Olympia co-owner Sam Schroeder was twisting the hopper to adjust grind size. “I don’t know if I’m on step 15,” said Sam. “That’s really sloppy.” He was referring to the fact that the numbering on the hopper was off-center, making it difficult for him to determine the exact grind size.
However, things improved as Sam manned the grinder and Olympia’s retail trainer, Reyna Callejo, ran the espresso machine. Each time, the duo used 18 grams of Big Truck blend, working their way to 36 grams of espresso. They experimented with various grind sizes. Grind size 15 was too coarse, and 12 and 8 were also too coarse. Six was too fine, and 7 was just right.
For Olympia coffee, grind size 7 was perfect. Sam acknowledged that the numbering on the hopper was still bothering him, but he loved the fine adjustment option.
Both Sam and Reyna agreed that they loved the taste of the coffee and appreciated its body. Conical burrs like those in the ESP often do a better job at producing a pleasant texture than their flat-burr competition. Flat-burr grinders are typically good at grind-size consistency, but the coffee they make can be one-note, depending on one’s personal preference.
“There’s more variability in the ESP’s grind size,” Reyna said, “but that’s not necessarily bad.” Sam agreed and declared the ESP “pretty impressive for a $200 grinder.”
Reyna then showed off the ESP’s capabilities on different brewing methods. She made pour-over in a Kalita Wave, with one batch based on grind size 28 and another on 25, before settling on grind size 20. The coffee turned out to be fantastic.
Next, she tried putting a Chemex filter into an Origami dripper, creating a hybrid between classic Chemex and pour-over coffee. On grind size 30, the ESP ground through the beans at “turbo speed,” revealing a slightly varied consistency. Reyna declared, “Boulders! Look at all of them!” Relatively large grounds rose to the top of the bed after she poured the water in, and Reyna said next time she’d try a finer grind.
Finally, they explored what fans of French press and cold brew had to look forward to. Reyna poured a tablespoon of grounds onto the countertop, where they noted a fair amount of variability in grind size. “This could give you a more sludgy French press,” she said, “but it’s also a more forgiving method.”
As they wrapped up their testing, I asked Reyna if the ESP was a true all-rounder, a grinder that could do everything from espresso fine-grind to French-press coarse. “Almost!” said Reyna. “You’re not gonna have a good time grinding really coarse.”
At home, I tried the ESP on French press and found that it made for good but sludgier coffee than I’m used to. However, overall, I found this machine impressive.
If you’re a regular home coffee maker who wants to make espresso – and also likes the simplicity of drip, the meditation of pour-over, and the coarser grind of Chemex – the ESP might not be coffee-shop perfect. But as Reyna reminded me, “It does espresso. That’s a lot.”
All in all, the article shows how the ESP is a capable and affordable grinder that can serve a variety of brewing methods. Its variability in grind size might appeal to coffee enthusiasts who like to experiment with different brewing methods. Despite the hopper’s off-center numbering, the ESP offers fine adjustment options that allow coffee lovers to achieve the perfect grind size.