Good grinder at a great price. More than a match for a Classic/Silvia and maybe better than that...
Positive Product Points
High performance for the price Excellent highly-geared stepless grind adjustment for tweaking your espresso Seems to use decent conical burrs Adjustable dosing timer Solidly built, with a couple of weak points
Negative Product Points
Not the prettiest grinder around Too loud to hold a conversation whilst using it! Plastic chute occasionally prone to static Grounds retained in the chute (I use a pastry brush to get them out) Plastic portafilter forks are flimsy - there's a screw to remove them if you want (I haven't) Does not ship with instructions (available online) Highly-geared worm adjuster makes switching between grind types very time-consuming - an espresso-only grinder really
It took a while to find out about this grinder, but eventually I came across internet recommendations for the Iberital MC2 as one of the best sub-GBP200 grinders around. Given that it is available for almost half that from Happy Donkey, it looked like the perfect espresso grinder to go with my secondhand Gaggia Classic. I went for the doserless model which comes equipped with a timer for dosing.
Initial set-up was time-consuming, because the MC2 has a very highly-geared worm screw adjuster for the grind. So a tip is to get some supermarket beans to dial it in before letting it loose on your artisan freshly-roasted stuff! It doesn't come with instructions, but you can find a guide online and it's pretty straightforward anyway. Once the initial dial-in was complete, it needed only minor adjustments. I think a half-turn on the knob gives 3-5 seconds difference on the pour time, to give you an idea. Dialling in new beans can take a while though.
In use, it's straightforward. Just push the portafilter on the dispensing button. I aim to adjust the timer so that two cycles just over-fills the basket. It's pretty noisy in use, you would want to pause any conversation you are having whilst grinding! The body is pressed steel, the other fittings are plastic so it feels solid but not indestructible. However, for the money this is perfectly acceptable except maybe for the flimsy PF forks. You can take these off though (I haven't). The top can be taken off for cleaning, which I've done with a vacuum cleaner. I've also used some Puly Crystals to clean the burrs.
The results I get from the grinder are good enough I think to expose any flaws in the rest of my equipment or technique. I can't see myself getting any noticeable improvement from anything less than something like a Mazzer Mini or similar. It seems to be consistent, the grinds can clump slightly but not often. Sometimes static causes the grinds to fly all over the work top (seems bean dependent).
In summary, it's a very good grinder at an excellent price (in the UK). Said to be one of the best in its class and more than a match for most home espresso machines (Classic/Silvia level). I have no hesitation in recommending it!
Excellent price and service from Happy Donkey (UK). Worth getting some of their freshly-roasted Brazilian blend at the same time. Subsequent e-mails and phone calls confirm good service, advice and a personal approach from Scott, the company owner.
Three Month Followup
The urge for something better took over and when a used La Pavoni Zip came up for sale locally I had to buy it. Unsurprisingly, the MC2 can't compete with a commercial-quality grinder like the La Pavoni which retails at nearly four times the price. My espresso is better than ever, but I learnt on the MC2 how to adjust grind and dose.
My suscpicion (unproven) is that the grind quality on the MC2 was a bit inconsistent, letting too many fine grounds through, evidenced by a tendency to sourness in the shot and fines in the bottom of the cup. I found it very noisy, and the doserless delivery can be messy. This shouldn't put you off, if it's in your budget I don't suppose there's much that can beat it under GBP200. The Iberital is still a good grinder, the conical burrs and infinite adjustment make it a good choice for anyone looking for a dedicated espresso grinder.