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With materials technology similar to that used in Formula One race engines and implantable human heart pumps, this is the most advanced device ever assembled for high-end coffee grinding.
And calling this a coffee grinder doesn’t begin to tell the story. The Ceado’s E37Z Hero is a precision single dosing instrument. With a DLC coated grinding chamber inclined at 45 degrees, variable grind speed and essentially zero retention the E37Z Hero will take you on a journey of next-level exploration of the world’s finest coffees.
Hey, Marc here from Whole Latte Love. The E37Z Hero is definitely not intended for the average home user or cafe. But if you want to learn more about what’s inside the best in the business stick with me. It’s frankly beyond geek level. If looking for the very best possible grinder, this is it, go no further.
Coming up, I’ll pull naked shots using specialty coffee side by side with the only difference being grinding speed and see how that affects flavor profiles. We’ll go inside, outside, and check out all the parts that make up the Hero. I’ll show you how it works and what it can do. We had our first hands-on with it when we visited Ceado’s production facility in July of 2018. Each E37Z is handmade at their state of the art facility in Venice, Italy, and let me tell you these guys are serious about innovations in grinder tech and are sticklers on the precision required to produce instruments like the Hero grinder. More on that in a minute including the lab testing report for particle size distribution each individual grinder goes through, the results of which come in the box.
It was back in October we unboxed the very first Hero to arrive in the US. The grinder has two main components. There’s the grinder itself and the Z-Hero station. The station has controls for turning the grinder on, turning a cooling fan on, and a dial for setting RPM of the burrs which is continuously variable from 600 to 1500 rotations per minute. On the back of the Station there’s a master power switch, main power input and a military grade multi-core connection to the grinder. The grinder’s motor is 740 watts. That’s about 1 horsepower. A very powerful motor! Like most parts of this grinder it’s over-built. For comparison, Ceado’s E37S runs the same size burr as the Z with a 450 watt motor.
The top of the station is trimmed out with wood to match the wood panels of the grinder. The grinder mounts into a robust metal frame which also houses a cooling fan. Ceado recommends turning on the fan after ten consecutive grinding cycles.
At the heart of the Hero are massive 83 millimeter burrs. Sure they’re big, but how many people are grinding with diamonds? With the Hero, you kind of are. Both the burrs and the grinding chamber are DLC coated. DLC stands for Diamond Like Carbon. What DLC does is increase hardness, wear resistance, and slickness—that is, it reduces friction. It’s a material used in Formula One, NASCAR, and super sport motorcycle engines. Virtually every multi blade wet razor has edges coated with DLC to prevent abrasion of sensitive skin. And DLC coating is used in biomedical applications such as implanted human heart pumps where it coats the blood contacting surfaces of key components.
So what does DLC do for the heart of the Z-Hero? Well a couple of things. First with the increased hardness and wear resistance you get a burr with a much longer lifespan. The Hero’s burrs have a projected lifespan of ten thousand kilos of grinding. That compares to steel burrs rated typically rated for about 600 kilos. Plus, steel burrs can rust. DLC burrs can’t. That’s important if using moisture to control static via RDT—that’s the Ross Droplet Technique. I’ll have more on that in a minute.
Second, DLC is a very slick material. Less friction of course means less heat but it also helps get the grinds out of the grinder and into your portafilter. Grinds don’t stick to burrs and internal components. They pickup less oil so a significant reduction in cross contamination when you switch coffees. And, they are very easy to clean, kinda like the best non-stick pan you ever cooked in. These burrs have no screw heads. Take a look at just about any other flat burr and they’re drilled through for the mounting screws. That’s six places with reduced grinding efficiency and recesses where coffee and oils can collect.
The pattern of the Hero’s burrs is rather unique. Most flat burr sets tend to be mirror images like these here. The Hero’s burrs are engineered with two different designs. Notice the two protrusions on the bottom burr and three on the top. Also the large flat area at the outer edges of each burr. Now this burr set is proprietary to the Hero with a design based on Ceado’s 60+ years of experience. They are suitable for the full range of coffee grinding from powder fine Turkish, through espresso and up to coarser grinding for drip, pour over, press and cold brew.
Working our way to the outside take note of the size of the mating components—they’re massive—and the fine machining for perfectly flat precision mating. The top burr assembly is huge and, like most of Ceado’s higher-end grinders, adjustment threads are not exposed to coffee dust and oils—and it’s just 3 bolts to get into the grinding chamber with no loss of calibration when you take things apart.
Grind size is adjusted using a worm gear. The large handle is trimmed in wood to match other parts. That worm gear is my favorite grind size adjustment method. We’re seeing more and more manufacturers using it. Because of the gear reduction inherent in the design it’s super precise. Really the most precise way of making the super small grind size adjustments which are critical in espresso brewing. And with the worm gear’s mechanical advantage there’s no need for a separate lock to keep grind size from drifting. But one more trick here, you can easily disengage the worm gear. Just turn the nut, push down and the gear swings out of the way. Now you can easily go from fine grinding for espresso up into coarser grinding for drip, pour over, press or cold brew.
We’ll get to just how to use the hero in a minute, but first let’s take a look at what else comes in the box. There’s a bunch of accessories, but what really got my attention were the results of particle size distribution tests run in the Ceado Lab on a Malvern Mastersizer 3000. It’s the latest generation of the world’s most popular particle sizing instrument. Every Hero grinder gets a particle analysis using two types of coffee and those results are included in the box with each Hero. I don’t know of any other manufacturer which does that testing and provides the results to the end user.
Also in the box: 3 amber colored single dose jars for storing pre-weighed beans, a portafilter dosing funnel, a cleaning brush, a towel with Ceado logo monogram, an extensive diary for recording tasting notes and grinding profiles, and an RDT sprayer. If not familiar with that, it stands for the Ross Droplet Technique for eliminating grinder static.
So let’s go through using the Hero. I’ll be grinding some Maromas Ethiopian Sidamo. It’s a single origin specialty coffee grown at 2100 meters. Using an Acaia scale I’m weighing out a dose of 18 grams. To keep static in check I’m using a shot of water from the RDT sprayer. After spraying, I shake the cup for even coverage of the beans. For this coffee I’m using a grinding speed of 1050 RPM. I place my portafilter on the support fork and use the included funnel to help keep things clean. My motor is already on so pour in the beans and they grind immediately. To get all the grounds out there’s a bellows, so give that a few taps with my palm, and then a few pulls on the spout emptier.
So I ground that dose at 1050 RPM. What I’ll do now is grind the same coffee at 600 and 1500 RPM and show you three extractions side by side in realtime.
For the comparison I want to keep all other the variables the same, so same grind size and 18 gram dose weight. I’ll distribute and compress the coffee using The Jack Leveler by Asso. I’m pulling the shots at 201 Fahrenheit on a plumbed in Profitec Pro 700. I’ve equipped that with an IMS nanotech shower screen and I’m using a bottomless portafilter with a Barista Pro nanotech filter basket.
So here are the shots. Since I’m plumbed in with the Pro 700 I can do a long low pressure pre-infusion set at one point eight bar on my line pressure regulator. I’m letting the pre-infusion go until I see espresso start to develop before kicking on the pump for the full nine bar brew pressure. I’m weighing my results with an Acaia scale. I’ll cut each shot at about 45 grams in the cup for a 1-2.5 brew ratio.
There was a little change in timing of the shots with the different grinding speeds. The shots ground at 600 and 1500 RPM finished at 24 and 23 seconds. The 1050 shot was a surprise—didn’t reach the 45 grams out until 33 seconds.
I tasted all the shots, and here are my notes. My favorite was the shot ground at six-hundred. It was smooth, balanced and juicy sweet with berry flavors. The shot at 1050 had similar flavor but was much brighter—too much for me. And the shot at 1500 lacked sweetness and was between the others as far as brightness. The big difference in extraction time of the 1050 shot was surprising. Could something else be going on? Maybe. Now I did check all the pucks for channeling and saw none. The only visual difference during extraction was a very fine mist for a moment on the ten-fifty shot. In the end it all leaves me excited to continue exploring how grinding speed effects flavor.
If you’re looking to explore the world’s finest coffees, Ceado’s E37Z Hero grinder is an instrument that can help take you on the journey. As always if you have any questions use those comments and I’ll get you answers.
I’m Marc, thanks for reading and I hope you’ll c’mon back soon for more of the best on everything coffee brought to you by Whole Latte Love.