Cuisinart burr, various whirly blades, quality turkish mill
The Lux is Espresso worthy. Low price point. Low profile.
Positive Product Points
Full range of espresso grind, from ristretto to cafe crema. ESPRESSO ONLY grinder CONICAL BURRS!!!!! This baby will choke my La Pavoni at around mid range grind setting. doserless quick grind directly into portafilter Low Profile, little counterspace taken. Tasty espresso with a modicum of skill.
Negative Product Points
Clumpy grinds which can clog chute. Doserless (negative because of the clumping grinds) Heated coffee grinds Oily beans (from dark roasts or fluid bed roasters) will cause more clumping of grinds Flimsy bean container, poorly attached. (Mine broke quickly, but is still usable.) Grind settings difficult to change
I bought this grinder to supplement my turkish mill as an espresso grinder. While the mill was more than capable of grinding for espresso it was time consuming. The Lux is great for times when time is of the essence. It has actually taken over my espresso grinding nearly completely. I only use the turkish mill now on leisurely mornings.
Now for the BAD, because you need to know this stuff. I promise the good will come later.
This grinder definitely has issues that must be worked around. When exiting the grind chamber there is clumping. This shouldn't be a huge issue with proper technique. I use an ice pick to clear the chute after each shot and this prevents clogging very well with minimal hassle. The clumps can also cause uneven extractions and on occasion choked espresso machines. This is also easily dealt with by using the ice pick or similar tool to mix the grinds thereby declumping. Another step to add in, yes, but it is a step that will make this grinder produce wonderful espresso.
The Lux heats the coffee as it grinds. In my experience so far this usually doesn't start to show much until grinding for the second or third in a series of shots.
Oily beans will bring about much greater frequency of clogging and the clumps from the grinder will be much larger and more difficult to break up. Also not recommended to use coffee that has been frozen prior to use, as the clogging of the grinder will be extreme.
The bean container is attached with a single screw to the grind chamber. This coupled with the light weight and breakable plastic of the container, makes it difficult to pull the grinder apart to clean the burr assembly. My container broke where the screw attaches within the first two weeks of use. This isn't such a big problem though since it is still usable and has not affected grind quality in any way. One plus is that this part is pretty cheap to replace. (maybe I will maybe I won't, we shall see)
Changing grind settings requires two hands, one of which must hold the grind button and the knob to free the grind selector. The second hand turns the selector while grinding. For someone with small hands this may be very very difficult. I have long fingers so this is not a major issue. My significant other thinks it is and never changes the grind setting, or has me do it.
Now for the GOOD!
Conical burrs. I have used flat burr grinders in a professional setting. I have used conical burrs in a professional setting. Flat burrs are all well and good. Conicals are better. Conical burrs at this price point? I give them a full nod over the flat burr grinders of similar price. (for disclosure I have not owned other grinders of similar price, but have used friends, and tasted many espressos from them.
While this grinder has only 11 grind settings, within those settings you will find the full range of espresso grinds. Want a lungo? loosen the grind. Want a cafe crema? take it all the way out. Normale? yep. Ristretto? uh huh.
This grinder is much smaller than I even expected it to be. It is about equal height to my la pavoni (about 12 inches) Black hole of counter space it is not!
This grinder will produce espresso worthy grind at a price point that no other grinder can. All other espresso worthy grinders are at least $40 more with most being considerably more. If you find it too restricting or get upgrade fever later, well you now have a dedicated decaf grinder. It also travels well. I have taken it on several overnight trips since purchasing it. (mind you this is where the issue with the container came up.) You could avoid this by packing it a bit more carefully than I did the first time, which is exactly what I do now.
If you are looking for a quality grinder at an affordable price that will actually produce espresso, this may be the grinder for you. If you can deal with the issues mentioned above and work with them or around them, you may very well be satisfied with this grinder (until you can afford a mazzer or macap).
I am quite satisfied with this grinder, for the moment. It delivers what I need it to without massive hassle, despite that the larger BAD portion of this review might make you think otherwise. I am certain that the upgrade bug will hit me eventually but I will deal with that when I must.
StudioLX.com seems to be just a website based seller. Most of my customer service questions were routed directly to the importer, Italian Casa Corp. They were knowledgable about the grinder and did everything in their power to make certain I was satisfied. This is saying a lot since the first grinder I got was defective. They helped me trouble shoot my issue over the phone, and then had me ship the grinder back to them, as they shipped me a new one. I am pretty impressed with their service. Not many companies would go out of their way like that for a grinder in this class.