A good home grinder that could be great with a few more design tweaks
Positive Product Points
Stylish design, solid stance, almost infinitely adjustable grind settings
Negative Product Points
Chute design needs improvement, not easy to clean, quality control lacking
Grinder arrived in conjunction with an Ascaso Dream espresso machine. I chose the polished aluminum for both, and it looks very nice. The black plastic cover over the grinder and the tray below the chute seem a little cheap in comparison with the rest of the machine. The bean hopper is clear plastic that hopefully won't scratch up easily. The light on the on/off switch on my grinder has a loose connection and generally doesn't come on unless I jiggle the switch a little, and then it only stays on for a little bit. That's why I rated the quality control on the low side.
I picked a doserless model. Operation is a little messy as the coffee doesn't come out of the chute in a constant flow, and doesn't all end up in the portafilter. I can see there will be a fair amount of wasted coffee and clean-up after use. I don't think the machine is noisy at all, and the speed seems relatively consistent, except with low beans in the hopper, when it tended to speed up a bit.
The grind quality was very good and I love the grinding adjustment, but the downside is the amount of time it takes to find the optimum setting for your machine and bean combination.
All in all, I like the looks, the solid feel, and above all, it's about the grind quality, isn't it? And this is where the machine rates very well. Niggling details like the light not working, the plastic bits, the messy operation, mean it's not perfect, but I'm willing to put up with those to get a great grind.
Bought from Morala Trading based on mention in several coffeegeek reviews. Service was no better/worse than other on-line ordering experiences I've had. No confirmatory e-mail sent, I had to send a follow-up e-mail to see if package was shipped. No follow-up on order. Product was packaged well and arrived undamaged. Price was reasonable. I don't see why others have raved about their service.
Three Month Followup
Guess I was pretty down about this machine after I first got it. I was really disappointed that the fit/finish wasn't top quality. Little problems continue to plague my grinder as well. I often find that as the beans get low in the hopper, something happens and the beans don't meet the grinding surface and it just spins without grinding. Not good. The plastic chute has broken already at the point it screws in to the chassis. The screws holding the grinding wheel in place have also stripped on me!
All in all, I wouldn't buy an Ascaso/Innova grinder again.