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Nuova Simonelli MCF - Jesse Imbach's Review
Posted: March 25, 2006, 6:24pm
review rating: 7.3
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
Nuova Simonelli MCF
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More About This Product
Arrow The Nuova Simonelli MCF has 13 Reviews
Arrow The Nuova Simonelli MCF has been rated 8.77 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Nuova Simonelli MCF reviews have been viewed 81,444 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Robert Shupp 8.42
Bruce Bergenfeld 8.40
John Holder 8.16
Bob J 7.87
Peter V 7.75

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 8.0
Manufacturer: Nuova Simonelli Quality: 8
Average Price: $610.00 Usability: 7
Price Paid: $0.00 Cost vs. Value 9
Where Bought: gift Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 month Overall 8
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: Yes
Similar Items Owned: Mazzer Mini, Pasquini Moka, Gaggia MDF
Bottom Line: If you lust for a Mazzer, but only have $300+/- to spend, this is the best choice you can make.
Positive Product Points

Metal parts are beautifully machined and well put together.
White paint/powdercoat looks a foot thick-also beautiful.
Burrs, while seriously expensive to replace, are well cut so they slice the beans evenly.
The worm-gear mechanism allows for very precise adjustment.
Handsomly matches the NS Ellimatic.
Quiet and no static.

Negative Product Points

Doser mechanism is a study in seriously bad design.  
Hopper finger guard only makes it difficult to get all the beans from the hopper to the burrs.
Doser finger guard only makes it difficult to sweep out all the grounds.
When tightened on, the hopper sits slighty off center but still wiggles in its place.
Small burrs are a touch slow (compared to Mazzer).  Quicker than MDF

Detailed Commentary

The MCF is an elegant, compact, very adjustable grinder with a well-crafted set of burrs and a solid cast metal base.  It is the second best grinder I have yet owned, after the Mazzer Mini—a major compliment.   As good as it is at grinding beans however, it is encumbered with a small number of design flaws, at least two of which are significant.

  1. The doser design is absolutely abysmal.  The handle is so cheaply made that I fear for its longevity and the doser itself gets choked up on any grounds fine enough for espresso.

  2. Inside of the chute that runs from the burr chamber to the doser is a cast-in-metal “+” -shaped finger guard which regularly blocks up and requires cleaning after every use.

If you can deal with those two major problems, and the minor other niggles outlined above, this is a great grinder and for the price, it may even be a superb grinder.  

For example, in a direct comparison between my Mazzer Mini and the MCF, under a 10x loop, the coffee grounds looked very similar in consistency.  That is very impressive—even for a well dialed-in machine.  And speaking of dialed-in…

The worm-drive actuated grinder adjustment allows for even the smallest changes to the grind consistency.  This is handy because humidity changes from day-to-day, or roast changes from batch-to-batch often call for small changes in the grind to achieve a great shot.  

Sometimes there seems to be a small amount of play in the mechanism. To achieve best results when making adjustments, I recommend over adjusting and dialing back to where you want to be, but in regular use I find that just a small turn is required to induce sticky-sweet rat-tails of espresso to drip from the portafilter.  

The solid cast metal base of the grinder is very weighty and, in concert with the soft rubber feet, keeps the grinder in place while dosing.  As I mentioned above, the powdercoat on the grinder is very good, making it look far more expensive than it is.

Finally, the cast Lucite hopper is a great size for the home user.  If you remove the finger guard, you can easily use it for 18-grams at a time—just drop in the beans and slide the block in while grinding.

Overall, while considering the merits of this grinder, the worst I can say about it is that it is not quite as great as the Mazzer.  But, it is also 3/4 the price—occupying a niche that is otherwise bereft of infinite adjustability.  Thus, if you are on a budget, and you want the best quality ground coffee possible, this is a great choice.

Buying Experience

Faultless.  It was a gift.

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review rating: 7.3
Posted: March 25, 2006, 6:24pm
feedback: (2) comments | read | write
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