Beautiful small grinder, good quality grinds, but lots get lost inside the machine and stepless operation is not the most practical.
Positive Product Points
- small footprint - good looks - well built, heavy quality - good grind quality - stepless grinding from very coarse to very fine
Negative Product Points
- a lot of grinds are retained in the machine. Really a LOT! - impossibility to fix a grind setting in any way - difficult to dial in
This was the first grinder I bought, two years ago, coupled with my Gaggia Baby Twin bought around the same time. I wanted a good quality small grinder, and in the small category this was probably the best I could get. Grind quality is very good and works for any kind of coffee, but especially espresso because of the extreme fineness it can produce. That really sums up the most important points about this grinder.
The two negative points, however, get more and more annoying over time. When I first opened the grinder to clean it, I was shocked by the quantity of grinds it retains inside - that is, not just in the chute. Every grinder does this to a certain extent, but the I-mini seems to beat them all. This must compromise the overall quality of the coffee you grind at a certain point, and it's also simply a waste of quality coffee beans. The second point, the impossibility to fix the grind setting in any way, is especially annoying when opening the machine for cleaning. Taking out the burrs means losing your last grind position, and it is very difficult to guess where the espresso range is exactly. It can't be that difficult to imagine an indicator of some sort that will help you find the right settings more easily. I have lost a lot of possibly good shots while in search of the perfect grind setting.
But once it is found, the basic conditions for making good espresso are there, and small adjustments become very easy. For a first grinder, it was a very good choice; I have recently upgraded to a Mahlkoenig (Baratza) Vario, which takes grind quality and usability quite a few steps up.
I have bought from Café Négril, a "torréfacteur" in Toulouse, France, who sell over the internet. Good overall experience.