This is one fantastic machine that I plan to keep around a long time. Very happy with this purchase. No buyers remorse! Get one before they go up in price with the Euro so high.
Positive Product Points
The E doser does not make the mess that the mechanical doser makes No stale grinds left in the doser Solid build quality, especially for the price when compared against other top level grinders No need to upgrade or get upgrade fever- you have arrived at the top! Blades are 64MM as opposed to 58MM for Mini Fine control with Manual Button Dosing easily adjustable in fine increments (Have only tried with one blend so don't know how well the adjustment works with a different blend) Very fine control of grind Very quiet
Negative Product Points
Hopper is too tall for home under the counter use (Dan and others have modified) Not inexpensive
I first ordered the Mazzer Mini from WLL as part of a package deal with an Expobar Office Control. The Mazzer did a fine job of grinding and is a very high quality product that should last a lifetime. However, the doser makes a mess. I know, I have read that one needs to do it slowly in order to keep from slinging the grinds; I just couldnít get the hang of it where I didnít make a mess. Further, the mechanical doser makes it very difficult to only grind a certain number of grams of beans and then get all of the results into the PF. Trying to keep the doser cleaned out was another problem. For low volume home use a doserless version would have been better. I just donít have time in the morning to clean up after it and I like to come home to a clean kitchen and so does my wife.
I called WLL and spoke to Jennine and I asked to replace the Mini with the E (I also indicated that I was not happy with the Expobar but that is another story). WLL sent me out an E and the difference was noticeable from the start. First, the grinds go straight into the PF. The PF sits on a nice little holder and you can move it in and out to distribute the grinds as they come out the chute. The unit is clean with almost no spillover unless you overfill. The doser allows the grinds to drop straight down which is really nice. The electronic dose settings are easy to change and setup with your grind and beans. I havenít tried seeing what happens once I change the beans or grind. In my follow up I will add comments to this area. In any case, once I settle on a blend we like, we will not change that often so it may not be an issue for me. The manual button gives you such fine control that one can always fall back to using it as an alternative. I saw all of the mods that others have made to their Miniís and I just didnít want to go to that much trouble and work. The extra $200 over the expected life of the unit (Letís say 10 years or $20/yr, a movie these days) is well worth spending to be done with it.
I have now had the product for two weeks and wanted to update my review. Using the Camardo Miscela Bar Espresso beans, what I stated was true. However, when I switched to the Vivace Dolce beans the neatness factor diminished. I have switched back and forth and can verify that the phenomena happens. With the Vivace, little balls form that bounce out of the pf and onto the counter. That doesn't happen with the Camarado. I know that the Vivace is fresher and less oily and maybe that accounts for the difference. In anycase it is no longer quite as mess free so I downgraded it slightly. It may also be the "popcorn" effect that David Schomer speaks of in his book where not having enough beans in the bean hopper causes the popcorn effect as he calls it. Since I am using it without the bean hopper and only putting in the amount of beans I intend to grind and covering with a tamper maybe that is what is happening. Other than that, it is still a great machine.
The only real negative I could come up with is the bean hopper being so tall. I wish they would offer an alternative hopper that allows it to go under an 18Ē standard US kitchen cabinet. I have been using it without the hopper, just placing a tamper in the hopper to keep the beans from jumping out. This seems to work well and is an acceptable work-around. Still, I would like to have a shorter hopper. I will probably have it cut down soon. I wonít try it because I will just mess it up.
The control over grind fineness is fantastic. Start with the factory preset and adjust from there in small increments. It is step-less so the control is very fine. I am still learning the exact fineness setting for the beans and machine, but so far I am very impressed.
Everything on this unit appears to be high quality (looking at it as an engineer). If they cut corners, I havenít found them yet. By the way, WLL thought that the unit did not include the grinds tray; however, the unit does come with it in the box. The manual is a double sided Xerox copy stapled together but it is easy to read and use. Biggest gripe I have is that when I first got the Mini (same is true with this unit) the instructions in the manual or from WLL fail to tell you that the marker on the dial is the factory preset position for espresso. Because the marker doesnít fall on 0 or some number, you are left to guess what it means. As a newbie, this was frustrating. All they need to do is add a comment that the unit has been calibrated at the factory for a common espresso grind and that this is a starting point from which to adjust depending on your espresso machine and the blend you are using. It would have saved me a couple of pounds of beans that I messed up and then threw away the resulting shots. Forget the ďgrind it until it is like sugar. Do you have any idea how many different levels of grind fineness sugar has? It isnít just one.
Purchased from WLL and overall my experience has been very good. If my account get credited properly for my returns (I assume it will), I will have to rate them a 9. I'd give them a 10 but they tend not to always read the email you send them until some time later. They need to read and respond to emails more rapidly. I know I could have called them and they seem to respond very well on the phone, but it is often more convenient for me to use email, especially for East coast companies. The company seems to have good policies and others have raved about the service. Getting an RMA was quick and painless, not something you can always say with every vendor. As an attorney, I unfortunately sometimes see the vendor that does not want to provide a prompt refund.