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the detailed review - solis maestro review
Solis Maestro Review - Solis Maestro Review - Conclusion
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: December 21, 2001
Detailed Review rating: 9.0
feedback: (11) comments | read | write
Solis Maestro Grinder

Baratza has a very good effort going with this Maestro grinder. It is best in class, and if you own a Rocky or other expensive quasi-commercial grinder for espresso, this would be a near-perfect second grinder for drip brew, vacuum coffee, and press pot, or even for espresso as a "backup" machine should you ever find your espresso grinder out of commission or needing service.

If you don't own a grinder, or are looking to upgrade from a blade grinder or $35 Salton burr type grinder, this one is a very positive step upwards, and can serve most households well as both a capable espresso and drip brew grinding device.

There is room for improvement - first and foremost is the burr collar which knocks this grinder a full point down in my overall rating against what a grinder like the Rocky offers. With the fit and finish of the grinder being so good everywhere else, this collar with the wide float is a let down.

Other areas that need improvement are the weight issues, and I can't help but thinking that if this had a metal frame and a metal body, not only would the weight issue be a non-issue, but aesthetically, I'd feel like I was getting a true bargain, a steal almost, when plonking down my $130 for the grinder. And lastly, the grind range - better than before, but still not quite good enough to compete with the big boys. It needs something like an extra 25% range, and much finer than the current "click to click" ratios.

In fact, if there is ever a "pro" version of this grinder, I'd like to see these three things: a completely different burr set (all metal, including the housing it sits in, with bigger burrs), a metal frame and casing, and a stepless grind selection - something like a "worm drive" or a friction plate system - press down a button, friction is released and you can freely turn the hopper changing the grind - release the button, and friction occurs, locking the hopper in place no matter where you stopped it. Make that grinder, and you have a $175, $180 wunderkind that would definitely compete with the Rocky.

A lot of talk about the Rocky in this review, so I'll end that comparision by saying this - is the Rocky worth the $75 or so more than the Maestro? If your primary coffee beverage is espresso, then yes, it is - you're getting commercial grade parts in the crucial areas that matter - the burr set and motor - in the Rocky, and that $75 is definitely worth it and I would not hesitate recommending it over a Maestro, telling you to save up your pennies to cover the difference.

But if you like a range of coffee styles  and brewing methods, and only want to own one grinder, I'm giving the slight nod to the Maestro - it is much more versatile, and while it doesn't have the longevity the Rocky has, it takes up a lot less space, and does what it does much more efficiently and with a greater ease for the end user than the Rocky provides.

All in all, Baratza and Solis have a real winner here, and my overall rating for the product is actually a 10 in its class - because it becomes the new benchmark in consumer grinders for the home. Stacked up against the Rocky, I give it a 6 in the espresso scoring, and 8 in the overall score, in its class.

The Final Word
In its class, this is the best grinder you can get as of this writing. Does a fantastic job at coffee grinding, and is suitable for espresso.
Rated 8 out of 10
Product Supplier

Baratza LLC

Product Pricing

The Maestro grinder has a MSRP of $145, and can be found for as little as $109 or less if you shop around. (edited October 30, 2003).

Detailed Review rating: 9.0
Author: Mark Prince
Posted: December 21, 2001
feedback: (11) comments | read | write
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Detailed Review Sections
Arrow 1. Introduction
Aarow 2. Overview
Aarow 3. Construction
Aarow 4. Aesthetics
Aarow 5. Usability Etc.
Arrow 6. Conclusion
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