The C2 is one of the go-to coffee grinders that is advised to many people. This grinder gets you a lot of quality and features for a reasonable price which is why it’s so popular. But is it good enough for making espresso grounds? Here’s what you want to know.
The TimeMore C2 is capable of grinding coffee finely enough for espresso but lacks the adjustability to find exactly the right grind size and the grind distribution is a bit too wide. For an espresso machine with a pressurized basket, the C2 will do fine and be an upgrade over pre-ground coffee.
What does a coffee grinder have to do to make good espresso grounds and does the C2 do this? Find out below.
Is the TimeMore C2 Good For Grinding Espresso?
To see if the TimeMore C2 coffee grinder is suitable for grinding espresso, let’s see what how it performs on the factors listed above.
The grind settings are communicated in clicks. The adjuster clicks into different settings and counting those clicks from 0 (can’t physically be adjusted finer) In the manual, a range of 10-14 clicks from 0 is recommended for espresso. This is completely off in my opinion. I use 12-15 for pour-overs so 12 clicks is really the upper bound of what you would want to use for espresso. The user manual also says 0-6 clicks is off limits since you risk the burrs running into each other and causing damage.
So the available range for espresso is 6-12 clicks with a setting between 6-10 likely being best for you. 4-6 clicks of adjustment isn’t really enough for dialing in espresso. A grinder like the JX-PRO has 16 clicks in the espresso range and some people still say that’s not enough adjustability. A mid-range electric espresso grinder like the Baratza Sette 270 has about 80 settings in the espresso range. So you can understand that the 4-6 settings in the correct range for the C2 isn’t really enough for the hardcore espresso enthusiast.
However, that is only really an issue with a high-end espresso machine with open filter baskets. Machines with a pressurized basket (only one small hole in the bottom), are designed to work with supermarket espresso grounds so you can easily get away with the C2 settings. So basic De’Longhi and Flair machines can be used with the TimeMore C2.
The grind distribution is also slightly larger than you would ideally like for espresso. There aren’t too many fines so that shouldn’t really be an issue although less is always better.
The TimeMore Chestnut C2 also takes quite a while to grind a dose for espresso although it’s not prohibitively long by any means. The C2 is one of the faster hand grinders for pour-over and while it’s not the fastest for espresso, it’s still possible to grind 14 grams of coffee for espresso in around a minute or slightly more.
In short, the Timemore C2 can grind finely enough for espresso but it’s not optimal. The adjustments aren’t really fine enough to really dial in a shot perfectly and you’ll likely be left wanting some adjustment settings in between the ones you’ve got available.
For the price, it’s hard to get something better though. Any electric grinder in the same price range is going to result in vastly worse espresso. And there aren’t any hand grinders in the same price range that does a better job either. For a hand grinder that does espresso well, expect to pay about double what you pay for a C2. So in a pinch, the C2 will probably do.
It also depends on what you compare it to. If you want to buy a coffee grinder to get away from pre-ground supermarket coffee, the C2 is going to improve your espresso quite dramatically even though it’s suboptimal. Also, what do you expect from your espresso? Are you the type of person that is chasing that ‘perfect’ cup? You’ll want the extra adjustability. Do you just want a ‘decent’ espresso without too much hassle, the TimeMore grinder can do this for you.
However, if you’ve got an expensive espresso machine and want to make the best espresso you can make, you should look at a different grinder. An electric grinder like the Sette 270 is a good option but if you want to save some money and like hand grinding, take a look at the high-end 1ZPresso grinders like the J-PRO, K-Plus/Pro.
What Does A Good Espresso Grinder Do?
While espresso grinders are just normal coffee grinders, there are some specific things it must be capable of to grind good espresso grounds. Here are those things;
- Grind finely enough: The grounds have to be very fine for espresso. The water has to extract the grounds very quickly and for that, you need a lot of surface area. The finer you grind beans, the more surface area there is on the grounds.
- Have very fine and precise adjustments: Espresso is very sensitive to grind size. Small differences have a big impact so each adjustment on the grinder should be very small so it’s possible to really find the sweet spot. Micro-adjustments are often also necessary as your bag of coffee ages.
- Have a narrow grind distribution: Since small differences in particle size make a big difference, it’s important that the grinder produces the vast majority of the coffee particles at the same size. Otherwise, only a small part of the grounds is extracted correctly while all the others are suboptimal.
- Not too many fines: Not to be confused with a small grind size. Fines are coffee dust that is created by breaking up the beans. You want as few of these as possible for any brew method but again, with espresso, these problems in a grinder will be amplified in the taste.
- Don’t take too long: Ideally, the grinding of the beans shouldn’t take too long. The finer the grind, the longer it takes to grind because more work has to be done. Making minced meat with a knife takes a lot longer than cutting a steak.
That’s a quick overview of what you want from an espresso coffee grinder. Now let’s take a look if the C2 meets these requirements.