ECM is best known for their luxury home espresso machines, but if you haven’t checked out their grinders, do yourself a favor and keep reading. When it comes to selecting a grinder to pair with your machine, a lot of the options out there are commercial or semi-commercial equipment. Not content with just those options, ECM personally designs and manufactures their grinders as companions to their machines.
While commercial grinders are more than capable of efficient operation and consistent results, they often lack the subtle touches that are appreciated by more discerning home buyers. Whether it’s more refined casework, ergonomic controls, or even aesthetic synergy, buying a co-branded grinder can help to simplify the decision making process when it comes to pairing up your machine with its better half. With all that in mind, let’s take a look at the first entry on our list, the entry level ECM C-Manuale 54 Grinder.
The universe loves dynamic duos. Peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and meatballs, Batman and Robin. There’s not much you can do with a portafilter full of beans, and with this detail in mind ECM crafted the C-Manuale 54 grinder. Having redesigned their Mechanika IV espresso machine into the space conscious Mechanika V Slim, they knew they needed a grinder to match. The C-Manuale (down to its red adjustment wheel) was designed to accompany this machine and fill the void in their catalog for a truly compact grinder. At just 14” tall, 4.5” wide, and 6.9” deep, this is a grinder that’s easy to accommodate, even on the most crowded countertop.
Compared to similarly petit home grinders like the Eureka Mignon, or the Baratza Vario, the C-Manuale rests firmly on 0.5” tall rubber feet and is wrapped entirely in polished stainless steel with minimal plastic elements. It’s a grinder that’s basically all motor, with a powerful 230 W RPM brand motor that turns the burrs. As its deliberate name implies, the C-Manuale grinds using 54mm flat steel burrs with a multi-stepped adjustment wheel. Operation is controlled by a grinding lever that triggers the motor when pressed and is compatible with bottomless portafilters. Rubber mounts inside of the housing help to dampen noise when the grinder is in use, while an anti-static grid helps to eliminate clumping at finer settings. For easy cleaning, grinds chute pops off for easy access to the screen. The hopper is made of clear plastic with an 8.8oz capacity and fitted with a sliding stopper so you can remove it without spilling the beans. If you’re shopping for a machine, also consider the Casa V and Classika PID.
Moving up in the food chain we arrive at the bigger and badder S-Manuale 64. This is a full sized grinder that will come into more direct competition from some of our commercial offerings. Compared to C-Manuale however, it shares many of the same design elements while featuring several strict upgrades. The first is that the motor is more powerful, having nearly doubled in size to 450 W. This puts it on par with the Eureka Atom (450 W) and Ceado’s E5/E6 range (300 W).
The second clear improvement is that grind adjustment is stepless on the S-Manuale and controlled via a worm gear. Stepless adjustment is crucial if you want the most precision possible when dialing in shots.This allows you to make very minute adjustments to your grind that may be skipped over in the predetermined graditions on a stepped grinder. While stepless adjustment isn’t uncommon among commercial grinders, the worm gear is a feature aimed at home users.
For a bit more context, let’s compare the home-oriented S-Manuale with one of its commercial contemporaries, the Ceado E5P. Both are doserless grinders with basic push and grind operation, 64mm flat steel burrs, and stepless grind adjustment. To change the grind on the E5P, you need to use both hands to turn the adjustment collar under the bean hopper, whereas the worm gear can be turned with just your thumb and forefinger. Compared to the E5P’s heavy cast brushed aluminum and plastic housing, the beautifully polished stainless steel of the S-Manuale pairs far better with one of ECM’s espresso machines. The grinding switch has been thoughtfully designed with a rubber stopper and is compatible with bottomless portafilters. Even with a sizeable 17.6oz hopper, the S-Manuale is still fairly compact, measure just 16.33” tall, 5.9” wide, and 9.64” deep. This grinder, along with remaining two outlined below is more than capable of keeping pace with any of ECM’s heat exchange or dual boiler espresso machines.
We won’t need to spend quite as much time with the S-Automatik 64, as much of what was said about the S-Manuale 64 holds true for this grinder as well. Both of them share the same 450 W motor, 64mm flat steel burrs, stepless worm gear adjustment, the same bean hopper, and the same dimensions. Where the S-Automatik diverges is in its added electronic functionality which allows you to program and dispense timed doses of espresso in addition to manual operation. True to its namesake, you can program automatic dispensing of both single and double shots of espresso, within 1/10 of a second increments. For a single, press the grinding switch once.For a double press twice. For manual dosing, just press and hold.
With a higher price point than the S-Manuale, the S-Automatik occupies a similar space in the catalog as grinders like Ceado’s E37J and Eureka’s Atom and Zenith. If you are considering any of these options, it’s worth pointing out that not only does S-Automatik’s polished steel housing, ECM badge, and digital display synergize well with the style of ECM’s espresso machines, but that it’s more compact than the commercial alternatives:
- S-Automatik 64: 5.9” W x 9.64” D x 16.33” H / 15.21 lbs
- Eureka Atom: 7.1” W x 8.93” D x 17.32” H / 17.2 lbs
- Eureka Zenith: 9.13” W x 10.39” D x 18” H / 26 lbs
- Ceado E37J: 8.34” W x 9.85” D x 17” H / 21 lbs
Finally we arrive at ECM’s most titanic grinder, the V-Titan 64. If you’re wondering where “Titan” comes into play, it refers to the burrs. ECM took the 64mm steel burrs traditionally used in their grinders and powder coated them with titanium nitride; an extremely hard ceramic that adds an attractive gold coloring to the burrs and increases their grinding life from 400kg to 1200kg of coffee. At first glance, mechanically it’s similar to the S-Manaule and S-Automatik, with a 450 W motor, 64mm burrs, and stepless worm gear grind adjustment.
Where the grinder distinguishes itself is with its 1950s inspired styling and a number of small touches that make it a perfect match for the ECM Synchronika. Starting with the housing, the V-Titan features a true mirror finish chromed steel exterior, so brilliant that it practically looks chromed. The rounded and cylindrical housing also departs from the traditionally squared style of ECM’s other grinders for a more unique and memorable form factor. Minor touches like the silver backed LED screen and metal adjustment gear echo the design elements of Synchronika. Just like the S-Automatik, you have the option for programming single and double doses within 1/10 of a second, but the V-Titan is also fitted with an adjustable portafilter catch which allows for hands free grinding. Additionally, an anthracite finished version of the V-Titan exists to match the Whole Latte Love exclusive Synchronika in Anthracite.
If you’re considering purchasing an ECM espresso machine or any other high end machine for that matter, you owe it to yourself to take a look at these grinders too. Feel free to leave us a comment if you're left with any burning questions that we might have missed!