Solid entry level grander for drip to espresso. My friend raved about the crème a. May save up to 40% in coffe bean use over blade grinder
Positive Product Points
Consistent grind. Numerous grind settings. Vertical dispenser allows direct deposit into coffee filter. Attractive. Less noisy than Krups blade. Timer allows you to grind coffee while filling water. 25 to 40% less coffee for the same flavor cup. Incredible crème a even with a DeLonghi espresso machine.
Negative Product Points
So farI have been unable to open the machine for a thorough internal cleaning. Reviews have suggested that this is a possibility without tools. I have not found that to be the case. Maybe some would find the plastic case and light construction aesthetically lacking.
Like so many before me, I dwelt in a world of ignorance, happy with my Krups blade. Then, thanks to an article in the Chicago Tribune, I discovered coffeegeek.com and the world of burr grinders. After extensive research, I chose the Maestro over two competing grinders, the Capresso Infiniti and the KitchenAid Retro. I am thrilled with my choice. Out-of-the-box my Maestro began turning out perfect grinds, every time. I was amazed by the consistency of the grounds after brewing. I immediately had to cut back on the amount of coffee I was using by about 25% to find the strength of brew that satisfied my palate. A good friend and I had a coffee tasting in which we discovered that he used as much as 40% less coffee for the same intensity brew. This savings on the total cost of coffee was not a benefit I had expected from having read other reviewers. For those of you using blade grinders today, this is another selling point for going to the burr grinder. I think you too will find that my experience of 25 to 40% less coffee by measured volume for the same intensity drink is likely.
While the Maestro has not yielded tool free access to interior cleaning, another suggestion on this site has served me very well. I currently use a can of pressurized air to clean the grinder after each pound of beans. This seems to be working quite well and saves me considerable trouble and worry over opening the compartment for cleaning. The grinder seems to tolerate slightly oily beans quite well through 4 pounds of beans. Solis' recommendation of cleaning every pound seems to be adequate for the performance of the grinder.
I also have discovered that adjusting the fineness of the grind can produce improved flavor results with differing beans. Initially I was using Sumatra beans from Intelligentsia. I found that a setting one click coarser than the drip grind setting produced a full, flavorful cup. I recently have tried a pound of a lighter roast coffee from a mass producer (Magnum). The first batch was somewhat thin, and "funky". I increased the finess of the grind by approximately 4 clicks and received a delightful cup of coffee. I suspect that the lighter the roast the finer the grind is required for maximum flavor.
All in all, I am delighted with my purchase. I would never go back to a blade grinder. I've discovered nuances of my coffees that I'd never thought existed. During a recent visit from my parents, I prepared their Starbucks decaf beans. My mother did not know how I prepared the coffee and upon tasting it asked me what coffee I used. She was clearly surprised when I told her. Her comment was, "we have to get one of these". 'Nuff said
No problem. I sent them money and they sent a grinder.
Three Month Followup
I'm still thrilled with this grinder. One of the cushions came off a leg, but the unit is stable on the other three. A friend bought a different grinder due to reviews that said the Solis didn't do well with dark or oily beans. The only problem I've see is a tendency for the occasional bean to hang up in the hopper (I supply only the amount of beans I am using for that grind, rather than keeping the hopper topped off)