In this article, we are taking a closer look at two high performing flat burr coffee grinders that look pretty well-matched on paper – the Macap m2m and the Compak k3.
We’ll be picking apart the smaller details that matter when choosing a grinder that is not only able to produce commercial-level grind accuracy for your coffee beans but is also designed to add to the overall look and experience of your home espresso set up.
Both of the grinders measure the same at the base, 165 x 305 millimetres. The difference we see in the two grinders is the height and weight.
The Compak stands at 420mm tall and weighs 5.5kg, whereas the Macap m2m is slightly shorter and lighter at 382mm and 4.7kg.
The Macap m2m and the Compak k3 are both stepless adjustment coffee grinders.
A stepless grind adjustment model is key when separating entry-level grinders from a more serious model of espresso grinder that can match commercial levels of consistency and quality.
Without the restrictions of a fixed settings grinder, a stepless adjustment means that you are able to make an ultra-fine micro-adjustment without any defined settings when dialling in the grind size to match your espresso, which can often be the feature that holds back entry-level grind equipment.
Speed and power
Both grinders use commercial-grade steel flat burrs to grind the coffee, but the biggest difference between the two is the size of the flat burrs in each coffee grinder.
The Macap m2m has a 50mm flat burr set spinning at 1400RPM whereas the Compak boasts a larger 58mm hardened steel flat burr set, spinning at 1375RPM.
Higher RPM in coffee grinders has been found to help produce a finer grind coffee. This is useful if dosing smaller amounts of coffee in your portafilter, but with there only being 100RPM between the two grinders the size of the burrs could be seen as the defining detail.
When it comes to flat burrs on a grinder, bigger is generally considered better, as larger flat burrs do not need to turn as many time to grind the same amount of coffee when compared with a smaller flat burr grinder.
Grind on demand
Both models are doserless. This means that the ground coffee beans are not stored in a dosing chamber attached to the grinder before being released into your portafilter.
Choosing a model of grinder with a dosing chamber can often lead to more wastage and a lower quality of espresso, thanks to the coffee sitting in the chamber for longer before use.
Doserless grinders promote the use of freshly ground coffee for every shot of espresso that you pull.
Neither the Compak k3 nor Macap m2m has the option of programmable doser settings to control the dose and are fully grind on demand. This means that you will regularly have to check the weight of your dose to see how much coffee has been dispensed before distributing and tamping your espresso shot.
The two grinders have an easy use portafilter push in button that deliver ground coffee through their dosing spouts for as long as the button is held in.
Both of the grinders have smaller hoppers than commercial style grinders, which are designed for home use as you won’t usually need to hold multiple kilograms of coffee beans in your hopper to see you through the day.
The Compak has a ‘gourmet’ hopper that gives the grinder a great modern look.
Its 285-gram capacity is big enough to hold a small retail bag of coffee beans with a little room to spare, which should help you to get the coffee dialled-in correctly for your home espresso without worrying about the beans spilling out when you fill it up.
The Macap m2m has a classic tall hopper with a 250-gram capacity.
The Macap m2m has a feature that allows the hopper to help prolong the life of your coffee. The tinted, sunglasses-like plastic is used to protect the beans in the hopper from being exposed to UV light that can have an effect on the coffee’s flavour if left in an area that sees regular sunlight.
Making your selection
Now that we have looked through the details that set the two apart, we can start off by saying that we think both grinders are a fantastic option when looking to upgrade from smaller entry home espresso grinders.
Both can easily provide consistent, commercial-level coffee grounds that will improve the overall quality of your coffee extraction.
There are some features that I think make one grinder stand out slightly over the other in terms of performance. This is important when both grinders sit at such a similar price point.
The larger burr set and lower RPM are two factors that make me lean towards the Compak k3.
Larger burrs are found to be quieter, so if you’re an early riser and need that caffeine kick without waking your family or housemates, this setup could be helpful.
Lower RPM also means that the grinder has a lower heat output resulting in a more consistent grind and overall quality of the coffee.
If too much heat comes into contact with the coffee grounds it starts to release the aromatics from the ground coffee, so if your burrs are heating your coffee grounds you could lose some flavour.
Both grinders have a great look to them, but if stylish aesthetics play a big part in your decision making, the Macap m2m stands out for me. It has a more refined design which gives it a touch of ‘class’ visually, and the addition of a solid dosing spout really adds to the look, whereas the Compak k3 has a more serious, commercial coffee shop look and feel to it.
The two have easily removable grind trays, although the Compak has a more sturdy design being part of the build itself which is useful if you’re going to be putting in a shift on the grinder and pulling regular shots throughout the day.
A grinders height can also come into the buying process when measuring against kitchen shelves. Trying to find a grinder that comfortably fits into the space you have designated for your home coffee setup is often challenging when buying new equipment.
The weight of a grinder can sometimes give a little more steadiness when grinding and depending on where you are setting up your espresso machine, the surface being used will need to be able to support the weight of all the equipment you have placed on top of it.
Finally, make sure that the brand of your portafilter and other coffee accessories are compatible with the model of a grinder you end up choosing.