The Daily Grind: Ditting & Mahlkönig Grinders Can Take Your Coffee From Good To Great
Many complex factors go into creating an unforgettable roast. When you consider the life cycle of roasting from crop to cup, the roaster — while vastly important — is just one player on your roasting team. We’ve written articles before about how your roastery equipment like destoners, K-cup machines, moisture readers and density meters, and even your bean storage can dramatically impact your coffee products. So, in the spirit of continuing our efforts to help you build a well-rounded roastery, we’re here today to talk about bulk coffee grinders.
Think of grinders as the all-important “middle man” that transforms your precious roasted beans into just the right grind to best extract the aroma and taste. This, in turn, allows for the brewing of a variety of delicious, high-quality coffee drinks your customers will return for again and again. And, when your customers are happy, it makes the daily grind of operating a coffee business worth it. (We had to work that pun in here somehow!)
You’ll see a handful of grinder brands in our collection but you should notice that Mahlkönig and Ditting grinders dominate our offerings. There’s a reason for that. Like most aspects of coffee roasting, we know that every step in the roasting process can be over-complicated. Grinders are no different. We want to offer solid options to help make the choice simple. And, speaking of simple: If you're eyeing a used roaster on our website, we make it easy to add a new grinder to your roasting package.
When choosing a grinder, the options (for better or worse) are limitless because all grinders are not created equally.
The selection process can go something like this:
Blade or burr grinder?
Burr? Great! Do you want a conical or flat disc grinder?
Well, that probably depends on your coffee roast.
A conical (with its bimodal distribution offering two different size grinds) brings out bright notes in coffee and is quieter than a flat disc grinder, but they are slower, with uneven extraction and less customization options.
A flat disc (with its unimodal distribution offering one consistent grind size) brings out rich flavors and allows baristas to customize espressos, but have a higher risk of overheating.
And, of course, there are burr disc materials (steel or tungsten carbide) and various millimeter sizes to consider.
Plus, throw in whether you need a doser or doserless grinder, or a stepped versus stepless grinder.
(Note: Both Mahlkönig and Ditting grinders are doserless, letting you grind coffee on-demand for the freshest cup, and stepless, meaning you’re in total control of the exact roast grind.)
That’s just the beginning of the questions you’ll need to ask when considering which grinder to purchase.
We’ll address more of these questions in a bit, but the bottom line is that we’ve (hopefully) made the buying process easy by offering you two of the most respected and reliable commercial-grade grinders in the industry.
Mahlkönig and Ditting are both flat burr grinders, and both product lines offer different makes and models to address practically all of your coffee grinding needs. We’re proud to carry both brands’ product lines.
So, in this article, we’ve saved you the legwork and will help you make the choice between two fairly fail-proof options. We’ll look at similarities and specialties of the two brands, highlight the superstars, plus set you up with five deciding factors for making your choice. As a bonus, we’ve thrown in two comparative charts so that you can geek out over all the details.
Let’s make this decision easy for you and then send you on your way back to your roastery to keep grinding out (!) the good stuff that sets you apart from everyone else.
Mahlkönig and Ditting: The Similarities
We’ll start with ownership. Did you know that the German Mahlkönig and Swiss Ditting are owned by the same company, Swiss-based Hemro Group? Actually, the Hemro Group was formed in 1999 when the two brands joined forces.
Why they did this, we’re not quite sure, but in 2013, the company restructured to better solidify Hemro’s goal of being the leader of “global coffee grinding solutions.” In the same year, the group acquired Italian grinder maker Anfim, and in 2019 added Chinese grinder manufacturer HeyCafé. All four brands’ grinding discs and other components are produced in Hemro’s centralized Hamburg, Germany facility, so all share the underpinnings of the same premium parts to power their makes and models.
For almost 100 years for Mahlkönig, and about 70 years for Ditting, both brands have survived and thrived due to their constant innovation and consistently high-quality grinders. There are no bad Mahlkönig or Ditting grinders. There are only the best and less optimal ones for your needs.
Both brands are considered absolute grinding beasts in the roasting industry. So much so that Mahlkönig was the Barista World Championship qualified grinder used in competition in recent years, though that baton has been passed to Mythos by Victoria Arduino for 2022-2025 events.
And, Ditting was the official grinder sponsor of HostMilano’s World Brewer’s Cup 2021, featuring the 807 Lab Sweet from its new 807 grinder line (replacing its 804 series) that also includes the standard 807 and 807 filter grinders.
Yes, both are an investment, but they’re like the Energizer Bunny: They’ll just keep going and going, and are as reliable as the days are long. What’s more, they’re both very easy to maintain and clean, making them an MVP in your roasting line-up.
Mahlkönig and Ditting: The Specialties
A Quick History
Mahlkönig, known as the German “King of Grinders,” has been making coffee and espresso grinders since 1924. They’ve consistently focused on ensuring a uniform grind while also preserving the delicate and delicious aromas of different types of coffee. And this is precisely why Mahlkönig is one of the most beloved choices for seasoned baristas.
Ditting, on the other hand, entered the world of coffee grinding a bit differently. Believe it or not, the company actually began as an automobile body manufacturer. It was only in 1954 that they switched to producing high-quality commercial coffee grinders. True to its auto industry roots, Ditting casts a constant eye on trends and needs in the coffee industry just like today’s car makers do.
What Mahlkönig Is Known For
Mahlkönig reigns supreme in the field of espresso grinders. Part of Mahlkönig’s popularity is also due to its pioneering Disc Distance Detection (DDD) feature, allowing you to set the degree of fineness based on the actual distance between the burrs, and its on-demand (or doserless) grinding system, letting you only prepare as much as you need, versus grinding into a container that is then used later. Why is this important? Because when you grind on-demand — and at a grind size tailored for coffee type — you’re bound to get a cup that’s as fresh as can possibly be. Along with more control over dialing in the grind, you’re also getting a coffee full of unforgettable flavor.
What Ditting Is Known For
When you think of Ditting, you should think of Swiss precision. With its trademark Swiss engineering and innovative technology, Ditting guarantees the perfect particle spread, individually matched to each type of coffee application and its brewing method.
Another Ditting trademark? These grinders’ grinding discs are specifically designed to keep your beans cool. This is important to ensure that you and your customers won’t be unpleasantly surprised by an acrid and burnt taste to your coffee. For a brand that also specializes in grinders with a breathtaking speed (which generates heat), this is no small feat.
Mahlkönig and Ditting: The Superstars
Both brands’ complete grinder lines are awesome, but we’d like to call out some of their superstars — all released during the pandemic, which is yet another reason to respect these two companies.
While the EK43 will likely forever remain the brand’s iconic cornerstone grinder, Mahlkönig has been busy introducing a few worthy siblings to its line-up:
- In 2021, Mahlkönig unveiled a redesigned and upgraded version of its popular Guatemala shop grinder that includes a larger hopper, sturdier materials, and easier access to interior components for maintenance.
- In 2022, the E65S GbW (Grind by Weight) joined the fold, followed by the E80 Supreme espresso grinder (replacing the Mahlkönig PEAK).
Perhaps the grinder getting the most airplay is the updated Guatemala 2.0. To see it in action, check out this video of Craig Simon, founder of Criteria Coffee and three-time Australian Barista Champion and Q Grade Instructor.
You might think it would be hard to top Mahlkönig’s recent offerings, but Ditting may have achieved just that when it replaced its well-known 804 grinder series with the new 807 series of three grinders (807, 807 Lab Sweet, and 807 Filter) at HostMilano in late 2019.
The new series features a few improvements:
- A second fan has been added just behind the grinding chamber
- The motor runs cooler
- The hopper locking mechanism has been modified for easier removal and replacement
- Same basic size, with a recommended cabinet clearance of about 25” to allow for opening and filling the hopper
It’s safe to say that the star of these new offerings is the 807 Lab Sweet. Remember, it was used in HostMilano’s World Brewer’s Cup 2021, quickly making it a barista favorite. With its premium cast steel burrs, the Lab Sweet features a special grinding teeth geometry that ensures an optimal particle size spread within the grounds to achieve an ideal extraction and more sweetness (hence, the name) inside every single cup.
Mahlkönig and Ditting: 5 Deciding Factors for Making the Choice
Mahlkönig and Ditting are both great choices, so it’s almost impossible for us to favor one over the other. However, we can offer some tips to guide you in your decision.
Coffee Business Type
Are you a roaster that only roasts for wholesale and/or retail accounts, shipping out hundreds of pounds of ground coffee a week? Or, do you run a coffee shop where you need to be able to quickly grind enough coffee to make drinks for waiting customers? Maybe you run a restaurant where you serve coffee drinks but they’re a smaller part of your business. All three scenarios will come with different requirements for your grinder.
Coffee Product Type
What type of coffee does your roastery produce, or your coffee business serve? Espressos and Turkish grinds will require a much larger burr size for extra-fine and fine grinds, while brewed coffee, including pour-overs, French press, and cold brew drinks, can get by with a grinder with a smaller burr size for the medium to coarse grinds needed.
You can’t select a commercial grinder without considering the general volume of your customers, whether that’s business-to-business wholesale and retail accounts, or individual walk-in traffic. Whether you operate a roastery with a full slate of accounts, or you’re a coffee shop with a high volume of customers, you need an espresso grinder that’s reliable, fast, and efficient.
If your roastery produces a lot of coffee a week or month, you’ll want a grinder with a large burr and hopper size (the more beans it holds, the more it can produce per hour) — like the high-capacity Mahlkönig DK27L or Ditting KFA1403.
If you run a coffee café, consider what rush hour is like, along with your customers’ coffee preferences when making your grinder choice. Also be sure to look at a grinder’s grinding speed. Shaving even a couple of seconds off time to grind espresso for a customer order can add up and create a quicker service workflow over the course of the day.
Additionally, a larger burr surface area means that your grinder doesn’t have to rotate quickly, an advantage as it reduces the risk of overheating the coffee beans.
Barista Skills (Applicable to Coffee Café Owners)
No matter all of the effort you’ve put into sourcing and roasting your beans, there’s no denying that baristas play an important role in the process. Their experience and skills are critical to delivering the final product. If you’re a coffee café owner and you’ve got a seasoned barista staff, then a stepless grinder allows less limited settings and gives the barista more freedom.
On the other hand, if your barista staff is less experienced, then a stepped grinder may be a better choice since it has pre-set step options based on coffee drink type that make the grinding process easier for your baristas.
All grinders have different allowances for adjustment precision. Most bulk grinders will have an adjustment dial or collar that makes it possible to alternate between various grinds pretty quickly and easily — especially helpful in a café setting.
However, a roaster likely won’t know how their customers will brew their coffee, so may not adjust the grind that often. Or, they may label bags according to brew method, where they would actually need to adjust their grinder frequently.
Ready To Buy A Grinder — Or Two?
Grinders are built with speed, quantity, quality, and convenience in mind — and you truly have to weigh all factors depending on the type of coffee business you’re in, the types of coffee products you serve (e.g., mix of espresso and brewed drinks), and your daily business operations.
Our advice? Consider buying more than one grinder. It’s a pretty common setup for most roasteries and cafés. Owning a few smaller grinders allows you to grind different kinds of coffee at once. And, if one has to undergo maintenance or breaks down unexpectedly, you’ve got another to fall back on.
If you’re ready to buy a Mahlkönig or Ditting grinder, please contact Rick Davis, Director of Sales and Sourcing, direct at 650.569.0170, or text him at 949.289.8083. The same team that has simplified and brought you this information is ready to do the same in delivering your new grinder.
Another reason to buy your grinder from CoffeeTec? If you need financing support, check out our Roaster’s Choice Lending Program, where our private network of the nation’s top lenders with your own designated point of contact will help you find the best financing deals available. To get a sense of monthly payment amount and start the financing application process, just find a grinder with a value of $2,000 or more that you’re interested in and click the green “Finance It” box for details.
Let us help you build the coffee roastery of your dreams — and with a grinder that’s right for you.