Matches the Elektra Microcasa a leva well for small volume grinds too.
Positive Product Points
Good grind consistency, quick and efficient once dialled in. Reliable results with a very fussy espresso machine shows it's quality. Also built and engineered like a tank. Doesn't hop around the counter top. High points for this consistency, the quality of the output and the machine itself. Chrome sits nicely alongside the brass-chrome manual lever.
Negative Product Points
Holds grinds, time consuming to unscrew stepless threading to open grind chamber to clean which means a short dialing in to ensure you have the right setting. On longer grinds the grinder builds up a static charge (this is the EU version with the UK adaptor plug which may affect earthing). Cleaning I'd recommend a paintbrush to get into all the nooks. The reason this looses points is due to the time it takes to clean.
I've had my Chrome MCAP MC4 doserless-stepless grinder for five months (Aug'08), it sits alongside an Elektra Microcasa a leva (MCAL) manual lever machine and produces exceptional espresso with freshly roasted beans. The MCAL is really a personal 2-3 shots at a time machine so this (and my experience) is geared to that. The grinder offers the small adjustments required by the MCAL which is extremely sensitive to grind and bean freshness. The grinder can grind fine enough to choke, give ristretto, normal espresso with little to no blonding and coarse enough for french press.
The grind burrs are flat burrs with a stationary top burr and a motor driven lower burr. The top burr is attached to a large screw threaded cylinder that makes up the stepless mechanism. There is a worm drive mechanism at the back which allows small adjustments with minimal movement after the setting has been made. On the flip side this same level of adjustment means it's not a grinder you want to switch between espresso and french press - select one and leave it. The worm drive mechanism is on a screw locked pivot, so undoing two screws allows the worm to disengage and the top burr can be rotated by hand to unscrew (about an inch of thread!).
Inside the chamber the lower driven burr has three equidistant metal spurs that move the grounds out towards the chute. It works, however you get a large amount of coffee retained so be prepared to up-end/manhandle the grinder to get them out.
The resulting grinds are prone to clumping so expect to spend a few moments doing a distribution technique of your choice.
The hopper has a slider shutter in the base which allows a restriction on the beans entering the grind chamber. The MC4 also pop-corns heavily so the shutter acts to prevent bean fragments going everywhere. I run the grinder with just the beans I'm going to grind. I've removed the guard from the upper hopper (just pulls out) and use the shutter to control the amount of grind. The grinder does not like starting with a full chamber of beans - the motor has good torque but it's much happier started and then have the beans introduced by using the shutter to control. I use a tupperware box under the chute rather than the little tray thing but even still I've not seen a grinder yet deliver a clean counter top after a day of grinding!
On a long grind (ie 250+ grams) the grinder will start to warm the grounds but not many people that buy this grinder will attempt bag sized grinds - most will buy it because it's a very good flat-burr grinder for the money which is why I bought it.
Is it overkill for a personal 2-3 shot grind? No not in the slightest. It's size is just right to sit alongside the MCAL and not take too much counter space. It's presences is quite low profile without the doser too.
I looked at the Rocky (not impressed), Ascaso but I went with the MCAP due to the quality. The price was RRP in the UK and I can't remember it.