only five or so pulls. Best bet is to alternate between two. I mentioned water cooling, but he seemed to think it was a bit overkill. Go for it though! I’m interested to see how you’ll interface the cooling block with the motor.

  • http://shotzombies.com Mike White

    Ben that’s why we got two, to alternate back and forth. We’ll see what happens…

  • Michel Chartrand

    Mike,

    I am about to purchase the Super Camaino. Can you let me know if there are any clumping issues?

    I am also looking at the Macap MK7R. This will be used mostly for espresso shots. Am I doing the right thing?

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    there are no clumping issues if you dose while grinding, but i haven’t tried it any other way. I don’t know if you’re doing the right thing Michel. It depends on what you’re using it for and what your expectations are. Do you want one for home or for a commercial environment?

  • Michel Chartrand

    it will be used for home with a LM GS3

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    The MK73 has smaller burrs but is conical. It also has a stepless adjustment which is nice. But if you have a GS3 you might as well go all out and get the Anfim 3 phase. Or a Robur 3 phase. Or both!

  • http://discoverycoffee.wordpress.com/ Logan

    You can use your off switch as a pulse. Start your grind with the timer button then shut it off with the main switch. Works just fine.

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    That’s true Logan, and we will. Just seems like there’s good reason to incorporate one into the design…

  • Pip

    Couple of things about the timer in this grinder, there is a version of the timer with a digital display, but the problem with it is that people focus on the time rather than dialing in the grinder. The reason you need to adjust it in small increments is that it is 1/10 of a second declinations, and is intended to be an infinant style adjustment and dose control, not simply a timer. It is an integrated function that should be used to control the flow rate of the coffee by small changes in the dose (via grind time) rather than focusing on adjusting the particle size. The reasoning behind this is that the particle size changes on the grinding collar will lead to significant changes in taste, while a small adjustment on the dose will allow the flavor of the espresso to be more consistant (particle size=extraction rate). Anyway, changes to the grind size always lead to changes in the dose (by weight), its just much more noticable on this grinder due to the accuracy of the timer and the doser.

    The whole debate about conical verses flat burrs is kind of silly, as it assumes more consistancy than there really is between all conicals and all flat mills.

    As for heat, it builds temperature slower than a robur (by about 20 degrees over 10 doses measured at the chute). The heating issue is a problem with all grinders of this style.

    When it comes to a pulse switch, couple of thoughts, you can hit the timer and then kill it very simply, thus cutting down on un-neccesary buttons and wiring, and if you frequently need a pulse you are doing something wrong with the grinder.

    Nick, as for why it builds heat slower? Look at the grinding collar. It is a huge heat sink, much more efficient than the collar on the Robur. It is possible to cool them. But thats my secret. : )

    Lastly, this grinder is best used with NO distribution and dosing out all of the coffee. If this is carefully done, you should have a grind variance of much less than .5 grams dose to dose. I get about .1 or .2.

  • Pip

    One more thing. The grindstones are not coated. They are a true alloy, just try cutting one in half. ;)

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    Thanks Philip, i’ve followed your contributions to this topic (and machine) in forums closely, and I appreciate your contributions here. I’m excited to get to know these grinders over the course of a few thousand pounds. Already i’ve noticed how much more “in tune” they make you feel as you pay more and more attention to what’s being delivered to the portafilter, how much the shots weigh, and how the weight is affected by grind. And of course the subtle “cleanliness” of how it’s happening is extremely refreshing coming from a Robur world. Kind of like going from a mustang to a cadillac. The luxuries have their perks.

  • Jonathan

    Can anyone describe the grinding speed of the Super Camaino compared to a Robur or standard Camaino. We got a standard Camaino in a month ago and I love it (grind quality and dosing) but find it a little slow when grinding and dosing at the same time.

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    Jonathan the Super Camaino is producing about the same amount of grounds as the Robur in about the same amount of time. The difference in that regard is negligible. I’ve never used the standard Camaino so I don’t know about that one…

  • http://amherstcoffee.com Andrew Sanni

    We received ours (at Amherst Coffee) at about the same time. I am very pleased with this grinder, it doses like a dream, much less arm stress.

  • http://49thparallelroasters.com vince

    Hi Mike,
    How’s the grinders working on the production line?
    Thanks,
    Vince

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    Hi Vince,
    So far so good. The doser action is obviously a huge improvement. The part we find tricky now is dosing so perfectly that the shot extracts evenly (since we no longer distribute). All in all it’s a much more pleasant alternative to the ubiquitous Robur and i recommend them to everyone that’s willing to relearn their routines.

  • AndyS

    > you should have a grind variance of much less than .5 grams dose to dose.
    > I get about .1 or .2.

    You must have some special technique. Neither John E nor myself get anywhere near that kind of repeatability. See “Anfim Espresso Grinder Timer Test” here:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/jepyraco

  • http://www.professionalbaristashandbook.com scott rao

    i second andy’s observations. i pulled about 200 shots with the anfim outfitted with philip’s timer and my doses varied by about 1.5 grams. i believe the variation is NOT due to the timer or grinding mechanism, but mostly due to the inconsistent amount that gets stuck in the tunnel between the burrs and dosing chamber. some kind of sweeping mechanism would come in handy there if we’re going to keep oohing and aahing about the anfim’s consistency.

    also, forgive me if i’m missing something, but why is it better to forgo all distribution with this grinder? a big pile in the middle of the pf basket is not as good as a dose dropped in tiny piles spread evenly throughout the basket. i got decidedly better results by distributing my anfim grounds than by simply tamping that undistributed centered pile.

    just my two cents.

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    Scott you’re absolutely right about the CAUSE of the inconsistency. I wonder how consistent the inconsistency’s are when 2-3 shots a minute are pulled over the course of several hours. Good luck weighing all those during a busy shift.

    Personally, i prefer to dose using the “pie method” that you describe in your book. but i still don’t overfill the basket anymore or groom it in any way.

    I know you’re skeptical, but you’ll have to come and play with it for yourself before you make a final judgment.

    I still think the fact that people are questioning it is valuable in and of itself.

  • http://www.professionalbaristashandbook.com scott rao

    hi mike
    i appreciate the invite, but i have played with the anfim for six days recently. so i guess i don’t think i’m “skeptical”, just more like i’m not as impressed as everyone else.
    my question is: have you tried several shots of distribution vs. not and still felt the un-distributed shots were better? have you tried something as fool-proof as the “chicago chop”? i can’t see how it isn’t an improvement on undistributed coffee. but i’m willing to come to NYC next week to find out :)

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    “impressed” is a bit subjective. They’re certainly controversial, which is a fantastic opportunity for better understanding.

    I admit I haven’t done a lot of comparisons between grooming and non-grooming, but that’s mainly because we use 18 gram synesso baskets and i’m often adjusting the dose below the “18 gram” mark based on the flavor profiles i’m experiencing. Sometimes very early in the morning i’ll be using roughly 16 or 17 grams, and grooming with my finger or stockfleths just isn’t an option at that point (below the top of the basket). I could use my doser lid, as described in your book, but i’m not really comfortable doing that (lack of experience with the method).

    What’s interesting to me is that similar flow rates (not extraction) can be achieved with the grinder set at “4″ and the dosing timer set at “3″ (for sake of argument), or the grinder set at “3.5″ and the dosing timer set at “2″. Or vice versa, etc, et al. Being able to make the micro adjustments with the doser on the fly removes the constant “18″ grams from the equation and allows you to experience different flavor profiles quickly and efficiently while maintaining similar flow rates.

    Grooming presupposes that you will always try to fill your basket to a constant volume (not necessarily weight, mind you), forcing you to focus strictly on the effects particle size has on flavor rather than playing with variations in dose. I admit, the shots may taste more consistent with grooming, but you wouldn’t have as much wiggle room for experimentation. If the shots ALWAYS tasted better at 17 grams, I might get a smaller basket, up dose, and groom it, but they move around during the day and change as it drags on. I enjoy chasing it with my dose and grind and constantly try to improve it during my shifts (enjoy and am frustrated by).

    Does that make sense? It’s getting late for me as a 5am’er to express myself coherently…As Andy said on portafilter, this is a conversation that could go on for hours over some cold beer.

  • AndyS

    As Scott says, I’ve definitely got better results by grooming/redistributing the heaped grounds evenly in the basket. Simply tamping down the volcano-shaped pile hasn’t worked very well for me.

  • http://shotzombies.com/ Mike White

    Andy that makes sense in a lab setting, but not on a live bar. If I’m always filling/redistributing/grooming the heaped grounds, i have to fill the basket first. I can’t play with a large variety of doses, just what the variations in grind account for (while compensating to fill the basket). Also I don’t finish with a volcano shaped pile, i move my portafilter around in a circle as it grinds/doses to finish with a more level pile.

  • http://21streetcoffee.com Luke

    I like to tell our baristas to pretend they’re filling a cone with soft serve ice cream and move in a circular pattern as they dose and build up their puck in a helical manner. I also yanked the forks off all our mazzers because they were getting in the way of the technique.