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KitchenAid ProLine Grinder - Gino Magnotta's Review
Posted: May 14, 2008, 11:30am
review rating: 8.7
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
KitchenAid ProLine Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The KitchenAid ProLine Grinder has 74 Reviews
Arrow The KitchenAid ProLine Grinder has been rated 8.01 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 8, 2003.
Arrow KitchenAid ProLine Grinder reviews have been viewed 396,897 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Bill Miano 9.17
Robert Uy. 8.94
Gino Magnotta 8.67
Donny Raus 8.63
Randall Nortman 8.57

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 6.2
Manufacturer: KitchenAid Quality: 5
Average Price: $200.00 Usability: 9
Price Paid: $210.00 Cost vs. Value 4
Where Bought: www.cookinstyle.co.uk Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 2 years Overall 5
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Rocky Rancilio
Bottom Line: Has some very good features to it, and could have been an excellent grinder.  Has fundamental flaws however which lets it down badly.
Positive Product Points

- Wonderful looking machine and well built on the outside.
- Parts of the design is ingenius.  No static and quiet.
- Good French press and drip coffee
- Easy to use and the instructions are excellent.

Negative Product Points

- Badly let down by the quality of the grinding plates.  They are blunt and not sharp enough for espresso grind
- Beans also get stuck in the grinding plates, and it doesnt take long for coffee to clog up the travelling burrs
- The incremental grinding steps are far too large.  This can be easily rectified by making it 'stepless'.

Detailed Commentary

There is no denying it.  As far as asthetics go, this grinder is amongst the best looking around.  Out of the box it impresses.  It is heavy, meaty and has the feeling of being able to grind away for years.  The instructions are very good - easy to follow, and so is the machine.  You may need to recalibrate the factory settings so that it can take a fine enough grind.  This is all detailed in the instructions and I would recommend you do this.  Low digits are for fine grinds, higher digits coarser grinds.

The grinder can handle french press and drip coffee well enough, and if this is your coffee of choice then you should be fine - although admitedly an expensive choice given there are other, cheaper burr grinders that do just as good a job.  The glass hoppers and catchers, as well as the direct fall of delivery of the ground coffee from the burrs to the catcher make for no static - definitely a plus.  Do make sure you clean out the burrs regularly and dont leave coffee beans too long in the hopper (goes stale).

Where the KitchenAid totally falls down is in the delivery of an espresso grind.  A real shame, as the potential and the expectation (given the price bracket) is there.  

The issue is not that it can never grind fine enough for espresso.   It can, but sadly not because of a great fine consistent grind.  The reason why it can choke an espresso machine is that because at finer settings, the KA spews out coffee dust in varying quantities.  The result is an inconsistent grind which kills espresso.  You just dont know how the grinder is going to behave and whether your machine can take the ground coffee or not.  Far too often I would see channelling when extracting, with the end result being spurts of espresso flying towards me and all over my Pavoni.  The only way to lose the dust is to increase the grind setting, but by then the grind is too course for espresso.

The reason for this is due to the fact that the blades are not sharp enough.  Rather than cut the beans, it crushes them.  Not good for espresso.  The other issue which I kept experiencing was that the burrs would clog very regularly with packed coffee grounds.  Some clogging is normal and expected in all grinders, but the KA has far too much clogging which materially affects the grind, including trapping whole beans.  That should never happen.

You will read the various modifications you can make on the  KA, including making it stepless.  This is not a bad idea, and easy to do (lots of online guidance available), but IMO no real point as it doesnt correct the fundamentals of this machine.  Not using the glass hopper, and just grinding into the PF after taking off the bottom lip are also useful things to do.

At the price and market the KA was pitching at, it has let it itself down badly.  It doesn't cut it for espresso, and whilst it is perfectly acceptable for french press and drip coffee, there are other grinders out there who can do this somewhat cheaper.

If you are an espresso fan, avoid the KA.  Go for the Rocky.  For the smallish extra cost of the Rocky compared to the KA, the grind consistency difference is vast.   I took the decision to ditch the KA for the Rocky and I have not looked back.

Buying Experience

Some delay in receiving the grinder due to out of stocks, but received within two weeks well packed and brand new.  All in all fine.

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review rating: 8.7
Posted: May 14, 2008, 11:30am
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