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Baratza Maestro Grinder - Jeff H's Review
Posted: December 2, 2009, 10:40am
review rating: 0.0
feedback: (0) comments | read | write
Baratza Maestro Grinder
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More About This Product
Arrow The Baratza Maestro Grinder has 90 Reviews
Arrow The Baratza Maestro Grinder has been rated 7.40 overall by our member reviewers
Arrow This product has been in our review database since November 30, 2001.
Arrow Baratza Maestro Grinder reviews have been viewed 462,310 times (updated hourly).

Quality Reviews
These are some of the best-written reviews for this product, as judged by our members.
Name Ranking
Jim Pellegrini 8.38
Bill Womack 8.33
Robert Kugel 8.00
Douglas Herring 8.00
T. Guilbert 7.91

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Ratings and Stats Overall Rating: 7.2
Manufacturer: Baratza Quality: 5
Average Price: $100.00 Usability: 8
Price Paid: $99.00 Cost vs. Value 8
Where Bought: Amazon Aesthetics 8
Owned for: 1 year Overall 7
Writer's Expertise: I love coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned: Cuisinart, Gaggia MDF
Bottom Line: Good Initial Results.  However, after one year of daily usage it can no longer produce espresso grind.
Positive Product Points

Inexpensive.
40 grind setting.
Capable of grinding for espresso.  Reasonable consistency.
Very little or none static.
Good for both French press and initially for espresso also

Unit will required re-cal periodically.  BE VERY VERY CAREFUL when doing so since all internal parts are PLASTICS.

Negative Product Points

Build quality consistent (or slightly better) with price range.  Lots plastic parts.  Mounting Burr on plastics parts, having set screw acting on plastic parts, and relying on plastic parts to control the burr clearance, these type of design decisions will not result in reliable lasting grinder.

As shown in Baratza's re-calibration instruction: Click Here (www.baratza.com)
The calibration screw is going through a slotted opening in calibration ring fixing relative position of adjustment ring which has the spiral groove allowed for adjustment of burr clearance.  Hence, the finest of the grind is adjusted based in the tolerance controlled by the spiral groove on a plastic part (adjustment ring) mating to another plastic part (calibration ring) fixed by a #2 screw.  Both plastic parts are soft non-impra. parts and just don't appear to be able to hold true through daily (2~3 espresso grind) usage.  My unit, through time, set-screw kept drifting toward the coarse setting while deforming the plastic parts.

Detailed Commentary

INITIAL IMPRESSION:

Overall, at this price range, it's above my expectation.

I need a low end grinder to go with my low end espresso machine (with pressurized portafilter) used in my office.  After reading the review on this site, Maestro seems to fit the need and indeed, this is the best $100 grinder in comparing to others that I had encounter before.

Grind consistency and fineness are good enough for the pressurized portafilter machine that we have.  Grinding speed is spec. as 1 gram per second and seems to be reasonably accurate (did not measure it with scale; it seem to fill the double basket in about 15 seconds).  With couple test runs, I was able to dial in the setting (3~4 from finenest; depend on the bean).  Through out the week as bean aged, one click adjustment changes was enough to account for the difference.  Granted, pressurized protafilter machine are generally more forgiven, shot to shot consistency was very good.  Grind comes out with minimum clump and no static; keeping counter top clean.  

I did not get the portafilter holder option.  Holding the portafilter under the grinder output and flipping the switch on and off works well for me.

I also used the grinder for French Press/Aeropress.  Grind consistency stay coarse enough that no unexpected/unwanted dust coming through but still maintain good body in the coffee.  The grind consistency is also felt in every press.  (i.e. with same amount of grind, force required to press stay the same.)  BTW, Aeropress does not quite fit under the grinder (in height).  Since it only fit under with an angle, careless operator sometime can make a mess.

Buying Experience

Typical Amazon buying experience.  Find it, buy it, and it shows up at my front door.

Three Month Followup

Notice grind setting calibration may have changed

One Year Followup

It no longer can grind fine enough for espresso after only 1 year of usage.  Initially, a year ago, when adjusted to finest level, grind produced was fine enough to choke the espresso machine; hence able to dial to the proper setting.  Through out the year, gradually, I have to keep moving toward finer setting every now and then.  Eventually, after roughly 8 month of daily usage, at the finest setting, the grind produced was not fine enough.  Following the instruction, I was able to re-calibrate it back closer to initial factory setting fist time when I re-cal.  The reason that it require re-cal so quickly is that,  cal screw and burr mounting are all PLASTIC PARTS!  Through time, plastic deformed a little and also not able to hold the initial cal setting.  My re-cal lasted about three months.  Unfortunately, the second time when I re-cal, I over torque the set screw and deformed the plastic part, now the unit is only good for drip and french press.  

Now that I have a change taking this unit part and Examining the design carefully, I somewhat regret the purchase.

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Posted: December 2, 2009, 10:40am
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