Turin DF83 Burr Options - Stock vs DLC vs SSP

Confused about which burr to get for your DF83?  There are many options to consider, but it can also be quite confusing.

So as you consider picking up a DF83, you then see people start talking about the burrs and start to wonder should I upgrade?  What are they even talking about?  SSP?... DLC?... High Uniformity?... all these different confusing names and acronyms.  For many of you, this might be your first flat burr, or possibly you are just really getting started with espresso, so why add more confusion to the mix.  

So which is perfect for you?  

Do you even need to upgrade?  

A lot of personal questions to ask yourself, and honestly, most of these burr options you will need to experience first hand to fully understand.  Going back to which might be right for you, I hope the following clarifies things as you make the choice about burrs for your Turin DF83.

A few things to get started:

  • Espresso Burrs = Typically excel with espresso particle distribution (slightly wider particle distribution)
  • Brew Burrs = Typically have a very uniform particle distribution better suited for drip brew methods (slightly narrower particle distribution but at larger particle size)
  • DLC = Diamond Like Carbon, a low friction, high wear, black burr coating. I have a whole write up on it here.
  • TiN = Titanium Nitride, a burr coating, typically a gold color or often referred to as "red".  The color can be different from brand to brand
  • SSP = a popular brand of burr, SSP stands for "Sung Sim Precision"
  • Unimodal = think back to school when they taught you mean, median, MODE, and range.  Mode = most common particle size
  • Body = People often mention "body" when it comes to espresso.  Think of it as the texture, mouth-coating sensation, and viscosity of the espresso.  Example: think of how a thick chocolate milk differs from water.
  • Clarity = When clarity is achieved, each sip of espresso should provide a clean, distinct flavor profile, with a balanced combination of sweetness, acidity, and bitterness. It allows the nuances of the coffee beans to shine through.

Stock DF83 Italmill Burrs

When I received my DF83 V1, it ran the stock Italmill burrs.  A burr design reminiscent of the Mazzer Major espresso burrs, a very well respected and popular 83mm burr option used in coffee shops all around the world.  

The stock Italmill burrs are hardened stainless steel.  They are designed for espresso, but do very well with brew methods.  Espresso burrs typically have a wider particle distribution (a few small fines, quite a few of the most common particle size, and a few larger "boulders")  

Pros: the stock DF83 Italmill burrs are going to give you better cups of coffee than the majority of grinders out on the market.  When using for espresso, a nice balance of body and clarity.  They come with the grinder at no additional cost.  Tend to work well with light, medium and dark roasts.  I typically do not recommend using overly oily beans with flat burrs thought.

Cons: as good as these burrs are, the upgraded burrs can offer more body and clarity.  If you primarily do drip methods, you might be happier with one of the following depending upon how you plan to use the grinder.

Parting thoughts: if you are unsure, give the stock DF83 burrs a try.  They are extremely high quality and versatile.  They excel at espresso, offering a more classic espresso "body", while the 83mm tends to add a fair amount of clarity as well.  Think balanced.  You can also easily use for drip methods offering a nice balanced cup of coffee.

SSP High Uniformity (Espresso Burrs)

So let me preface that SSP's naming convention is very confusing and often seems kind of backwards.  To best explain the SSP High Uniformity (HU) burrs, think of the stock DF83 Italmill espresso burrs, but with much more precise machining which then corresponds to a much richer and cleaner cup of espresso than the the stock Italmill burrs.

The SSP HU offers a nice balance between clarity and body, especially in espresso. Again a versatile burr option which excels at espresso but can easily do drip as well.  The SSP HU do a good job of grinding light, medium and dark coffee beans.  Again, I don't recommend using overly oily beans with a flat burr grinder.

Pros: to me a noticeable upgrade to the stock Italmill.  Offers nice balance between body and clarity.  Despite being espresso burrs, I have often loved the V60 I have made with these burrs, so don't let the naming scare you as they do a great job at both.

Cons: A bit expensive.  Excels at espresso, but can still do drip methods.

Parting thoughts: the SSP HU Espresso Burrs are a nice upgrade to the stock Italmill burrs.  They too are quite versatile.  In my opinion they offer more body than the stock burrs, and a bit more clarity.  

SSP Multi Purpose (Unimodal)

Again with the naming convention, its a tad confusing, so I like to refer to the SSP Multi Purpose (MP) burrs as Unimodal.  Again, what is mode?  The most common particle size.   So these unimodal burrs do a great job with creating very uniform coffee grounds.  Not many fines or boulders.  

So why is this good?  A very uniform coffee ground lends itself to a very clean cup of drip coffee!  If you are looking for that extremely clean, crisp cup of filter coffee, these burrs might be fantastic for you.  But the unimodal burrs are not only good for drip, they can offer a very unique espresso experience.  Note: not all unimodal burrs can make good espresso, but the SSP MP Unimodal make great espresso.

When using a unimodal burr with espresso, it typically offers a lot more clarity and less body.  Where I like to use a unimodal burr is with honey processed or natural processed beans, but washed beans work great too.  One of the complaints with these burrs, the unimodal particle distribution will really amplify any roast/bean imperfection.   I prefer using light to medium roast coffee with SSP MP Unimodal burrs.

Pros:  Offers extreme clarity, especially with lighter roasts.  Looking to get the most out of expensive single origins.  When brewing with drip methods such as V60, you will achieve a very clean, almost tea like brew, and with quality coffee beans very distinct flavor profiles.

Cons:  Any bean or roast imperfection will be amplified with unimodal burrs.  Typically much more amplified with espresso.  I tend to use unimodal burrs for lighter roasts.  When using for espresso, less body than other espresso centered burrs, but much more clarity.  (extreme clarity can also be bad at times).  Works fairly well for a wide array of drip coffee, but more specific origins and roast profiles for espresso.

Parting thoughts: if the majority of your coffee is a brew method, with occasional espresso, the SSP MP Unimodal might be a great choice for you.  What I often tell people is if you own more than 1 grinder, I would recommend keeping one of them with espresso burrs, and the other with a more unimodal burr to allow a wider variety of coffee styles.

Turin DLC (Espresso Burrs)

Coming Soon

Turin DLC (Brew Burrs)

A brand new offering for the DF83, the Turin DLC Coated Brew Burrs are just as it sounds, a brew only burr.  What I am considering a unimodal brew burr.  The minimum particle size is not quite small enough, and the particle distribution is not quite wide enough to do espresso.  These burrs are not for espresso, but are for amazing brew!  Something to keep in mind, if you are looking for a burr that can do both espresso and drip, these are not for you.  

These brew burrs are designed to grind extremely precise larger coffee grounds.  Grinding precise finer grounds can be a bit easier than a more uniform larger ground.  By introducing fewer fines into your drip coffee, you will be able to achieve a very clean and crisp cup of coffee.  These burrs do great with V60, Chemex, Aeropress, and the wide array of drip or immersion style coffee methods. 

Pros: These burrs are next level for non-espresso coffee.  That might be a turn off for some, but they really offer something unique and special that you cannot achieve with the other burrs.  Similar to the SSP Unimodal, but really amplifies the clarity in brew methods.  The price on these is amazing.

Cons:  Drip only, so less versatile than the other burrs mentioned above.

Parting thoughts: So these burrs might not be for everyone, as it seems like the majority of people buying the DF83 are buying for espresso, or for a multi-method single dose grinder.  The brew burrs lock you into brew only, but let me tell you, they are fantastic!  While not identical to my Ditting 804, these unimodal brew burrs offer extremely clean and complex cups of drip coffee and at a quite amazing price.

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