Simple, sturdy, 10 year burr warranty, pretty (matches m y FF), and under $75
Negative Product Points
The only negative I can think of is that the grind adjustment knob is a little loose and slides during grinding.
It was the Zass or waiting another six months with my five-year-old whirly blade, so I went with the Zass. In an ideal world, I would have gone for Chris' Nuova Simonelli MCI Doserless, but the credit cards were maxed out years ago. Eventually, I plan on getting something electric and relegating the Zass to my camper and travel grinder, but for now I think that it is an excellent deal
I can't believe how many people complain about having to crank for their coffee. It's not bad -- two minutes more than grinding on my whirly, and the taste is so much better. And the choice for me was cranking or getting something that was absolutely inferior. The grinds are very uniform.
I got the black knee mill (which came with the ultra-cool red lion and umbrella emblem) and I think I made the right choice. I initially bought one for my father because it was the only one I could afford for him <and so I could try it> and I got him the open hopper fancy-lookin one, but when I tried it out, I spilled the beans a couple of times, and had trouble holding it. I really liked being able to see the beans getting crushed up, but I work early and got to sleep late and I needed something that kept the beans in. The knee mill has a slick little spring door that keeps everything where it’s supposed to be, and limits the beans to what can fit in the drawer.
The one fault I can find with the machine is that the grind adjustment knob is loose on the one I bought – I’m planning on disassembling a little later and fixing this, but for now, I just have a series of twisty ties around the knob to hold it in place. Works – just not all that attractive.
Man, honeymooning with your first burr grinder is nice.
online -- cheapest website at the time. Buying experience was average.
Three Month Followup
I'm still loving the Zass, and find more and more that I am glad I went for the slightly more expesive knee model. The only bad point is that the "foot" of the grinder has started to flake off paint. No big deal -- if it bothered me I'd just throw some shoe polish on it. Brought the Zass and a Melita cone camping a couple of weeks ago -- it was so awesome to be able to grind in the mountains. Would definately buy again -- any time. I still think I'll be buying an electric grinder in the next couple of years but that will be dedicated espresso.
In summary no loss in grinding quality over the last five or so months. Do not regret my purchase at all. I am using a twist-tie to hold the grind adjustment knob in place and the work-around is fine.
One Year Followup
A little over a year, but I figured I needed to write a follow-up. I have gotten tired of grinding by hand. I put a 12MM socket on to the top of the grinder and can now grind with a motor by using a drill and a screwdriver bit that fits inside of the 1/4" wrench end of the socket! I have been doing this for four months now. The teflon ring that keeps the grind adjustment knob stable broke, but I'm not sure if it is because of the drill attachment. Overall, this grinder is still kickin but it's getting to show it's age in the burrs. The grind adjustment knob loosness is a problem. My neighbor who has a ten year-old Zass uses rubber-bands to hold his adjustments. Electric Zass? The $50 burr mill we've been waiting for.