My Niche Zero arrived in record fast time last night. I then utilized @DavecUK ’s great video on calibrating the grinder upon opening. There were however no grounds in the grinder (from quality control testing). But as the burrs were now out, I recalibrated anyway. Btw, its so easy peasy to get to the burrs.
Anyway, I worked to dial in a bean that I had tried before (not my go to favorite but it was all I had around). Its a medium-dark decaf of unstated origin. It has rested about 1 week in a sealed bag, then frozen in 4 ounce mason jars. I ground the beans from frozen.
However I was only able to dial in the beans (to flow using a 1:1.5 ratio - 16.5 in, 24.0 out in a 18g IMS basket, 9.5 BAR) at a Niche setting of 5.0, which is only 5 marks from 0 (finest). This does not leave much remaining room for finer grinding. I had thought the bean would dial in at 20, but at 20 I got a gusher! Any solutions to this low grinder setting issue (with only 5 number marks apparently remaining until I at my finest grind)? What are your experiences? Is this normal? Is it a problem? How do I fix it?
Fyi, my Lelit Elizabeth is blind basket set at 10.5 BAR, which had optimized my shots when using my Eureka Mignon. But my shots thus far struggled to get up to 9.5 BAR, and only got there once I got close to a 5 mark on the Niche.
Also, grind retention was initially huge but reduced to minimal after about 4 shots. I expected that, as the grounds were filling various spaces within what was a pristinely clean grinder. So no concerns on the retention front, at this early stage.
As for work flow, I initially tried dosing straight into the basket using a funnel, the coffee grind spray from the chute created quite a mess. I’d quite like to be able to dose straight into my basket or portafilter/basket. Has anyone been able to do that, without spraying grinds beyond the funnel? I was able to do that with my Eureka Mignon, and rotate the basket to ensure even distribution. I was (with the Mignon) able to have the basket reasonably below the chute exit while doing that. With the NZ, I suspect that I might be able to reduce the outward spray by raising the basket higher (much closer to) the chute. But that might cause chute clogs. Any answers to this, other than: “just use the cup”?
One other issue arose. When I grind into the cup, I place the basket on top and then invert. I thought that the grinds would all fall into the basket. However some of the grounds remained in the cup, even when inverted. I then tried a solid downtap, which still left some grounds. It took a combination of solid downtap and two (2) taps to the top of the basket to ensure complete grounds transfer from cup to basket. Is this usual? Is that what I will need to do? What do you do?
The above might be a static electricity issue, as the grounds sure do cling to that cup! I have not been RDTing, as @DavecUK indicated that this is a no-no with the NZ, as it will result in increased grounds retention and other issues. Do I have a static electricity problem? How do I solve it?
Fyi, I have still been WDTing once all of the grounds are in the basket, as the grounds did seem to be evenly distributed or level enough for tamping. So I have been WDTing, then bottom tap, then tamp with a 20 lb spring installed in my EazyTamp. Flow distribution looks fine using my bottomless portafilter. Have not yet sufficiently evaluated taste, as it was late evening.
My wife is now jealous of my NZ girlfriend. So I will need to pay more attention to her and less to the NZ girl. 😘
Any help with/suggestions for the above NZ learning pains will be gratefully appreciated.