lots of powder. you get what you pay for, and this grinder was 20bucks.
Positive Product Points
NOTE**: the melitta burr grinder I bought doesn't look like the one pictured above, it's got a round top and looks sleeker.
1) A burr grinder for 20 bucks 2) quality of grinding is half-powder, half-your-desired-grind
Negative Product Points
1) regardless of what setting you put it on, there will be two grinds: the one you want plus a fine powder that's always there. 2) plastic receiver for grinds builds up static cling that's annoying. Way to deal with this, picked up from another CG member: wait a few minutes, then pick up the recepticle, and lightly slap it down on the counter; all the grinds fall down.
First of all, i'm a total beginner at this coffee stuff. Bought my first coffee machine (kitchenaid ultra, 4 cup) and grinder just 2 months ago, so I have no basis for comparing this grinder to others. For drip coffee, I've learned from internet research that people are quite happy with Krups and Braun "whirly-blade" grinders that sell for 20 - 25 bucks. I've read coffee geeks/experts complain that the whirly blade grinders smash beans into variable sizes, whereas a burr grinder produces a grind that is much more consistent in size; presumably, this is desirable because it results in better tasting espresso or coffee. Whatever. I want to be a coffee snob, and this burr grinder was as cheap as the whirly blade grinders, so I bought it and I'm happy with it, except for the negatives mentioned above. Now I ask other coffee people, "what do you grind with? Ohhh, you mean one of those cheap whirly blade things... I see. I have a burr grinder."
I wrote the above post a while ago. My feeling now is: too much powder from this grinder. I'm searching for a better grinder for my drip coffee, considering the Solis Maestro, Gaggia MDF, and doserless Rocky .
Macy's? they're cool. they also sell the Kitchenaid Ultra 4-cup brewer, which is supposed to be the best 4-cup automatic drip-coffeemaker, hands down. Sign up for their credit card when buying, and save 15%.
Three Month Followup
powder. see above
One Year Followup
Alright, i've learned a lot since i wrote this review. A lot. First of all, i'm still drinking drip on a Kitchenaid Ultra 4 cup, using a swiss gold filter. I've also upgraded to a Rocky Doserless. To be completely honest, even the Rocky produces some powder in its coarse grind, maybe 1/5 is small particles or powder. It is likely that this can't be avoided: when "grinding coarse" the beans are actually smashed and not ground, and while no particles are LARGER than the setting, smashing beans produces particles of different sizes inevitably. I still filter my Rocky's french press grind with kitchen steel mesh strainer to remove powder.
What are my thoughts now on the melitta burr grinder? after a few weeks/months it produces way too much powder, an unreasonable amount. The alternative is the whirly blade grinder, which i have no experience with and cannot judge. If you are grinding for drip / pour-over / french press, spend a hundred fifty bucks on the Solis Maestro Plus.
If you can't afford a solis Maestro Plus, than for french press or swiss gold filter drip: use a whirly blade grinder or cheap burr grinder such as this one and a kitchen steel mesh strainer to remove the powder. You'll be wasting lots of coffee (1/4-1/2 of your coffee) as powder or dust, but oh well. If you are using paper filters, then it doesn't matter too much, almost any grinder will be okay.
Perhaps your next question is: what if I want to buy a grinder flexible for espresso grind as well? My answer is that fine-tuning espresso grind fineness requires truly fine-tuning, and once you fine-tune your espresso grinder you won't want to change the setting; also for some machines that require lots of revolutions to change between grind settings, its too much work to go from french press to espresso. The bottom line is that you should have one grinder for medium/coarse grind of drip/french (e.g. a Solis Maestro plus or Rocky) and a separate grinder for espresso (mazzer mini). If you insist on one grinder for both, rocky seems to be the only one that can eassily switch between grind settings.
How did I end up writing so much unrelated stuff for a melitta grinder review? I don't know. Perhaps a desire to prevent another drip coffee lover from intermediate steps that cost time and compromise coffee quality. For daily convenience and speed: a quality drip machine like Technivorm or Krups Moka Brew. For the best quality (non-espresso) coffee: bodum french press with swiss gold filter. Try to get freshly roasted beans, grind before brewing.