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Baratza Maestro Grinder - Derrell Piper's Review
Posted: September 15, 2006, 12:42pm
review rating: 7.5
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
Baratza Maestro Grinder
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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 476,627 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: 2.6
Manufacturer: Baratza Quality: 1
Average Price: $100.00 Usability: 5
Price Paid: $150.00 Cost vs. Value 1
Where Bought: Aabree Coffee (Yahoo) Aesthetics 5
Owned for: 2 years Overall 1
Writer's Expertise: I live coffee Would Buy Again: No
Similar Items Owned:
Bottom Line: If you're considering this $150 grinder, spend extra to get something that lasts...
Positive Product Points

Good initial grind.

Negative Product Points

Severe durability problems.  Unit lasted only 1 year and 9 months.

Detailed Commentary

Short story: you'll like this grinder until it breaks.  Which, corroborated by other reviews posted here over the last year or so, is when you one day go to clean it and instead end up breaking it completely.

Long story: there are these two plastic nubs that stick up from the plastic base that are part of the mechanics that hold the feed/hopper in place.  Eventually what happens is that the unit leaks all over the inside of itself.  You can perhaps avoid this by cleaning it very regularly, where regularly is defined as more often than every six months, which is about what I did.  Once it has leaked though, the hopper ring adjustment mechanism becomes jammed.  And you'll very likely end up breaking off one of the two nubs if you forcibly twist the hopper to put it into its release position.  It's game over once you break a nub; the unit has to go back for servicing.  But wait, there's more.  Even after I got the hopper off, but before I realized that I'd broken the nub, I tried to remove the plastic ring that holds the burr cylinder to clean it.  Nope.  Won't come out this time.  Now I've had it out before so I know how it works.  But this time, it's slightly twisted off center and it won't align properly to lift out anymore.  Eventually you'll break it getting it out.  And once it's out, you'll notice that your burr is dead on top of it all.  It's a weird feeling watching a piece of equipment near and dear to your heart essentially committing suicide before your own eyes.

Hint: if you have one of these and your hopper won't twist - DON'T FORCE IT.  Try shaking the machine and turning it upside down and shaking it.  If you force the hopper you will probably break the nub.  I have no hint as to what to do to get the burr cylinder out.  I couldn't figure out what was wrong with it even after it was out and broken off.  Best guess is that the leaked grinds are an effective door wedge, as it were.

In researching this problem, I found identical reports from lots of other folks.  It's apparently a pretty common failure mode.  So common in fact that the currently shipping version apparently has stronger nubs.  I've also read a few reports of people who managed to get Solis to replace their broken units for free.  However now knowing that the lifetime of the burr is less than two years (and ~$30 on its own), I didn't pursue getting it fixed.  It's time to upgrade for me.

Bottom line: if you're spending $150 on a coffee grinder, I'd recommend spending another $100 to get something that's properly engineered.  Sadly I must conclude that the Maestro Plus is overpriced and poorly engineered.

Buying Experience

No problems, quick shipment.  I would use them again.

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review rating: 7.5
Posted: September 15, 2006, 12:42pm
feedback: (1) comments | read | write
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