The Ceado E37SD is a strong performing grinder, but at this price range, I would choose another option for single-dosing.
Verdict: The Ceado E37SD (Single Dose) delivers consistent and fluffy ground coffee once broken-in. While the E37SD’s qualities outweigh its flaws, at the price range of $2400 (without tax and shipping), this grinder should really be perfect.
Initial impressions. It is heavy, all metal, and conveys a commercial-grade impression. I do not love its esthetics but that is just preference. The included accessories are immediately useful and of superb quality: bellows, WDT cup, RDT sprayer, funnel, and coffee brush.
Break-in. The grinder took quite some time to break-in and settle. During that time, coffee grounds and espresso shots were somewhat inconsistent. This is normal for titanium coated burrs because the coating rounds the edges of the burrs, and over time, the break-in process removes excess coating revealing the sharpness of the burrs. This took about 6 months for me. I noticed the end of the break-in period pretty drastically as all my shots suddenly became very consistent and predictable.
Burrs. The Ceado E37SD comes with 83mm titanium-coated flat burrs. Titanium burrs are optimal for a single-dose grinder because it allows for the use of Ross Droplet Technique (spraying water in the beans) to avoid static, while preventing the burrs from rusting from excess moisture. The big burrs make quick work of any single dose you throw at it, and now appear to grind very consistently. The liberal use of RDT also means that the ground coffee coming out of the chute goes right into the portafilter without flying everywhere due to static. I am able to guide a solid stream of ground coffee around the portafilter to achieve nice distribution in the basket before even doing any puck preparation.
Performance. While the grinder works pretty quickly, larger beans often get stuck bouncing on the burrs for a few seconds after the bulk of the beans have been ground-up. A few puffs on the bellows is normally enough to force these stragglers through the burrs and into the portafilter. Micro-adjustments of the grind size are very easy with the worm-gear. There are no “steps,” so you can make very small adjustment as needed. You can also disengage the worm-gear and quickly make a major adjustment if you need to grind much coarser, say for drip coffee. Of note, the worm-gear does have a little bit of “play” or tolerance once you reverse direction; you will have to turn about a half-a-turn until you feel resistance, and then finally see the top plate start to rotate. Coffee grounds are always very fluffy and easy to redistribute before pulling a shot.
Retention. As any single-dose grinder must, this grinder has hardly ANY retention. Testing shows insignificant or no retention at all when using the bellows and a small brush to sweep-up any ground coffee left in the chute. The bellows works quite well I have to say. It is my favorite part of the grinder.
Workflow. Workflow will be different for everyone, but this is how I do it: I measure 20g of beans in the WDT cup, spray RDT once, shake, spray RDT again, shake, dump the beans into the bellows, align my portafilter under the chute, start the grinder, tap the bellows four times to push beans and coffee grounds out of the chute, turn off the grinder, tap the bellows four times, turn on the grinder, tap bellows 4 times, turn off the grinder, tap the bellows four times, use the brush to sweep-up left over coffee in the chute, then prep the puck (distribution tool and tamp). I have found that I no longer need WDT with this grinder. I think the grounds are so fluffy, and I can distribute the coffee around the basket so well during grinding that I don’t’ need to use WDT before tamping. Of note, there is a portafilter fork, but it will not hold your portafilter in place. This is why I choose to load the beans first then start the grinder. Alternatively, you could set the WDT cup on the forks (it stays firmly in place), start the grinder, load the beans with a different container, and grind the beans right into the WDT cup (as designed), and then dump the coffee into the portafilter. I choose not to go through this extra step, and grind directly into the portafilter.
Noise. The E37SD is meant to be “whisper quiet.” It is often very quiet. But… also very often, it has a squeaky noise when grinding. I’ve been told by the store customer service that it was “chirping” from the burrs being too close. This is not true at all because that noise happens regularly at any grind setting, from finest to coarsest. I have found after extensive experimentation with this grinder that it makes noise when beans or residue are lodged somewhere on the burrs. A thorough cleaning eliminates the squeaking; also a few taps of the bellow can remove the source of the noise; or lastly starting and stopping the grinder a few times also makes the squeak go away. I know now that the noise is not a sign of mechanical damage, but simply an engineering flaw that is a regular annoyance, and most importantly not detrimental to quality espresso. My concern here is that a $2400 grinder should never ever squeak regularly and annoyingly because a bean or residue is stuck in the burrs. Other grinders like Versalab, Kafatek, or EG-1 certainly do not squeak incessantly.
Cleaning. Keeping the E37SD is fairly easy. Access to the burrs requires removing just four screws, and does not impact burr setting and alignment, so clean it as often as you like. RDT keeps static dispersion low, so there is not much residue to clean up. The tray under the portafilter fork is very nice because it is removable, and can be used to sweep up anything around the grinder.
Things I like:
Very little retention, and the bellows works well
Removable tray makes cleaning easy
Easy access to the burrs for cleaning, without impacting grind settings and alignment
Screws stop so that you don’t over tighten
Comes with a really nice cup, brush, and funnel
Really nice titanium-coated 83mm flat burrs
Produces very consistent grind (once broken-in)
Nice fluffy grounds
Pretty clean grinding experience; when using RDT static is at a minimal
The portafilter fork are very sturdy and can be used to tap the portafilter for quick redistribution
Things I don’t like:
Some larger beans get stuck bouncing on the burrs, requiring help from the bellows
Rubber cap on the chute is hard to pull off when fully seated; if not fully seated, the cup doesn’t fit. I recommend not using the rubber cap, it’s useless! If you are using RDT, you will not need it
It often makes a squeaky sound; not acceptable for a grinder at this price range
Portafilter fork doesn’t hold the portafilter by itself. This leads to either using the WDT cup to collect your ground coffee if you want to pour the beans on spinning burrs, or choosing to pour the bean in first, then starting the machine, if you want to be able to collect the ground coffee in the portafilter
Some “Play” in the worm gear when switching direction, but it’s easy to get use to it
Overall, this is a strong grinder, with lots to love… but I find that the squeaking is a daily annoyance for me. Without the squeaking, the other issues I mentioned above are trivial, and I would rate this grinder 5 stars. However, currently, this grinder is 3.5 stars. I will keep experimenting to reduce this squeaky noise. While this is overall a great coffee grinder, I would say that at this price range, there are better options: Kafatek, Versalab, and now Option-O. I intend to buy a new or newer model flat max as soon as I can get my hands on one to replace the E37SD. In the meantime, it’s making great coffee for me, albeit with some unwanted sound effects.