A great starter grinder with quick modification is able to produce consistent high quality grinds for Espresso.
Positive Product Points
Once modified this machine produces a consistent fine grind perfect for espresso. For the price the performance is great. Timer function allows you to set the length of grinding, with tweaking and experimenting, getting the coffee you need for espresso is as easy as pushing a button.
Negative Product Points
Out of the box, this machine just looks pretty and is far to coarse a grind for espresso.
I purchased the Breville 800ESXL from woot.com for $150 refurbished. Initially the pre-ground coffee I purchased from Starbucks was terrible for espresso uses, so I followed that up with buying a bag of coffee and asking them to grind it at the espresso setting. This also produced completely useless coffee.
I started doing research, mostly on CoffeeGeek.com, for a grinder and I decided on this one knowing the problems associated with it. Mainly that out of the box the grind is far far to coarse and would require modification that violates the warranty.
The modification process to get the super fine grinds is really not too difficult, it took me about 30 minutes to complete following the exact instructions available at Click Here (coffeesnobs.com.au)
Once the modification process was completed, I ran some low quality Starbucks coffee through it to assure everything was working right.
The reasons I chose this machine:
Price Point of $100
Matches Espresso Machine
Required some tinkering (you gotta admit it, that's always fun)
I will not feel bad when it comes to replace it, which I plan to do in 12 to 18 months
The reasons you should STAY AWAY
$100 sounds like a lot of money to you
You want something that will do exactly what you want without any work on your part
Warranties are important to you
If you feel that "Made in China" is a tag of shame
Overall I'm very happy with this grinder. It will fulfill the lifespan I have for it well, and I enjoyed taking it apart. I bought it planning on upgrading soon, some may wonder why I'd do this rather than just save a bit more and buy a longer lasting machine? Well I did it because this is my first Grinder / Espresso Machine combo I've ever owned. I knew that I'd want to upgrade it within a short amount of time, but I didn't want to buy junk. This combo will likely be passed on to my wife's parents when we upgrade.
Ordered from Amazon.com, free shipping, arrived quickly, no complaints at all!!