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Mahlkonig DK15 LH Industrial Coffee Grinder Review 2018

An image of Mahlkonig DK15 LH Industrial Coffee Grinder

Mahlkonig DK15 LH Industrial Coffee Grinder

8.5 Total Score
Mahlkonig DK15

A superb choice for small, growing operations to medium sized ones. It has most of the advantages of the larger and more robust DK27, at a fraction of the price.
Recommended For: Not recommended for large, bustling operations, but perfect for just about anyone else.

Capacity
8
Number of Grind Settings
10
Ease of Use
8
Extras and Options
8

Do you run a coffee shop, B&B, or other business where you sell specialty coffees by the cup?  Have you been itching to expand your business and start selling fresh ground coffee by the pound to your customer base?

If so, then you may have priced some industrial-grade grinders and suffered from a bit of sticker shock, and that’s where the Mahlkonig DK15 enters the picture.

While it’s not suitable for large operations, it’s perfect for small to medium-sized ones, offering incredible ease of use, and a sufficiently robust capacity that it can grow with your business.

It’s true that there are bigger, more capable machines for sale, but why pay a premium for vastly more capacity than you need in the early days?  The DK15 is essentially a niche product in a niche market.  It’s ideal for startups who have to watch every penny, allowing you to make a start without breaking the bank.

Even better, it’s a machine of exceptional quality that will serve you well for decades, with proper maintenance, so even when your business outgrows its capacity, it will still serve you well and reliably as a backup grinder.

We’ll take a close look at everything it can do in the sections that follow, and we think you’ll agree, for the right buyer, this grinder is a wonder!

An Overview of the Mahlkonig DK15 LH Industrial Grinder

Form Factor, Footprint & Aesthetic

The DK15 LH has the same basic design as its big brother, the DK27.  At first glance, it looks a lot like a giant-sized Kitchen Aid Mixer.  It’s only marginally smaller than the DK27, measuring 61” x 31.1” x 48.4” and weighing in at a hefty 291 pounds.  That makes it small enough to comfortably fit into most industrial workrooms, but heavy enough that once you decide where you want it, moving it to a new location isn’t exactly a trivial task.

It’s not an ugly machine by any means; it’s just that the design team valued function over form.  It doesn’t have to be pretty, it just has to get the job done, and that’s something it does very well indeed.

Hopper Capacity & Speed

The Mahlkonig DK15 has a generously sized 66-pound hopper, just like its big brother, but the difference is in its capacity.  Where the more robust DK27 can produce 572 pounds of Turkish coffee every hour, and 616 pounds of medium ground per hour, the DK 15 LH has a maximum capacity of 265 pounds of finely ground coffee every hour, and 287 pounds of medium ground, per hour.

If you look at our top picks on the Industrial Grinder roundup review ((insert link to that review)), you’ll notice that this model boasts significantly less capacity than every other grinder on the list. 

An image of the 66-pound bean hopper of Mahlkonig DK15 LH Industrial Coffee Grinder

While it’s true that this one is not a good fit for large operations, it’s got a legendary pedigree and punches well above its weight class.  It would make an exceptional backup grinder for those larger enterprises, and thanks to its extremely attractive price tag, is ideally suited for businesses just beginning to explore the notion of selling coffee by the pound.

An image of the grinding mill of Mahlkonig DK15 LH Industrial Coffee Grinder

Burr Configuration, Materials, & Grind Settings

Where the DK27 features 180mm grinding burrs, the Mahlkonig DK15 LH’s are somewhat smaller, at 130mm.  Like the larger machine, they’re configured in a flat array, and fashioned of tungsten carbide, making them incredibly wear resistant and virtually indestructible.

As we mentioned in the DK27 review, this is perhaps over-engineered, given the durability and longevity of Mahlkonig’s machines in general.  In fact, on the company’s website, they indicate that when you order your DK15, each grinder is specially manufactured for your machine in Germany, resulting in a 60-80 day delay in taking delivery on your unit.

Grinder adjustment is handled via a simple wheel mechanism, and is stepless, although it lacks the range that the DK27 has.  This machine can handle grinds ranging from fine to coarse but is not capable of grinding ultra-fine/Turkish.

We love stepless grinders, but you should be aware of the fact that they do come with a bit of a learning curve if you want to be able to quickly and easily replicate your favorite grinds.

Use and Cleaning

Owing to the DK15’s exceptional design, aside from taking some time to master the stepless grinder, using and cleaning the machine is a lesson in simplicity.  All the controls are logically placed and intuitive, and the burrs are easy to access when it’s time to give the unit a cleaning.  You won’t have any trouble on either front!

Like its big brother, the DK15 is exceptionally designed and offers a range of convenience features that make it easy to use, such as:

  • A tight discharge chute that fits snugly into the top cover of the grounds collection hopper, minimizing dust
  • An air-cooled grinder casing, allowing for continuous use
  • Constantly greased bearings, also supporting continuous operation
  • A lock plate to interrupt the feeding of beans into the grinding chamber as needed
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Pros & Cons of the Mahlkonig DK15 LH

We love the DK15 but recognize that it’s not for everyone.  In our view, there are two aspects of the machine that are problematic.

The first is the presence of the tungsten carbide burrs.  This is an exceptionally well-built, long-lasting machine, and Mahlkonig is known for its world-class service and support.  While it’s true that these burrs will save you a bit on maintenance over the long haul, we’re not convinced that they’re worth the extra cost.

Second is the hourly grinding capacity, which is significantly lower than every other grinder on our Roundup Review list.  It’s ideal for a startup or a company that doesn’t do a tremendous volume, but would be inadequate for larger operations.

This second point makes the machine self-selecting.  If you need more capacity than this machine provides, it just won’t make your short list of contenders.

Mahlkonig DK15 Review Conclusion

The Mahlkonig DK15 is a fantastic machine, manufactured by a legend in the industry.  While it’s too small for large, well-established businesses, it’s ideal for startups, or companies just beginning to explore the idea of selling fresh ground coffee by the pound.

If that describes your situation, we recommend it without reservation.

Sources & Resources

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