Great value with enough quality that you may not need to spend hundreds more to improve upon.
Positive Product Points
The Gaggia MDF has enough ranges to grind beans for espresso, press or syphon coffees. The grinding mechanism is very well build. It doesn't generate heat when grinding, so the grinds always come out powdery and do not stick together, even for very fine espresso grinds. I can get very consistent results with this grinder. Fit and finish is mostly very good. This unit offers perhaps the best value under $200.
Negative Product Points
Flimsy doser lever. Hard to reach for cleaning. Cheesy optional base with knock box, which is good only for its looks. This optional base anchors the grinder with rubber feet. Without it, one would need to fit rubber feet under the MDF to prevent it from sliding.
I have been using the Gaggia MDF for two years now. I feel no need to upgrade to a more expensive grinder although I use another more expensive grinder at work. I roast my own beans for my syphoned coffee maker (Yama) and both my Espresso machines (La Cimbali M20 and Gaggia Professional lever). The roasters I use are the Fresh Roast Plus and an iRoast. I have never experienced any problems with the MDF grinding anything but fine powdery grinds for espressos. The MDF adjusts easily to my favorite settings for espresso and syphoned coffee grinds. I am particularly happy with the MDF being able to grind both types of these grinds to my full satisfaction consistently. I do grind only what I need and use immediately, and I make sure that all the beans are ground through with none stuck inside the grinding mechanism. The doser handle seems a little flimsy so I do pay extra attention whenever I am using it. So far, there hasn't been any problems with it breaking which I hear is a common occurance. At work, I make about 30 espressos and cappucinos for visitors every day. I use a Cimbali commercial grade grinder there, and I do not perceive much difference in the quality of the grinds made by the Cimbali to those from the MDF. The trick is always to keep the mechanisms, containers, etc. very clean. In fact, I have had more problems with Cimbali grinder because other users leave grinds that are stuck inside the grinding path. To clear the path in the Cimbali grinder, I simply close the hopper, switch on the grinder until all the bits that are stuck inside come out. These grinds should not be used as they can be oily and will produce a bitter taste. Similarly, one should make sure that bits are ground through in the Gaggia MDF. I do this when the hopper is empty. Before filling it, I would turn on the grinder until the grinding path is clear of old bits. I then empty out and throw away what comes out of the MDF before filling the hopper. The MDF does grind a bit slowly. It also makes a moderate amount of noise. None of these bother me, as the MDF does a fine job of grinding beans to my liking.
Purchased it from a private sale. Unit was used only a few times by the previous owner.