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KitchenAid Retro Burr - Jon Rosenthal's Review
Posted: September 10, 2004, 3:28pm
review rating: 4.2
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
KitchenAid Retro Burr
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More About This Product
Arrow The KitchenAid Retro Burr has 34 Reviews
Arrow The KitchenAid Retro Burr has been rated 6.12 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 8, 2003.
Arrow KitchenAid Retro Burr reviews have been viewed 162,087 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Lance Goffinet 8.07
Eric Nager 7.66
C. A. Brooks 7.60
Jason Ashbaugh 7.40
Marietta VB 7.17

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.2
Manufacturer: KitchenAid / Hobart Quality: 8
Average Price: $130.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $50.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: eBay Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 2 months Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Mazzer Mini, Zass
Bottom Line: Maybe the best grinder anywhere (for Drip and French Press) for the money.
Positive Product Points

Very heavy build for the money.  
Consistent Grind.
Excellent for Drip and French Press

Negative Product Points

High Speed Burrs
Not the best for espresso

Detailed Commentary

I have one of the older version of this grinder (the "vintage" model by HOBART can be found on eBay all over the place).  I got mine for about $50+$12 for shipping.  I was able to call in to KA and purchase burr sets for about $10 plus $6 shipping.  It takes some effort to get someone on the phone who can help but they give good service.  

Turns out the burrs, hopper, gasket and "plungers" (the spring-loaded pins that make the adjustment "click") are all the same on the new model as the old version (so these parts are available).  

The burrs are (a softish) stainless steel, and both upper and lower are replaceable.  The replacement set contained a pair of burrs (they are roughly 30mm ID) as well as the small screws that hold the burrs in place.  BTW the burr carriers are made of metal on mine and are nice and heavy.  

Performance:  With the new burrs my ancient Hobart/KA grinder has a very consistent grind and is heavy-build and very powerful.  It probably beats the Solis and Bodum plastic bodies hands-down.  I use it in the office for drip coffee.  I was able to make espresso at home by removing the adjustment stop (which is just a small screw in the back) and over-adjusting the burrs.  

NOTE:  When I grind fine enough for espresso this grinder is VERY messy and the grounds go everywhere.  This may be from static (the grinder motor probably runs ~1800 RPM and it is direct-coupled).  When I grind coarse for drip or French Press it does a beautiful job and is much cleaner and easier to manage.  

As for cleaning the chute, I just use the end of a wooden chopstick.  It works perfectly to clear the chute and only takes a few seconds.  Every time I grind the chute builds up a small "plug" so it's important to keep something handy to get the grounds out of there - and a brush just won't work.    

It may be the best grinder for drip and French Press for the money!!  For espresso it's adequate but VERY messy.

Buying Experience

Found it on eBay.  Good seller with positive feedback, so there was no problem at all.

Three Month Followup

I have been using this machine daily at work now for at least 2 months.  It's steady as a rock and does a great job for our drip coffee.

One Year Followup

I gave the old machine away to a friend and got a new version of the same thing (on sale for 1/2 price locally!).  The new machine is also a champ and I use it at work still for my drip coffee there.  

Now that I have a little more experience, I wouldn't use this for espresso at all.  The grind is nowhere near as consistent as the Mazzer or even my little LaPavoni PGC as far as making espresso goes.  If you get the adjustment "in the groove" though it does a good job for drip.

I would say the real downsides to these grinders is that they seem to grind at very high speed (1780 RPM I would guess) and again, the burrs are soft stainless rather than sharp hardened steel.  

The posistives are that they can be had very inexpensively, the customer service is awesome, and the product is made to last a lifetime.

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review rating: 4.2
Posted: September 10, 2004, 3:28pm
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
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