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Single Dosing of Coffee Grinders

Hi Folks- Its no secret- I am an avid (aka fanatical) coffee grinder collector and experimenter.

I wanted to share some ideas and tips regarding coffee grinders.

The importance of the quality of your coffee grinder and its impact on the quality of your coffee should not be under-estimated. Some of my customers who have mid-range coffee set-ups have asked me if they should upgrade either their coffee machine or coffee grinder first; in all cases I have advised them to first upgrade their grinder to the best they can afford. It is that important in the coffee making chain.

I remember back to when I first upgraded from a Rancilio Rocky to a Mazzer Mini. I was very skeptical at first but was amazed at the jump in the quality of the coffee produced from my machine at that time (a Miss Silvia). Since then I have been on an interesting journey through several different grinders- current model is an Anfim Super Caimano Barista S450 Dosatore- have promised myself this will be the last :-)

Let’s jump right in to an interesting subject- single dosing of the coffee grinder. By single-dosing  I refer to the practice of weighing out your single dose (typically around 7-9 grams for  a single shot, and 14- 18 grams for a double shot)  and then placing those beans alone in the grinder throat and grinding until nothing more comes out. This requires bumping the grinder ON several times after the initial main amount of grinds comes out, to ensure all grounds are recovered. A brush is also required for most grinder types to brush out the exit chute.

Single-dosing suits people who like to drink more than one type of bean/blend during the course of a day and/or want to avoid as much as possible, any contamination of their fresh-ground beans by stale grinds that remain in the burr chamber and chute from a previous dose.It's attraction is that the only grind retention you need worry about if you have a grinder model that allows you to clean out the exit chute, are the grinds in the dosing chamber. It also means that you aren’t storing coffee beans in the hopper, allowing oxidation to occur. Only the beans for that dose are taken from the coffee bag for use.

Those that use hand grinders are single dosing by default and enjoy great shots accordingly.

The subject of retention in grinders often sparks much debate on coffee forums. Some keen users may spend several minutes bumping and brushing to ensure absolute minimal retention. Whilst I have done that in the past (and encourage the practice where time is not an issue), my routine now involves purging the grinder chute for 3 to 4 seconds before using the grinder for a particular session; not perfect, but I can’t perceive any discernible taste difference in the coffee compared to single dosing.

So, what type of grinders are best for single dosing? Again there is much passionate debate on the subject. Personally, I think any grinder that allows easy access to the exit chute is fine.

Often, commercial grinders (highly recommended) need to be modded by removing the anti-static screen and de-clumping mesh, to enable an artist’s brush (or similar) to gain easy access for brushing any remaining grounds out.

Some form of lid needs to be placed over the grinder chamber to prevent “popcorning” of the coffee beans.

I would be keen to hear from anyone who has a question or would like to share their views on single-dosing.

In the meantime, let me leave you with a Youtube link which shows an example of single dosing.

All the best


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