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Gaggia MDF - Jason Haeger's Review
Posted: October 4, 2005, 11:58pm
review rating: 6.6
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Gaggia MDF Espresso
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More About This Product
Arrow The Gaggia MDF has 32 Reviews
Arrow The Gaggia MDF has been rated 7.79 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Gaggia MDF reviews have been viewed 226,874 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
A C C 9.00
B T 9.00
Lance Goffinet 8.88
Mark Babbe 8.20
Patrick T 7.66

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.4
Manufacturer: Gaggia Quality: 7
Average Price: $249.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $165.00 Cost vs. Value 7
Where Bought: Coffee Geek member Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 2 weeks Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: Professional Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Mr. Coffee burr
Bottom Line: A decent beginners grinder, but not the workhorse it could be with its solid construction and commercial grade burrs.
Positive Product Points

Aesthetically pleasing.  Large flat burrs.  Little to no static or heat build-up.  Relatively quiet.

Negative Product Points

The feet are plastic.  This is easily and cheaply solved, but it's a hassle I wouldn't expect to deal with for the cash it costs.
The doser handle is terrible.  Sometimes while fast-flipping (to break up clumps of grounds) the doser handle will literally just pop right off.  It snaps right back on, but that's not the point.  One should not have to worry about the integrity of the doser handle while dosing for a shot.  That's just silly.
Stepped grind adjustment.

The steps are far too large.

Detailed Commentary

The grind is REALLY slow, as a few have mentioned.  The commercial style burrs produce a pretty consistent grind and the gearing mechanism allows for a decreased speed.  Slower grinding means less heat build-up.  The machine is also relatively decent in the static department as well.  I don't notice any problematic static, nor do I notice any temperature difference between the beans and the grounds produced.  

It's not all too fabulously consistent in the coarser proximities, though it can grind consistently fine enough to choke your machine.  I'd suggest this be designated as an espresso-only grinder.  The portafilter fork fits my Gaggia portafilter like a glove.  The grounds almost never drop directly into the center of the filter basket, though.  Usually, the grounds collect towards the handle and to the left.  I generally need to shake the PF side to side 2 times while filling the basket with grounds to level out the distribution.  

The stepped adjustment is a bit of an annoyance, but one that can be lived with.  Most blends work just fine between steps 8 and 6.  Some may prefer finer or coarser, but I doubt it, and with 32 usable steps, It's plenty easy enough to dial-in to something close to what you need.

Buying Experience

I bought it slightly used from a CoffeeGeek member for 165 shipped.  The warranty was still intact.

Three Month Followup

Well, this is a late follow-up, but here it is anyway.  

The steps are massive.  Simply much too large for  the intended purpose of espresso extraction.  I solved this by removing the step pins and wrapping the upper burr carrier's threads with Teflon tape.. over and over again until the resistance was enough so that the upper burr carrier would not move during grinding, and light enough that I could change the settings easily by hand.  

I now have a Doserless MDF, and in its current state, I've lost one of the major negative points to say about it.  I've also cut a notch out of the finger guard in order to be able to clean out the grinder chute after every single shot.  A foam-rubber non-slip mat solves the problem of plastic feet, and a grinder that will not remain stationary during dosing.  

I also added a sort of dosing "guide".  More or less a blocking wall made wtih electrical tape to aid the grounds in falling straight down rather than to the left.  I have noticed that it helps immensely with proper dosing.  Much less jiggling (or "giggling" if you happened to catch the thread) is utilized to ensure good distribution.  
Still reliable.  Still great shots, but with more adjustability.  Virtually the same burrs as Rocky, but at a MUCH reduced price.  With the doserless modification, I have a hard time understanding why anyone would prefer a Rocky with similar performance at a higher price.  Then again, not everyone is willing to risk ruining their warranty in the never-ending quest for a better cup.  

I long for an up-grade, but more for grind-quality reasons than conveniences at this point.  Great machine to begin with.  Don't waste your time with a Capresso Infinity, Solis Maestro +, or Baratza Virtuoso at a similar price-point.  

On the other hand, I'd quite like a Cunill Tranquilo at the same price, with statistics that match the Mazzer Mini's.. sans the infinite grind setting feature on the Mazzer.

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review rating: 6.6
Posted: October 4, 2005, 11:58pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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