etzMax puts a new spin on coffee grinding

etzinger etzmax grinder

The high-precision etzMax grinder introduces grind-by-weight technology among a host of new features for conical burr grinders.

Conical versus flat burrs is an age-old argument when it comes to coffee grinding. Until recently, however, only those on ‘team flat’ have had access to grind-by-weight technology, bringing a new level of consistency to coffee grinding.

Liechtenstein manufacturer Etzinger is looking to rebalance the debate with its etzMax conical burr grinders, available exclusively in Australia and New Zealand through Barista Group.

“This is not your average grinder. It really is different to any other model, from the high-precision conical burrs to how it is built,” says Joe Chalhoub, General Manager of Barista Group.

“It has a modular system, so if there’s any type of issue, within five minutes you can open it up, replace the part, and get back to work. Cleaning is super simple and easy too because there aren’t six or seven components you have to unscrew and reattach. It only takes seconds to take it apart by the rotation burr mount and run the brush through to clean it.”

The etzMax was designed by Christian Etzinger, who has applied his background as an aeronautical engineer to develop the high-precision burrs used in several well-known grinders.

“It’s also unique how Etzinger manufactures its own burrs, which it has been doing for a long time,” Joe says. “The conical high-precision burrs are all about grinding while assuring maximum quality without wasting time or beans through low retention.”

Etzinger’s etzJet grinding mechanism puts a new spin on the classic conical burr setup. The cone burr remains static in the centre while the motor-powered ring burrs rotate around it, rather than the other way around, ensuring coffee grounds fall axially out of the grinder and into the portafilter.

The cone burr connects directly to two adjustment rings, providing a fine degree of control over grind size. The macro ring features 16 steps of 0.1-millimetre tuning increments, while a second micro ring offers 10 additional demarcations of 0.01 millimetres for stepless fine tuning.

Joe says etzJet is fast, precise, easily adjustable, and requires less cool down time than with typical AC motors.

“The temperature inside the grinder affects the beans and the quality and consistency coming out. With etzJet, that’s just one less thing the barista has to worry about while making coffee,” Joe says. 

The etzMax is available in three models either in grind-by-time or grind-by-weight formats, with the latter using an Acaia-designed load cell sensor.

EtzMax-light is a low-volume on-demand grinder recommend for home use or as a precise single origin or decaf grinder pulling up to 50 shots per day. The low retention and volume of the etzMax-light makes it ideal for single dosing, ensuring the coffee remains fresh even if used at home. Its burrs can also be easily swapped out for a set designed for filter coffee.

“I’ve been using the grinder for my own coffee and for our experiments at Socratic Coffee for five years now. The etzMax was a little ahead of its time when it first came out, but the market had matured enough to see the value it has to offer,” Joe says.

“Even home baristas are looking for high-precision coffee grinders. The single dose market has exploded, because even at home, people want that level of accuracy for brewing coffee.”

The etzMax-M, which stands for “medium” has a slightly higher capacity at 15 kilograms per week, which Joe says is ideal for cafés regularly serving single origin or decaf coffees throughout the day. 

The etzMax-plus is a higher volume grinder at a recommend 40 kilograms per week capacity. The modular design allows for a special cooling system to help it maintain low temperatures during rush hour.

“We introduced the etzMax because we really wanted to offer grind-by-weight technology in a conical grinder. Our industry has advanced to the point that weighing your shots is the standard, and if you’re not willing to measure every dose you better have a grinder that does it for you,” Joe says.

The modular design of the etzMax even makes it possible to upgrade the grinder as business and demand grows.

EtzMax fits nicely in Barista Group’s portfolio, complementing the flat-burr and higher capacity Markibar Izaga coffee grinder.

“Whether you go flat or conical really comes down to preference and each has its own advantages. Flat burrs typically give you a more even grind distribution and higher clarity, while with conical, you get these explosive shots full of body and flavour, but they’re known to be less consistent with higher retention. The precision you see with etzMax really removes these problems,” Joe explains.

“We’ve been talking with Etzinger for the past five years and every time they have a new product, they’ve sent it to us for evaluation. Our feedback is very important to them and it’s been great to watch the testing, results, and upgrades to the grinder.”

Etzinger has also developed a manual hand grinder called the etz-I, offering the same precision seen in its electronic models in a smaller package. Barista Group will distribute the etz-I through its new domestic and filter coffee focused branch Brew & Berry.

“As Barista Group has grown in Australia and New Zealand, we’ve taken on more innovative products that help to improve workflow and consistency in the café. We’re also receiving more enquiries for brewing equipment from the home market and want to meet that demand without changing the types of products Barista Group is known for,” Joe says.

With a prospective launch date of 2 February 2022, Brew & Berry will offer high-quality barista tools from the likes of The Force Tamper, SSP burrs, and Titus Grinding, as well as the Steadfast brewing vessel.

“The pandemic changed the whole coffee climate. People aren’t just making coffee at home, they’re spending more time online and on social media, and want to learn and delve into stuff like coffee,” Joe says.

“If you look at the offerings from roasters across Australia, you can see the focus is more and more on filter coffee, and for the average user, learning to brew it at home is a much smaller investment than in a good grinder and espresso machine. Compared to when we started five or six years ago, there’s so much more demand from that market and I don’t see it slowing down.” 

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This article appears in the December 2021 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.

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