Good grinder. Not flawless but does the job and looks great. Why does it cost more than the doser version?
Positive Product Points
There's no doser to fill so you grind just what you need. Stepless grind adjustment. Grind quality seems great. Easy to clean tray. Reasonably quiet. Generally well built. It looks fabulous!
Negative Product Points
The 3-button doser is not really useful in the way it was meant to be. The power cord comes out the side near the front and doesn't appear well integrated with such an otherwise good-looking grinder.
This Mazzer Mini Electronic has not been 100% of what I was hoping for. It does do the job, it looks great (I got the black one but I think the grey one that I couldn't find in the U.S. is even better looking), it is fun to use, and I would buy it again. A couple of things turn me off somewhat for a $650 coffee grinder that I coveted for so long, however. Shortly after I got it I was grinding the coffee a few steps finer than espresso and it actually stopped turning. Ack! I was bummed. I thought the motor had died, but when I took it apart all that happened was that the grounds got so packed in the space between the burrs and the housing that the grinder bound up. I cleaned it out and it worked again. I have never again tried grinding finer than two numbers below where Mazzer put the espresso mark which is around 7.5.
The second thing is that the single/double shot timers aren't really all that useful. With a screwdriver you can adjust the time that each of the buttons turns the grinder on for. That works. Unfortunately the amount of coffee that comes out is dependent on more things than just how long the grinder is on. Consequently, even with the same batch of beans you get different amounts of grounds with each press of the button. I measured just a few doses on a scale and the variation was at least 3 grams. Even if it delivered a consistent amount of ground coffee the timers would need to be adjusted for different beans. After a couple weeks I stopped adjusting the timers. The way I use it is to have the double shot timer set short so I never get more than I need. Then I finish it off with the button that you hold down to keep the grinder going. It is nice to have most of the grind time happen hands-free so I can do something else for a few seconds but the idea that you press a button and get a one or two shot dose doesn't work out that way.
Grind Quality: I can only compare it to the Rancilio Rocky that I used for a year. The Mazzer grind quality is at least as good and I think better than the Rocky. However, I did not perform any detailed comparison, this is my subjective opinion. I'm really not sure that my espresso is coming out better using the Mazzer than with the Rocky but I can say that having the stepless adjustment does allow me to dial in the grind a little better. There were times I would have liked a setting in between the clicks on the Rocky. With the Mazzer you can nudge it just a little finer or coarser.
The plastic tray under the Mazzer Mini Electronic was a nice surprise. I really like it. It clips in and out easily between the rubber feet. And it does catch most of the stray grounds.
The new shorter hopper is great too. It looks good. The little slider that shuts off the could work easier though. It tends to slide to one side or hit something and I usually have to fiddle with it for a moment before it finds the slot it is supposed to go into.
Speaking of stray grounds, there really aren't that many with the Mazzer Mini Electronic. The holder for the portafilter works great. You just set the portafilter on the metal holder and turn on the grinder. No holding the portafilter like on the rocky doserless. The only annoying place that grounds collect is on the portafilter holder. The metal is flat and it curves down toward the housing of the grinder. Grounds can collect on top of the holder and where the holder meets the grinder housing if the grinder runs without a portafilter in place. Which leads me to the next topic.
One quality issue I've had is that the grinder started turning on occaisionally all by itself. I'd be reading the paper enjoying my americano and the grinder would start going. Whoa, there goes part of my coffee for the week!!! For a few days or so it would run for a few seconds and then stop. As time went on it did it more and then sometimes it wouldn't start when I pressed the buttons. Or when it started on it's own I could stop it by pressing the single dose button. It finally got to where it wouldn't run at all. I removed the part with the buttons on it (Which nicely lifts off the top of the funnel with just a slight press fit) and I opened it up by unscrewing the two screws that hold the top piece of metal with buttons to the plastic piece below. Inside there is a small circuit board with some through-hole components. There are three wires coming from the top (Inside the little curly cord the user can see) that get routed to a connector that plugs into the circuit board. One of the three wires had been routed underneath the leg of a through-hole component and the sharp end of the leg punctured the insulation on the wire. I wrapped a small piece of vinyl tape around the wire and then re-routed it so it wouldn't be squished under something sharp and the control circuit is working again.
I've read at least one review where someone mentioned cleaning the little opening in the housing of a Mazzer Mini (Not the electronic) where the grounds come out with a brush while cleaning the doser. If you want to clean that little opening on the Mini Electronic it's a bit of work. You have to remove the button disc, remove two screws that hold a deflector plate on inside the funnel, and then brush through or poke through a little screen thingy that's in the opening. I don't bother on a daily basis. I know there are old grounds in there. So I use my first shot of the day to get things dialed in. Hopefully I'm into new grounds by shot #2.
As I look at what's involved to make the electronic version versus the manual doser version of this grinder I wonder why it's so much more expensive. The only thing I've come up with is that it's newer and the price point is needed to make the newer design profitable. I'd like the same thing with just a simple on/off switch for the same price as the manual doser version. Or, as someone else has suggested, perhaps an aftermarket modifcation for the regular Mini to make it doserless.
I bought it from 1st Line Equipment. The price was competitive and they delivered as promised. They even gave me free 2nd day delivery which was great.