People seeking premium, top-end single-dose coffee grinding equipment have a new option to sink their teeth into, as the Molar Grinder company has emerged from Taiwan with two existing machines and a third on the way.
The company, whose products include the Molar X, the Molar Mini Z and the upcoming Molar Z, designs machines that chew mindfully on the motto, “slower is better.”
The 230-watt motor on the Molar X turns 83-mm conical burrs at a glacially slow 30 RPM, roughly half the speed one might turn a crank by hand on a manual grinder with similar burrs. The Mini Z spins 83-mm flat burrs at a leisurely 430 RPM.
The brew-oriented burrs inside the Mini Z are the same as the ones found inside the Mazzer ZM grinder. Mazzer also takes pride in the “low RPM” of the ZM, which still spins at 900 RPM, more than twice as fast as the Mini Z.
Molar Founder Yen Chang “Jimmy” Su said the reason for such a laidback performance throughout the Molar line is simple.
“The rotation speed of the Molar X is determined through many experiments,” Su told Daily Coffee News. “I have tried a lot of different speeds in the initial research period. My conclusion is: Slow speed gives better tastes. So low speed became an important feature of Molar.”
Su, who has written two best-selling books in Taiwan, one about coffee and one about sous-vide cooking, said that an earlier version of the Molar X offered variable speed, but through customer feedback it was determined that 30 RPM and sometimes slower was its most popular use.
A similar process led to the fixed RPM of the Mini Z, although the upcoming Molar Z will give users the chance to experiment with turning its massive 120-mm flat burrs at variable speeds, adjustable from 0 to 700 RPM.
And though they take their time, Su said Molar grinders are nevertheless popular among cafes. About half of the machines sold so far are in coffee shops, where the machines’ low-retention designs and ease of cleaning also make them efficient for uncontaminated switching among single-dose preparations of single-origin coffees.
“Unless it is a coffee shop with a large customer flow, there is no need to worry about the grinding time,” said Su. “In the case of the Molar X, grinding 20 grams of coffee beans takes about 40 seconds. While the beans are being ground, the barista can make full use of this time on other steps in the brewing process.”
Beyond the novelty of lax rotations, value is also embedded in Molar grinders through attention to design and detail in manufacturing, part selection and assembly. Su said roughly 90% of metal parts in every Molar grinder are individually CNC-machined in Taiwan for high precision, and that all machines are assembled, calibrated and tested by hand.
The aluminum body of the Molar X, available in black or white, is machined to tolerances within 0.02-mm, while its straight-through vertical grind path keeps retention per dose to less than 0.1 grams, according to the company.
Launched in 2015 as Molar’s first machine, the Molar X is currently priced at $2,500 USD. The Mini Z, which followed in May of last year, and starts at $2,150.
Su said the Molar Z is slated to launch for pre-orders this month at a price of approximately $3,700 USD.
Howard Bryman is the associate editor of Daily Coffee News by Roast Magazine. He is based in Portland, Oregon.