Best deal for a grinder, especially for espresso, super consistent grind and in the end thats what counts!
Positive Product Points
1.Very consistent, completely stepless grind, performed especially well for espresso 2.Slow Grind speed=no heating of beans
10 year gurantee on burrs
Less likely to break than a electric grinder
Negative Product Points
Its a hand grinder so it takes longer than an auto one
The box that catches the grinds is awkward to take coffee out of
Hard to keep track of where grind setting is (reproducibility issue) 4.Small hopper size and small ground collecting box
Burr Mechanism and screw on top of grinder come loose easilly 6.Slightly dissapointed at the coarse end
Slightly annoying to clean, kinda messy too
Well first off this is a hand grinder... let me repeat that HAND grinder. If your not willing to take the extra time and effort to grind by hand then this is not for you. Now that I got that out of the way lets get into the positive things about this grinder.
Pros: This is by far the best deal you can get out of a grinder at the 100 or less price range. My guess is that it can go head to head with every other grinder up to the rocky+ range. I wouldnt be surprised if it was just as good as the rocky in terms of grind quality (note ive never used a good electric grinder this is just assumptions). I am definately very impressed in grind quality. It can grind as fine as you like. I have no problem choking silvia with this grinder. It also has fine enough adjustments that with espresso you can make the minute changes needed to keep shots at the best quality from day to day.
The grind speed is in fact quite slow. This doesnt heat up the beans and we all know that heat is an enemy of roasted coffee. This is also good because once you start doing the fine grinds you are likely to have the burrs touching at least a little bit. The slow grind speed ensures that you will not ruin your grinder by having this happen. Even if the burrs start to dull you have a 10 yr gurantee on the burrs so you don't really have to worry all that much.
Again there are no electrical parts on this so having a problem with mechanical things is out of the question. This grinder is small enough that you can bring it anywhere. It makes a great companion on vacations where if you had a big electric one you never be able to fit it. When the power goes out you'll be the only person on the block enjoying good coffee.
This Grinder however is not perfect, here are some negative points that I have encountered so far:
Again this is a hand grinder so it isnt as fast as a normal grinder. In most cases this is ok but when your dealing with espresso, especially on a machine where you have to temp surf, timing is everything. Grinding enough beans for a double shot generally takes 60 seconds give or take 10 seconds. The main problem and most time consuming thing is trying to effectively dose the shot. The box is... well a box. Trying to get the finely ground beans is a pain in the rear. I start by taking a soup spoon and taking big scoops of the grounds and putting it into the PF basket. I then use a demitasse spoon and get the stuff that the soup spoon can't get. I then rap the box on the table to shift the grinds to one side and then slap the box with a spoon to dose the rest of the grinds into the PF. This is a messy process and I never end up with a clean counter after dosing. If your one of those anal people about cleanliness and exact dosing amounts this grinder might drive you a bit crazy ;). This takes a little bit of time too so the first bit of grinds you put in may be getting heated to long by the warm PF by the time you ready to tamp. Im not sure the exact time frame in which the heat actually hurts the grinds but I'm sure that it would be better if you could do the dosing procress a little bit faster.
Cleaning this thing is also a little bit of a pain. You really shouldnt wash the wood so cleaning out the dosing box is basically restricted to brushing it out and blowing it. The space in which the dosing box goes into always collects grinds too so you have to clean that. Its hard to get in there and you'll have to either blow into it (and get grinds in your eyes) or use some canned air or something to that effect ot blow out loose grinds. I havnt attempted cleaning the actuall grinding burrs yet b/c of the logistics involved. You basically have to take apart the hopper thingy to do this so i limited my cleaning of it to just blowing air into it.
The hopper and the dosing box are both a little bit to small for my liking. This is a tradeoff here since if it was bigger then it wouldnt be so viable for travelling. Im only using it for my own coffee drinking so it isnt a big deal, but when I'm serving coffee for others it can get to be annoying. Theres basically only enough room for 6 tbsp of beans (2 doubles w/marzocco baskets).
Reproducing a grind on this is difficult. If you change the grind setting from where it was at the only way to get it back is to guess or to listen for where in the spinning of the burrs you heard them touching hehe. This is fine if your not changing beans very often or if your just using one method of extraction, but if your the type who likes their drip in the morning, press in the afternoon, and espresso at night your gonna be annoyed with this sooner or later.
The top nut which really doesnt do all that much comes off on mine all the time it keeps the grinder turner handle thing (not sure what its actually called :P) in place. I'm sure if it fell off and you lost it, it would be annoying eventually but untill then I just tighten it up periodically and dont worry about. Another problem that i just discovered is that if I turn the grind upside down the grinding burrs dont stay all the way in position. This again is kinda a nonissue because you can jsut avoid turning it upside down.
Grinding coarse as in for french press is a little bit dissapointing. The grind is 100 times more even than a blade grinder but it doesnt look as uniform as it does in the finer grinds. Its still good just not perfect, im not sure if electric grinders do any better of a job on coarse grinds but I'm thihnking they do.
S,o in conclusion, I am quite happy with this grinder. I was tight on money and I needed a quality grinder to match my quality espresso machine and this grinder fit the bill perfectly. All the problems with it are minor and none have to do with grind quality only convenience. Most of them you either get used to or don't even realize they exist. This is a great grinder definately
Oh and PS: It really isnt as slow as some people say. Its not electric but not piss slow either. 1 minute tops for a double shot (due to fine grind) 15 seconds for a 8 oz french press grind, 30 seconds for a single cup drip grind. I once ground 2 pounds of coffee to mix in with my parents pre ground folgers (yuck!) in 10 minutes. This is including having to fill it up everytime with its small hopper too. I think thats fast enough!
No problems whatsoever, prompt delivery and it arrived in perfect shape.