Review of ECM S-Automatik 64 Burr Grinder

September 19, 2016

 

Currently, the ECM grinder sits in the middle of the pack price wise. The Ceado E6P runs a few hundred less, and the Mazzer’s about a hundred more. During this review I’ll cover how the ECM S-Automatik 64 compares to the others to help you make an informed purchase decision.

Specs

So first up let’s look at the specs. All have 64 millimeter, flat stainless burrs with steeples infinite grind size adjustment. On the Ceado and Mazzers adjustments are made by turning a collar. The ECM uses a worm gear and we’ll talk more about that. All have timing presets for single and double shot doses and can grind manually. Timing is adjusted by turning a screw on the Ceado and Mazzer mini type B. On the ECM and Mini Type A timing is adjusted electronically in 10th of a second intervals on the ECM and 20th of a second on the Mini Type A. Looking at the seal of the grinding chamber from the adjustment threads, it’s good on the Ceado, excellent on the ECM and well, not so great on the Mazzers.

For me, that seal is a big deal. A better seal means less coffee and coffee oils getting up into the fine threads responsible for grind size adjustment. When those get gummed up adjustment becomes difficult - maybe even jumpy, which can make fine accurate adjustments hard to do. While the Mazzer is prone to this problem the ECM has an O-ring on the collar which does a good job of sealing off the grinding chamber from the adjustment threads.

Adjustments

For making grind size adjustments, the ECM uses a unique worm gear which turns the adjustment collar. A couple nice benefits with that. First, no need for a lock screw on the collar as it’s nearly impossible for the grind setting to slip. The worm gear can turn the collar, but force from the collar cannot turn the gear. But the big deal is how easy it is to make extremely precise grind size adjustments. A one notch adjustment on the collar of some grinders can mean as much as a gram difference in dosing. Now one full turn of the ECM’s worm gear shaft results in a one notch adjustment of the collar. But it’s easy to do; just a quarter turn of the worm gear shaft or even less if you need to. That worm gear makes it very easy to be extra precise.

Going back to the specs we see the Ceado is the tallest of the bunch, the ECM grinder is the shortest at 16.33 inches and the Mazzer is a little taller at just under 17 inches. Something to keep in mind if you have the typical 18 inch overhanging cabinetry. As for motors, the ECM has the most power at 450 watts followed by the Ceado at 300 and the Mazzer’s with 250. The Ceado and ECM spin the burrs at 1400 RPM while the Mazzer’s run at 1600.

In use, one bump with a portafilter delivers a preset single dose, bump twice for the double preset or push and hold against the start switch for manual grinding until you release. Timed grinding can be stopped at anytime by bumping the switch again. Grounds are delivered to a portafilter by a beautiful angled spout. They fall well centered and nice and fluffy with little to no clumping or spill.

Timing

Preset timing is adjusted using a display very similar to the PID display found on many espresso machines. Timing can be a adjusted in 10th of a second increments. You can also view the total number of doses delivered by pressing and holding the plus button for an extended period.

Housing

The exterior case is a mirror finished stainless steel. It features beautifully finished edge work around the top and on the grounds chute. A prominent ECM logo badge sits above the display. When not grinding the display alternates a series of bars letting you know the unit is on. One curious aspect is a slightly visible seam in the casework that runs up the front of the grinder. There’s a lot to like about this grinder but for me, that seam, well I’d like it even more if it wasn’t there.

The bean hopper is nice. More detail than you see on most with a snug fitting lid and an O-ring around the throat of the grinder. It makes for a solid fit. a set screw can lock the hopper in place and a sliding door shuts off bean flow when needed.

A grounds tray catches any spill for easy clean-up and on the backside of the grinder there’s a vent to help cool the motor during extended use.

So, who might consider this grinder? Well if you already have an ECM machine, it’s definitely designed to compliment its look. From the mirror finished external case to the grounds chute which mimics the angle of an E61 brew group to the badging. It’ll look good sitting next to your machine. But you don’t have to have an ECM espresso machine. I like the worm gear adjustment. It makes it very easy to make super-fine changes to grind size. Compared to the Ceado It costs more, but is more refined, much shorter and doesn’t have all the plastic. Compared to the venerable and slightly more expensive Mazzer Mini A’s and B’s It’s more compact and I prefer the ECM’s better isolation of the grinding chamber from the threads of the adjustment collar. And, the ECM has the most powerful motor of the bunch at 450 watts versus the Mazzer’s 250 and Ceado’s 300.

That’s the ECM S-Automatika 64 Burr Grinder. It’s available now at Whole Latte Love. If you have any questions on this grinder or anything coffee, use the comments below and I’ll get you the answers. Thanks for reading and I hope you’ll come back soon for more of the good stuff on everything coffee.