Can grind for espresso, but needs frequent cleaning. Works great from a fine drip grind all the way to Turkish!
Positive Product Points
Produces a respectible grind for espresso. Outer burr assembly easily removed for cleaning. Fair price. Has all the functionality you get with the Maestro +, but at a lower price. I do not think the extra features of the Maestro+ are necessary.
Negative Product Points
Needs frequent cleaning if used for espresso. Static in collection cup.
At the current time, as a new machine, it produces a good espresso grind.... when clean. Much to my suprize, when it gets a bit clogged with old coffee, espresso becomes remarkablty bitter.
Grinder appears to be made of mild steel, not a higher grade carbin steel. I don't know if anything short of a commercial grinder, or perhaps the Mazer or Rocky have tool steel burrs. At this time, it may not be an issue, but time will tell if it will hold up. These soft steel burrs rapidly clog with coffee. I do not know the cleaning frequency yet, but other reviews suggest once per week. I fear it may be faster. My burrs and output ports are about 25% clogged after only one use.
The outer burr is easily removed and cleaned with a toothbrush. The inner burr and output chute are hard to access. I have had to run the machine upside-down to remove clogged coffee. I have also needed to probe the output chute with a q-tip. Perhaps if I had a powerfull hand-vacuum that might remove the clogged grounds.
Due to mess and static in collection cup, I collect ground coffee in a hand-held metal cup, then transfer to portafilter. I will be buying or making a small metal funnel to fit my portafilter. I need too many grounds before tamping to grind directly into the portafilter.
Good retailer. Fast shipping.
Three Month Followup
Working well. Using for everything from a fairly fine drip grind (we use a finer that usual grind for drip) to espresso. Cleaning is kind of a pain. Espresso is often less bitter after a cleaning. Seems hard to believe, but removing those small amounts of old coffee in the burr teeth really does make for a smoother espresso. I have never owned one of the fancier grinders favored by the coffenistas, like the rancillo rocky or others in the $300-$500 range, but this one seems to be doing just fine for home use.
One Year Followup
I just started making turkish coffee. It is still working great. You cannot set it to the finest setting, or the burr teeth will grind. I just move it to as fine as possible before I hear gnashing, and it does a great job all the way from turkish powder to a fairly fine grind for drip. (We make drip with a finer grind that most people use for drip) Still going strong. Runs circles around the manual and blade grinders for consistency in grind (and ease of use). So far, I am not at all convinced that one of the more expensive "professional" class grinders was necessary. One of my co-workers has the "plus" and is NOT happy. It is possible that their manufacturing process is not as consistent as it should be, and his unit is just not as well aligned and balanced. Mine has been top-knotch.