First things first
(if you just want to know how i modded my Nemox Lux, just skip ahead!)
Over the last couple of months I’ve jumped headfirst into the new (to me) world of coffee, espresso more specifically. Trying to save money without cutting too many corners I’ve been browsing the web for weeks on end trying to figure out what kind of espresso machine to buy. Eventually I came across a cheap but beautiful La Pavoni Professional. Now it gets tricky…
Grinding beans for espresso
Before I dove into espresso I occasionally made coffee in a Bodum French Press. I used a simple 10 euro blade grinder to get a certain amount of “ground” beans, added some water and presto, coffee. Drinkable too.
Grinding for espresso however is a whole different ballgame. Espresso needs a very consistent and very fine grind. Now I could just go to the store and get a pack of pre-ground coffee, but that just doesn’t work. When you buy a bag of beans at the grocerystore you’ll most likely find a “Best before” date printed on the bottom of the bag but no sign of the date when it was actually roasted. Rule of thumb being that beans should be used within a couple of weeks after being roasted you can safely assume that those beans are quite a bit older already.
Back to grinding for espresso. It needs to be fine and you need to have control over the grind. With a bladegrinder you generally hold the button for as long as you want to “grind”. However you will never get a consistent grind, some of the beans will still be very coarse, some just right and a the rest is dust. For an espresso you need a decent burr grinder.
Burr grinders come in various shapes and forms but generally you can divide them into 2 groups, manual grinders and electric grinders. Manual grinders are often a lot cheaper but do require a manual rotation of the burrs. Who would’ve seen that one coming right? I wanted an electric grinder because I can’t be bothered with a manual grinder. After a little Googling I came up with a couple of websites and forums that had great deals of information. On the german forum Kaffee-Netz(.de) I found a very specific write up on how to convert a Nemox Lux grinder to a stepless grinder.
By default the Nemox Lux as well as other low-end grinders have very general grindsettings. Basically you turn a disc with holes that are used to lock the top burrholder in a certain position. The holes in this case were about 5-6mm apart so going “one notch coarser or finer” meant going at least 5mm in either direction. Thankfully there’s a rather simple solution to this problem by adding a single piece from a different brand of grinder to the Nemox Lux.
First you’ll need the following 3 parts:
I got all my parts from EspressoXXL(.de), the owner is a very kind and patient person that will happily answer any and all of your questions you might have.
Tinkering with it
- First we remove the plastic hopper, to do that we must first remove the screw that holds the hopper and burrcover in place. The screw was in between the 3 and 4 on my settingdisc.
- Now we remove the top cover from the upper burrholder. It’s firmly held in place by nothing but friction normally so a good pull should get it loose.
- Undo the two flathead screws right behind the burrholder on top of the grinder.
- Get new screws. The original screws are too short to hold both the metal cover andthe spindle so get a couple of longer screws. I prefer stainless for everything and since I still had a few in my partsbin i used those.
- Remove the top burrholder. The top burrholder screws out quite easily although you might have to undo the little hex-bolt that’s in the top holder. While you have access, grab a brush and clean the burrs and grinding area.
- Disable the locking mechanism. This is what keeps the top burrholder from rotating during grinding. Since we won’t be needing it anymore I suggest you disable it by removing just the spring. Or if you don’t like useless parts on your grinder you can remove the pin as well.
- Re-mount the top burrholder. Turn it all the way down until you feel a LOT of resistance. Then turn it back one full turn. Make sure the burrs are not touching since that will damage them!
- Bolt the spindle in place. I mounted the spindle loosely on one side first, then adjusted the wormgear so that the spindle’s second hole lined up perfectly and then put the second screw in. Remember you are mounting a piece of plastic with a stainless steel screw in a plastic holder so do not over tighten them, you can only screw this up once (pun intended).
- Presto. You now have a stepless grinder the way Saeco / Nemox never intended you to.
Well that was it for my very first post on here. I’m aware that there are probably a ton of sites out there that discuss this modification or a variation on it to some extent but I thought I’d clear a few things up by doing a step-by-step writeup.
And now for the obligatory disclaimer: if you mess up and in some way harm yourself or anyone else, screw up your grinder or anything else you have nobody but yourself to blame.