Back in 2014, I was helping coffee colleagues of mine build out a coffee shop. I had purchased an espresso grinder at the time claimed would revolutionize coffee grinding. After working on it for about a week, it ended up having significant issues to the point of having to send it back (I'm not going to name any names). Luckily I had a friend who was able to send another grinder in a pinch and thus began our relationship with Compak grinders.
Compak Grinders was founded in 1995 by Jesús Ascaso along with his son, Damien, to be an industry leader in the production of coffee grinders. Here at Curio, we really appreciate Compak for being a family business, quality built grinders, and always pursuing innovation within the coffee industry. Over the course of the next few months, we’ll be taking time to review a few different models of Compak’s, but we’ll start with one that we use daily at our shop: The E8
Compak stands out as a whole when it comes to the physical appearance of their grinders. Where many other grinder manufacturers produce their products with rigid angles, Compak stands juxtaposed. The absence of hard angles really allow for the smooth lines and curves of the E8 to be fluid with its surroundings.
It is apparent through the E8 that efficiency and proper workflow were taken into mind in its design. Compak’s espresso grinders are equipped with an easy to navigate LCD touch screen that displays three grind dose settings, all of which are programmable up to 100th of a second, and manual grind button.
The touch screen does include plenty of other small features, but the biggest one for us is the burr change alarm. The grinder is able to count the amount of shots that have been ground so that it can alert the operator when it is time for the burrs to be changed. Burr replacement can be a major issue that is overlooked for owners, which is why we believe this is a crucial feature that makes Compak stand above its competitors.
The grinding button is located above the portafilter holder which allows for hands free operation. All of Compak’s espresso grinders are also built with a manual override grinding switch in case the electronic components every went out on the grinder. We have fortunately never had to use this feature, but it’s comforting to know that it is still operable in case of an electronic malfunction with the touch screen.
Oh, and did we mention the lights?
This is where we will really get into the aspects of the E8 that make it truly exceptional: the inside. This grinder features an 860 watt motor with 1600 RPM. The powerful motor allows you to work continuously in situations of high demand, maintaining all the properties of your espresso thanks to the cold grinding at low revolutions. 83mm flat burrs give your coffee a greater surface of grinding resulting in uniform particle size and consistency from shot to shot.
The combination of burrs and motor grind the coffee in as little as 3-4 seconds depending on your style of espresso, which we have noticed is noticeably faster than competitor grinders of this caliber. Adjusting the grind is also very fluid with its parallel locking system. This provides extra security ensuring that burrs always stay in their place through heavy use.
You’re probably asking though, how does the espresso taste? Quite excellent! The shot quality that the E8 produces has a wide range of flavor clarity that holds up if pulling a straight shot or using one for milk. As one who used to believe in using multiple grinders for espresso and milk, I can confidently say that this grinder does it all. Even on a numerical level, the E8 provides scientifically sound shots. Depending on the recipe, we are able to achieve an extraction yield ranging from 19.5-21.5% In layman’s terms, this means that we were able to pull more flavor compounds out of our coffee than usual with other grinders we have used before.
We can’t speak highly enough about the E8. It is a shining example of how important it is to be equipped with a quality grinder for your café. This grinder has been in use for over three years now and not once have encountered any issue with it. Compak continues to be a brand that we stand behind and will be for years to come. If you have any further questions about the E8, feel free to drop us a message.