Nice attempt at a multi purpose grinder but falls a bit short.
Positive Product Points
Stylish, straight through grind path and easy adjustments.
Negative Product Points
Auger traps beans, clicks are very wide, top of unit for hopper traps beans and slightly weak motor.
I bought this grinder while at William Sonoma on a whim. I had read a couple decent reviews and Mark gave some positive comments in one of his pod casts so I was intrigued. Not to mention it was on sale for what I found was the cheapest price online so I got to take it home and get right on it.
I figured for the money this could be my grinder. However after using for a week I thought otherwise. I also got a Tranqilo while I had it and by comparison it wasnít holding up.
Because of the straight down grind path, the beans must be moved into the burr area. This is done with an auger. While an ingenious design, it had some problems. The big one being that at the base of the auger where it meets the burrs, beans would get stuck. Iíd find two or three each time Iíd clean and they were good and wedged in. A simple stop put in there would keep this from happening.
The other thing the grind path made me think of is wear on the burrs. I figured the stationary burr would get worn on the lower half much quicker due to the positioning so I recommend turning the burr every so often.
A number of posters mentioned beans getting stuck in the hopper. This is due to the large lip that is in the top of the unit for the bean hopper to sit in. Small beans or chips wedge themselves down in there. It makes for getting the hopper off a bit hard and you have to clean it out to get the hopper back in.
I must mention that the glass hopper and grind bin were nice touches. I liked them. Also I didnít find much difficulty in seating the collection bin. When grinding an espresso I just put the PF right under the exit and skipped the bin. Although a few times I got a bit of static and managed to shower the area in grounds.
Even though the unit will grind fine enough for espresso, it isnít adjustable. You get a finite number of clicks and theyíre very wide adjustments. Based on how the adjustable carrier is mounted back on the unit, I question if youíll ever get the same grind after cleaning it (which is actually very easy to do).
The on/off switch was nice and the unitís design was great. I do think the motor is a bit underpowered. Other grinders donít show any sign of work when grinding, this one slowed a bit. While it wasnít struggling you could tell it was working and I wonder if the motor might die early. OH! And last but not least, the grounds coming out were HOT. At first I thought it was just the warmth of the PF but then I ground a little into the bin with a temp probe and got about 93 degrees. Iím sure itís higher than that since the grinds had a little time to air but I had never noticed that with the Rocky or with the Tranqilo. I never got a response on the boards as to whether that was too much heat but it bothered me.
The people at WS are wonderful to deal with and took the unit back no problem. When they put something on sale, it's a good buy.