Solid, reliable, stepped grinder - gets the job done.
Positive Product Points
- Consistent grind quality - Can grind fine enough for espresso (fine enough to choke my Gaggia Classic) - Easy to switch between espresso grind and french press grind, which can be a pain to dial in on some stepless grinders
Negative Product Points
- Some fines in cup - Obviously not being stepless also has a negative side on the lack of micro-adjustments. However, I have not had much trouble with this. - At almost €200 - is it a bit expensive for what it is? - Some grind retention in the machine. - Base can slip
This is my first burr grinder, having previously only owned a whirly-blade grinder. From various review I had read, I was aware that perhaps, at least for espresso, there were better grinders in the sub-€200 price bracket - like the Iberital MC2, or the Ascaso i-Mini. These are stepless grinders, however, and I could not justify having a grinder only for espresso. If I was making the plunge the grinder had to be able to go from espresso to french press and back again with relative ease. That brought me to the Gaggia MDF, which in fact is one of the few semi decent burr grinders available in shops in Dublin.
From a usage point of view, the unit could not be easier - twist the hopper to the desired setting. I find the 5-7 range good for espresso, about 20 for french press, about 10 for moka pot. The grinding is slowish, but not a problem in the home environment. I find the grinder seems to retain about 2 grams of coffee after grinding, so if I'm doing the first grind of the day, I'll have to flush this out by grinding some fresh coffee, and discard the grinds.
The base is hard plastic and has no grip on the kitchen top. I solved this by placing a small rubber mat under the grinder. It seems like a silly oversight to be honest.
The doser is OK, but unnecessary for me. I generally weigh out how much coffee I need and put that into the hopper and grind it all, and basically empty the doser into the portafilter.
I have noticed fines in my cup, I'm not entirely sure if this is due to my technique or the grinder. I haven't another grinder to compare with, and some of the grinds looks too big to have passed through the filter basket - so the jury is still out on that front.
Brown Thomas in Dublin is a very nice shop. They have concession stores within the shop, so in the coffee section there were two competing personnel. On one side was all the Gaggia range. On the other side were Ascaso machines and some Jura machines. The Ascaso sales assistant was trying to persuade me to buy the Ascaso grinder.
Not the cheapest shop in the world, but good range (for Dublin)