This is a high quality tool that doesn't cost a fortune .
Positive Product Points
Very nice looking Excellent workmanship and materials
Negative Product Points
Adjustment for coarseness of grind slips while grinding. I put a mark on it and reset every minute or so while grinding. Small opening for loading beans.
I never used a burr grinder but I wanted to experiment and improve the quality of the espresso I make. I didn't want to pay a fortune for an electric burr grinder and have something big to take up more space in the kitchen. Also, my wife is always on me to get more exercise. All these things convinced me to get a manual. My brother-in-law, who is a coffee expert (works at Intelligentsia now, formerly of Lion Coffee) and knows how cheap I am, suggested the Zassenhaus as both affordable and good quality.
I'm very happy with it so far. I'm pretty demanding when it comes to quality design, materials, and workmanship and I'm really pleased with this machine. The only problem is the slipping adjustment screw and I've learned to work with that without much trouble.
One problem I've had which is probably due to my ignorance is when I tried to grind coffee for my plunge pot I got a lot of variation in particle size--from the coarse chunks I wanted to fine powder, Maybe it was caused by the type of bean I had. I suppose they might start turning to powder as soon as the bean starts getting broken up in the mill. At any rate, I couldn't get super consistent grounds like in the picture in the coffeegeek how-to article.
Excellent customer service experience.
The Pacific Rim Trading web site has funny security warning that put me off at first but I checked and found out there wasn't a security risk.
The vendor accidentally sent a slightly different model than I ordered. I paid for one that cost $5.00 more. I emailed him saying I would be happy to keep the one he sent and get a refund of the difference in price. I liked the one he sent and it would save him the cost of shipping it two more times. He said he would be very happy to do whatever I wanted. He clearly wanted me to be happy with the result. I said I'd keep the one he sent and a week later I had a check for my refund.
Three Month Followup
This hand grinder is still working great. I use it 1-4 times everyday for espresso and presspot grind. On Christmas day when all the brothers and sister and nieces and nephews were over I made about 20 espressos with it. The adjustment still slips from time to time but I just watch it and reset once or twice per session. I put a mark on it so I know where it should be adjusted for fifferent grinds and it works like a champ.
It's hard to pour coffee grounds from the little drawer into the portafilter or presspot so get a canning funnel. Mine is exactly the right size for my Gaggia portafilter. I end up spilling almost nothing so the mess in minimal.
After thinking about how well it works I'm going to go make a press pot full and enjoy myself.