Small. Fine tunable espresso grind quality. Minimalist styling. Same burrs as Ascaso i2 conical and others.
Negative Product Points
Noisy. Retained grounds in chute and grind chamber. Slack in adjustment knob (can be tweaked). Minor manufacturing/engineering quality gripes.
Packaging and documentation tend to suggest great attention to detail. Double boxing ensures the lovely internal box arrives in perfect condition. A piece of cake to assemble - the hopper is a snug press fit in the grinding chamber. Instruction manual is generic for all Ascaso grinders and nicely typeset.
Can easily grind fine enough to clog up the portafilter. Slight popcorning can be reduced by pulsing the motor button. The conical burr set is apparently the same as used by Lux, Ascaso I-2 Conical, La Pavoni PB, Iberital, Isomac, Sunbeam EM0480 & EM0450, and others. The burrs look beautifully machined. No shortage of adjustment options with the worm screw. One full tun of the knob = 5 degrees rotation of the burr set. (For comparison one click stop of other grinders using the same burr set = 1.25 degrees.) So for rough tuning, suggest two turns at a time being equivalent to a click stop. Plastic ribs on the hopper make good pointers for gauging burr adjustment. Would be nice if Ascaso put some graduations on the top cover.
Slack in adjustment knob is confusing when trying to fine tune, because unless you know it is there or fix the slack, will see no change at all for up to 90 degree knob turn. So 90 degrees of back and forth could result in no movement at all of the burrs. Adjustment is more simple if the slack is removed - see link below for detailed photos and description.
15 seconds to grind a double shot seems plenty fast enough to me.
The gearbox is certainly a bit noisy, but not annoying enought to justify spending twice as much.
I really like the modern minimalist look. Easy to keep clean as long as you get the grounds out of the chute (otherwise they tend to fall out later and leave a mess). A bamboo skewer is good for that.
I have written detailed notes with pictures of the inside here: Click Here (www.home-barista.com) With a few engineering design tweaks by Ascaso, i-Mini could be perfect.
If I needed to upgrade, I think I would be looking to Mahlkoenig/Ditting that costs nearly 10 times more, can fill a portafilter in 2.3 seconds in relative silence and is meant to be really easy to clean inside - hope to see reviews here in future.
Excellent. Super fast response to email and fast delivery. Got a lovely surprise of a packet of coffee beans from Di Bartoli too.