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This image shows the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 coffee grinder in a fully disassembled state, with a temporary solution using layers of aluminum foil to lift the lower burr due to an issue with the grinder shaft. (FF @ 44mm)

TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 Espresso Grinding Concerns

or Important Update: Addressing Espresso Grinding Concerns with TIMEMORE Chestnut S3

Observations and Concerns

In the quest to grind fine coffee with the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 manual coffee grinder, an important point has come to light in terms of espresso grinding limitations. Some early users, myself included, have found that the burrs of the grinder may be too far apart, making it impossible to achieve a fine grind suitable for the 58mm portafilters commonly used in espresso machines.

Based on your used coffee you might be lucky to reach a fitting grind size with 0 setting, but my lighter or medium roast will not work at all with the Timemore Chestnut S3, as I received it.

Similar issues have been noted with other TIMEMORE models, such as the Chestnut X Lite, where users have faced difficulties with the burrs not making contact at the finest setting, impacting the quality of the grind for espresso preparations. My main hand grinder over the last more than 2 years was the Timemore Chestnut X, which works very well and grinds fine enough for any of my types of coffee. Thus, until now I had nothing to complain about TIMEMORE.

Grind Limitation Discovery in TIMEMORE Chestnut S3

During my detailed analysis and disassembly of the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 grinder, I discovered the problem: The inability of the grinder to achieve a sufficiently fine grind for espresso is due to the shaft stop for the lower burr being positioned too low or too close to the counter burr in the housing. This observation indicates a design problem or improper tolerances in the production process. 

The fix for the older grinders does not fix the issue with the S3, because there is already a form fit between the inner burr and the upper axle shoulder. Conventional solutions such as using shims under the burr to adjust the position of the burr are therefore very unlikely to solve my problem effectively. 

Identifying the problem with the S3

After re-examining the design of the S3, I realised that a very thin washer on the top shoulder of the axe could be a solution (see picture). For the first attempt, I used thin layers of kitchen-grade aluminium foil and managed to raise the lower burr so that it touched the outer burr at setting 0. For this, I only used a few layers of foil. Thus, this problem looks like a classic fit tolerance problem to me. Solving this problem completely will therefore require more extensive changes, such as replacing the shaft or getting a suitable shim thickness, because the test with the aluminium foil is only a very temporary solution. It will not last long and will change the grind setting every time the grinder is cleaned.

I hope these insights and experiences serve as a valuable guide for you as you consider the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3. For me, it’s disappointing to encounter this quality control or design issue, especially considering my positive experience with the TIMEMORE Chestnut X in the past. With the Chestnut X, I only encountered one minor issue with the bearing in the hand knop, which was easily resolved with a drop of oil. Currently, I’m awaiting a response from TIMEMORE customer service regarding the current problem. Unfortunately, despite an initial response, I haven’t received any further feedback for over a week. (March 2024)

Expectations from TIMEMORE

I expect TIMEMORE, as a reputable brand in the coffee industry, to actively engage with and address the grinding limitations highlighted by users regarding certain manual coffee grinders. By fostering open discussions, embracing transparency, and actively seeking solutions to enhance the performance of their products, TIMEMORE can demonstrate a commitment to customer satisfaction and product improvement. I look forward to seeing how TIMEMORE responds to these challenges and works towards delivering even better coffee-grinding experiences for their customers.

I further expect TIMEMORE to address this issue and provide a retrofit or replacement strategy. Although the grinder has great features like external adjustment and superfine settings (0.015 mm per click), it does not grind fine enough for espresso. This limitation is a major drawback, especially if you can only use it for pour-over or AeroPress, where superfine adjustment settings are not essential. 

TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 Evaluation Results

In my personal experience, I hesitate to recommend the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 (based on my sample). While it can be used as a pour-over or AeroPress grinder, I have reservations about its overall value as I couldn’t brew proper espresso with the S3. I would advise considering your specific needs and preferences. 

Reasons for my evaluation: I do not expect a perfect result in all brewing/grinding areas, but I would rate the performance for espresso as failed. In addition, I am expecting from a company that states on their page for the S3 grinder “24 hours customer services and professional technology team are standing by” more support (still waiting for a reply after 3 emails).

Your Experiences

If you’ve encountered similar issues or had a positive experience with your TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 Grinder, I’d love to hear from you! Share your feedback with me on Instagram. Your experiences are valuable to the coffee community, and I’m eager to learn and share more about them.

Conclusion: Reflecting on Espresso Grinding Concerns with TIMEMORE Chestnut S3

After thorough analysis and personal experiences, it’s evident that the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 grinder presents significant challenges in achieving a fine grind suitable for espresso brewing out of the box. The discovery of limitations in the grinder’s design and functionality highlights the need for further attention from TIMEMORE to address these concerns effectively.

While the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 boasts impressive features such as external adjustment and superfine settings, its inability to grind finely enough for espresso diminishes its overall value, especially for espresso enthusiasts. Despite the disappointment encountered, there remains hope for resolution and improvement.

As users and enthusiasts, our collective experiences and feedback play a crucial role in driving positive change and enhancing the coffee-grinding experience for everyone. Let us continue to share our insights, engage in meaningful discussions, and advocate for improvements that benefit the entire community. I will give an update, as soon I get a reply from TIMEMORE about the grind size issue with the S3.

For those interested in my initial review & request for test cases for the TIMEMORE Chestnut S3 grinder, you can find it here.

Frederic Konkel

My name is Frederic B. Konkel and to capture landscapes and cityscapes is a big passion of mine. I'm currently back in Berlin, Germany. I love to explore new places and I'm using my cameras to document these moments. On F.B.K. Photography I showcase a few impressions of my captured moments from around the world.