Updated the 23rd of January 2022
Mahlkonig brand, the king of the grinders was established in Germany in 1924. Initially, the company was founded to produce electric motors. It then started making coffee grinder in the 60s and from then it soon became the leader especially with one grinder.
After last year review of the Mahlkonig Grinder Peak, today it’s the turn of the EK43 grinder, a grinder that has been designed more than 30 years ago. The EK43 grinder was initially designed to brew spices. It was then placed on the counter of a coffee shop to deliver a single dose of coffee ready to be brewed only for hand-brew coffee as this Mahlkonig grinder it’s not been designed with the on-demand feature. Baristas then realised that it was also suited to grind take away a bag of coffee as it didn’t overheat that much.
Then, it’s soon become popular in 2013 when Matt Perger, a well-known Australian barista, brought it on the stage of the World Barista Championship to brew espresso-based drink.
You can find the EK43 grinder everywhere in London as almost all of the speciality coffee shops have opted for it.
So, why all this success? There wouldn’t need any introduction but let’s see what has made the EK43 so good as I’m going to review it.
EK43 Mahlkonig Grinder – grind settings and features
- Grind uniformity: the particle distribution of this grinder stands above the average of its competitors. There is much more uniformity than any other grinders and much fewer boulders (the larger particles that you can easily see on the side of the paper filter when doing a pour-over) which means we can achieve a greater cup in both TDS and clarity in the cup. Keeping almost the same particle size is essential when brewing any coffee beverage:
- it reduces the chance of the “fine migration” phenomenon in which finer particle tend to settle down to the bottom of the filter, gathering other particles so obstructing the flow of the brew. This results in an uneven extraction, bringing bitterness to the cup and causing channelling;
- more TDS (total dissolved solids): in short, the more solids (caffeine) you extract the better the quality in the cup. A more yummy cup with more flavours, sweetness so balance.
- Consistency: this Mahlkonig grinder is equipped with 98mm stainless steel flat burrs vertically mounted. This feature leads to minimizing coffee retention to a minimum (usually not more than 0,3g at a time). Also, these massive EK43 burrs can grind more than 1kg per minute without overheating the grinding chamber: the larger the burrs the fewer the rotations to grind your dose leaving no room for that much of static electricity (static charge can influence your brew with clumps of grounds coffee that produces channelling)
- A wider offer: a single-dose grinder can’t be placed as the main grinder of the shop but it allows you to play with different single-origins for hand-brew and espresso too (remember Matt Perger?).
What makes the EK 43 stands above the other is that it produces a lot of finer with the larger much closer to them compared to the other grinders. As Matt Perger stated in his article “The EK43 Part Three”,
“this grinder can break coffee beans apart many more times without experiencing a drastically increased number of fines.
This is one of the reasons why you can extract more with an EK43 without experiencing dryness or unacceptable bitterness.” He also stated that
“The entire spread of the EK43 is really fine. Compared to the other grinders, it almost looks out of place. This is the other (rather counterintuitive) reason as to why you can extract so much more with the EK43; because the fines are very similar in size to the rest of the grinds”.
So that’s the reason why brewing coffee with the EK43 results in a much tastier and balanced cup. As any grinders produce a bimodal particle distribution, the EK43 is the one that yields much less spread in between the particle sizes, which results in a much more even extraction.
This Mahlkonig grinder is also able to grind coffee for all the brewing method you wish, from the Turkish coffee to the cold brew thanks to its wider option featured on the dial-in (there’s up to 11 references numbers). It can be a good choice as well for the roasteries when setting a cupping session making much easier to grind different coffee beans. The bag clip allows you to grind your bag of coffee with just one hand and also to take out all the remained grounds in between the EK43 burrs.
The hopper capacity is about 1500 grams. In case you need more room there’s a short EK hopper available.
This Mahlkonig grinder comes in black, matte white, red and copper.
The price of the grinder starts from £ 2,000.
There’s not that much to say about the EK43 regarding negative aspects. There are a few downsides though:
- The first is that, as I said before, the grinder has not the possibility to grind any time as it lacks the on-demand feature. It is, therefore, necessary to pre-dose the beans for a single-dose. That’s why the grinder is used to grind coffee beans for hand brew, a retail bag of coffee and batch brew;
- The second is that the grinder needs to be recalibrate more than you would expect. I used different EKs in the past years and all of them needed to be recalibrate quite often. Let’s say, averagely, twice a month.
But I will keep this for later as this need a more in-depth article.
- The price. That’s influenced by the latter: even if the grinder let us play more than any others, there’s no reason to invest all that money.
So, that’s all for today. Hope you enjoyed this one!
I am an Italian coffee lover that pushed for the love of this “amazing drug” decided to come to London to study about coffee and its different extraction procedures and tastes.