I was so thrilled with the vast flavor improvement this grinder produced in my brewing efforts, I posted a bit hastily, it turns out (apologies). While I ran the grinder through its paces, I only used the light to medium roasts I prefer, not oilier darker beans (until recently).
My drip coffee tastes marvellous from this grinder, set between 7 and 9. The middle range is hard to beat. Few fines produced. The fines which do occur (I believe all grinders produce SOME fines) accumulate in the top of the basket, in the end of the cute. Thanks to static (usually a disadvantage) the small quantity of fines can be easily avoided and cleaned out with a toothbrush between uses (a good idea to avoid stale coffee).
This cleaning step is messy however (due to static), and care should be taken not to break off the fins that hook the basket into the body of the grinder.
This grinder produces a more consistent grind than the Braun burr grinder which spews tons of fines (my Mom has one). It also makes a much nicer Espresso grind than Braun, although I understand Braun can be tweaked. This Saeco grinds fine enough to make that perfect 22 second shot from my Mom s Europicola La Pavoni lever machine "tons of Crema" she says (I can t tell you how firmly she tamps - light to <reasonably> I would guess). I m guessing however, If your lever/piston can blast through this stuff, you probably need to buy a Mazzer.
Saeco has a more solid, robust, tightly manufactured feel than the similarly priced Solis 166 (which I had the oportunity to play with recently). The Solis bean hopper is flimsy by comparison, and squirmed visibly, as the blades worked away.
I think the grind on Saeco is more consistent than Solis too - but its a tough call as I could not stand the two side by side. French press is really very good on Saeco, but I m not a big French Press person. Visually at least the coarsest Saeco grind was nicer than the coarsest Solis grind -- much larger percent are even-sized grounds. The Solis stuggled more to produce the coarse grind too.
I think the finest grind on Saeco was a hair finer than Solis too (again tough to tell). Don t know if Solis can be tweaked finer. Solis Caked up the oilier beans into little clumps, but Solis did not jam or clog, at least not fatally.
Saeco, on the other hand, when grinding very fine, with oily beans (finest setting is zero), for more than one shot, the chute will clog and back up. The burrs will gradually slow, and finally <grind> to a stop. Even a single shot of dark beans will slow near the end of the grind. Subsequent coarser grinds will produce heated grounds. You can clear the chute with a plastic spoon handle. What a pain.
I called Saeco, and they supplied me with information to take the grinder apart, to check it and clean the burrs (again, a pain). In the rebuilding, you can adjust the grind quite a bit. Since I don t care for dark oily coffee, I am very happy with this grinder. I expect coffee flavored with oils would similarly clog the works.
Avoid this grinder if you like Starbucks-like dark roast, esp from a high powered espresso maker.
Solis will not clog as badly and is easier to clean than Saeco - although its similar low-horsepower motor will <grind> to a stop on occasion too.
I think Saeco is a very good low-horsepower grinder, with a single design flaw (too narrow a chute). Probably the best grinder for drip. Very good too for higher end espresso if you stick to the lighter roasts. A very good buy at 79 dollars. (wholelattelove.com)