On top of the heap with the original Mazzer Mini. Not necessarily better, just different. Hopefully this review will help your selection if you can’t decide between the two.
Positive Product Points
The Mazzer Mini Electronic has the same solid construction, infinite grind adjustment, and superb grind quality that have made the original Mazzer Mini famous in home and light commercial use. For home users who don’t want to have a doser full of stale coffee, most just add enough beans for a single (double) dose. In this case the nooks and crannies of the doser mechanism end up holding 1-2g of staling coffee requiring a brushing and/or vacuuming regimen to keep clean. The Mini-E “solves” this problem by replacing the doser with a conical container that drops the output of the grinder directly into the portafilter basket.
Negative Product Points
In addition to replacing the doser with a fancy conical “funnel” to drop the grounds directly into the PF basket, the big selling point, and the reason for the $200 price premium relative to the Mazzer Mini, is the programmable doser feature. There is a single grind button and a double grind button. The idea is that one adjusts the single shot doser screw for the correct amount needed to product a single shot of espresso. The double shot doser screw is used to adjust for the correct amount to produce a double shot. These screw adjustments are a simple adjustment of the time the grinder runs when either button is pressed.
Unfortunately both the weight and volume of coffee ground for a specific time varies widely based on the bean, the roast, the grind, and even the humidity. Consequently, the usefulness of this feature is not great enough to justify the price delta of the Mini-E relative to the standard Mini.
I owned a standard Mazzer Mini for 10 months and have now owned the Mazzer Mini E for 14 days. I knew I could get a decent return by selling the Mazzer Mini, so I decided to indulge the wild hair I had to check out a Mini-E. My bottom line assessment of both units is that the ideal setup for home use would be the original Mazzer Mini with doser and PF fork removed and replaced by the conical coffee funnel and PF fork from the Mini-E. Based on the way most home espresso aficionados use the Mazzer Mini, the electronic features of the Mini-E add little extra capability. I’ll check back in 3 months and let you know at that time if I feel any stronger that the extra cost is worth it.
My Original Mazzer Mini Regimen 1) Weigh the desired amount of beans for a double shot and drop in bean hopper. 2) Grind entire bean load into doser. 3) Get round brush. Brush out bean chute which is clogged with grounds at this point. 4) Run grinder again to blow remaining grounds into doser. 5) Brush grounds off top of dozer veins so that all grounds are in doser compartments. 6) Pull doser lever until all grounds are dispensed into portafilter. 7) Periodically, use round brush to brush as much of the remaining stale grounds as possible while pulling doser lever so that most of grounds drop out of doser or use a vacuum cleaner.
Initial Mazzer Mini-E Tests The initial plan was to closely adapt my Mazzer Mini technique to use with the Mini-E. The plan was to use steps 1-4 above. The Mini-E design does not require steps 5-7.
After removing the funnel lid which contains the single, double, and manual dose buttons, I noticed a large metal plate sloping down at a 45 degree angle in front of the hole that the grounds shoot out. I assumed this to be a part of the design done by lawyers to keep fingers out while grinding. It would not let me perform step 3, above, so it was the first thing to go. As soon as that was out I noticed a bigger problem with adapting my Mini regimen to the Mini E. Unlike the original Mazzer Mini, the Mini-E has a stainless steel grid over the grounds chute. This does not allow using a brush to clean out the grounds like you can with the original Mini.
I used the Mini-E for several days in this configuration and then also decided to take out the grid blocking the grounds opening so that I could get back to brushing out the grounds as noted in step 3. I had assumed that this grid was also a “lawyer” feature preventing fingers from getting into the burrs. However, when grinding with the grid installed, the grounds fall straight down into the PF basket. With the grid removed, the grinds seemed to bounce out of the PF basket and make a big mess. I reinstalled the grid and no more mess. So the grid is obviously required in this design. I’m not sure if it slows the egress of the grinds in order to prevent a mess or if the grounds passing through the metal grid reduce static and thus prevent a mess.
The requirement to leave the grid in place means that the stale grounds can’t easily be cleaned out of the chute. All that I learned in the first week of experimenting with the Mini-E has allowed me to adapt my technique for espresso success with little mess.
Current Mazzer Mini-E Usage Technique 1) Set the single doser screw so that the single doser button dispenses 1 -1.5g. (This step only needs to be done once.) 2) Set the double doser screw so that the double doser button dispenses enough to fill a double PF basket about ¾ full. (This will take some trial and error over the first week or so of use with several bean types and roast profiles, then most likely will be changed rarely.) 3) Fill bean hopper with beans. 4) Prior to first use in the morning, press the single dose button to push out the stale grounds remaining in the chute from the day before and toss them. 5) Push double dose button. If needed, use the manual button to top off the PF basket.
Note that for those who wish to use a measured amount of beans each time rather than filling the bean hopper, the double doser screw can be set to a high enough value to ensure that the entire load of beans is ground.
I ordered on-line from Whole Latte Love on Memorial Day. The Mini-E shipped the following day (Tuesday) and arrived in “perfect” condition on Thursday. Perfect is in quotes because it turned out that the internal connectors to the single and double dose adjusters were connected to the wrong connectors on the circuit board located in the base of the unit. It was a 5 minute job to fix this myself. Whole Latte Love tech support responded rapidly and was very apologetic. The tech stated that they had seen this issue on only one other unit. I joked that my unit must have been assembled at the factory on a Monday. Later I found a slip of paper in the shipping carton with the date of manufacture and an operator number of 77. I checked my calendar. Sure enough, my Mini E WAS assembled on a Monday. Number 77 apparently had a rough weekend!