CoffeeGeek believes that the Ascaso grinders might just be the ultimate grinder for the home tyro or serious espresso tweaker. With the fine tuning of the grind that is unsurpassed by any other grinder I've tried, this machine is sure to please those who count their beans, roast their own, and measure the ambient temperatures and humidity before brewing.
But this grinder isn't for everyone, and it isn't perfect. The motor issues and the amount of grinds left in the chute show that Ascaso has some fine tuning and possible re-engineering to consider before it can be considered best in its class. The fact that it cannot be practically used for other types of grinding (including drip and press pot) will also limit the appeal for some who want a do all, be all grinder.
Throughout this review we talked a lot about the Rocky. There's a reason: for some ten plus years now, the Rocky has been the standard-bearer, the quintessential home "prosumer" level grinder. It has the legs, it has the longevity, it has the build, and it has the record to fall back on. The Rocky's motor is several steps above those in the Innovas, and the noise difference is substantial. The Rocky feels like a professional tool in the home. The Innovas don't quite meet that level. They come close in a lot of ways, but not quite up to the Rocky just yet.
Today, we consider the Innova a good overall investment, but not a perfect one. In a poll amongst the small number of people who tried this grinder during the evaluation period, it was almost a 50/50 split as to whether they would choose the Innova over the Rocky. Those who chose the Innova grinder liked the unsurpassed fine tuning, and the quality of shots that it could deliver from almost any espresso machine.
Those who didn't choose the Innova rated the amount of grinds left over as the number one concern, and the underpowered motor in the conical burr model as the second most glaring issue.
As part of our Detailed Review process, we rank products against those we consider our benchmarks. In this case, the Rancilio Rocky is the benchmark, and we've also tossed in the Mazzer Mini and the Solis Maestro grinder for comparison. The Rocky is a "10" in all categories - the other grinders can score higher or lower:
|Grinder Ratings Comparison|
|Grind Tuning||Grind Quality||Doser||Motor||Noise||Equip. Quality||Overall|
|Innova Flat Burr||15||11.25||12||7||7||8||9.25|
Wrap up and Pricing
I know a lot of work and development has gone into this grinder. You may have read online some claims that the Ascaso grinders are a barely disguised Ibertal grinder (it shares the same silhouette and also features a similar worm drive gear selection), but it isn't the same grinder any more than the Solis Maestro is the same grinder as the Starbucks Barista. Keep in mind, when the Rocky first came out, it went through a fine tuning period as well, and was modified and refined in its first few years.
Overall, Ascaso have produced a fine espresso grinder, one that will make a serious espresso aficionado happy with the end results. Espresso Parts is a good and ethical dealer and they also stand behind this product 100%. We believe this adds serious value to these products, and is something to be considered when you are making purchase decisions.