Totally simple to operate and maintain, consistent grind, timer is convenient and reliably produces the right amount, small footprint, looks pretty good, front-panel pushbutton is convenient for direct filling, it's CHEAP at $99! Considering it's plastic, it's NICE plastic, and the look is fine. It matches the heaps of other stainless-n'-black kitchen detritus we have.
Negative Product Points
Plastic! The heavier 'Plus' model is probably nicer to use (but costs 50% more).Could be quieter but it's not that bad really, and certainly not migraine-inducing like the old Braun blade bean-killer I've used for years. Really, no complaints considering the cost and target user. Maybe I'll stick a weight inside and add some automotive sound deadening material... or, not.
This is a very, very simple machine to own and operate. I'm not a coffee junkie, just have my own particular level of demand that my espresso beans be ground consistently for use with an AeroPress device. This grinder has done everything I've needed it to do, from feeding the AeroPress to making a big pot of drip coffee for meetings and parties.
It's easy to run, convenient, easy to clean, and easy to adjust. I find it intuitive and didn't read the instructions until it needed its first cleaning just to confirm the disassembly procedure. The clear grind bin is a very precise-fit part and there's no dust anywhere. Not any problems with static... it pretty much all dumps out. The bean hopper is nice looking, way convenient, and serves as the fineness adjustment as well.
Certainly there are better machines (for a LOT more money... the $300 Rancilio Rocky, for example), maybe even near the price of this one... but I've no complaints and won't be going out of my way to discover the ultimate sub-$100 grinder, which this one may already be. Part of my coffee satisfaction is derived from having this killer-but-cheap grinder and the even more amazing-but-cheap AeroPress.
Your mileage may vary... but this is a nice piece of industrial design that's been produced at the right price for me.
Normally I'd snag this from a coffee website or maybe Amazon, but it was a birthday gift from my saintly wife, so it came from our favorite local independent coffee shop, Shenandoah Joe, in Charlottesville, Virginia. It's telling that this hard-core coffee roasting shop is only stocking Solis/Baratza models. I'm glad we were able to support them with this purchase. I like their Old World Espresso beans for my daily at-home fix.
Three Month Followup
This is now 3 years and counting... I think. Anyway, there was a rock in a bag of beans I got, and the grinder jammed when it went down the chute. There are some plastic gears inside and one of the gears stripped. Luckily, I discovered the Solis/Baratza folks DO care about after-service, and Joe sent me new gears. It's not the easiest fix in the world, but it's not as hard as replacing the screen and battery in an iPod, either.
With the new parts in hand, it all went back together and is working nicely. The only problem I ever had with this thing is that roaster-schmutz getting down into the burr. Nice to have it back in action, and I'm glad to find the people at the company stand behind their machines. Will definitely buy another.... IF this one dies.
One Year Followup
This is the BARATZA contact number if your machine hits a rock: 877-701-2021