Compak E8 vs K30: Which is Right for You?
Out of all the espresso grinder manufacturers in the world, Mahlkonig might be one of the most well-known. Baristas and home espresso enthusiasts all over the world love quality Mahlkonig grinders for their accuracy and longevity.
Can any other brands hold up to Mahlkonig? We’ll answer that question by comparing the Compak E8 vs K30. Here is what you’ll learn about them:
- Features that the Compak E8 and K30 have in common.
- Which features are unique to either grinder in this comparison.
- The prices of the grinders.
- Which considerations to make when choosing between them.
Compak’s Essential on Demand line focuses on giving baristas the power to consistently produce the freshest espresso, and the E8 is one of the more recent models in the line. Because of this, it brings you some of the most advanced features, including a touchscreen and integrated fan. We’d recommend this grinder for large coffee shops and businesses that need a fast espresso grinder.
Mahlkonig’s famous accuracy is on full display with the Mahlkonig K30. The precise stepless grind adjustment collar gives experienced baristas the control they need to perfect their grind. This is a solid grinder for coffee shops and restaurants with skilled baristas.
It’s common for Mahlkonig grinders to have flat burrs, so it’s not much of a surprise to find them in the K30. Of course, they’re also included in the Compak E8.
What flat grinding burrs excel at is providing uniform coffee grounds. Because all particles are the same exact size, the flavor is balanced and sweet.
The alternative to flat burrs is conical ones. Conical burrs highlight lighter notes in the coffee by creating bimodal particles, or coffee particles of different sizes.
Large coffee shops and restaurants will often have to use their coffee and espresso grinders all day from open to close. This high level of demand is not something that all grinders are capable of withstanding.
It’s dangerously easy for grinders to overheat under those circumstances. To prevent overheating, the K30 and E8 have built-in fans that combat rising temperatures.
Thanks to their fans, either the E8 or the K30 can keep up with your highest level of demand and endure under pressure.
Stepless Grind Adjustment
Both the Compak E8 and Mahlkonig K30 use a stepless grind adjustment system. To give you the best understanding of what that means, let’s compare it to its counterpart, the stepped grind adjustment system.
On a stepped system, you have only a finite number of preset fineness options to choose from, ranging from coarse to fine. You’ll have a wheel or knob to turn to access them all, and it will click into place as you choose your setting.
Stepless ones remove preset notches and allow you to rotate the adjustment wheel or collar to any degree. It gives you total control.
It’s undeniable that stepped grinders are convenient and easier for beginners to use than stepless ones. However, a stepless grinder is the expert barista’s choice, as it gives them more ability to accurately adjust the grind.
Read Also: Compak E8 vs F8
The E8 and K30 are each capable of holding your portafilter in place for you the entire time they grind. This means you don’t have to hold the portafilter up yourself, keeping your hands completely free.
With their hands freed, baristas can multitask more effectively. They can work on building relationships with your customers or attend to other tasks while the grinder works for them.
These grinders both have an on-demand grinding design. So, what exactly does that mean?
In short, an on-demand grinder disperses your espresso and coffee grounds right into the center of your portafilter. The alternative is a doser grinder that delivers the grounds into a container rather than a portafilter.
A doser grinder is fine in large businesses that can use the grounds immediately. But if there’s no guarantee you can use an entire container quickly, then you risk having stale grounds to toss out, increasing your waste.
The difference with on-demand grinding, then, is the level of freshness. An on-demand grinder ensures you have the freshest possible grounds because you’re grinding what you need to-order every time.
The function of the E8’s and K30’s shot counters are obvious: they count the number of espresso shots you grind in a given period of time. You can use this information as exact data on the amount of coffee grounds you use on average.
Having an accurate understanding of your expenses is an imperative part of running a successful business. In a coffee shop, that means knowing how much coffee and espresso you go through, which the E8 and K30 can help you with.
Short Hopper Options
Large hoppers can be a must-have in businesses that grind huge amounts of coffee in short periods of time. The more beans your hopper can hold, the longer you can grind before you need a refill.
By default, the Compak E8 and K30 each have large-capacity hoppers that can hold over three pounds of coffee beans. Either one can grind for extended periods of time without running out of beans.
However, there are situations where you might not want a tall hopper because it takes up more vertical space on your counter. If you want a more compact grinder to fit underneath your cabinets, the E8 and K30 are each compatible with shorter hoppers.
Read Also: Mahlkonig vs Compak
Beyond their shape, the size of burrs is also crucial. With the greater surface area of large burrs, they’re capable of grinding more rapidly.
This is also one aspect that varies between the E8 and the K30. The Compak’s 83mm burrs are almost 20mm bigger than the 65mm ones.
In a side-by-side grinding competition, the E8 may just outpace the K30. Its increased burr size would certainly help it to grind a little bit faster.
Compak E8 Barista Lights
Baristas must be able to clearly see what’s going on at all steps in drink creation, from grinding to frothing milk. With poor lighting, they might miss visual indications that there’s something wrong with the espresso, like grind texture and color.
Worse yet, poor lighting could increase the chances of workplace injury. That’s why the Compak E8 has barista lights included in the design. They provide clear illumination so baristas can see what they’re doing at all times, protecting themselves and the quality of your drinks.
Mahlkonig K30 Illuminated Display
While it doesn’t necessarily have bright barista lights, the Mahlkonig K30 does have something similar: an illuminated display. It won’t brighten the workspace much, but it will allow baristas to clearly see the grinder settings.
Regardless of what the lighting is like in your establishment, employees will be able to make adjustments to the grinder with perfect visibility.
Further Reading: Mazzer Major vs K30
Compak E8 Burr Replacement Alarm
There are a lot of parts that need to be kept in excellent shape to ensure the best function of the grinder. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that burrs are an example of a component that needs to be carefully maintained.
Over time, burrs wear down with intense grinding. Failing to replace them means you will see a drop in your grinder’s performance.
The Compak E8’s burr replacement alarm will ensure you know exactly when to replace your burrs and that you won’t forget.
Compak E8 LCD Touchscreen
The Compak E8’s LCD touchscreen is a quality that makes it feel truly like a modern appliance. Accessing a myriad of grinder settings is as simple as tapping a screen.
It gives the E8 a familiar feel. If you know how to use a touchscreen on a smartphone, then you’ll know how to use the panel on the grinder. It could even make it less intimidating for new hires.
Majesty Coffee has top-tier espresso grinders in our store for the most competitive prices online. This includes our Compak E8 and our Mahlkonig K30.
You can find the Compak E8 in our store for $1,657.60 with just the standard hopper and $1,716.10 for the version with the standard and short hoppers included. Our Mahlkonig K30 is available for $1,700 with either the standard or short hopper.
Which is Right for You?
How do you know whether the Compak E8 or Mahlkonig K30 is truly right for you? That’s an excellent question and figuring out the answer will involve looking at your specific circumstances.
In terms of pure grinding speed, the Compak E8 usually wins out. On average, it can grind a shot of espresso in 1.6 seconds, while the Mahlkonig K30 will have a shot ready to extract in around 1.7 seconds.
This difference doesn’t seem like much, but the time really can add up. While it may not seem noticeable, you may want the Compak if you often have lines of customers and want to shave a little off the time it takes for you to complete an order.
We’d also recommend the Compak E8 if your environment often has dim lighting. Its barista lights will be a perfect fit for your settings and will enable baristas to clearly see what they’re doing at all times.
The Mahlkonig K30 may be the better option for you if you need a more compact grinder with a shorter hopper. Although either one can be purchased with a short hopper to reduce the overall height, there is no additional charge to purchase the K30 with a small hopper instead. You would need to purchase the short hopper in addition to the standard one on the E8, which does mean a slightly higher cost.
This is our advice:
Either the Compak E8 or the Mahlkonig K30 will thrive in commercial settings. You could honestly pick either one of these grinders in this comparison and do equally well.