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Ascaso Grinders - Sespe33 Sespe33's Review
Posted: April 25, 2003, 4:55am
review rating: 8.9
feedback: (6) comments | read | write
Ascaso Grinder - i1, i2 Models
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Arrow The Ascaso Grinders has 31 Reviews
Arrow The Ascaso Grinders has been rated 8.39 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since December 13, 2001.
Arrow Ascaso Grinders reviews have been viewed 200,782 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Julien Labelle 10.00
Sespe33 Sespe33 8.88
James Schulman 8.59
Douglas DeHart 8.33
Laura Taylor 8.21

Previous Review Next Review
Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 9.6
Product Reviewed: I-2 Conical / Doserless
Manufacturer: Innova Quality: 10
Average Price: Varies Usability: 9
Price Paid: $165.00 Cost vs. Value 10
Where Bought: www.caffesolo.com Aesthetics 9
Owned for: 1 year Overall 10
Writer's Expertise: Professional Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Krups  Blade, Zassenhaus 161 MA
Bottom Line: Innova grinders are designed to produce excellent espresso!
Positive Product Points

- Grinds exceptionally even and fine with little/no powder. (unless you
 need powder, which it is very capable of).  

- VERY  IMPORTANT/SELLING POINT:  Stepless adjustment for the
 grinding mechanism thanks to a worm drive. A must have for creating
 a great espresso with any espresso machine. The only other home
 machine  I could find having a similar stepless adjustment feature is a
 $$$ Mazzer Mini.

- Solid construction (with the exception of the bean hopper).

- Appears to be designed to last unlike similar grinders in this price
  range.

- Manual I received was written in Spanish, English, French, Deutche,
  Polish, and Italian.  The most important maintenance feature that
  comes to mind are the grinding disks.  The manual states: Grinding
  discs must be replaced between 400-600 kg (875-1,300 lb) of ground
  coffee.  Thats a lot of ground coffee!!!

- For  the quality of the grounds produced and money spent, I believe it
  is an excellent choice for great tasting Espressos, Cappuccinos, and
  Lattes.

Negative Product Points

- Noisier than I anticipated in a quiet environment, but not worse than  
 many other quality grinders according to reviews on the internet.

- The Bean Hopper as of this review is made of RIGID plastic, NOT of
  FLEXABLE plastic.  The hopper is designed to GENTLY sit on top of
  the machine and not wedged with any force into the bottom
  portion of the unit.

- The Porta Filter fork may not work with  your espresso machine.  I
  found  that it was not useful for me and easily removed it with a
  philips and torx screwdriver.

- The grounds do get stuck in chute, not clogging the chute rendering it
  inoperable, but a significant amount must be removed by hand when
  cleaning.

- It can be messy to operate if not careful.  (I came up with a simple fix
 to help contain the mess for the DOSERLESS model, read on to find
 out how.)

Detailed Commentary

After nearly a month of use I really enjoy my Innova I-2 Conical/Doserless grinder.  Right off I must emphasize, ESPRESSO.  I only use the I-2 for my espresso machine.  This grinder is not suitable for switching between different types of grinds due its worm drive adjustment.  It was designed for the ability to finely tune the grind, which is especially useful for espresso.  Look elsewhere for a multi-grind machine (Rocky Rancillio, or possibly a $$$Mazzer Mini), you will be happier.  

I have been shopping, comparing, and reading online grinder reviews for sometime now and  finally made a decision to purchase the I-2 during a recent trip to Spain. Fortunate being able to observe the preparation and tasting of many cups of Café Solo/(espresso) and Café con Leche/(Latte)  during my 4 week stay, I have learned three things: (1) you must have a professional quality grinder,  (2) you must use a tamper, and (3) for a great latte use FRESH whole milk.  These were the 3 constants I notice while hopping from bar to bar.  Yes, the espresso machine is important, but not as much as  grinding and tamping.  If the grind was off, you could definitely taste it in your espresso drink.  Another  important observation was the espresso equipment.  I can honestly say that it is a matter of preference, and I did not see the same equipment more than twice in over 60 different bars. Every bar  however did have 2 grinders. One grinder for multipurpose grinding and another solely dedicated to espresso.  

In the city of Soria where I stayed I noticed I was drawn back again and again to a particular medium sized bar that used an Innova I-1 Flat burr doserless grinder for espresso drinks.  The Espresso and Lattes were terrific. When I discovered I could purchase a similar Innova model for under $200, I was nearly sold.  After further research,  I also found that although the Innova line is new to the U.S. market, Ascaso Componentes, S.A.. Barcelona/ Spain is not a new company. It  has more than 40 years of experience specializing in components for espresso coffee machines and also produces the Innova line of coffee grinders.  

A company with experience, producing a quality machine, capable of a quality grind, within a reasonable price, I was sold.  I was so excited in fact, I placed an order for the I-2 Doserless model while I was still in Spain so I would have it by the time I arrived home from vacation.  

The bars that served coffee in the providence of Spain I visited, served lots of coffee during the course of a day often to a full house with standing room only.  In fact, it was common to see heaping piles of excess grinds on and around doser and doserless  grinders.  This may be the reason why often in online reviews you read negatives on  professional grinders, with regards to chute and doser problems.  It is difficult purchasing a professional quality grinder that does not create a mess in your home.  I believe this is simply due to the fact professional grinders generally have not been designed with the home user in mind, until more recently.  The I-2 Conical Innova I purchased is no exception, and it can be messy to use.

After dialing in the I-2 grind setting for my espresso machine for the first time, I realized I needed to find a fix to neatly catch stray/excess grinds from landing on my machine and counter top during clean up.

The quick fix is a smooth flexible flap easily attached to the Innova.  The flap when shaped to fit into a small container serves  as a half funnel to catch excess grinds.
Materials needed:
- Philips screwdriver
- (Torx screwdriver, only if completely removing the porta filter fork)
- Post-it notes (rectangle not square)
- Pencil
- Scissors
- Single hole paper punch
- Smooth, thin, flexible plastic cutting/chopping mat. (this is not a specialty item and is found in most stores that carry kitchen tools)
- Small container for catching stray grounds (I use a round, decorative, ceramic,  wasabi dish for sushi)

Loosen the 2 philip screws that attach the porta filter fork. (I removed the fork completely which additionally requires a torx screwdriver for removing the 4 rubber feet at the base of the grinder.) Use the long side of a post-it note as a template, to mark on center, the 2 screws fastening the porta filter fork.  With the hole punch create two slightly opened holes at the center marks, along the edge of the post-it note. The holes should have a shape of the letter ......U..... allowing the post-it note to slide under the porta filter fork mounting screws without removing the screws completely.  Attach the post-it note to the grinder and place your small container in position to catch the excess grinds. Neatly shape the post-it note to fit your container, use scissors if necessary. (Remember, the Post-it note is only a template that will be transferred to the plastic chopping mat after you have the Post-note shape correct).  Test your Post-it note funnel by grinding some beans. When you are happy with your funnel transfer your Post-it note pattern to the plastic chopping mat.  

This fix may not be perfect for everyone but I hope it generates ideas for catching stray grounds for your grinder.  

IN CONCLUSION:

At the time of the review the next step above the Innova is possibly a Mazzer Mini  for creating great tasting espresso drinks by allowing you to make the same exacting grinding adjustments for any espresso machine.  I ONLY make espresso drinks, so the Mazzer Mini would be over kill costing me an additional  $210.00 on top of the Innova.



04/28/03

This is not my 3-month review, but I believe the following is VERY important in order to remain happy with your INNOVA grinder.

The Bean Hopper as of this update is made of RIGID plastic, NOT of FLEXABLE plastic.  The hopper is designed to GENTLY sit on top of the machine and not wedged with any force into the bottom portion of the unit.  After pulling the hopper off to clean the inside of the machine for the first time today,  I discovered the bottom portion of the hopper was shattered.  


04/30/03

WOW!!!

After describing my problem with the I-2 bean hopper,
PM Zanetti, Caffè Solo Customer Support had a replacement hopper in the mail.  I was told it might take a couple weeks to receive the hopper because they were out of stock and they needed to contact the vender.  Instead of keeping me waiting, Caffè Solo had the part sent from EPNW!  Thank you for the terrific service Caffè Solo.  I will definitely keep you in mind when shopping for my future espresso needs.

******************************************************
I will follow up with this review again in 3 months.

Buying Experience

Leery of online buying and related internet scams I carefully reviewed Caffe Solos website.  The primary deciding factor for shopping with this online store was in part because they are a member of the Better Business Bureau (BBB).  I also did a follow up check on SOLO ENTERPRISES at www.bbb.org.  Other deciding factors at the time was the great price and free shipping.

Three Month Followup

*****1 1/2 year followup review*****

I am still pulling 2-3 shots a day 7 days a week and my I-2 is  working the same as the first day   ..........  great  with excellent grind results!  

***Additionally, The do-it-yourself hopper has held up beautifully over
1 1/2 years and  has still proven to work excellent.  To find out more search coffeegeeks  Discussion Board,  Author Search,  Youngberg

***Final suggestion:  you may also find that the chopping mats  I describe above in funneling excess grinds are a near perfect work mat for tamping out DRY spent grinds from a porta filter,  used under your grinder, and under your espresso machine.

*****5 year 7 months followup review*****

...still pulling 2-3 shots a day 7 days a week and my I-2 is  working the same as the first day   ..........  great  with excellent grind results!   What an amazing machine.  I do not work for Acaso , sell or distribute this product.  I simply like lattes and still excited about my grinder purchase.

One Year Followup

*****5 year 7 months followup review*****

...still pulling 2-3 shots a day 7 days a week and my I-2 is  working the same as the first day   ..........  great  with excellent grind results!   What an amazing machine.  I do not work for Acaso , sell or distribute this product.  I simply like lattes and still excited about my grinder purchase.


*****1 1/2 year followup review*****

I am still pulling 2-3 shots a day 7 days a week and my I-2 is  working the same as the first day   ..........  great  with excellent grind results!  

***Additionally, The do-it-yourself hopper has held up beautifully over
1 1/2 years and  has still proven to work excellent.  To find out more search coffeegeeks  Discussion Board,  Author Search,  Youngberg

***Final suggestion:  you may also find that the chopping mats  I describe above in funneling excess grinds are a near perfect work mat for tamping out DRY spent grinds from a porta filter,  used under your grinder, and under your espresso machine.

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review rating: 8.9
Posted: April 25, 2003, 4:55am
feedback: (6) comments | read | write
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