This is actually a review for the RANCILIO MD-50/AT GRINDER and *not* the MD-40. There is no section for the MD-50, so I am putting it here. Basically, the MD-50 is a **much** larger version, in EVERY way, than its little brother, the MD-40.
Before I bought my Livia 90, I was in the market for a quality replacement dosing grinder for my inadequate Saeco MC2002 and La Pavoni flat burr grinders. I was pretty well set on the Rancilio Rocky but stumbled upon an eBay auction for this Rancilio MD-50/AT commercial grinder for what turned out to be $285 including shipping (actually wound up costing me $3,500--details below). I had never seen any Rancilio grinder, much less the MD-50, so I was unprepared for the sheer gargantuosity (my new word. Like it? ;-) of this behemoth. When I picked up the box from the FEDEX counter, I knew I was in trouble.
Once I got the box home and opened it up, I was pretty sure that this just wasn't going to work. At the time, before I got my Livia 90 last week (Jan 7, 2002), I just cleaned it up, tweaked it a little, and put it right back in the box. I only had a Starbucks' Barista and a Rancilio Audrey espresso machines, and the MD-50 would probably grind them up while I slept if I insulted him by putting him by those two. It stands nearly TWO FEET TALL with the hopper. Heck, it's nearly 18-inches tall WITHOUT the hopper attached. I was tempted to give it a try, but figured it'd be best to put it in the store room until I had a machine that was even a remotely worthy match for the mighty MD.
Well, as of January 7, 2002 I am a proud, new Pasquini Livia 90 Auto owner, so I woke the mighty MD out of winter hibernation and set it beside Livia. The MD is still just too big, so I have decided to sell it on eBay and have just ordered a Mazzer Mini as a much better match for Livia.
THE SPECS and USAGE of the MD-50/AT
Anyway, I have used the MD-50 for about 10 pounds while I wait for the Mazzer and I have to admit that it does an unbelievable job. It holds 2.2 pounds (1Kg) in the hopper and about 2/3-pound of grounds in the doser. I can utterly pulverize coffee into micro-fine powder for supreme Turkish coffee, certainly capable of choking any La Marzocco on its best day. The grind range is astounding. It can go from breaking up beans into relative few pieces to talcum-fine powder that you could use on a baby's butt (only if you're REALLY a coffee freak). It's also remarkably quiet, even when grinding. It weighs a TON, and doesn't move a micron even with vigorous dosing. It's also, for better or worse, an AUTOMATIC, so it keeps the doser full automatically (although I used it as a manual by shutting it off after grinding enough for my immediate use). The dosing is widely adjustable from 5-11 grams, which is great for anyone that can use it.
Basically, it's squarely a VERY commercial grinder for use in busy cafes and restaurants. What makes it a great commercial grinder also makes it not-so-great for home use, which I doubt Rancilio ever intended so it's really my fault. So if you're pulling shot after shot, then this is certainly a grinder to consider, even at its $800 street price (new). I can't think of ANYTHING else this grinder would need. It's the total package, but one designed for commercial use only. Don't bother trying this at home.