A cheap, serious conical grinder at the price of speed and reproducable results.
Positive Product Points
Small Excellent fit and finish Easy to use Stays clean and is easy to clean Static free Grinds cool
Negative Product Points
Slow Small hopper Tough to handle if you have small hands Grind adjustments are hard to reproduce Adjustments are not smooth throughout the range
This is a product that has an excellent first impression. The construction is good and fit and finish are excellent. It is pleasing to handle and inspires confidence. Practically, it is small, easy to handle and stows away when you are not using it with no fuss. When I first added some beans, it was easy to see that the hopper is rather small. Since it is so easy to load, this is not a serious problem. It is also slow to grind, so you are likely to be doing only small quantities at a single grinding session. The finer the grind, the longer it takes to grind a volume.
The little box that collects grinds works better than you might think. It is fairly easy to empty out to a filter. Since it is so slow and there is no plastic, there is no static and the unit grinds very cleanly.
The range of grinds is very wide and the grinds you get are fairly homogeneous but trying to recall a good setting once you change it is pretty much impossible. And, at the widest range the adjustment tends to stick and you have to have a pretty good grip to get it moving. At the other side at fine grind, it is possible to make it so close that the crank will not move. This is not a disadvantage and reflects how close you can get it. It is something you could never do with a powered unit. I have huge hands and so holding it down to apply the handle is no problem. Even with big hands, it is easy to slip a hand under the handle to hold it down to grind. Somebody with a smaller grip might consider adding rubber feet to make it more stable. I would find that an improvement too.
This grinder is not a toy or junk, it is a serious coffee grinder. It takes time to grind for a serving of coffee, but it is not a frustrating experience. It is rather pleasing to feel each bean give way to make good ground coffee.
Espresso Zone has it for a very reasonable price and shipping was not too expensive.
Three Month Followup
In the long run, a powered unit is superior. It so happened that I got a Rancilio Rocky grinder, which grinds better and more consistantly than my Zass. But, of course, the Rocky is 4-5 times more expensive. But, for the money, the Zass is unbeatable. I'll never sell mine.
In order to make my unit more usable, I made a little board and clamp unit that fixed the grinder to the counter without drilling holes in it. I highly recommend this. Otherwise holding the thing in place while grinding is one of the more irritating things about it, even for a big guy like me.
One Year Followup
The Zass is still sitting on the shelf and my Rocky is doing all the work. Will I sell the Zass? Not any time soon.