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Capresso 551 Burr - William Fite's Review
Posted: May 14, 2006, 8:33am
review rating: 9.0
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Capresso 551 Burr
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More About This Product
Arrow The Capresso 551 Burr has 40 Reviews
Arrow The Capresso 551 Burr has been rated 4.96 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Capresso 551 Burr reviews have been viewed 135,622 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Beth Sanguine 9.00
William Fite 9.00
Lance Goffinet 8.50
Benjamin Kieran 8.50
Dennis Rogers 8.33

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 3.8
Manufacturer: Salton Quality: 3
Average Price: $80.00 Usability: 3
Price Paid: $50.00 Cost vs. Value 5
Where Bought: W-S Aesthetics 5
Owned for: 3 months Overall 3
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: Defective design, materials, and manufacturing.  Don't waste money on this one.
Positive Product Points

Attractive appearance
Small footprint

Negative Product Points

Terrible static
Inconsistent grind consistency
Very loud
Difficult to adjust
Heats the beans badly
Poor quality plastic--extremely brittle

Detailed Commentary

I DO NOT OWN THIS MACHINE.  I have been helping a friend with his.  I noticed a new review this morning and thought I would share my own experiences with this sad little machine.

Like lots of you, I'm sure, I enjoy turning people on to "real" coffee.  Mind you, they do not always thank us for this service.  "I wish to hell you had never shown me the difference between supermarket coffee and the real deal!"  I've heard that more than once.  I count myself particularly successful if I am able to help them come to make and appreciate really good brew (and sometimes espresso) without turning them into coffee dweebs who obsess over whether the beans were grown at 6500 feet or 6700 feet up the mountain.

So anyway, this friend has moved over the course of a year or so from Maxwell House and a percolator to a Krups dripper and a whirly bird and beans from the Brothers Coffee display at local food mart.  Two or three months ago, he bought this little burr grinder at Williams-Sonoma and has been struggling with it ever since.  He finally asked me to help and this is what I observed.

First, this bad boy is LOUD.  It sounds like the burrs are ripping each other to pieces but, from what others say on here, this is the usual experience.  If you run it in the kitchen, you will bring conversation in the living room to a dead halt.

Second, the burrs turn very fast and the coffee gets quite hot.  I put it in the sink and let it grind into my palm....definitely too hot to be good for the flavor.

Third, poor manufacturing tolerances allow the burrs to wobble around, resulting in inconistent grinding and the production of a fair bit of dust.  For the same reason, presumably, the grind adjustment is imprecise at best.

Fourth, it has the worst static issues I've ever experienced.  Mind you, I'm a bit of a bugger about static.  I sold a Rocky doserless because it created too much static to suit me, so mark that down to my own particular dweebiness.  This hummer sprays out powder during the grind and then surprises you with a puff of grit expelled into the air when you pull out the grinds collector.  Very careful placement of the container diminishes the amount expelled during grinding but does nothing to placate those little electrons hankering for freedom when the container is removed.

Finally, the plastic from which this machine is made is terribly brittle and will crack at the slightest trauma.

Now my friend has had a lousy experience and is a bit discouraged, fearing that unless he can afford a lot more expensive grinder he will never be successful.  That's the real crime of dumping this cheap stuff onto the market, it drives away potential future buyers of the manufacturer's own goods.  I don't get it.

He's saving his coppers for a Maestro now and, in the meantime, in have suggested that he go back to his whirly bird.  At least he won't have to clean the kitchen every time he grinds.

This is NOT a sound product and cannot be recommended.  I'm glad that Mr. Sucher likes his; he seems to be about the only one who does.

Buying Experience

Bought from W-S so, by definition, a good experience.

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review rating: 9.0
Posted: May 14, 2006, 8:33am
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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