This grinder is highly recommended, though it has been superseded by the Solis 177.
Positive Product Points
- conical burrs
- adjustable grind range
- small footprint
- easy to clean
- grinding range
- virtually no static
- looks good next to my Starbucks Buon Caffe 330
- large hopper
- looks and feels more solid and substantial than the Bodum Antigua.
Negative Product Points
- must be operating to change grind if beans are in hopper
- timer switch turns off machine, but turns very hard if one wants to end the cycle earlier; feels like it may break.
I have read many reviews and settled on the Solis 166. I needed to get a burr grinder because I started roasting my own coffee, and could not grind for french press with my blade grinder. I purchased a refurbished Solis 166 From Kyle at Baratza in Bellevue, Washington for $85US. ($92US with sales tax.) I was even able to pick it up and save on shipping.
I have found that the grind range is definitely towards the "fine" end of the scale. I have heard that the Starbucks "Barista", which is virtually identical to the Solis 166, doesn‘t grind fine enough for pump espresso. I can definitely say that the finest grind on the Solis is Turkish, with espresso falling in the middle. I can easily choke my pump espresso machine. At the coarsest setting, just before the hopper disengages, I can get a french press grind, though this might be too fine for some people. It almost chokes my Cambourd press...
I have noticed no real static problems. For comparison, I have a "Betty Crocker" burr grinder that I found at a thrift store, which is a private-label OEM version of the La Pavoni "PA" burr grinder. The static with it under the same conditions is terrible.
The noise of the 166 is loud, but not the high wind of a blade grinder, nor the obnoxious blast of the La Pavoni. It is acceptable. There is virtually no heating of the coffee as it is ground.