Fix the feet and the flaky doser and you will have yourself a grinder that just makes the passing grade.
Positive Product Points
The Gaggia MDF has a certain amount of visual appeal in most kitchens. It looks good beside any espresso machine. It is light and has a foot-print that allows it to be tucked away.
Negative Product Points
The Gaggia MDF has some obvious things missing that, if included, would not have impacted on the price point. For starters, where are the rubber feet!? This unit slips around the counter top like a nervous little dog on lino. It is completely unstable and you use up one good hand just holding it during operation. The doser jammed up and stopped working after less than 20 minutes of kitchen use. This cannot be a good sign! It grinds coffee slower than any grinder I own. The doser is the dumbest design I have ever seen.
I have had my eye on the Gaggia MDF for some time. Sure, I am a devoted Rocky user and if money was not an object I would probably have a Mazzer on the kitchen counter. It was a good thing when a crate load of stuff arrived from WholeLatteLove.Com in New York. Amidst the collection of Gaggia and Saeco machines was the MDF that was going to be used for an assortment of reviews.
As each machine was unboxed and powered up, the Gaggia was put into immediate use. Here is a good tip folks, one I should have heeded myself. When you use a grinder for the first time and are eagerly dialing it in, dial it in from the coarse end of the spectrum. This way you will waste substantially less coffee. Why I did not see this for myself is beyond me. Although lacking some of the clicks (variations in grind) that the Rancilio Rocky has, the MDF has a grind for most machines and if, perchance, you have missed the mark, you can always make up for it in terms of tamp.
The MDF is slow, molasses slow, when it comes to grinding. On the plus side, the gear-down mechanism in the MDF reduces bean heating and as the theory goes, reduces damage to the beans.
As identified above, there were more sour points for the Gaggia than plus ones. The lack of rubber feet and a correspondingly solid grip on a kitchen counter surface left me frustrated. Can you spell RUBBER FEET?
Sadly, the Gaggia MDF doser died after about 20 minutes or so on the grinding hour meter. Yup, it up and jammed up and now I will need to get out a screw driver for take-apart. I am sure that there is some flimsy spring in there because when I turn the unit on its side, it springs (pardon the pun) back into life.
Okay, in summary: Gaggia engineers - fix the feet by adding rubber and fix the doser. Now you will have a pretty good little grinder.
By comparison, my handful of Solis Maestro's take serious daily beatings in the lab and do not even flinch. The Gaggia MDF could never cope. Other than a doser spring, my Rancilio Rocky soldiers on.
Simple: Hey, you boys (and girls) at WholeLatteLove.Com! Send me some stuff to play with and maybe, just maybe I will write some pretty words. Okay, so it was more involved than that. It always is. I got a crate full of stuff to test and promises of more if I behave myself.