Very sturdy, glass catcher prevents static in the grounds and is easy to clean; gives a nice, even grind.
Positive Product Points
- Very sturdy construction - Glass hopper & catcher are very nice; no static cling - Big knob makes it easy to modify grind setting. - Quiet grinding - Looks nice sitting on counter
Negative Product Points
- Bottom catcher seems like it should be made of thicker glass
This is my first burr grinder, so all I can compare it to is whirly-blade grinders. That said, I have had nothing but good experiences with this so far (about a month).
When the grinder arrived via FedEx, I was surprised at how heavy the box was! As other reviewers have mentioned, this grinder is built like a tank! Between the heavy base and the glass hopper/catcher, the first impression of this grinder is that it will last a long time - not only that, but I think it looks very nice; not as daunting/uninviting as some grinders look where you feel like you need to hide it in a cupboard when not in use. I am happy to have this sitting on the counter. The catcher is held in pretty nicely, so I'm not even worried about the cats somehow knocking it down and breaking it.
The grinder is much quieter than I expected. I have seen/heard other burr grinders in use, and I expected this to sound like a jet taking off in my kitchen, however, it really isn't too loud at all. It still makes noise, of course, but just much less than other grinders I have been around.
Grind is very even and gives off very little dust. I use this only for french press coffee, and I have it set to 3.5 or 4 on the dial (depending on the beans). Since I don't use it for drip or espresso, I have not ground any finer than that. All I can say is, at this setting, it makes a very nice pot of french press with very little "sludge" finding its way into my cup.
I have cleaned the burrs once so far, and it was pretty easy. There are two large screws on the front of the grinder which I was able to loosen using a coin. From there, the front can be removed and you have access to the burrs which can be brushed clean with the included wood-handled brush. If this were more difficult, I probably wouldn't do it much, so I am glad it is so easy to do. The hopper and catcher are very easy to clean. I wash the catcher by hand once a week or so. I believe it could also be placed on the top shelf of a dishwasher.
Purchased online from Williams-Sonoma; they shipped it within a day or two (emailing me with confirmation and tracking info) and it arrived a couple of days after that. Very trouble-free, and I would be happy to do business with them in the future.
Three Month Followup
One Year Followup
It's been about a year and a half, and I am still glad that I purchased this grinder. The performance has not changed since it was new, grinds are consistent, and work great for the pour-over brewing methods I use: mostly Chemex and AeroPress.
There are a couple of things that I've noticed since my initial review: - When using store bought coffee which can be much darker and oiler than most of my homeroast, beans can occasionally stick in the top of the grinder before going down the chute to the burrs. Poking them (carefully!) or tapping the side of the grinder tends to get them fed down to the burrs properly. This happens very rarely with my lighter (typically FC+ or less) home roasts, but pretty frequently with store bought beans -- I'm talking the overly-roasted variety here. - Beans with a lot of chaff tend to leave a the chaff clung to the bottom catcher. This has slowly gotten worse over time, so I'm curious if there may be some way to prevent this, or if the static is brought on by washing/drying the catcher.
I try to clean the machine, including the burrs at least every two weeks or so, although this typically gets stretched out to the month range. I find that a buildup of grounds occurs around the burrs, but this is easy to clean with the included brush.