I purchased a Mazzer Mini with my ECM Giotto Premium as a package. I was upgrading from my Solis SL90/Maestro set up that got me started with this madness. I did a lot of research before purchasing my Mazzer. The more I read, the more I knew that the Mini was going to be the last grinder I’d ever buy. I was at the top, the end, now things would get serious. As soon as I got my Mazzer/Giotto my shots improved dramatically, man this equipment is nice! It took some time learning how to dial in the Mini, but I was getting the hang of it. I also noticed that I was doing a lot more cleaning than I had anticipated. There were always grounds left in the doser that just wouldn’t dose out of the chamber and when I did dose the grind ended up not only in the porta-filter but also all over the catch tray and counter.
I started reading threads on removing the finger guard to better clean the coffee shoot, which I did. Then I started seeing the modifications that people were making to their Mini to deal with the dosing system. A sawed off pastry brush, a piece of PVC pipe or a piece of bent plastic positioned just right. I applaud their acumen, all brilliant ideas designed to make this beautiful machine more home friendly. Hey, that’s part of the fun of being a Coffee Geek…. modification! But then there’s the dark side. That nagging feeling that something isn’t quite right. I mean all of these modifications work fine, but this grinder was supposed to be the crème de la crème.
I don’t remember just where I stumbled across the Mini Electronic, but when I did I saw the Promised Land. I immediately got on the Mazzer web site to find out more about this new grinder. Wow! Look at this…that doser directs the grounds right into the portafilter. After studying the pictures, I thought all I need is the conical dosing chamber I’d be all set. So off goes e-mail to Mazzer to see if I could get a conical dosing chamber to put on my machine. I mean all they could say is no and that’s exactly what they said. Damn. The return e-mail said I might want to sell my Mini and buy the Mini Electronic because the Mini was designed for commercial use. And the more I thought about it, they were right. I’m not running a Coffee House, I’m just trying to get to the top of my game and enjoy a hobby that brings me solace.
Working on the theory that it’s easier to ask forgiveness than it is permission, I ordered a Mini Electronic from the only place in the country I could fine one in stock, Vanelli’s at homeespresso.com. I’d explain to my wife why we had another monstrous grinder on the counter…I’d think of something. His asking price was outrageous at $850. We haggled a bit and agreed on a fair price, so I pulled the trigger. “Buy the way I’ve only got it in black”. Okay I could deal with that, “wrap it up!”.
As I took it out of the box, I was in awe. I set it up next to my silver Mini and have to say it looks beautiful beside all the chrome of the Giotto. The black is a great color! Kind of a satin finish that has some depth to it, if that makes sense.
The doser chamber is quite simple; a conical shaped chamber with a lid that has three buttons on top a single shot, a double shot and a manual-grinding button. Coming out of the top is also a curled cord that goes into the top of the housing to connect the electronics. Inside there is a deflector that is designed to make the grounds fall straight down through the cone into the porta-filter. It makes cleaning the shoot free of stale coffee a challenge, but as I figured out, a second of grinding via the manual grind button easily does that. The porta-filter fork is designed to set the porta-filter down without it being held. That’s a nice touch. Just above the fork are two adjustment screws for the timers that control the grind time. Turning either of these adjustment screws 180 degrees results in an approximate of variation of one gram of ground coffee.
Okay, I had some Vivace Vita to try so I dumped some in the hopper, pushed the double shot button and came short of filling the porta-filter by about 4 grams. I made the adjustment by turning the double shot screw two whole turns and it worked perfectly. Very little mess on the catch tray, all the coffee right into the porta-filter, this is nice. The next blend I tried was some Black Cat. Pushed the double button and whoa! Over fill the basket by several grams. I adjusted my grind but still was overflowing the basket, so I adjusted the double shot screw back and got the proper dose. So first problem I’ve seen is the fact that if you’re changing the coffee types you’ll have to adjust the timers for each blend. I change coffees too often to keep adjusting the timers so what I do is use the single shot button in combination with the manual grind button to get the perfect dose. Bottom line is this grinder is much more home friendly than the standard Mini. Much less mess while dosing and always dosing fresh coffee directly into the basket in seconds. (Usually under 5 seconds) Is the Mini Electronic worth the extra bucks? That’s something everyone will have to decide for him or herself. Would I do it again? In a heartbeat! I mean this is the last grinder I’ll ever buy…honest honey!