I wish I had could recommend the I-mini more enthusiastically . . . but its flaws preclude me from doing that.
Positive Product Points
- Small footprint is nice for those of us with limited workspace. - With the exception of the hopper, it feels quite sturdy. - Stepless grind adjustment is great for fine-tuning the grind to the extraction method and the bean. - Aesthetically very attractive.
Negative Product Points
- Accumulation of grounds within. - Hopper literally unscrews itself off from its housing.
Prior to purchasing the iMini I did a lot of research and was aware of the accumulation problem. Yet, I didn't expect the accumulation to be as significant as it is and I was nevertheless persuaded by the iMini's positive product points. This is a grinder I really wanted to love.
I do not wish to repeat too much of the earlier reviews, but the fatal flaw of the iMini is the rather significant accumulation of grounds within the path from hopper to chute. In order to reduce the amount of stale grounds going into the next cup, I must toss out the first few seconds worth of grounds. And in order to minimize the wasted amount of freshly ground beans, I must rock and slap the housing while pulsing the motor in order to knock out as much of the accumulated grounds as possible. Working around the accumulation is a PITA and, for this reason alone, has me looking for another grinder.
The plastic hopper I have is a replacement for the original. However, like the original hopper the replacement manages to unscrew itself off of the housing within half-a-portafilter worth of grinding. The retailer tried to "fix" the problem by wrapping the base of the hopper with scotch-tape because, they said, the hopper was not covered under the manufacturer's warranty!
The absence of a fork upon which to rest the portafilter is unfortunate, because trying to push the small activation button with the beveled portafilter is an unnecessary aggravation.
The iMini has, as touched upon above and as described by the other reviewers, its share of positive points. IMO, the most significant are stepless grind adjustment, competent job of grinding and attractive aesthetics.
If a rating of 5 to 6 is "average", then perhaps the iMini is a 6+, but it could quite easily justify an 8 or a 9 if its flaws were remedied.
I purchased my iMini from a local retailer, Verasu. Unfortunately, its idea of what constitutes after-sales service is somewhat misplaced, as evidenced by its liberal use of scotch-tape for repairs.
Three Month Followup
It appears that grinds buildup will remain a headache. No matter how vigorously I smack the housing to shake out grinds, accumulation still occurs and thorough cleaning requires a periodic minor dis-assembly (removal of one screw). Easy to do, but still a PITA.