The 1Zpresso K Max was one of the recent additions to the 1Zpresso lineup and quickly made waves in the coffee community. Serving as a versatile grinder for both pour-over and espresso, the 1Zpresso K Max impressed users with a solid build, simple grind adjustment system, large burrs, and an attractive price point. Now in true 1Zpresso form, the 1Zpresso K Max has been discontinued, making way for its successor, the 1Zpresso K Ultra. While the K Max may still be in stock in some stores, it is being phased out.
This article will delve into the 1Zpresso K-series grinders, providing a comparison between the now-discontinued 1Zpresso K Max and the new 1Zpresso K Ultra. We will help you decide if a 1Zpresso K grinder is the right manual coffee grinder for you.
1Zpresso K-Ultra Review
1Zpresso K Series Comparison
While this article will mainly focus on the 1Zpresso K Ultra, it is worth noting that there are several other grinders in the K series: the K Pro, K Plus, and the now-discontinued K Max. The three grinders all shared the same burr set and grind adjustment system. There were, however, differences in the design, build, and thus price.
1Zpresso K Pro
The 1Zpresso K Pro is the most affordable grinder in the K series. It has a slightly smaller capacity, 30-35 grams, than the others. The catch cup is also more basic, being screw-on rather than magnetic. The K Pro has the original K burrs, and grind adjustment system offering 90 steps per rotation with 20 microns per click.
1Zpresso K Max
The K Max was the mid-tier model and the favorite in the series. It had the same burrs and adjustment system as the Pro, but a slightly larger capacity (35-40 grams). It had a more angular design, compared to the K-Ultra, with a magnetic catch cup and a regular handle. The K Pro and K Max came with similar travel cases and accessories.
1Zpresso K Plus
The K Plus is a premium model in the K series. The key difference is that the K Plus has a blind shaker bottom on the catch cup, allowing you to dose directly into a portafilter. This does mean the catch cup is slightly wider. The K Plus also comes with a more substantial travel case.
1Zpresso K Ultra
Finally, the K Ultra is the new top model in the K-Series. This grinder has several improvements to the design, including a curved body and a foldable handle. Inside, the K burr has been redesigned, and the grind adjustment system improved to offer 20-micron steps, rather than 22 microns.
Design and Build Quality
The 1Zpresso K Ultra is a beautiful grinder with the fit and finishes you would expect of a premium hand grinder. It is built from high-grade aluminum alloy and has a hefty weight. The grinder has a slim curved body that narrows in the center, making it easier to hold. It is available in two colors: iron grey or light grey, with a wooden knob giving it an industrial vibe.
But where the 1Zpresso K Ultra shines is in the minute details. The textured middle makes it easy to grip during grinding. The magnetic catch cup holds securely, so you don’t risk knocking it off. There is even a rubber base on the bottom of the grinder to prevent slipping. A foldable handle makes the grinder more compact.
The 1Zpresso K Ultra comes with a travel case, air blower, and cleaning brush. All this shows that the K Ultra is a high-quality grinder with a thoughtful design. So let’s take a look inside to see how it stacks up.
Inside, the 1Zpresso K Ultra is loaded with large 48mm stainless steel conical burrs, known as the ‘K burr.’ These burrs have been redesigned from the original K Burr in the other K-series grinders. The new K burr is heptagonal in geometry and excels at consistency across the entire grind range with minimal fines produced in coarser settings. However, the burrs are more pour-over focused and excel at the fine to medium grind range. The burrs are held securely in place, preventing any burr wobble.
The new K burr has a slightly slower feed rate and grinding speed than other grinders in the lineup, like the K Max and J Max, but offer far better consistency.
The grind adjustment system on the 1Zpresso K Ultra is one of its defining features. This has been updated from the original K Max to offer a finer adjustment system. The K Ultra has an external grind adjustment dial with ten numbers to use as a reference. Each number has ten clicks between resulting in an impressive 100 clicks per rotation. All the grind sizes are available within a single rotation, making it simple and intuitive to switch between grind sizes and dial-in.
Each click moves the burr by 20 microns per step. This means the grinder covers the full grind range, from Turkish to Cold Brew.
The K Ultra is capable of grinding for espresso and produces some delicious shots with well-balanced sweetness, acidity, and mouthfeel. This grinder is a good match if you like modern espresso, light roasts, and high-clarity shots. The only downside is that the K Ultra doesn’t offer as much precision for dialing in as some of the other 1Zpresso grinders. The J-Max, their espresso grinder, offers 8-micron steps, while the X-Pro and JX-Pro offer 12.5-micron steps. The larger steps on the K Ultra mean you may have to play around with other variables like dose to dial in precisely.
Grind settings K-Ultra
The 1Zpresso K Ultra offers impressive grind quality. The grinds are fluffy and consistent with far fewer fines and boulders than other grinders. As mentioned above, the burrs are geared towards pour over and produce clean, bright brews. The espresso produced is also delicious and balanced.
The 1Zpresso K Ultra comes with a blower and brush to help clean. The updated burrs also have less static and less retention.
Everyday cleaning is straightforward and requires simply brushing away any residual coffee grounds. A deep clean is more involved, requiring you to disassemble the grinder to brush out the burrs. The good news is that all 1Zpresso grinders can be taken apart without any tools. You need to recalibrate the grinder to the zero point when you reassemble the grinder, which can be fiddly.
Value for Money
The 1Zpresso K Ultra is one of the more expensive grinders, retailing at around $289 USD. However, its premium build, exceptional grind consistency, and ease of use justify its cost. This hand grinder out-grinds many electric grinders and can even grind for espresso at a fraction of the cost. If pour-over is your mainstay, but you want the option of also grinding for espresso, the 1Zpresso K Max is an excellent choice. If you aren’t convinced, check out our 1Zpresso grinder guide to compare the different models.
1Zpresso K Ultra vs Comandante c40
The Comandante c40 has long been considered the gold standard for hand grinders in the coffee community. Like the K Ultra, it is a good all-rounder grinder capable of grinding for a wide range of brew methods.
The Comandante has a stepped adjustment dial offering 12 clicks per rotation and 35 different grind settings. The adjustment system is a bit dated compared to the K Ultra, requiring you to count clicks for grind settings. Each click moves the burr by 30 microns. If you want to use the Comandante for espresso, you can get the red clix mod which doubles the number of grind settings and allows you to dial in precisely.
The Comandante is loaded with 38mm steel conical burrs known as nitro burrs. These are tough and known to be long-lasting. These burrs are also known to produce excellent grind quality and a complex cup. The Comandante has a massive community behind it and is well-loved because it produces delicious coffee. However, it does come at a higher price, doesn’t come with accessories, is slower to grind with, and has a more complex grind adjustment system. So while the 1Zpresso K Ultra beats it on specs, the Comandante is still a popular choice because of the exceptional coffee it brews.
1Zpresso K Ultra- The Verdict
The 1Zpresso K Ultra is an exceptional grinder. The external grind adjustment system makes it easy to switch between brewing methods. The large 48mm burrs and ergonomic design make it fast and, dare I say, enjoyable to grind with. And to top it off, the grind quality is exceptional for the price you pay. The K Ultra is one of the best grinders in its price range. So if you are in the market for a hybrid grinder capable of grinding for pour-over and espresso, the K Ultra is well worth considering.