You can beat an egg. You can even beat yer meat. But for performance and price, you can't beat this grinder!!!
Positive Product Points
- Lovely consistent grind - Stepless, baby!!! - Conical burrs - Metal chute resists static clumping - Decent heft, despite relatively thin skin - Quiet, compared to the other grinders I've used/seen
Negative Product Points
- No doser option, which is surprising for a dedicated espresso grinder - Bean hopper tends to come off when you tilt the machine to expel grounds still in the chute - Unscrew the chute for cleaning, prepare to spend a half hour trying to get it back on - Can get a little messy when the unattached tray starts sliding around and the grind shoots to the left
When shopping for a new espresso machine, the mantra of "don't skimp on the grinder" was pummeled into me by the coffeegeek community. Funds were tight, however, so while people waxed poetic about Mazzer Minis and Macaps, they were out of my price range. I had $300, so outside of hitting the jackpot on Craigslist or ebay, my choice came down to a used Rocky or the Le’Lit.
I couldn’t imagine the difference this made to my shots. I had no idea. I went from the ubiquitous Cuisinart DBM-8 cheapo burr grinder from Costco to a borrowed Baratza Virtuoso, and that was a big step up. But going from the Baratza to this was a huge leap forward. It took a while (and a half a bag of beans from Ritual!!) to get it dialed in. The first shot, no adjustment, choked the machine. Backed it off. Waaaaaay off. Came gushing forth like a geyser. Eeek!
But a half a dozen shots later, ho-lee mo-lee! My stash of freshly roasted High Striker suddenly went from tasting “okay” to tasting like it did at Ritual the day I first tried it. A uniform “coffee taste” suddenly carried the notes of citrus that I remembered. Bitter was transformed into sweet. Beautiful crema suddenly appeared on my shots, as if by magic. The earth moved; the angels wept. Don’t even get me started on how good the Ecco Caffé single origin tastes from this.
Then I tried cleaning the @#$# thing.
A reasonable chunk of grounds gets stuck in the chute. Enough that necessitates a “tilt and tap” when the grind is done. After two weeks of that, I decided to clean it out with some compressed air. I removed the plastic nut (a struggle in itself), cleaned out the exhaust, and tried to replace the chute. Literally a half hour and a socket wrench later, it was back on. Next time I do it, the Dremel’s coming out and I’m lengthening the slot!
Minor inconveniences aside, this grinder does exactly what it says on the tin – delivers phenomenal grinding at a tremendous price. I’m sure a Super Jolly delivers a better grind, but I genuinely can’t imagine it being THAT much better. The PL53 really seems to be at the sweet spot between cost and quality.
A friend bought this grinder on my behalf through 1st Line, and their policy of ONLY shipping to the credit card's billing address bit us on the backside. 1st Line were responsive though, and we eventually got it done, even though it took an extra week.