Face it, this is an old grinder. There are far better ones available now-a-days, but if you like to tinker and can find one at a garage sale or thrift store, hey, why not try to get it to work? It IS possible. Diamonds come from coal...
Positive Product Points
- Built like a tank; burrs held in solid brass machined fittings - Easy to service - Not that bad looking, but get black; white gets dirty too fast - It IS possible to dial it in for espresso, but takes effort - Plastic deflector shield in the grounds bin can be used to level the scoop
Negative Product Points
- Will not grind for espresso out-of-the-box - STATIC: Spews electrified fines EVERYWHERE - Clogs easily - Plastic hooks on grounds-hopper can break with time
I've read most of the reviews for this grinder. I can't really complain much. I got it USED at St. Vinny's for something like $4 about 4 years ago, at a time when I was cruising the thrift stores for Cory vacuum pots and other miscellaneous coffee stuff. I've used it off and on over the years, but mostly it's sat. I'm pretty sure WHY it was relegated to the thrift store based on my experiences and that of others.
Estro was the original maker of this grinder, before Estro was swallowed up by Saeco. Mine has a manufacturing date of 4/95. It was a well-designed grinder for it's time. I've had a succession of burr grinders, but most of them have burned-up over time. I have never had the good fortune to own a really nice grinder like a Rocky, so have had to make do. Some of my more expensive (to me) grinders have bit the dust, like my Solis and Baratza. Grind too much coffee and the motors burn out.
After having my last "good" grinder burn out, being the cheap bastard I am I decided to take home a Cuisinart DBM-8 grinder that we were no longer using at work since we'd gotten a Bunn commercial unit. When I tried to take apart the Cuisinart to make aluminum foil shims to dial it in, I discovered the plastic shaft that held the upper burr was broken, hence the trip to the garage to get the Estro/Saeco MC2002.
I was about to pull the trigger on a Baratza Virtuoso on eBay, but thought, "what the heck, maybe I can adjust this one and get it dialed-in..."
What followed was a hard, sometimes comic three hour journey.
The MC2002 was dirty and had caked coffee powder clogging the exit chute and burr/grinding compartment. I took the whole machine apart thinking it might be a conical burr machine, but no such luck: flat burrs. I decided to take the motor/burr assembly out to the garage where I used carburetor cleaner to dissolve the old coffee residue. (DO NOT USE THIS STUFF ON THE PLASTIC PARTS, ONLY METAL!!!) Yes it does work, with a LOT of elbow grease and an old tooth brush thrown in. The motor is extremely heavy and well made. All of the castings are top-notch. Why they had to use a speed that sounds like a jet engine on take-off is beyond me...
After scrubbing every piece I was ready to reassemble. Getting the rubber chute-grommet back in place was a positive PITA. While trying to dial in the top burr, I lost the springy, bullet catch thingies in the garbage disposal TWICE. This was the comedic part where I then had to use Vise-Grips and a magnet to extract them. They sit in loose holes in the top of the machine and each time I dumped the remaining beans after testing the grind I'd forget, and down the sink they'd go...
But I digress.
I've had many budget model espresso machines, but the one I currently use is an older Estro 410, made of black plastic and good looking. I got it at a garage sale for $8 virtually new several years ago. It works very well. I was FINALLY able to adjust the burrs on the MC2002 so that "0" is where they actually TOUCH. At a setting of 1 1/2, I can now get a 30 second shot out of the Estro using a non-pressurized portafilter and a 30 lb. tamp. The crema is good, thick and the resulting espresso is great. (I home roast...)
Yes, the static is a problem, but every machine I've had with a grounds-bin made like this one has been the same. I tried using a home-made rheostat to slow the motor down, but because of the machine design, it just bogs-down at a slower speed.
I think I'll keep this one for awhile and use it just for espresso. Not bad for a 13-year-old piece of unwanted "junk". I also have an old Braun KM-30 that I shimmed last evening for espresso, but will work better for drip and press-pot.
Great, can't beat $8 and getting your "treasure" to work properly.