By Pete Licata.
As part of my Espresso Grinder Series, the Anfim SPII was put through its paces, assessed on its design, functionality and performance.
It was dialled into a 20g dose and a grind which achieves an output weight of 40g in 25-27 seconds. Across 20 extractions, we looked at the following;
I first used an Anfim grinder in 2008, and the technology at the time had a simple timer dial with a push button activator built into the side. This was the original modification on the Anfim Super Caimano grinder. With the SPII, we have the most recent modifications, some of which are significant. While the comparison to new grinding technology shows some flaws, it is clearly the best version of the Anfim grinder range. This grinder is functional in a traditional café environment at the least. I would score this grinder 6/10.
The SPII has a stepless grind adjustment which can be finely dialled, a feature that is certainly the most important improvement Anfim has made. If you ever used the older stepped grind version you likely know that it could be problematic at times, as the steps were quite large. The grinder face has a direct dosing funnel which places the grinds neatly in the center of the portafilter basket every time. One of the reasons this funnel works so well is due to the new clump breaker coil, which is made of metal, and very unlikely to need replacing in the near future.
The grinder is quite heavy, with a significant amount of weight in the base to keep it from shifting around on the bench. The weight is useful because it has a small footprint of around 22x37cm. Programming and changing the grind time settings is relatively easy, utilising a long press and simple timing adjustments in 0.1 second increments. The portafilter holder is of the same design as the Malkonig E65S which is quite functional. The burrs are 75mm titanium coated discs, and two fans have been added to the back of the grinder, which means that it should maintain a more consistent burr temperature during busy shifts.
The target dialled dose of 20g was initially relatively easy to set. In the process of my test shots, I saw a dose swing of -0.3 to +1.1g away from the initial set dose. The exact dose was hit three times (15%), and within +/- 0.2g nine times (less than 50% of attempts). So again, you may find the need to weigh portafilter handles and adjust the dose with this grinder. Interestingly, the dose was on the high side more often than not, which meant less topping up of an under dose. The grinder also showed a tendency to increase doses over time, and I needed to lower the grind time 0.3 seconds in total in order to maintain a dose closer to 20g.
Two concerns through the testing of this grinder became apparent to me: 1) small clumping of the grinds despite the new clump breaker coil, and 2) the clump breaker coil and chute which it sits in holds a significant amount of grinds.
The first concern became an issue when I began observing micro channels (small holes) in the center of the extracted pucks. Channeling is hugely detrimental to the espresso extraction process, and for this to be a potential uncontrollable variable is of high concern.
The second concern, grind retention, is less urgent but still has an impact on shot quality and work flow. When a large amount of grinds are held in a grinder chute, purging an old grind size after a grind adjustment simply becomes wasteful. In a busy café, the barista may not purge enough grinds, confusing whether the grind was adjusted properly. This is a well known issue from certain grinders, and is less in new technology.
One final observation is the significant amount of fine grind particles created during the grinding process. I associate this amount of fine grinds with the back pressure created by the clump breaker coil, which slows down how quickly the ground coffee is allowed to exit the burr chamber. Extra time escaping the burrs allows for extra cuts of the coffee. I will be conducting a grind size comparison on the reviewed grinders at the end of this series, but for now I will tell you that there were roughly double the amount of fine <100 micron grind particles created by the SPII compared to the E65S (This may be more illuminating when we have data from all of the grinders).
The final notes to point out about this grinder are: