Olympia Moca SD - First Looks Review - November 2022
3 minutes ago
Here is a list of sections – just skip to the part you want to read.
THE OLYMPIA MOCA SD EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
UNBOXING AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
IN THE CUP / BEST ROAST DEPTH SUITED FOR
SPECIAL FEATURES / CHARACTERISTICS
COMPARISON TO MY OTHER GRINDERS
WHAT I DON’T LIKE
WHAT I LIKE MOST
VALUE FOR MONEY
MANUFACTURERS RIGHT OF REPLY
- THE OLYMPIA MOCA SD GRINDER EXECUTIVE SUMMARY
Single dose version of Olympia’s proven Moca grinder
Ditting 64mm flat burrs
Price AU$2,349 (at time of writing £1,310 US$1,610 EU$1,460)
Creates superb espresso across a broad range of roast depths
IMHO this little Swiss Miss is a Titan killer
- THE BACKGROUND (skip this unless you are terminally bored - TLDR warning)
I’m a relative novice at the serious side of espresso but in the 21 months since I fell deeply into the rabbit hole I’ve bought and used 17 different grinders including everything from a Breville Smart Pro (not bad) to the likes of Mahlkönig’s EK43 (I don’t get it) and Weber’s EG-1 (the wonderful James Hoffman’s pick of five premium end grinders).
I’ve also had a few espresso machines in that time, but my daily driver has remained a Decent DE1XL which is the most remarkable espresso machines that I’ve had the privilege to own.
The reason for having so many grinders come and go across my espresso bench is that initially I had no idea what I was doing and more lately it’s because I am convinced that the best way to see if I like one grinder over another is to have them both on my bench at the same time.
Any newcomer to the espresso island is figuratively throwing down the gauntlet to the incumbents and may the best machine win. I feel like it’s a pretty good way to figure out what works best for me.
The emphasis on me is because while I listen to and value the opinions of experts like Hoffman, Rao, Hendricks et al, I discovered that their tastes and preferences don’t always overlap with mine. The final arbiter of what I like is what I like.
Plus, having machines coming and going is fun.
Why I’m obsessed with grinders in particular
Early on in my espresso adventures I read that whatever budget one had for an espresso set up, at least 40% should be set aside for the grinder. That was an eye-opening thought for me at the time but nowadays I’d agree that 40% is about right. And the only reason that it’s not more than 40% is because grinders are mostly less expensive than their espresso machine counterparts, not because they are less important.
And the reason that your grinder deserves to be allocated a fair chunk of your purchasing budget is simple: you’ll never realize the in-cup potential of your espresso machine unless your grinder has the capability of fulfilling that potential. A $20,000 Slayer espresso machine will produce undrinkable espresso if you’ve used a spice grinder to grind the beans. Putting this another way, the job of the grinder is to make your espresso machine look good.
Continuing that theme, what grinders are to espresso machines, burr sets are to grinders.
Of secondary importance is how shiny and cool the exterior of a grinder looks, its retention rate, whether it’s single dose or hopper fed, old or new. In terms of the grinder itself (as opposed to beans, water and other viables), it’s the geometry of your burr set that is the primary determinant of the flavour, fragrance and viscosity of your espresso.
Taking this a step further, the burr type (flat or conical) and burr size (big or small), are secondary to burr geometry. I’ve had espresso from a 37mm conical burr set that beat the pants of an 80mm flat burr for my preferred flavor and viscosity. And whilst I can’t tell the difference between two burr sets with the same geometry but different sizes (e.g. Mazzer Robur 71mm versus 83mm) I sure as heck can tell the difference between burrs with different geometry (e.g. Mazzer Robur conical versus Mazzer Kony conical).
Buying the Moca SD
I had no intention of buying an Olympia Moca SD (SD = Single Dose).
I was vaguely aware of its predecessor (the Moca hopper version), but I didn’t even know that Olympia was bringing out a single dose version. It was only through an offer from Chris Natoli at Talk Coffee in Melbourne that I became an owner.
Chris is a guy I listen to partly because he demonstrated his integrity by refusing (literally) to take my money for a new lever machine until he’d reviewed a prototype and told the manufacturer what changes he wanted. I also listen to him because he has owned four cafes, taught espresso to both commercial and domestic clients for ten years and has been a hands-on owner-operator of a retail espresso machine store for the last 21 years. Added to that, he doesn’t suffer fools gladly and is very quick to call out BS when he smells it and hype when he sees it.
Some months after ordering the lever I mentioned above, Chris messaged me with a very good offer to buy one of “the first Olympia Moca SDs” that he was about to import. I had to look it up on google to find out about it and even then, I was in two minds because my bench already had four grinders on it (EG-1, Niche, Honne, Livi) and I was happy with all of them. But I said yes because it was Chris and because it was Olympia and because I’m mentally unstable (I can’t really think of any other reason).
Olympia Moca SD serial number 000015 arrived from the foothills of the Swiss Alps and onto my espresso bench in tropical Queensland on Tuesday the 23rd of September after it had been through Chris’s workshop in Melbourne and he had ensured that it was perfectly aligned and fully functional.
That means I’ve now been using it pretty much daily for almost eight weeks at time of writing this review.
I am not receiving remuneration or other inducement from Olympia or Talk Coffee for writing this review and I have zero aspirations to become an “influencer”. I write reviews like this to serve the Coffee Snobs and Coffee Time communities and it helps me to think deeply and to form clear conclusions about a grinder.
Right of Reply
This review features the manufacturer’s “Right of Reply” at the end. IMHO reviews are potentially unbalanced without a response from the manufacturer. I have not altered any part of my review at the manufacturer’s request so please read their reply to balance up my views. I may have missed something important, or I may have got something wrong.
- UNBOXING AND FIRST IMPRESSIONS
The packing was top notch and designed to be all but bomb proof. The machine arrived in perfect condition and as mentioned, alignment had been checked by the importer.
The grinder is tiny, I mean it is really small. And unlike a Weber EG-1 or a Malwani Livi, it’s visually underwhelming. But for everyone like me who stands before a Moca SD for the first time and asks, “Is that it?”, there are those who will warm to its minimalist, utilitarian and understated design.
The Mocha SD features a mirror finish stainless steel on the front and top. Powder coated stainless steel on the sides and rear, with an aluminum dial and both steel and aluminum internals.
Like many single dosing grinders, it slopes forward which, because it is so small, makes the Moca look like a Minion that’s about to face plant.
Everything about the Moca SD punches above its weight which at 5.4kg is light compared to the likes of the EG-1 at 13kg or the Honne at 18kg. But at only 22.5cm tall it’s still reassuringly heavy.
The first few grinds left me puzzled because the lowest grind setting was not producing grinds that were fine enough for espresso. I messaged Chris and he walked me through how to take the panels off (dead easy) and remove a grub screw that was limiting the closeness of the burrs. That worked a charm and once removed I had no trouble grinding fine enough even for Nordic Light roasted beans.
If I had read the manual first, I would have seen that on page 14 there were simple and clear instructions that showed how to quickly and easily remove the grind knob and adjust the range of the grind to suit espresso. “If all else fails, read the manual”.
Still, I don’t know why the grub screw is needed in the first place. It seems to be there to stop the burrs touching but it’s not as if the burrs will be damaged if they touch since it’s only the surfaces of each burr that touches, not the cutting teeth. Perhaps the manufacturer is concerned about unnecessary strain on the motor if the burrs are jammed together. I guess that makes sense; a set of jammed burrs is apparently exceptionally difficult to pry apart and could run the risk of burning the motor out.
- WORK FLOW
The workflow of the Niche Zero grinder is widely regard as amongst the best but the Moca SD edges it out because there is no need to use a tumbler to catch grinds. The thing is so tiny that the portafilter forks are close to the height of the bench top. This means that a portafilter, complete with a naked basket and funnel, can rest on top of the forks at the grinder end while the tip of the portafilter handle rests on the bench at only a slight angle. Hence there is no need for double handling the grinds from a tumbler into the basket. It works a charm. (The portafilter forks are designed to work with a spouted portafilter and if that’s what you use then they will sit in place just fine with no need to rest the handle end on the bench.)
Also, while the Mocha SD comes with a small RDT spray bottle, it doesn’t need RDT (Ross Droplet Technique). In fact, you had better not use it at all if you are grinding for espresso. After I removed the grub screw (see above) I used RDT on the first two grinds and I choked the grinder both times. My guess is that the chute is too narrow to cope with wet beans at an espresso grind size. I was using RDT out of habit, but in fact it’s not needed at all with the Mocha SD. I’m happy with that because it removes another step (RDT) from the workflow.
To grind, you remove the lid from the small single dose aluminum bean hopper, pour your beans in, replace the lid and swivel the whole hopper 90 degrees clockwise. A trapdoor opens at the bottom of the hopper and the beans plunge to their fate. Six seconds later you have 18 grams of grinds sitting in your portafilter basket. The trapdoor is ingenious and means that you automatically hot-start your grinder every time and with virtually no risk of jams. I simply leave the on/off switch on the base of the grinder permanently on, as I do with all of my other grinders.
It’s worth stating that for cleaning workflow, it’s much easier to pull the burrs out of the Niche than it is with the Moca SD. (To be fair, it’s probably easier to pull the burrs out of a Niche than practically any other grinder in the world.)
I ran beans through the grinder, followed by cafetto/gindz to push out any retained grinds. I ground into a tumbler and then inverted the tumbler onto paper towels so I could easily see the coffee grinds contrasted with the white paper and cafetto. There were grinds but not much and my guess would be less than 0.5 of a gram. I’d love for someone to do more accurate tests but for my money, I’m happy to call this a very low retention grinder.
(Note that unlike some grinder manufacturers, Olympia recommends the use of cafetto/grindz for cleaning the Moca SD.)
I also removed the tops of both the Niche Zero and Moca SD and poked a torch in to see any grinds sitting around on and around the burr sets. They looked very similar in terms of visible grinds although the Moca SD appeared to have more grinds stuck in grooves than the Niche Zero. Against that, the Niche will drop clumps of grinds periodically and the Moca SD doesn’t.
My conclusion is that retention is minimal and taking both aspects of the above into account, my guess is that the two grinders are on a par in regard to retention or at least they are so close that I’d be splitting hairs to claim one was better than the other.
- IN THE CUP / BEST ROAST DEPTH SUITED FOR
For my palate, the Mocha SD competes well with the best of my other grinders for Light roasts, but I rate it the best grinder I’ve ever had on my bench for Light to Medium roasts (City), Medium and Medium to Dark roasts (Full City). I have not tried it for Dark roasts, but I’ll make that comparison in a post below if more than a handful of people request it.
For more detail please see the grinder comparison below.
(Note that when describing roast depths, I’m using the Agtron color scale. I accept that third wave roasters will label an Agtron scale Light roast as a Medium or even Medium/Dark.)
- SPECIAL FEATURES / CHARACTERISTICS
The Single Dose design. It’s important to note that the Moca SD is a purpose-built single dose grinder and not merely the original Moca design sloped forward with a smaller hopper on top. It’s dimensions are different (primarily, depth is greater), the shape is different, the hopper is different. On the face of it, the burrs and motor appear to be the same. And IMHO that’s a good thing.
It appears that Olympia committed to building a low retention grinder incorporating the latest design knowledge whilst still maintaining an aesthetic fit with the rest of the Olympia family.
The size. Tiny ittsy teeny weeny. Says it all really. But if you must know: width 14.6 cm,
depth 22.0 cm, height 28.5 cm.
Stepless dial. Allows for precise dialing in, within the constraints of the rather peculiar need to pre-set the grind size range (see my comments above in ‘Unboxing and First Impressions’).
The motor. 300 watts which handles Nordic Light roasted beans without flinching. And being an Olympia I’m hopeful that after I’m gone, the motor will still be happily spinning those burrs and will be treasured by one of my prosumer espresso children or grandkids.
The speed. 1400 RPM, 6 seconds for 18 grams. I know very little about the effect of RPM on espresso but there are those whose opinions I respect who prefer a lower RPM for Light espresso and Filter. That’s in contrast to the fact that an Mählkonig EK43 has been widely hailed as producing very uniform grinds for Filter coffee with very high extraction yields and it runs at 1740 RPM. Go figure. Regardless of those observations, the Moca SD is set for 1400 RPM – like it or lump it. Like most, I’d prefer to have the option of an adjustable RPM however my preferred style of espresso is so darned good at 1400 RPM that I’m finding it hard to make too much of a song and dance about it. It will however be a deal breaker for some.
The burrs. Ditting 64mm flat. Strangely enough the burrs are rated for 1,000kg on Ditting’s website but only 250–300kg in the Moca SD manual. I’m assuming they are the same burrs and if so, then I’m left scratching my head. But at 36 grams a day they will last around 20 years, even using Olympia’s estimation.
Predictable, consistent grind from the get-go. Every burr adjustment resulted in a predictable difference right from first use and the same grind setting produced pretty much the same pour time. In other words, I saw both consistency and predictably right out of the box. That’s in contrast to the Hedone Honne and Malwani Livi that needed at least 2kg before I could get any sense out of their respective dials.
Warranty. Two years. Chris he tells me that Olympia has a track record of listening and being responsive and supportive when issues arise.
Parts availability. Chris says that at present, parts will be air freighted on demand from Switzerland to Australia without cost to the owner if the replacement is covered by the warranty. Once the Moca SD has been around a while and it’s known which parts will be most needed, he will stock those parts locally.
The Manual. The Swiss knack for clarity and precision is evident in the manual and you really should read it, unlike me who simply charged on in and then wondered why I could not grind fine enough, as noted above. If you are fortunate enough to get one of these grinders, then make sure you read page 14 in particular, which explains how to easily and quickly adjust the grind knob to suit your preferred range of grind size. Otherwise, you may end up like me, scratching your head trying to figure out why it’s spitting out small boulders.
- COMPARISON TO MY OTHER GRINDERS
Taste testing one grinder against another is fraught with pitfalls such as unconscious bias, taste buds that get confused and variables that do what they were born to do which is to vary things from one espresso pour to the next. So please bear that in mind when reading the comparisons below and please also note that your impressions may vary considerably from mine.
On more than one occasion in coffee forums I’ve had members post that I’m full of BS for suggesting that I can note significant differences between the espresso from one grinder versus another. What can I say, other than I can?
However there are three caveats to add and I’m going to mention them here in the hopes that it will add perspective and balance to the conclusions that you are about to read.
Caveat #1 is that I compare the grinders “side by side”, meaning that I grind from one grinder and pour and then swiftly grind from another grinder and pour, using the same espresso machine. I then rinse my mouth with water, sip from one cup, rinse again and sip from the other cup. So, it’s not like I’m trying to compare the taste from one grinder versus another grinder several days later.
Caveat #2 is that I don’t compare more than two grinders on any given day because it’s a whole lot simpler and easier and it mitigates the potential for confusion.
Caveat #3 is that I only drink espresso. No milk. If you add milk to your espresso then yes, it will be more difficult to detect flavor differences.
Adding milk to espresso is like adding tomato sauce to sausages. Imagine you had a chicken sausage, a pork sausage and a beef sausage and that you smothered each one in tomato sauce. Naturally the sausages are all going to taste much more similar than if you had taste tested each sausage without the tomato sauce. And if you add sugar to your coffee then it’s like adding fried onions to the sausages on top of the tomato sauce. BTW, if you like milk and sugar in your coffee then more power to you is what I say.
Note that I only ran taste test comparisons between the Moca SD and Niche Zero and then the Weber EG-1 because those two grinders are well known and in more common use than my other grinders.
The Hedone Honne: As alluded to above, I have not run back-to-back taste comparisons between the Honne and the Moca SD but if I get more than a handful of requests to do so then I’ll add that in a new post in the same thread as this review. Whilst on the subject of the Honne versus the Moca SD, I will say that the Honne produces the fluffiest grinds of any grinder I’ve had. I wrote an extensive review on the Honne in July 2022, and it can be found on either the Australian Coffee Snobs or the UK Coffee Time forums. They are certainly very different machines with the Honne’s industrial looks (which I like) contrasting strongly with the elegance and petiteness of the Moca SD.
The Niche Zero: In terms of the espresso, the Moca SD offers more brightness and yields more notes than the Niche whereas the latter edges the former for viscosity but that is marginal.
And to sooth any ruffled NZ feathers, please note that I am not saying that the Moca SD is better but rather that it is different.
In the world that my taste buds inhabit, the Moca SD gives me a more interesting espresso than the Niche. That said, I can’t wait for Niche to bring out a flat burr grinder. That may give us Niche owners the best of both worlds.
The Niche has its niche (sorry) and IMHO it’s the best value option for the style of espresso that it excels at which is the more chocolate/dark/mocha style that works so well with espresso or milk coffees. I like the Niche so much that I will be keeping it and I’ll continue to recommend it to those people who are looking for the best value grinder for the style of espresso just mentioned.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that the Moca SD is more than twice the price of a Niche.
Weber EG-1: The EG-1 is unquestionably a premium end-game grinder and it’s given me a great deal of satisfaction both for its aesthetics and its espresso over the past 18 months. It’s styling, workflow and engineering quality set a new global standard for coffee grinders.
When the Moca SD arrived on my bench I knew that at some point it was going to go head-to-head with the EG-1, which towers over the little Swiss Miss to the point where it’s quite comical.
In my mind I was convinced that this was going to be like a “Man versus Boy” contest or a “Tyson versus Tom” boxing match (that’s me in the yellow corner).
And I was OK with that thought. After all, if you pay AU$7,000 for an EG-1 landed, and the Moca SD is one third of the price, you actually want the big fella to win. Frankly, It’s a bit embarrassing otherwise. (At time of writing AU$7,000 is £3,900, US$4,800, EU$4,350.)
That’s why, for the taste test comparison to the EG-1, I wanted to dive a bit deeper.
The first dual at dawn: Light-Medium roast
For the first back-to-back comparison I used an Ethiopian Shakisso bean roasted to “City 93” (Light to Medium roast) on the Agtron color scale as measured by a Tonino color analyzer.
I dialled in both grinders, so they produced the same 1:2 ratio espresso (18 grams in and 36 grams out) over a 25 – 30 second range using the same Adaptive preset on the Decent DE1XL.
I ground a shot and poured espresso from both grinders and sipped each espresso, side-by-side as described above. I repeated that three times.
The results? Well, it turns out that the showdown was less like “Man versus Boy” and more like “David versus Goliath” because the little Swiss Miss triumphed over the Titan American.
The Moca SD produced espresso that was livelier, sweeter and offered up more notes and a flavor that lingered longer – on my palate.
The difference was instantly detectable, and it was significant.
As for unconscious bias, yes I’m sure it was alive but that’s possibly offset somewhat by the fact that I didn’t want and didn’t think for a moment that the Mocha SD would produce a betting tasting espresso than the EG-1 that I’d used and loved for the last 18 months.
It was a shock.
And to circumvent legions of EG-1 owners posting death threats, let me be crystal clear: the EG-1 is a premium grinder that produces top quality espresso. And it’s possible that if you were standing beside me for each taste test, you may very well have concluded the exact opposite to me.
That’s the beauty about two unique human beings interacting with the dynamic and subjective world of espresso: two people can have quite different impressions of what appears to be an identical experience.
These differences don’t make anyone right or wrong. Celebrate diversity, I say.
I hadn’t planned more than one taste test dual between these two grinders but after such a surprise result, I felt that that I needed to run more taste tests and so I decided that the next dual would have to wait a few days.
The second dual at dawn: Medium roast
The second bean I tried was a 50/50 blend of Kenyan Lena AA and Indian Hills roasted to “Medium 82”. I used the same side-by-side method for this bean as per the above dual.
I didn’t like the espresso as much from this bean as the Shakisso, however the difference between the two grinders was as marked for this showdown as it was for the first. The Mocha SD yielded more flavor and was by far the richest tasting and had the longest lasting flavor of the two. The Mocha SD was once again a clear winner.
Bugger, this was not going according to plan. I waited a few more days and then had another crack.
Dual at dawn #3: Nordic Light roast
A lot of prosumer forum members prefer a light roast and as mentioned above, I’m aware that my idea of a Light roast is another member’s Medium or even Medium/Dark roast.
So, to avoid any dispute about whether the third dual was indeed with a Light roast, I used a recently arrived bag of “Nacimento” beans from Nordic Light roaster, Norwegian Tim Wendelboe that rated “Cinnamon 123” (Lighter than Light) on the Agtron scale. I had tried these beans previously and they are so light they practically float out of the bag.
I found these beans a lot harder to dial in, so it felt like forever before I had the two grinders producing a similar pour time. (For those of you who have never done taste comparisons, take it from me that it is surprisingly exhausting.)
For the Light roast dual, I put 21 grams into the basket and used the Blooming preset on the Decent that is designed for Light roasts, to get 36 grams out and I used the same 3x side-by-side comparison method as for the previous two duals.
I always see more channeling with Light roasts, but the pours were pleasingly similar to each other across the bottom of the basket, and as far as Light roast espresso pours go there was not an undue amount of channeling. Color across the bottom of the naked basket was generally quite even.
The results between the two grinders were a lot closer with the Light roast than the previous two duals and I wouldn’t be as confident at picking one over the other.
It’s important to note that I have very limited experience in grinding and pouring Light roast espresso but if someone put a gun to my head (please don’t) I’d say that the Moca SD produced a slightly brighter and more acidic espresso and that I could detect more hop-like notes whereas the EG-1 yielded a stronger flavor.
But unlike the other two duals, I would not say that I preferred one over the other. They both had their charms.
Footnote: Separate to the taste tests above, I had an espresso prosumer friend over and gave him espressos from all three grinders using the Lena/Hills bean described above. He could instantly detect more brightness and flavor from the Moca SD than the Niche. His comment regarding the EG-1 was that he shared my thoughts of the Moca SD versus the EG-1 but not to the same marked extent. When I pressed him a little more, he said “well, even assuming my taste buds are getting a little muddled, the worst I could say about the Moca SD was that it is a good as the EG-1”.
Summary of the three duals
Setting aside the likelihood of unconscious bias just for a moment, the Moca SD is a clear and distinct winner for my taste buds and flavor preferences for Light/Medium and Medium roast espresso.
My guess is that it would also steal the show for Dark roasts when pitted against the EG-1 and that it would bring out a little more of the origin flavors in a Dark roast (challenging) than a Niche but I would still reach for the latter for guests who like a milk-based Medium or Dark roast.
The EG-1 shone more with the Light roast dual, and maybe someone who is better at grinding and pouring Light roast espresso would prefer the Light roast espresso from the EG-1.
I feel more confident in suggesting the EG-1 would prevail as an all-rounder for Light espresso and Filter. And when it comes to Filter only coffee, pop the Ultra burrs into the EG-1 and it would surely blow the Moca SD out of the water.
But again, these last couple of comments are just semi-educated guesses from someone who is not particularly enamored or experienced with Light espresso or Filter coffee and I’d prefer to leave any final conclusions to an expert in those areas.
I liked the espresso from the Mocha SD so much more than the espresso from the EG-1 that yesterday I sold the EG-1 and placed an order with Chris from Talk Coffee for a second Mocha SD to pair with the Nurri Leva espresso machine he’s shipping me in a few weeks.
I think that selling the EG-1 and ordering a second Mocha SD underlines how much clarity and confidence I have about my conclusions.
Footnote: my observations above were with a well-seasoned burr set in the EG-1 that had around 12kg though them versus the burr set in the Moca that had less than 500 grams through them. If, as suggested by luminaries such as James Hoffman, the espresso gets better with more kilos through the burrs, I can’t wait to see what the little Swiss Miss is capable of around the 10kg mark.
- WHAT I DON’T LIKE
Much though I like the Moca SD, there are areas for improvement.
The lack of numbers on the dial. As aesthetically pleasing as the little indents on the aluminum dial are, they are equally impractical. It’s a triumph of form over function. How the heck am I meant to know which little dot represents the ideal dial position for Medium roast versus City?
To be fair, the grinder has different size dots indicating coarser versus finer but on the Niche or the Livi or the EG-1 or the Honne (name practically any other grinder!) there are numbers that I can write on a coffee bag so I can spend less time dialing in a fresh City roast or a fresh Cinnamon roast.
With the Moca SD I’ve resorted to dotting the dial with erasable whiteout fluid (thanks to EspressoAdventurer on the Coffee Snobs forum for this time saving idea). One dot for Light, two for City, three for Medium and four for Full City.
Please Mr/Mrs Olympia, put some numbers on your dial and unless you are planning on marketing the Moca SD exclusively to hobbits, make the dial bigger and make the font size for the numbers suitable for a half blind sexagenarian (me) and not an 18-year-old with 20/20 vision. Thank you.
The noise. Imagine an empty tin can with four dozen small pebbles inside being flung inside it at 1400 RPM and you’ll have some idea of the noise levels. It’s not as bad as that but it ain’t whisper quiet either.
While it’s a noisy little thing, it’s also mercifully fast. And maybe you prefer six seconds at high volume than 35 seconds at medium volume?
The other morning my wife was sitting on the couch reading just a few meters away from the grinder. I studied her face as I switched the grinder , and she didn’t bat an eyelid or make any comment. So maybe I’m just a bit sensitive to noise. Or maybe she’s gotten used to me making a racket.
Whilst I’d prefer a quieter grinder, I’m quite OK with the noise because we no longer have kids at home and my wife is an early riser. But it should probably be a consideration if you have your espresso bench on the other side of your newborn baby’s bedroom wall.
The catch tray. The rear of the catch tray is narrower than the rest and so slides in nicely between the two front feet of the grinder. But nothing holds it in place, and it easily moves around. I prefer the catch tray on ECM’s Titan V64 where the whole tray is the width of the base of the grinder and is kept in place by two holes that allow the two front feet of the grinder to sit in those holes and thereby prevent the tray from moving. Not a biggie.
The burr limiting grub screw. Please see FIRST IMPRESSIONS above.
10.WHAT I LIKE MOST
The Ditting burrs. The Mocha SD’s Ditting burrs unlock flavor that I rate as the best I’ve ever tasted for my preferred style of espresso.
The size. The super tiny footprint means I can fit more toys on my espresso island. That’s also great for those in apartments or with limited bench space.
The speed. This has never been a biggie for me, probably because I’m used to 30 second grind times but since I’ve experienced 6 second grind times, I’m a fan.
- VALUE FOR MONEY
An Olympia Express Cremina (espresso machine) will set you back AU$6,500 and although it’s top-notch quality-wise, I may struggle to justify that price tag unless it compared very favorably to say an Odyssey Argos at 1/3rd the price or a Strietman CT2 at around 2/3rds the price, albeit the latter has no steaming capability.
Which is to say that any evaluation of value in regard to price can only be made after considering other options available i.e. the value for the price is relative.
That said, I have no such qualms about the price of the Moca SD grinder because it produces the best espresso for my taste buds.
To drive home my point about value further, I’ve paid more than twice the price of the Moca SD for grinders that don’t match the flavor. So, for me, the Moca SD price is easily justified. In fact, I’d rate it as very good value, relative to other options for the style of espresso that I like.
The Mocha SD offers exceptionally flavorsome espresso across all roast depths. I suspect it may be a while before I find another grinder that can knock it off my espresso island. But it will be fun trying.
- MANUFACTURER’S RIGHT OF REPLY
Thank you for the great review and the right of reply.
Your review was very entertaining to read, and we really like how your journey with our little Miss went on.
I’m glad you also liked the packaging. We developed it with a local partner (10km from our factory) and it contains only 10 grams of plastic.
The grubscrew and resulting adjustment that threw you towards the user manual, is a prerequisite for our TÜV certifications. To make the quite technical story short: It’s to ensure that nobody can turn the burrs on top of each other by accident.
We made the adjustment process as easy as possible and described it in the manual (as you found out). Side note: This adjustment process was implemented on the Moca D in May 2020.
The dial markings are something that we are working on due to a lot of feedback from customers. Of course, we will make it as easy to read as possible, developed by a mid-30-year-old guy, who’s blind without his glasses (me).
About the burrs: Yes, you are right, Ditting rates them at 1000kg. We got the data from an older datasheet where they rated the same burrs at 300kg. (Which is more than enough and more realistic in our opinion.)
You can look at it this way: The average Joe uses around 10kg of coffee a year so the burrs hold between 30 and 100 years! Either way you shouldn’t have to change the burrs too many times in your lifetime. (This of course if they don’t get damaged from rocks, screws or other kind of parts that don’t grind well.)
Our best wishes and we hope you will have a great time with your Moca SD.
Sascha Matiz, Bereichsleiter Olympia Express, and the rest of the Olympia-Express Team