Eight months with a product can give you some very good evaluation fodder. Eight months of very high volume use in a home environment can tell you even more.
What did my testing of the grinder, using it with a dozen different espresso machines tell me? In a nutshell, it firmed up my belief that you'd be hard pressed to find a better grinder for the home.
With almost every other grinder I've tested (including the bulky commercial Rossi RR45 grinder), there always seems to be a case of "make do' with what I'm using. This was simply not the case with the Mazzer. One might think that since it is pretty much exclusively for espresso grinding, that would be a case of "make do" in terms of grinding for drip coffee or vac pot coffee but I don't look at it that way at all. You don't use a set of golf clubs to play baseball with, and nor would you use a football to play soccer with. Thatís how I see this product: it's designed to do espresso, and in doing so it has proven to be one of the best tools available for that job.
That said, I did test the grinder extensively for drip brewing, vac pot brewing, moka pot preparation, and french press brewing, and in all cases the Mazzer Mini never let me down; in fact, the grind it produced from the finest turkish grind to the coarsest press pot grind was probably the most even, consistent and suitable grind I've ever managed to produce in the home. I was especially impressed with the press pot grind: I could get a very consistent shard-shaped grind of the beans that produced a superior press pot beverage.
Becoming one with a Mazzer Mini
| For me, this was the near perfect position for a ristretto grind - very fine grind with fresh, medium roast beans. |
In my usual lotus mantra I like to spew about getting very familiar with how a machine works, I state the same thing about the Mini: you must really use the product for several months to really get in tune with it and how it works. It's like you dialing yourself in to how the grinder functions, operates and performs day to day.
But there's one thing I noticed with the Mini. Because this was a grinder that seemed to give you less "make do" hassles than every other grinder I've tested, this machine seemed willing and able to adjust itself to any bean, any grind, or any condition. My success rate in "dialing in" the grinder early on was amazing, and this is the main reason why I used the Mini to evaluate a dozen espresso machines. Where other grinders may throw minor fits requiring recalibration or constant readjustments, the Mini seemed to only need one or two tweaks on the grind dial and it was good to go.
But there's nothing like experience, and I believe that my two or three months' intensive use of the grinder gave me the ability and skill to know exactly how much adjustment the dial needed to cope with a darker grind or a new espresso machine. If you buy the grinder, you'll find this is the case as well. You may hit the occasional home run with the machine in pulling the perfect God Shot early on, but you will find that as time goes on, your consistency bar constantly raises because you know exactly how to get the most out of the Mini (and the same goes true for almost any grinder).
| || || || |
| || || || |
| Built in doser, two positions possible (see mounting screw visible). |
| The hopper stopper! It works, and is easy to use. |
| Grinding dial seated but not yet screwed into the body. |
| Grind dial, screwed in and set at "perfect" for normal espresso grinding. |
Minor quirks noticed long term
One thing I did notice in my long term testing is something that doesn't jive with what I said in my first look - I said then that the fit and finish on the grinder is so tight that grinds don't find many places to accumulate.
That was probably a naÔve statement - grinds always find places to accumulate. It's like their mission in life (after, of course, their primary mission to give you a good cup of coffee :)). After several months of use, I did notice grinds accumulating between the steel wall of the doser and the plastic insert. I also found grinds in various nook and crannies throughout the machine. One thing I also noticed was the buildup of grinds, packed with 100s of lbs of pressure, around the burr mounting plate - something which is common to almost every flat burr (and conical burr) grinder I've ever tested.
Fortunately for the Mazzer, this dense ring of ground coffee is small in volume - very small in fact, when compared to the Rossi RR45, which managed to pack 15 grams of coffee into a dense ring around its burr group after a few weeks' use. The Mazzer's build up was measured at about 5 grams, and is not a concern to the operation or performance of the machine.
Another thing that did bother me, albeit in a miniscule way, was the drop distance between the doser and the fork. I'm probably amplifying this problem way too much because to be frank, there's so little to complain about the machine. But I couldn't help think raising the fork would almost completely prevent any grind spillage while dosing.
Another possible fix Mazzer could incorporate is a brake wall on the left side of the doser chamber exit hole - this way when grinds fly out of the machine while dosing, they would hit a mini vertical wall, and fall straight down into the portafilter.