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Video Overview | Mahlkönig X54

Video Overview | Mahlkönig X54

Aug 25th 2021 Written by Reagan Jones

The long-awaited X54, Mahlkönig's first home grinder, features 54mm flat burrs that grind the full range from 200 to 1000 microns (or, depending on the calibration you choose, a little coarser). The recognizable form takes inspiration from Mahlkönig's popular K30, Peak, E65, and E80 espresso grinders but has a few of its own characteristics, such as the interchangeable faces (one for espresso and one for a dosing cup), newly designed hopper lock, and quick calibration (no tools needed). In this video, Steve provides an overview of the X54 and demonstrates its many features.

Transcript

Mahlkonig X54

Ideal shape for "Connected Machine"

Hey, it's Steve here with Prima Coffee, and today we are taking a look at the Mahlkönig X54 Home Grinder. This is the long-awaited home grinder from Mahlkönig. So for years, you've seen their grinders on the countertops of cafés. So the EK43 which has filter, sometimes now espresso, and then what was the K30 all the way through, now, the E65 and E80. And what you'll notice is it has that form. So they've basically shrunken down the E65 and E80 and made it into a package with a smaller motor, with smaller burrs, and at an affordable price that you can use at home. So this grinds for every brewing method from espresso all the way through French press. And so if you want to know the microns, they published that. It's 200 microns through 1,000 microns, but that should be sufficient for all of those methods. At this price, it is going to be competitive with the Baratza Forté which also has 54-millimeter flat burrs. And then the Niche is a couple $100 less than this, and that one has conical burrs. So it's going to fit right into that area. So one of the reasons why this is a home grinder and not one to be used or probably not going to be seen in cafés is because it has a relatively small motor. It is running at 1,050 RPM, but it's still going to take a long time to grind. So, for espresso, when it's set on espresso fineness, it's going to be about 1 gram a second, maybe a little bit faster. And then when you're using it for coarse settings, it could be as fast as 2.8 grams per second, which is still pretty slow. You might see this in cafés as a, sort of, decaf grinder or a backup grinder for espresso or for other methods, but it really can't handle high volumes. One of the reasons, it doesn't have that ventilation that its, sort of, larger siblings are going to have, and so those grounds are going to get hot. The motor is going to need to be, sort of, turned off or given a rest every once in a while. So at home, you're not going to have that problem because you're probably not making as much coffee. So the motor is rated for about 25,000 shots, and you could grind about 4 pounds per day with this. You really don't want to do much more than that because you'll overtax the grinder. So to use the grinder, the grind adjustment is found right over here on this side. It has 35 little lines on there, but it is a stepless grinder. So there's no clicking into position, and there are detents on that. And it's actually relatively difficult to turn, which is a good thing because it does keep you from overshooting the number you're looking for, and it's, sort of, wildly changing the grinder where you're just trying to change it just a little bit. It's a really small dial, so little adjustments make a big difference.

The X54 allows you to grind by time. You actually have four different programs you can set on here, and it's all done here on the LED screen. So when you turn it on, it'll take a couple seconds, and then you'll see the LED screen pop up here. And you'll have the 1, 2, 3, and 4, and then a little hand that has a finger pressing a button, and that's if you wanted to manually grind. So if you want to manually grind, there's a start and stop button right here that you can go ahead and just hit when you want to start and then hit it again when you want to stop. But you can just scroll over the numbers. When you scroll to the right, you know you're going through the numbers there—1, 2, 3, and 4. And you can set each of those to have different durations to dose out the coffee that you want. And what we found is that's actually really accurate. So once this has, sort of, heated up, so once you've been grinding a little bit, once this has heated up, you're not going to see more probably than a half of a gram of a variation when you've set that time. So it is really, really pretty accurate on that. And generally we're only finding, like, 0.1 to 0.3 grams off when you have it set. But we'll just go ahead and say about half a gram, because, again, once this gets up to temperature, that's about what we're finding. But when you first start using it and it's going to be cold, you might find a little bit more variation. So to set the grind time, you just go ahead and scroll over to the number you want. So we have Number 1. It says 14.4 seconds. So you can actually change the time there down to the 10th of a second. You set each digit one at a time. I'll go ahead and show you. So if you hold the button here down, it will start blinking, and it's allowing you to set the 10th of a second there first. And then when you're done with that, you hit the button, press the button, brings you over here. We can set the second one and then the third. So 27 when you're done. Go ahead and hold the button, and it'll show the time there. It'll light up. So we have it on 27 seconds. And you can do that for all four of those buttons or you can go ahead and just grind with the manual button. Like I said, on. Press it when you want it on. Press it when you want it off. Now, it also has a button down here. So one of the cool things about this is it has a portafilter fork or a portafilter holder here, but if you're not going to use it for espresso, you can remove it. You just press in this button over here and pull that out. This is actually magnetic, too. You can see the tray just came off. There are a couple magnets here on the back of that tray that lock in here with these metal pieces. So easy to take off and clean, and easy to get into position. On the back of this portafilter fork, so we have it set now for this portafilter. You can, kind of, see... go put that in. It's easiest to put it in if you hold that button on the side when you're pressing this in, and turn it off, because you might accidentally hit this button which will dose out coffee, which you don't want to happen. So, again, if you hold this button on the side, that should lock in quite easily. But you could see we have it set for this portafilter right here, and it's set here... The button will grind. The button has to be pressed to grind. Go ahead and open this up here. When you stop pressing the button, the grinding will go ahead and stop there as well.

So we have it set for this portafilter, but if you wanted to set it for a different one, go ahead and take that out. And this bottom Phillips-head screw, if you loosen that, it'll allow... That bottom part, sort of, rides on the rails. Kind of see there. This piece does and so you can adjust for different portafilter sizes. If you have a spouted portafilter for instance, it's going to be thicker. It's going to be taller, I guess. So you're going to want to be a little bit larger, but this one here is relatively small, so I'll go ahead and lock this in. So if you didn't want to use a portafilter fork, you can use the other attachment here for the front. Put that on. And this is just the button now. It's covered so you can't actually grind by pressing down on this. But this fits in there up against that, and you grind here with the start and stop. So if you want to use the portafilter fork on here, it does have a five-second interruption on this button. So we have it set for 27 seconds here. And if we start to grind... ...and then pause, it'll go ahead and wait for 5 seconds with the position you were at, which is 24 seconds. And after 5, it goes back to what you had it set for, so 27. So basically if you wanted to, kind of, set all the grounds after grinding for a couple of seconds, and then go back and start grinding again, you could. But after 5 seconds, it'll go ahead and go back to, again, what you had it programmed as. So if you were grinding for espresso, you will notice that there are a fair amount of clumps. You can, kind of, see them there. A fair amount of clumps in. So if you are grinding for espresso, we recommend that you also invest in some kind of WDT tool. And this will, sort of, allow the shots to be much... just perform much better and there'd be much less channeling if you break those clumps up. Mahlkönig has worked hard to make this quiet grinder, so you're really going to find about 70 decibels which is what you'd expect from a vacuum cleaner. So the hopper is unique. It has this hopper slide which, when it's pushed all the way in, that is when it is open. That's when the hole is matched up there with a hopper opening. So that'll feed coffee down into the burrs. If you pull it out until that black line, you can, kind of, see a little black line, is seen there, is visible, then it is closed at this point. And then if you want to take the hopper off, there is no other, kind of, button. You don't have to twist it off. You just have to pull this slide all the way out, and the hopper will pop off. So to do that, what you're going to want to do is grind out all the coffee. Let's see. Let's go back. There we go. Grind out all the coffee... ...that you have already in the chamber. Much easier to do, much faster to do if it's on that coarsest setting, and then, again, you can pull this all the way out, and it just pops off. So if you wanted to get into those burrs to clean it, you have these four screws here. And all you need is an Allen wrench, so a hex wrench, and then you remove those. And then this allows you to go ahead and turn the top and pull it off. And that'll give you access into the burr chamber. It'll allow you to go ahead and pull the top burr off, vacuum it out, clean it out, which we do recommend that you do periodically. So to get this back on, this is different from the other grinders Mahlkönig has put out. Like I said, it has these four, kind of, posts that you have here, these four screws, which are going to match up with these holes on the bottom. Just know that the hopper slide is always going to face out that way, and that's easier to get it on. And then to lock it in, you push the slide back in. You can hear the coffee going into the burr chamber there.

So there are a couple other little features. This does have an auto-sleep timer on it. We have it set right now for 3 minutes, but you can also set it for 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 20 minutes, and 30 minutes. So to access that, you'll take it down to your manual grind, which is, again, the little finger pressing the button. And once you get there, you'll hold both this button down and the start and stop. So if you do that, you'll see 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. And then the auto-sleep comes up. This is on 3 minutes. Again, you can use this for all of your scrolling, all the way up to 30, and then right back down to 3. So if you want to set it for another time, go ahead and hold that down. When it comes back up to the main screen, it is set on that now. So we found that the X54 does retain quite a bit of coffee. So even though the timer... So when you set your time and you're dosing it out, it's going to be pretty accurate after the first couple of times that you've done it. So what we found is when we pulled the burrs out, we cleaned it, we vacuumed it out and put it back together again so that it was completely empty in that burr chamber, and then we ground 20 grams of coffee on the finest setting, we found that it retained about 8 grams, which is a lot of coffee. So you're probably not going to use this for your single dosing because, on that first dose, it kept a lot of that coffee. There's just a little bit of space between the burrs and the outer wall where that coffee does sit. So we think this is going to be used more like this where you fill up the hopper with your coffee and then you can grind out from there. You can see here that it's actually... The hopper is much smaller than what you're going to find on the E80 and the E65 and all of those. However, it still is quite large. You can fit just a bit over a pound in here, which is more than enough. The X54 is also very easy to calibrate if you wanted to set your zero point on this. If you're finding that wasn't going as fine as you needed it to, then you can go ahead and do this. I'll show you how to do it. The best way is, of course, to have the grind chamber empty. Do this when there's no coffee in there. But if there is coffee in there, you're going to want to close the hopper by bringing it over until you can see that black line, and that will tell you that it's closed. And then grind out... Go ahead and take this one off here. Put the other one on. There we go. And go ahead and grind out the coffee that is in the grind chamber. So turn this on. Set it to something coarse so it's faster. Again, this is much better to do before you have coffee in there. So that it's not as wasteful. So I'm going to turn it to the side. Everything is going to be done through this button right here. Maybe it's easier if I go ahead and pop this off. Put this aside so we could see it. Go ahead and bring this all the way down to zero. Okay, or 1, I guess, the first number on there. And then if you press in the middle button, use your fingers to twist it forward. It will go ahead and loosen. Take it out. Take out that metal gasket as well. So once you have that off, you can take it all the way down to 1 or the zero point at this point. And then because this is off, you can pull that out. So scroll over to 10, push it in, and it's kind of difficult to get it in, but you'll definitely hear it click. And now you can turn the grinder on. So we're going to need to put the hopper back on. It has a safety mechanism so that it actually will not turn on if the hopper is not on so that you can't get your hands in there. So go ahead and put this on this part. Push it back in but not too far. There we go, just so you see the black line there. We don't want to open the hopper and put coffee in there. So now we can go ahead and start. Okay, scroll all the way down till you hear it right there. You can hear the burrs touching and then go a little coarser, okay? And now once we're there, we'll put it out, then move all the way down to the 1 point, push it in. There we go. And it'll be set just north of where the burrs were chirping on zero, and that's where we want. So then to get that back on, you just put it in and then push in and twist it back the opposite direction you did to get it off. And then when you feel that it's in there, then you're good to go. So that is the Mahlkönig X54 home grinder for both espresso and all brewing methods.

Aug 25th 2021 Reagan Jones

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