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Mahlkonig Grinders

Mahlkonig, literally translating from German into English as the “Grind King” is a well-reputed brand and the leader in engineering when it comes to quality coffee grinding.

They are a company solely focused on designing and manufacturing commercial grade espresso coffee grinders, and those are the areas in which their products are market leaders. Their products demonstrate a level of engineering expertise and overall quality that is hard to beat. This standard of coffee grinder helps baristas and coffee shops deliver consistently reliable coffee grinds, getting the most out of whatever coffee beans they use.

Born in Germany over 85 years ago, this brand has innovated and pioneered new trends within coffee grinding for decades. If you’re unaware, then the milestones here are the EK43 as the most evenly-grinding grinder, and the K30 Air as the first super-fast grinder that didn’t deafen store customers nor forsake an accurate coffee dose! There are plenty more too. So, from quality design and manufacturing of their products, to embedding advanced technology within these products, Mahlkonig coffee grinders are a great option for anyone wanting to deliver superior results with their coffee grinds.

Why do we offer their equipment? They lead the way in build quality and not a single grinder in their commercial range would be a bad choice. Much like La Marzocco for espresso machines, their minimum standard of equipment equates to other companies’ maximums. The bonus is they all seem to be relatively painless to use and adjust for service.

Each grinder they produce has a clear and distinct purpose, and an easily recognised set of pros and cons, which are outlined below for the grinders we have had the most personal experience of. Get in touch for further info and pricing, as you’ll often find their equipment advertised at retail pricing on the internet. As a distributor of their gear in the UK, we offer the equipment with trade pricing to suit our needs and those of our customers, to make specialty coffee service accessible without forsaking consistency, speed or quality in producing it.

Mahlkonig EK43 Coffee Grinder

If the name didn’t already crown the company as the “King of Grinders”, then this grinder has done since its first use in the coffee market. Nothing more needs to be said than it is the grinder that grinds particles most evenly, and that is essentially something that baristas have been craving for a long time. As you might tell from its build, it is also suitable for grinding kilos and kilos of retail coffee for your customers to take home, or for larger-scale brewing needs.

It is an industrial use grinder, and performs that way. Our only hitch is that it does require user alignment for achieving optimum results, though this is not a complex process. The burrs are a huge 98mm in diameter, so dosing is fast and grinding is speedy, even with a full kilo bag in the hopper at the top. We don’t recommend grinding large quantities of coffee as you’ll still lose a lot of flavour matter by doing so due to the immediacy of ageing to follow the grinding. However, with the EK43 the uniformity of ground particle size will be tremendously consistent and repeatable for making brewing scenarios easy to maintain.

We use the EK43 ourselves and would be happy to demonstrate it for you in our Coffee Shop & General Store at Leeds Dock, so please do get in touch if you’d like to know more.

Mahlkonig K30 Grinder

A lot of coffee professionals hold this grinder in high regard, as it has been a tried and tested partner to coffee businesses of most output levels for years. In terms of Mahlkönig build quality being vouched for, this is the grinder that would prove it to you. At North Star we’ve had a Mahlkönig K30 Air serve us faithfully since 2013, and it has not needed any service calls in that time, more than the obvious user maintenance required of any coffee grinder.

More importantly, some of our customers purchased theirs before we even existed as a company, and a few are still using them now, without having needed an upgrade to their espresso grinder. On that note, if you were to ever need a service call for a grinder, then Mahlkönig is a great go-to brand to choose. Engineers carry parts for these around the country, so your risks of being left without freshly ground coffee reduce significantly with a K30!

In terms of usage, the K30 Air is our recommended choice for this range of models, as it includes a built-in cooling fan to ventilate and regulate temperature in the grinding chamber. This is key to leaving your coffee quality consistent during the natural flow of service in your brewing environment, leaving you less affected by humidity changes, static build-up and ambient temperature alterations.

The user intuitive design of the K30 Air is also a great advantage to it over other espresso grinders. Adjustment of dose time is simple and requires less than 3 seconds of time, and no fiddling. Adjustment of coarseness and fineness is easily done too, leaving you without puzzling screens and menu controls to get the important grinder adjustments done. It also locks your portafilter into its holder meaning hands-free grinding, too. Great for optimising workflow.

The burrs are large at 65mm, and the dosing is as fast as we’ve ever seen from an espresso grinder. 17g doses for specialty grade coffee brewing (at light roast degrees) can be dispensed in as little as 4 seconds. Yes, it may produce a little clumping and excess static, but if it saved you 3-4 seconds on your workflow overall, you lock in more of the volatile aromas that leave coffee in the first seconds after grinding.

Mahlkonig Peak Grinder

The Mahlkönig Peak is notably similar in build to the K30 range, though is designed for a different purpose than the K30. It is designed for a lower output range, generally found to be effective at up to 10kg coffee served per week. We recommend it for usage environments that must keep to narrow ranges of brewing tolerances for espresso, for example where the ambient environment is painstakingly inconsistent, or where the roasted coffee in use demands an extremely narrow range of extraction times in service. For tighter needs in tolerances for actual extraction percentages and TDS readings, this grinder may help to mitigate fluctuations for users too with the features below being added to mitigate typically seen inconsistencies in grinding.

In the Peak, we find 80mm burrs, and double the ventilation for the grind chamber, allowing quicker and more effective cooling for the area most susceptible to heat build-up. This is essentially twice the cooling power found in a K30 Air, but not exactly twice the effectiveness. It does guarantee that in use lower than 3 shots per minute, that the effect of heat build-up in the grind chamber is slow to non-existent. This generally correlates with less static clumping particles together, and more consistent dosing as a by-product.

You’ll also see the same benefits that the K30 range offers (explained above too) such as: intuitive adjustments of dose time and particle size using the handy wheel and screen on the front (no need to access lengthy menu hierarchies in the programming to do the important work). Don’t forget that you’ll also still achieve the workflow benefit of hands-free grinding with the Peak too due to it being built with the same portafilter holder as a K30. Another important benefit of the Peak is the wear-resistant premium cast steel blades that typically last a while longer than others (this is still dependent on degree of roast used, bean density, and overall coffee output though). They are marketed as having a lessened settling-in effect than other burrs, though this is yet to be compared by us personally, and we tend to find that most users of a Peak are proficient in maintaining dose accuracy and extraction times, regardless of the age of their grinding blades!

Mahlkonig Vario Home Grinder

The Vario is another long-standing partner to coffee brewing that has been time-tested as a success. Though we wouldn’t vouch for it in a commercial environment, even in the North of the UK where most shops’ secondary coffee needs are quite low in terms of overall output, we would recommend it as an entry level grinder for any filter coffee needs, and to be partnered with domestic espresso machines that do not harbour a commercial grade pump. In practice, this essentially means that we wouldn’t use the Vario for espresso next to our La Marzocco Linea Mini, but we would recommend it alongside entry level espresso machines such as most domestic appliance brands offer.

The Vario is great for tracking recipes and performance, as its stepped grind adjustments mean you know where your ideal brewing performance came from, at least narrowing the range of variables you need to control to get the taste you are expecting from your filter coffee or espresso. In practice, human error is still the main source of brewing error, and the Vario here offers a great grind performance when considered in terms of value for money and build quality for its price point. If you can find your approximate grind setting on a Vario, it won’t be the thing letting down your recipes!

As pictured, the Vario also has a portafilter holder for ease of dosing with espresso machines, though this can be switched out for a grind box. The box will allow easy dispensing of ground coffee particles for filter coffee brewing.

Mahlkonig Tanzania

We recommend a Mahlkönig Tanzania for any filter coffee needs, mobile event usage for batch brewing or filter coffee bars, and any less time-sensitive ‘grocery’ style grinding for users taking coffee home from a shop. The Tanzania fills the gap where you may need a reasonable output demand but need to keep things relatively portable and lower in up front cost. Please note that we do not advise using it for a commercial espresso service, as its blades are not built to be used for such a use.

By performance, the Tanzania does a stellar job at its price point for uniform filter coffee grinding, where the need for absolute uniformity is not so essential to success (as it would be for commercial espresso service). It is a grinder with quite a unique build: the burr sets are magnetised meaning less retention of coffee in the system due to a lack of screws which typically hold onto particulate. This same system makes replacement of burrs extremely user-intuitive, requiring little mechanical know-how (nor a service call-out). Most repairs and maintenance on this grinder are easily done by business owners and staff, as far as we have seen to date. This makes the Tanzania an extremely cost-effective grinder in the long term for any deli / coffee shop / grocery needs.

Given that the hopper is securing the burrs in place by a twist-and-lock mechanism, it can be easy to muster a much higher quality than expected due to the relative ease of cleaning the entire construction. In less than a minute you can clear sediment and retention in its grind chamber and dispensing chute, which is a feat for a grinder with this output-oriented build. We found that in filter coffee service, we were able to build the grinder cleaning process into an effective workflow for 1-2 cup grinding on demand, minimising retention down to less than 0.5g most days.

Moreover, calibrating a Tanzania grinder is easier than we have seen with any other filter / retail / grocery grinders out there. It can be done with a small flat head screwdriver and less than 25 seconds of labour time, which means according to burr lifespan, you can always re-adjust in seconds to maintain consistency of recipes for your customers or filter coffee brewing time needs.

Mahlkonig E65S

A newer model from Mahlkönig, the E65S is built to meet their range’s previous gap in the espresso market. It holds 65mm burrs and offers some features that Mahlkönig’s previous models have not included. They include an easily removable dosing spout for error-free, simplistic cleaning and maintenance, and adjustment to different portafilter builds (suiting any coffee machine more easily). Burrs are also more easily accessible for cleaning and maintenance, and so to are different grind time recipes, with up to 6 being programmable.

Adjustment of the E65S is the easiest we have seen on a grinder. It can be adjusted for dose time and fineness in seconds, and can even be done with one hand…if that were ever a need. It features an independently locking mechanism for its coarseness settings, so to not move after adjustments accidentally. The multifunctional button systems allow adjustments to be done very simply once used to its operation, and we feel that in terms of training, it is one of the easiest grinders to train baristas on. Maintenance being simple, adjustments being easy and accuracy being more than satisfactory make this a very practical choice for most coffee shops that do not demand high outputs per hour through every day of service.

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